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Deb Olin Unferth

November 11, 2012

What is a minor robbery? A major robbery could be from Fort Knox or of the Statue of Liberty. Moderate robberies are the ones that usually happen, boring: banks, homes, pockets. Minor robberies are of a smaller scale then: lint from belly buttons, stealing a single wheat penny, pizza. The theme music for this story should be obviously played by Minor Threat.

This story won’t be taught by Tao Lin because it is too short.

There is a discrepancy, confusion, robbery. Am I being robbed? Is this a robbery? Highway robbery either takes place on a highway (61, e.g.) or is a robbery of the highway itself. Which would not be minor.

What’s the difference between  robbery and burglary? I’m not even going to look it up.

I read the book Vacation by Deb Olin Unferth. “Minor Robberies” is published in Agni. That seems pretty impressive. Am I impressed by this story?

“And there were the other robberies, elsewhere, the ones in books and on TV. The ones imagined. The ones in dreams.” What’s the best DOU story ever?

It says she founded the lit mag Parakeet, but when I try to find it, all I find are mags about actual parakeets. Was it stolen? Her Passport got stolen.

How do you get people’s attention? I wanted to get back to basics and follow Tao Lin’s protocol. To learn what I could from stories. To pass on things I learned. But I am not good at it. So I’ll do this instead. Just whatever this is.

Sometimes I imagine getting robbed when I am out walking around. Someone in a mask holds a gun and says “give me your money, please.” And what do I do. Shrug. “Shoot me,” I tell the robber. I transform the robber into a murderer by my refusal to hold up my end of the definition.

Nothing is real, or it’s only real to a certain degree, in “Minor Robberies.” Minor Robberies is also the name of her collection of short stories. What makes something real, to think about it? I just read the book Camera by Jean-Phillippe Toussaint and he suggests not pitting yourself against reality. Reality will wear you down like fork tines on an olive.


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