The short story is dead, or so I’m told, sometimes by other aspiring writers. In our attention-starved, narcissistic, go-go-go times, one might think that the short story is the optimum medium to attract readers. A 400-page novel is too much when you have endless things to do that, for whatever reason, take up a higher slot on the things-to-do list than reading. Enter: the short story. I’m obviously not the first person to venture this idea.
I write short stories. I started with them and I think that the short story is the best place for the beginning writer to work with form, technique, voice. Some of the best writing comes in the short story, some of the best images, characters. Yet, the short story never quite gains the respect it deserves.
I’ve been told to abandon the short story by a writer friend of mine. No one publishes them anymore, he says (referring to collections). For me, it’s not about the possibility of getting the publishing contract for a collection. It’s about being able to say that I have published work out in the ether. Go here, read my story. That might open up a discussion of why writers write, but I’ll save that for another time. I want to be able to point to my work and say, “that’s mine.”
That said, if you know any great new collections or individual stories that I have to read, let me know. I’m always starving for new stuff.
Finishing up Adam Johnson’s Emporium now. What a great collection.