Novels are the sexy blond surrounded by admirers in the center of the room. Short stories are the interesting girl sitting in the corner by herself, the one you could talk to all night.
And do, providing you notice her.
Okay, clunky metaphor. Sue me. It's been a long week.
I been kicking around this idea for a blog post since I started a blog. My five favorite short stories. Not the best five. My favorite five. The list changes every time I think it over. The list, today:
The Lottery. Shirley Jackson. My sister read this in school and got home and pushed it in my face and said "read this." Savage. I think this is the first story I spent a lot of time thinking about. Made me realize writing was a craft, that a story was something somebody actually made, as opposed to something that just magically appeared in the pages of a book.
Silver Water. Amy Bloom. I've read it four or five times, and it makes me cry every time. Put the phrase "warrior queen" in my head forevermore, meant to describe a very specific kind of woman. Oddly, I've never read anther thing by her.
Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong. Tim O'Brien. A bit of a cheat since it's more a chapter from a novel than a story. Walks a razor between realism and myth. From The Things They Carried (which is on my five favorite novels list).
Where I'm Calling From. Raymond Carver. His brand of minimalism is responsible for a LOT of bad writing (some of it by me), since he was so widely imitated there for awhile. His voice is so specific. The details are so clear.
Werewolves In Their Youth. Michael Chabon. He'll write a great novel someday, though hasn't yet (Kavaleir and Klay was close). He's written a bunch of great short stories. This is one of them.
I've left out a bunch of heavyweights. Flannery O'Conner, most of all. Hemmingway. Bradbury (sorry Nance, sorry Irr). Annie Proulx. Kafka.
Off to vacation in the Canyonlands of Utah. Camping, hiking, stargazing. Love that place. L-hux and I backpacked down into The Maze on our honeymoon. Got lost nearly every day. Always found our way back.
Haven't made a bid on the house yet. If it's still there on our return, we probably will. If not, scenario one.