Stephen Dixon story

We're reading one for class tonight; "Man, Woman, and Boy." Just reread it in the car yesterday and realized it would've fit much better under structure. The story runs backwards in time for a large part of it and the opening is a realistic scene of two people splitting up, but that's just something the narrator is imagining happening. The story goes back and back and back like this downward spiral staircase, uncovering what has gone wrong that day and the day before and the day before to bring this couple to what might be the end of their relationship. How does he do that?

Well, first he explains how the opening scene didn't happen at all, except in his head. "They move backward, she to the couch, he to the chair. They never drank coffee, never made it; never had that conversation." Then to the current moment: "They're both reading, or she is and he has the book on his lap." The next time shift backwards to explain their trouble happens like this:" They move into the dining room. About an hour earlier, tow. The three of them. They're seated, eating. He avoids looking at her, she him. He doesn't want to talk." Further back in the day, from when he walks in the door: ""You know, I hate saying this, but the house could be neater. You're going to take umbrage, take.' Said this to her about an hour before dinner." To the morning: "He'd gone to work mad because this morning in bed--it all could have stemmed from this--he'd wanted to make love. One of those mornings: dreamed of lovemaking, woke up thinking of lovemaking, wanted very much to do it. She mumbled,'Too tired, sweetie.'" It escalates and he calls her a bitch, then it goes back to the previous day and a phone conversation she had with her mother and then back further to her explaining that she doesn't really like the way he is in bed. And so on, all the way back to his own childhood and his own parents fighting and then finally back again to the evening he started with where things looked somewhat idyllic but now seem quite different when you know what's come before it.

He creates this tension too in his story by not having very many paragraph breaks--each scene is squeezed together in these tight, tense paragraphs of argument and short descriptions and random anxious thoughts.

We'll see what everyone thinks tonight.

In the meantime, Padhraig sent me this link to illustrate how I might allow Emma Carol outdoors: