Sunday, September 18, 2011

William Kennedy: The Banjo Man

What an interesting choice for a subject and title of a short story. 
My first thought when I read this was that William Kennedy must be an absolute genius if he can successfully write a story about an inanimate, uninteresting household object such as eggs.


Nope. I have no ideas as of right now for a short story that could be written about the inanimate household objects listed above.
William Kennedy sounds like a genius to me.
However, I understand why his father might have been skeptical about the impending success, or failure, of his son's short story. It makes a world of sense. 

"Who the hell wants to read about a guy who goes in and eats eggs?"
"They publish stuff like this?" 
"Is this what you learned in school?"

Kennedy responds simply to his father's accusations. There was one response that Kennedy gave that caught my attention,

"The whole world eats eggs."

This shows Kennedy's attempt to relate to his audience. To show the world that even simple things can make connections between people; find common ground, give them something to discuss over lunch at work or coffee in the early morning.
William Kennedy's genius shines through once more.

Let's hypothetically say that Kennedy's short story did get published in Collier's Magazine. People would be buzzing about it when they read it; even if they didn't particularly enjoy it. They would talk to their friends, and their friends would relay the story to their own friends, and so on and so forth.
Hypothetically, one story that speaks of a topic so simple could restore lost friendships or forge new relationships. That is a monumental task, and it could be accomplished just by a few lines about a man eating his breakfast in a diner; something that most Americans have experienced at least once.
This story possesses immense power.

I tend to over-analyze events in my life. It is a trait that I possess that I despise. I wish that I could brush events away as quickly as they happened, especially the events in which I embarrass myself, and there are plenty of those. I think that this trait leaks into my academic life as well. When I am asked to analyze a topic for a class, I feel that I make deep connections that may not even be involved with the story, completely surpassing anything that seems plausible.
I feel that I may be doing that here.
William Kennedy is still amazing for writing a semi-successful story about eating eggs, though. He also took banjo lessons. That makes him even better sounding in my opinion :)

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