Today's wise choices: snow shoes and The New Yorker fiction podcast. The dogs and I want to start from home and hit the wooded trails and it will be tough going on skis over trees and branches. The snow is softer and we crunch out to the river, it's deep and rippling in a light breeze. The black branches of the tree shimmy and dazzle in their reflection. It's another blue sky day, it's spring, actually, but there's another impending storm. It may be possible to ski right into April.
Yesterday, I listened to the New Yorker fiction podcast while I skied, a recording of Nicole Krass' short story: Seeing Ershadi. I liked it so much, was so moved and intrigued, I wanted to listen again today, particularly since the ending made so much of what had mystified me about the story and the narrator clear – the discovery, not until the final paragraph, of its feminist sensibility. Analyzing a short story I'm listening to is so different from reading. No back flipping of pages to glimpse the beginning again, to backtrack over paragraphs to check details and find sense. I must listen, again, to the story in its entirety, now that the theme has been revealed.
The first thing I realize is that this is ekphrastic fiction: inspired by a real film – not one I have heard of or seen, so I had missed so much by not realizing this.
Now that I'm listening to the story with a feminist sensibility, understanding the protagonist's struggle for agency, identity and her own inspiration, in a world where artistic vision in film (and dance) is dominated by male writers, directors, cameramen, choreographers and actors, every word in the story I half registered the first time rings with new significance.
It's also a story of friendship lasting between artistic women over decades, and how motherhood and marriage contribute to new insights, shifting awarenesses of old paradigms.
At first, when I realized "Taste of Cherry" was a real film, I wanted to see it, because the retelling of the film, and how it was made, and how it impacts the protagonist and her close friend, is central to the plot. Now, I realize I don't want or need to see the film. What I want is to listen to Krauss' story again, and again.
All text and photos copyright Kelly DuMar 2018 unless otherwise attributed