Reading a friend's short story and watching the sun set as hopes rise.
Back in college, I met a fellow classmate named Evan Williams. He was a history major, if I recall correctly, and shared my interest in all things Hemingway. In between our college years and for a bit after, we'd send each other letters every now and then that were a mix of "hey, what's up" and "let me try out this writing idea I have". As a result, the letters were often long, ambitious and more than a little cryptic (honestly, mine were probably just confusing, as cryptic implies some sort of hidden truth). Unlike me, Evan had some real writing talent and the drive to pursue it. He attended the Iowa's Writer Workshop and has kept at his craft ever since. Pretty damn cool, if you ask me.
Well, thanks to Facebook, Evan and I have reconnected a bit, and so I was over the moon to read his status a few weeks back announcing the inclusion of one of his stories in the Kenyon Review. I ordered my copy straightaway, and yesterday it arrived on my front steps, tucked inside a torn and frayed manila envelope. Outside, the sun was still decently above the horizon, so I opted to go for a run, but on return, I grabbed my Kenyon Review and my camera and headed to one of the best view sites in SF to take in Evan's prose and maybe snap a decent shot of what was shaping up to be a spectacular sunset.
The story is great, perhaps the best I have read of Evan's work. It's a taut tale filled with apprehension and riven with darker emotions and written with a cool technique to reveal one character's true condition. Despite the somber, tense story and setting sun, I was filled with positive feelings, as I sat on the bench and read. Why? Because Evan had done it. He had pursued his art and been published in one of the world's most prestigious literary magazines. This wasn't the first time for Evan, but it was the first time I have been able to share somewhat one of his artistic triumphs. And walking back down the hill, I was more motivated than ever to get my first album done and get it out into the world.
Thank you, Evan.