James Salter words' first appeared in the 1966 issue of The Paris Review. His writing often is described as compressed, with short sentences and sentence fragments. He switches between first and third persons, as well as between the present and past tenses. Salter published a collection of short stories, Dusk and Other Stories in 1988. Enjoy the little excurse into his glorious words.
They are still in bed.
Windows open to the morning coolness.
A face without makeup, skin no shine.
A cheap look in the morning, young.
They wake at the same instant, like actors.
Like the cat in the cafe.
Opening eyes to find me staring.
Images are repeating themselves.
There's nothing I can do.
They crowd in on me.
Because all this is going to vanish.
The only thing left will be the prose and poems.
The books, what is written down.
We are fortunate to have invented the book.
Without, the past would completely vanish.
We would be left with nothing.
Naked on earth.
The rock is like the surface of the sea, constant yet never the same.
Two climbers going over the identical route will each manage in a different way. Their reach is not the same, their confidence, their desire.
Sometimes you are aware when great moments are happening.
Sometimes they rise from the past, perhaps it’s the same with people.
These places, I can’t do this, I know I can’t do this, I’m certain I can’t do it, but I have to do it, I know I have to. You would give anything to be somewhere besides there, but there’s no use thinking about it.
In the end, it uplifts you somehow.
You have to go on.
You are perfectly entitled to invent your life and to claim that it’s true.
Ours is a culture that enshrines the ephemeral.
Humour comes largely from not caring.
Dreams and work.
A woman, in a white summer shirt and bare legs.
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