By tully | "Boredom at Its Boredest" by Michael Tully November 23, 2007 at 2:28AM


I just finished rereading THE COLLECTED STORIES OF RICHARD YATES, which never fails to deliver. With the knowledge that Sam Mendes is brutalizing REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and also the realization that there is an adaptation of THE EASTER PARADE in the works (perhaps an even worse idea, cinematically speaking), I wanted to devise my own way to pay tribute to Yates on the big screen. After stirring on that one for a while, I had a strong hunch that the answer might lie somewhere within the sad and tragic world of his short stories. After reading story after story and thinking the same thing--"brilliant, but better left on the page"--I had a minor epiphany along the way. I actually have an idea of combining a few of the similarly situated short stories, ala SHORT CUTS, that could result in something striking and profound. Rather than humiliate myself even further by expounding on that epiphany--I might as well retitle this site "More Useless Daydreaming About Ideas That I Will Never Actually Realize"--I figured I'd at least post the quotes I pulled from the collection, to get you feeling extra happy and hopeful for the holiday season:


"A man could drive himself crazy trying to psychoanalyze himself in the middle of Lexington Avenue, in the middle of the afternoon." (A Glutton for Punishment)

"He almost never lied, and it always surprised him to discover how easy it could be." (A Glutton for Punishment)

"And great God, what a sickly, intricate thing a writer’s heart is!" (Builders)

"Girls. Would they always drive you crazy? Would their smiles of rejection always drop you into despair and their smiles of welcome lead only into new, worse, more terrible ways of breaking your heart?" (A Natural Girl)

“Harry had cried because he wanted his mother to leave him alone; Russell had cried because he didn’t—and therein lay the very definition of a mother’s boy.” (Trying Out For the Race)

“’Oh, I don’t think anybody in the whole world ever wants to be alone at night. Do you?’” (Liars in Love)

“’When you’re old, you want so much for the people you love to be happy.’” (Liars in Love)

“How miserably premature could a premature ejaculation be?” (A Compassionate Leave)

"Had anybody yet confessed to being dismayed and bewildered and bored by this whole fucking place, and lonely as a bastard too?" (A Compassionate Leave)

“We had been married at ages we both now considered too young, and for reasons we both now considered inadequate.” (Regards at Home)

“’How can you be a father,’ he asked, ‘when you still look like a son?’” (Regards at Home)

“’If your life’s ready to fall apart, it’ll fall apart anywhere.’” (Regards at Home)

“He assumed he’d be able to find a better place and perhaps even a better life when his book came out, but he was mistaken: though it won general praise, the novel sold so poorly that only a scant brief trickle of money came in during the whole of its first year in print.” (Saying Goodbye to Sally)

“All the way home—and the ride seemed to take no time at all in the new-fallen darkness of this still and fragrant night—he wanted to laugh aloud because this was the way things should always have been in his life; this was pretty nice: good money coming in, a weekend coming up, and a girl coming out to love him at the shore of the Pacific Ocean.” (Saying Goodbye to Sally)

“All his life, it now seemed, he had spoiled things for himself by worrying too soon.” (Saying Goodbye to Sally)

“You could drive yourself crazy taking little things so hard; he would have to pull himself together.” (A Convalescent Ego)

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