Last week, courtesy of my friend Ellen who had an extra ticket, I got to hear short story writer George Saunders "in conversation" with L. A. writer Bernard Cooper (with whom I once took a class and whom I revere) at the downtown Central Library.
I've long been a Saunders fan--I posted on the title story of his new collection, Tenth of December, when it first appeared in The New Yorker--and though there aren't a ton of writers I'd be thrilled to see, he is definitely one of them.
To that end, he mentioned the Ernest Hemingway short story, "Indian Camp," Raymond Carver, Stuart Dybek, and the DeZurik Sisters, a small-town Minnesota yodeling duo from the 1930's who attributed their success to the fact that they "listened to the birds and tried to sing with the birds."
Saunders said he played this song for his students as an example of breaking all the rules. The lyrics are lame, the song doesn't make much sense, musically you're kind of going, What?...and by the end, everyone who hears it is captivated.