Tuesday, August 15, 2006

We Are A Circle... Within A Circle...

This semester at school I am studying linked short story collections since I am [gulp] in the process of writing one. My motivations are mostly cowardly and greedy: short stories, unlike novels, can be published individually in journals, and if my short story collection never gets finished, well, I still have a bunch of short stories and not a big unshaped mass of novel.

Also, linked collections have always seemed wicked clever to me, and I like being clever. It feels to me a little bit like working within a poetic form--faking a rhyme or rhythm never really works, but when it does work the appearance of effortlessness knocks you on your ass.

I found an article today that had the following quote from the ever-sage Michael Chabon (pronounced, I learned the other day, as shay-bonn):

A group of linked narratives can create an effect you can't get from a novel or from one story alone. It's like a series of snapshots taken over time. Part of the pleasure is turning to them again and again. The interest lies in what has happened in the interstices.

Exactly. And how can you not love a quote that uses "interstices" correctly?

I have just put together the following list of short story collections to investigate:

Last Call K. L. Cook
All This Heavenly Glory Elizabeth Crane
Miranda Stories Katherine Anne Porter
Go Down, Moses William Faulkner
Beck stories, John Updike
The Elizabeth Stories Isabel Huggans
A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain Robert Olen Butler
Stones for Ibarra Harriet Doerr
Craft book: The Short Story Cycle: A Genre Comparison & Reference Guide Susan Garland Mann

My mentor and I already agreed on

Bastard Out of Carolina Dorothy Allison
Brownsville Oscar Casares
The Golden Apple Eudora Welty
Winesburg, Ohio Sherwood Anderson

I read Allison and Casares for my annotations last month, and am starting on Welty and Anderson for this month. There are a few extras in that list, since I am dependent on the local library for my reading material, and not all of it will be available when I need it.

Yes, I'm a nerd. You got a problem with that?

No comments:


Blog Archive