From the short story “Likely Lake” by Mary Robison:
Her hand fell and she gazed off and spoke as if reading, as if her words were printed over in the sky there to the right. “I have a crush on you,” she said. “Such a crush on you, Buddy. The worst, most ungodly crush.”
“No, you don’t. You couldn’t.”
“The worst crush.”
“Well,” Buddy said. “Well dee well-dell-dell.”
I love Mary Robison. I love her over and over. I’m reading her stories again and I’m reading the terrific “Object Lessons: The Paris Review Present The Art of The Short Story” (I highly recommend this book, btw) and “Likely Lake” is discussed by Sam Lipsyte. He says, “Robison’s stories often depend on the rightness of the word, or the right wrongness” and that Robison “has always understood the emotional power of discomfort, self-consciousness, and the manner in which people, eager for real connection (or sometimes not), slide past each other, shrugging, remonstrating, cracking wise.”
Okay. Yes. The challenge for today: Create a wholly awkward scene between two people. Find the emotional power of discomfort.