Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Short Story Options

The short story is a form that I am committing myself to practicing more of, and of which require skills that enable you to get to the point quickly, but meticulously in order to leave a reader with the thorough and utter satisfaction, as they would have had they read a 300 page novel. You would think that in our society of immediate gratification that short stories and short story writers would be all the rave. Admittedly, of the contemporary writers I know of, I’ve only read a collection called The Dialogues of Time and Entropy by Aryeh Lev Stollman, who also wrote The Illuminated Soul and The Far Euphrates. And, also I want to get to ZZ Packer’s Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. Yet, it is in the harried environment of a college classroom that I am beginning to appreciate this form as never before. Having a different assignment every 50 to 75 minute class period is exasperating only because there is not always enough time to really focus on and contemplate the meaning an importance of a novel, (although I have about twelve to read before the end of the semester). So, it has been with great anticipation that I have recently commenced to sit down to the short stories of Kate Chopin (Desire’s Baby, The Awakening), William Faulkner (A Rose For Emily), Charles W. Chestnutt (The Wife of My Youth), Katherine Anne Porter (The Grave), Jack London (To Build A Fire), and Stephen Crane (The Open Boat). These stories have been wholly rewarding, though not appreciating enough that it is already a short story, I sometimes find myself rushing still to get to the end. But, it is only because there is almost always a payoff, thanks to the cleverness of the writers who manipulate and construct these micro novellas into stories of love lost and found, identity, integrity, man versus nature, coming of age and race. Of the few short stories I’ve written, I’ve been accused by professors of needing to finish them. They say I always seem to have more to say. And, they’re probably right.

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At 2:37 AM , Blogger Geoffrey Philp said...

Dear Persistence,


One of my favorite short story writers, Flannery O'Connor, was from Savannah, Georgia. She wrote with a knowingness about the South even though in some ways she was an outsider--for one, she was a Catholic. Another Catholic writer from the South also comes to mind Andre Dubus.

These are two fine writers beyond the obvious choices of Faulkner and Dickey who made me realize the richness of Southern writing.


At 11:04 AM , Blogger persistence said...

Indeed! O'Connor is much a celebrated writer and noted for her Catholic faith here in Georgia.

At 3:56 PM , Blogger Geoffrey Philp said...

Take care of yourself


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