Don’t be a twerp
Our Pick of The Day: Ambrose Bierce - An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge
A great story can stay in your mind for years, popping up from time to time, like an unexpected visit from an old friend, reminding you of the pleasure you had in their company.
One such for me is An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, by Ambrose Bierce.
Sitting here deciding what to offer up as our second pick of the day, the memory of the story and its ending rushed forward. It is years since I read it, or saw the film. However, I have set myself a challenge of reading - or re-reading - all of the stories that we cite as our pick of the day, so I will enjoy its company again later.
An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, is considered a classic of American short story writing. Kurt Vonnegut (author of Slaughter-House Five) described it - Wikipedia tells me -as a flawless example of American genius, and said he considered anyone a twerp who hadn’t read it.
So don’t fall into that category.
H.E. Bates describes Bierce as the connecting link between Poe and the modern American short story and praises his directness of language.
Part of the great skill of Bierce in this tale is to use his eye for fine detail to create a very real picture and atmosphere, before introducing the areas of unreality and psychology, on which the story turns.
And of the opening lines of An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, Bates adds: "In less than forty words, before the mind has time to check its position, we are in the middle of an incredible and arresting situation."
We are back to beginnings again.
Dorset Writers' Prize update: Emailed launch week press release to The Bournemouth Echo, Dorset Writers Network, Radio Solent and Bournemouth Scene. Must get flyers printed and distributed, and start tweeting.