Brian Xavier
The past two weeks, Raymond Carver - short story writer and poet - has been putting me to sleep.  But not in a bad way.  More in a dull soul ache or the grasping, lingering fingers of the day.  His short stories are those of every day people, doing every day sorts of things, seemingly bland until you realize that the people (and their actions) are so much more than just that.  The rabbit hole goes even deeper and as you fall, you pick up speed.  There are alcoholics, wife abusers, nosy neighbors, fighting couples, easily imaginable as people that you and I know.  To me, Carver's stories are like a piece of a puzzle.  He's found a corner piece, let's say, and starts building around it, adding snippets about the characters, a few insights into their motivations and their fears.  But then, almost a little abruptly, the short story ends.  He's completed maybe 20% of the puzzle and in some cases, only 5%.  The rest of it is up to your mind.  What does the bigger picture (literally) look like?  It allows the reader to create, to elaborate on the story in his or her mind.  Of course this is only a reflection of how you see everyone else's "real" life.  When you meet / interact with someone, have you got a hold of a corner piece, an edge, or maybe even just the blank space where a missing piece should have been?  Before I tumble off into dreamland, I place my bookmark between the pages and give Mr. Carver a salute or a hat tip... and then let my imagination take me the rest of the way.