Miranda July – “How to Tell Stories to Children”

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I cracked open my Dave Eggers-edited The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007 and plunged into the story where I’d left my bookmark three weeks ago. The story ended up being about an older woman and her motherly relationship with the child of some of her friends, a third-person account of a coming of age story, and it was touching and very sad and lonely-feeling, and didn’t help my insomnia at all.

I hit the sack, felt more and more awake, got up, and started in on an old short story I’d been working on a while back. But I felt my creative juices congealing, so picked up the short story I’d just read and started re-reading it. And only then did I see that the author who had moved me so was Miranda July.

Okay, so I was aware of her before, but this was seriously the best thing in the anthology I’ve read so far—and that includes the expose of the Burmese band Iron Cross and a report about Darfur (though that’s kind of an apples-and-bazookas comparison—would you rather read a short story or hear a dying child scream?).

It’s my intention to go out and buy her recent short story collection as soon as possible. Here’s a clip of her reading from it last year. Not only is her reading good, but for some reason, you also get to hear Becky Stark cracking wise!

2 thoughts on “Miranda July – “How to Tell Stories to Children”

  1. Dood, I like that story, too. But you have to admit that “Miranda July” sounds like a stripper name, like she took the month she was born and the last thing a cop said to her and put them together.

  2. My dad got me her book for Xmas this last year. It’s great, with some stories standing out a bit more than others. I loved the story you’re referring to in this post. “Mon Plaisir” was my fave in the collection. I’d love to know what you think after you read it.

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