I accept the challenge, Ellen, even if it means me over-analyzing your seemingly uneventful story.
Ok, so some context would be nice, right? My blog partner Milk showed me some years ago another blog called Muumuu House. This is a place you’re probably going to hate or love. There is no middle ground. It’s like if marmite was a blog. I don’t care for marmite, but I do like this blog. One of the posts on said blog, is a story by Ellen Kennedy. The URL calls it a poem, but I rather think it’s a short story, or to give them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps a prosaic poem. You can find this text here: http://muumuuhouse.com/ek.poetry1.html.
Let’s talk about the title. ‘AN UNEVENTFUL STORY ABOUT A PERSON AND A DOG IN AN APARTMENT THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION WOULD REACT TO BY SAYING ‘I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE POINT OF THIS IS’. What a title! It reminds me a bit of old novels, where the entire plot is told on the cover, so that the consumer could decide on the purchase. Like in Robinson Crusoe, where the subtitle is something along the lines of …or the story of a shipwrecked Scotsman who survives on a deserted island for many years, whilst still maintaining to keep his faith and by cleverness and help by a savage finally goes back home. Perhaps this was a bit over exaggerated, but I think the point still stands. We understand the basics of Kennedy’s narrative only from the title. Or, a part of the title does generalize the dog. In the proper text, the dog is a toy poodle.
The title challenges the reader. I don’t want to be a part of the “Majority of the population” if they are in the wrong. If the majority of the population has a large dick, I’d like to be a part of the majority, because then they are in the right, or at least in the normal. The majority of the population react to this story by saying “I don’t understand what the point of this is.” She calls her own story uneventful, so she’s kind of joining in with the majority of the people. One can argue about whether or not the author has more authority over her own reading, but I think that when she’s just a reader, she has to apply to the readers rules, given by the implied author, she no longer is.
The whole poem starts every line with the subject of the sentence, and it’s often either the person or the poodle that starts the sentence. We are as a reader just observing it all, like we are at the theatre. There’s no dialogue, but there is one instance of thought. “’fungus, i’m eating fungus’” notice how the ‘i’ is in lower case. Is this a power play, or does not the upper case I need to be so when only in a thought?
The person lives a life of bare necessities it seems. The mattress is directly on the floor. And the apartment is just one room containing the basic furnishings a home needs. Can we from this assume that the person is bohemian? Is the person perhaps poor, or just not that interested in luxury? I feel like the person is a bit contradicting. (S)he is eating a raw Portobello mushroom for dinner. Instead of eating the whole thing, (s)he eats just the helmet and top part of the stem, and throwing the butt to the dog. Just like one throws bones and scraps to a dog. The fridge is also containing vegan burgers. And our person is deciding to eat them, but later on, the mushroom is the winner. Our person of poor living conditions sure do have some fancy foodstuffs.
Thea eating and throwing away of the mushroom can be read as a sexual thing. The mushroom works as a phallocentric object, and it is subject to the persons habits. It’s washed, and then eaten raw. Saying that this is a metaphor for oral sex might be a bit too simple, but it sure plays with our sexual thoughts, and how we readers can find filth in pretty ordinary things if we set our minds to it. The Toy poodle gets the stem. The Toy poodle is also alive, and has from the beginning witnessed the person walking over to the toilet, and stared at him/her peeing. This is another reference to the human organ, the one that pees that is. The toy poodle is submissive, and is just lying around, eating the thrown out stem, and returning back to its corner to sleep. The person is introduced by doing the action of just waling over to the toilet, and the last action is feeding the toy poodle. This is the story, and it is quite uneventful, but it’s still compelling. It might be the shortness of the story, and our want of meaning that bears this narrative, and makes it eventful just because we are being told it isn’t.
I won’t pick it further apart. I just wanted to shine some light on this story. I really like the absence of action, and the absence of eventfulness. This isn’t that weird to be honest. Perhaps more stories should be this uneventful? Some stories should be, to contrast the ones that are eventful. We can also learn that events doesn’t necessarily provide meaning. The absence of meaning is still meaning.
I’d advise you all (4 readers) to check out Muumuu house. It’s so hip that if you ever need a hip transplant, they’ll have plenty to spare.
All for now,