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Thursday, June 23, 2011
Recommended Reading: Leslie Johnson "Other Lives" ~ Colorado Review
Leslie Johnson's "Other Lives" appears in Colorado Review and tells the story of Dean, who gets bored in his adult life and suddenly decides to go the the funeral of his fourth-grade teacher.
As he enters the parlor, Dean thinks back to his boyhood at the elementary school and eventually remembers that, at least, he has had more success than his dead teacher once predicted: "You could tell a shifty boy, she used to say, a lazy boy, too, by that weak and wobbly cursive."
As Dean proceeds closer to Mrs. Zarembinski's body, he runs into a hot-with-age former Mormon girl and, with her prompting, recalls more of the complexity of the teacher's sometimes cruel methods.
Eventually, as Dean reminds himself that he has to be getting back to Family Pizza Night with his wife and son, his thoughts wax metaphysical, and the meaning and purpose of the title becomes evident.