Quick Fix

I love short stories for their length, quirkiness, twists and subtleties. They’re short snippets of time but still complete stories, which makes me happy. Roald Dahl is fantastic at that mixture of reality and quirk with marvelous twists and turns throughout. Plus they’re funny. I never remember who else wrote the short stories I have enjoyed, but it doesn’t make them any less special, just nameless mysteries. I even enjoy the ones written by friends. Some short stories can be really powerful, like Genesis and Catastrophe, and some can change the way you think about things in just a few pages.

Today I read a short story called The Yellow Wallpaper that I enjoyed. From the start you can feel the character’s frustration, and see the dynamics in her marriage. Then a surprise comes, and then some madness. It was one of those stories that though told solely from the perspective of an unreliable narrator, you can see the characters quite clearly, which means you can feel things about them straight away, and so, attention is captured from the start. It wasn’t until I checked it on goodreads that I realised it’s a famous little tale, but I can see why it has lasted since the 1800’s!

Finding faces in wallpaper is fine, so long as the face doesn't try to get out.
Finding faces in wallpaper is fine, so long as the face doesn’t try to get out.

When reading a collection I always read the shortest ones first. Part laziness, but in larger part because the shorter the story is, the tighter it is. When writing short stories, I always feel like mine should be the tight, quirky moments like the ones I love but I have found that trying to write in a specific way doesn’t work, you kind of just have to write the story you imagine and then edit from there. I also apologize for saying ‘quirky’ so many times, I dislike the way it sounds, too.

Short stories always remind me of lounging on a wet, wooden balcony after a summer storm while on holiday at some nature-entrenched villa. I’ve never been on such a holiday, but I’d like to. Reading under the big trees and mountains with the sounds of birds in the background and a rich sky clearing after a steamy rain sounds a little heavenly. In reality I would read one on my lunch break at work, but this was also great because it meant that I could escape into another place while I ate instead of being aware that I was really in a dingy office in a uniform with customers waiting. Still, a short story is welcome any time.

Well, that’s my appreciation of short stories. I thought I would write a quick post before I settle down for the next week. I have 4 essays to write and hand in by next Friday, so I won’t be blogging until after then. At least, I shouldn’t  be blogging until after then, but if I feel like procrastinating you’ll see me here.
Read a short story this week! Any favourites you have?


9 thoughts on “Quick Fix

  1. Aaaah now I’ll have to re-read The Yellow Wallpaper. The blogosphere seems out to get me this week, making me realise that when I read a lot of stuff as a teenager, it was almost like another person in another world reading it, and it would be great to read them again now and see how I find them these days. So far it’s Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, Yellow Wallpaper (Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is that right?) and even the Daily Post is in on the act, trying to get me to read Moby Dick.
    When will I find the time to read all the *new* books I haven’t even read once?!!
    Ooh – my favourite short story writer when I was young was Saki – if you haven’t read him, check him out. Often very bleak AND very funny.

  2. As soon as I saw this photo in my blog feed I got SUPER EXCITED. The Yellow Wallpaper is one of my all-time favorite short stories ever. As a short story writer myself, I would love to create something this complex and drenched in analogy.

    You have a very thoughtful blog here. Keep up the good work.

  3. I remember reading The Yellow Wallpaper at school as a teenager. I was lucky enough to have a literature teacher who loved short stories, so we read a lot of them, and we read a lot of stories authored by women. 2 things which have never been very popular among literature teachers who prefer to teach ‘the canon’. If you haven’t tried Joyce Carol Oates or Margaret Atwood’s short stories, you should. Good luck with your essays!

  4. Didn’t even start reading your post – only saw the picture – already knew what it was about. (You may like watching movie ‘Gaslight’)
    Good luck with those 4 essays – that seems like tough enough task.
    Short stories… Either Akutagawa’s ‘Tangerines’ or Neil Gaiman’s ‘Snow, Glass, Apples’.

  5. Short stories can be very profound and unforgettable.I love Roald Dahl. Short stories by Daphne Du Maurier and also Ruth Rendell are excellent. I plan to follow up your recommendations. Good luck with your assignments. 🙂

    1. I just put a Daphne story onto my kindle so I will get onto it next. Thank you, I just finished writing 971 words and finding 10 references for the first one I have to do… and I still have 4 paragraphs to write but it’s 3am so I think I will reply to this comment then go to sleep! My brain has gone quite fuzzy, ah nothing like leaving your assignments to the last week!

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