Tag Archives: Short Story Month 2011

Bygones.

I’m letting bygones be bygones. AKA this week. Sorry for the lack of posting/reviews as I promised. The sun came out this week, my bike, notebook, and camera beckoned, and I answered the call.

But if you’re wanting a quick literary pick-me-up before you go enjoy the sunshine yourself this three day weekend, I can’t recommend “Fly” by Julie Innis at Fwriction:Review enough. Please, please, please do yourself a favor, and read it.

I promise you'll fall in love.

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Friday Reads: “Fact of Life” at fwriction:review

 It’s been a slow week for me as far as Short Story Month updates go. Came into the office today because I’m getting picked up from here, which meant two fewer hours of sleep than I usually get on Thursday nights. To better ease myself into the day, I decided to take a quick fiction break this morning and read “Fact of Life” by Alison Barker at fwriction : review.
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Can’t get enough Staccato Fiction

Even when I’m busy, but I need that bit of a pick-me-up, Staccato Fiction is always there for me. If I sound like an addict, it’s because I am. Today I read “Those Plums,” but there’s no author name credited! I’ll try and figure this out, and update you on who’s responsible for this little gem. (Update 5/20: I just went to the Staccato Fiction site and saw that the story is credited now! Thanks, Harley Crowley for a lovely story.)

Reminiscent of Julio Cortazar a la “Blow Up and Other Stories,” and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the world in “Those Plums” quickly shifts from recognizable to slightly distorted. It’s like those seemingly identical pictures side-by-side where one of them is slightly different. The story’s world after the second paragraph is slightly different. Slowly we begin to realize something is not right, along with the narrator. The other character in the story – inexplicably gaunt – is explaining his predicament, and his voice (I could hear it) is weak with his inexplicable exhaustion. All we know is that it began happening after he ate “all those plums.” The narrator continues to relate to this new world as though it were the old, recognizable one, and is met with further unmistakable clues that, no, this is no place that she knows.

Whomever this author is, s/he did an incredible job of building up a reality that gets knocked down so quickly. Four paragraphs! That’s all s/he needed to knock my socks off.

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What I’ll be reading very soon.

Like I’ve said I keep saying, I’m almost done with the Oates memoir. Last night, I picked up two books from the library to ease my fear that I will be without reading material while I’m away again this weekend. Both of my picks are short story collections to continue my celebration of Short Story Month 2011, and to hopefully find some fodder for more short story reviews. What’s on the docket? I’m glad you asked…
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Short Story Fix!

It’s been quite the busy weekend, what with being out of town (batting cages, soft serve ice cream, mini golf, tennis, and Mother’s Day brunch), so the only reading I’ve done is of the Oates memoir I’m currently reading. So for today’s short story month installment, I’m sharing some of my favorite sources for short stories. Enjoy! (PS – Two days until my picks for the Book Bloggers Event are due! I’m getting nervous & second-guessing. Ahh!!!)

These are just a select few from the top of my head. Where do you get your short story fix? (PS – I love these old ShortStories magazine covers.)

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A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka

 It’s sunny out! I took advantage of working from home today and went for a little walk to the coffeeshop here in Ludlow, The Radical Roaster. It’s adorable and serves peanut butter + nutella lattes. It was the perfect inspiration to get reading and writing today, to start off the weekend right!

As a continued celebration of Short Story Month 2011, I revisited Franz Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist.” I was reminded of this story in Joyce Carol Oates’s A Widow’s Story, which I’m currently reading. The story is amply available on the internet.

David Foster Wallace talked about Kafka’s humor in his speech, aptly titled, “Laughing with Kafka.” He talked about how many of his literature students missed the point, that Kafka was painfully funny, but not in the way many people these days are funny: Continue reading

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Story of the Day from Storyville

The truth is, I haven’t been taking advantage of my Storyville app as much as I should be. Last night, wired from an ill-advised cup of coffee at my writing group, I read “Ms. Yamada’s Toaster” by Kelly Luce. What a great story to fall asleep after.

Luce’s tale has several facets: Superstition, mortality, mob mentality. It’s the ultimate curiosity-killed-the-cat story, except in this case, humans are the cat and the curiosity is morbid, about the way in which they will actually be killed. The story is set in China, narrated by a child who makes deliveries for his father’s liquor store and retrieves the empty bottles from the customers.
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Sam Lipsyte’s “Deniers”

Simon, from my writing group, is always telling me to read Sam Lipsyte. He says that the darkness in my stories reminds him of Lipsyte’s, a compliment I secretly gobble up. I don’t try to be dark for the sake of being dark, but it’s always nice to hear the visions that I see match up – if only slightly – to what my readers see.

Yesterday I received a frantic email telling me that there was a Lipsyte story, “Deniers,” in last week’s New Yorker. So I read it.
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Short Stories, Big Punches

Ryan Call is over at HTMLGiant talking about his first encounter with Lydia Davis and the incredible impact she (and the recent PlayStation Live downtime) has had on him, his reading, and his writing. Ryan’s trip back to undergrad had me thinking: What stories and books have affected me in a way that the effect is stronger than even the details of the story?
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Short Story Month 2011 > May Flowers

Okay, so maybe I’m comparing apples to oranges, but let’s get stoked for what May’s really all about: Short stories! Check back here and at TTTR’s Tumblr for short stories you should check out all month long.

Other places celebrating Short Story Month 2011:

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