As I continue finding ways to promote my anthology, I keep being reminded of why I’ve always enjoyed both the writing and the reading of short stories. I remember as an elementary student reading short stories such as “Leiningen Versus the Ants” and “The Cold Equations”, as well as short excerpts of longer stories like “The Hobbit”. As my love of reading began to grow it was these primers that planted the foundation for what would become (and has continued to be) a voracious love of reading and learning. I also credit these early stories with my success as a student and the relative ease with which I learned to understand and speak English, as Spanish was my first learned language.
What I really learned from those childhood stories, though, was that anything was possible within the mind of a writer. In truth, this was somewhat intimidating. I’ve always admired creative people, and though my ultimate goal was, and still is, to become a writer, I always felt lacking in comparison. But with short stories, I felt that I could at least grasp a whisker of what other writers had accomplished. Though I now mostly read novels and longer works, it’s still in the short story genre that I prefer to write. I hope that as I become more skilled in the writing process, these stories will bloom into novellas and novels, but if all they ever are is their more compact brethren, it won’t break my heart too much.
I’d site the examples of both Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver as writers that really got the most out of a limited number of words and pages. Carver in particular had a way of conveying so much emotion and feeling in only a few sentences. Though I enjoy reading all his stories, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” is my personal favorite. It’s just a simple story of four people having dinner and conversing, talking about life and love and death, but it is so well written that I can’t help but enjoy every word, every sentence.
This enjoyment is bittersweet, though. What makes these stories so nice, their brief and attainable scope, is also what makes them fleeting and over too soon. As soon as you get to know someone, they’re gone. I equate it to a meeting with a shipper some time ago, when I was moving from the Midwest to the East coast. As he and his crew were packing up all my belongings I got to talking to him, and found him very easy to relate to, and we quickly began discussing books and movies that we both liked. In just a few hours we had gotten to know quite a bit about each other, and in a different set of circumstances I don’t doubt we could have been good friends. But once all was packed and ready to be shipped, he was on his way and I on mine, and even though it seemed silly, I felt saddened to know that I would not get to know him any more than I did at that moment.
Such is life, and such are short stories, so enjoy both while you can.
Good writing, good reading, and good Evening!