Carrying things around on the day of the craftsmen’s convention.
(from A Book That Was Lost and Other Stories, I think)
Even I was invited to the craftsmen’s convention. Since they had invited me I said, I’ll go. I gathered my overnight things and wrapped them in paper and took along several copies of my new book, for several of those who had requested copies of my book were sure to be at the convention, and by giving it to them I would not have to bother with the mails. It would have been good had I put my belongings in a satchel, except that a satchel is useful only as long as it carries your belongings. Once empty, it is simply a load to be carried.
Read the whole thing here. It’s short and great. Do it now. Ignore the sad little typos.
This is a simple story of a guy with too much to carry, or maybe he just lacks the skills and forethought to go about carrying things properly, or to adapt to such a situation when it arises.
But, less to the point, it’s about social obligation and interaction. That first line hints at volumes about this man’s standing and social graces. And suddenly the simple story turns 3D. At the end you figure the guy should A) really keep up with his social obligations better, to not walk on people, to always be mindful of their kindnesses and B) get a backback.
(I’ve got this one, but I don’t recommend it, for a couple reasons.)
Shmuel Yosef Agnon was a Ukrainian-born (well, sort of) Israeli writer who wrote, at least some of the time in Hebrew. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966. Read more here, for starters.
This story came recommended by my closest literary confidant, in response to my declaring a preference for more recently written literature. That this story was so excellent proves nothing! But one should take note the moments when somebody is so into a piece of writing that she will read it to you. Chances are it’s good stuff.