Saturday, October 5, 2013

Favorite Story in X & O

Hi everyone. I finished X & O yesterday, and I think I enjoyed it more than anything else we've read so far. The story that stuck most with me was "Marla in Empty Space," the very existential what-is-life story whose plot Ms. Horsley said "cannot be explained" in the foreword. That description alone intrigued me, and the story successfully held my interest throughout. It also seems to be the type of story that I would get something new out of each time I read it. This first time though, I was struck by the message of how important other people are in giving meaning to our existences. Even having to deal with loud, highly irritating people seems better than being alone in eternal nothingness. However, the type of people you spend your time with also affects your quality and acceptance of life, from merely tolerating existence to surrendering contentedly to it, as Marla does with Geebie.
So what does everyone else think of X & O so far, and which of the stories is your favorite?


  1. The story that impacted me most was Luna Moth. The setting occupied by the abandoned children seemed bizarre, almost fantastic, and the end left me with the hollow, unresolved feeling one gets after reading literary fiction.

    Stories in this genre are often about people who keep calm, socially acceptable exteriors while they're collapsing on the inside. Yet the girl in this story doesn't hide her brokenness, and even invites the protagonist to share in it. The girl isn't an antagonist or a temptress, but a foil for the boy's reflex toward "acceptable" behavior--forced optimism, unwillingness to judge--in an exceptional situation. Her attitude and outlook do little other than damage herself, but her ignorance is endearing in certain ways. It seems a little too obvious that she's supposed to be like a luna moth--a beautiful creature doomed to live in squalor--but I think the metaphor in this story works better than it does in Horsley's other ones.

  2. The story that impacted me the most is "Rat", the very first short story. I think what impacted me the most about this story is how I can relate to certain parts of it. The protagonist of the story is a girl and I don't remember is she has a name.

    I can relate to how she is attached in a certain way to the basement. I, like her, get easily attached to places, especially if something important happened there. Then, overtime I see those places or happen to be near them, I get this weird feeling and start remembering all the things that happened there. It can be hard sometimes if the place I am attached to happens to be near the areas I transit everyday. In the story, this happens to the girl every time she sees or thinks about the basement. Are any of you guys attached to places or have strong memories tied to those places like the little girl to the basement?

    I also liked that first short story because her relationship to her older brother Randy reminds me of the relationship I have with one of my brothers. Unfortunately, we use to be very close and do things together all the time. Now things are different and it is sometimes even awkward to say hi. I know, it's sad.

    I have to admit this book has been my favorite so far. I really like her style of writing and I enjoyed reading the short stories. This inspired me to write and I really liked that since not many books have that effect on me.

  3. Just wanted to say it was you Emma that made the comment about other people giving life meaning, and I’m sorry I didn’t give you credit during discussion.

    I really enjoyed most of Kate Horsley’s short works in one way or another, but my favorite would be Marla in Empty Space. This unreal setting where life is just hanging on to a pole, but it has the relatable themes and questions of existence and our fears of our life being meaningless or boring. That sometimes in life we need to take a risk and let go of the pole to make life more interesting. I agree with Emma’s comment that life is worthwhile, because of the people in it and it is better than being alone.

    What threw me off was when she landed in IHOP and I knew the story setting was fictional, but then to move to a setting that was familiar to me and normally could relate to, I could not relate. I was so relieved that she returned back to the pole, I don’t know why, but I guess I was trying to make the story make sense in my mind and then all of a sudden to not fit the pattern I was like woah what is going on.

  4. I liked all of the stories a lot, but I think I already said during discussion that my favorite was the short play about the Oracle. I would really like to see that on stage. I liked the characters, I liked how it began and ended the same (we already discussed that, and it was food for thought, wasn't it?), and I liked how the Oracle was completely honest. It got me to thinking that she was just a woman, but I get great advice from ordinary women all the time. Besides, people will hear what they want to hear, which is what the Oracle says. After reading that short play, as well as X & O, it made me want to try writing my own short play. I have way too many ideas for my creative project, unfortunately.


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