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!
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?