Friday, October 17, 2014
Short-story writer, novelist, and poet Ron Rash came down to speak at the University of South Carolina at Thomas Cooper last night, and I was happily in attendance. I have much enjoyed his stories, especially Serena and Saints by the River, as well as his story collections, and it was nice to see and listen to him in person. He seemed like a professor of writing that I would enjoy taking, someone who would likely instruct firmly but kindly, encouragingly. He decried his image as a "downer" writer, though in truth there is a lot of sadness in his tales. He read two of his stories, “Three A.M. and the Stars Were Out” from Nothing Gold Can Last. It covers the meeting of old friends, one a veterinarian and the other a rancher, as they try to save a breached calf. Both men served in Korea at the same time and each have dealt with loss, but they have a long-lasting friendship that is the kind that allows long silences and few words. He started his talk with sections from his funny "Waiting for the End of the World" from Burning Bright. I had read and enjoyed both stories before last night, but it is a wholly different experience listening to the author read it in person. Wonderful.