Posted on August 21, 2009
. . . Connie sat by herself on the grass, unbored, her hands fashioning a clover-flower ring for nobody, and let the minutes stream past her until Joey took his turn at bat or moved the soccer ball down the field and quickened her interest momentarily. She was like an imaginary friend who happened to be visible.
Such a beautiful sentence there at the end, and led into with such restraint and grace. I have a feeling that if I’d come up with it, I’d have been so taken with myself that I’d have telegraphed the hell out of what was coming and ruined it. Or fought too hard to avoid doing so. Maybe, who knows, Franzen fought like hell but didn’t ruin it in the end. I know not to mistake the ease of what’s on the paper with the labor of its creation. This is from a story called “Good Neighbors,” in an old, June 8 issue of The New Yorker I just found lying around.