I’ve discovered Miranda July, a maker of movies, artworks, and stories, and if you haven’t read her, I’d suggest you peruse the local shelves for her first book, “No One Belongs Here More Than You.” It’s hard to miss. July begins the book with a story called “The Shared Patio,” which quickly submerges the reader in the unassuming waters of loneliness, right alongside her broken down characters, setting the tone for an entire collection of stories about every day people, with slight absurdities.
“The Swim Team,” takes barely five and a half pages and is shocking and unassuming all at once. July carries on with the matter of fact telling of a person existing in the solitude of normality. The lonely twenty-two year old narrator finds her purpose in a smaller than small town by teaching three eighty-somethings how to swim, without water.
Something’s missing in July’s writing, and that isn’t a bad thing. Cropped and close you get the sense she’s left a lot out, which makes me think of Richard Hugo, author of The Triggering Town. “…give up all worry about communication. If you want to communicate, use the telephone… You must have a streak of arrogance…you must assume that the next thing you put down belongs not for reasons of logic, good sense, or narrative development, but because you put it there.”
Much like Raymond Carver in his fragments of humanity, Miranda July steers you into waters you’ve never even heard of, much less been beneath and it’s writing like this, about the human experience, that just feels right because it picks you up and moves you to another place than where you started.