word craft


Resetting My Narrative Grooves

I very much enjoy read­ing short sto­ries, and mar­vel at their pow­er, and their abil­i­ty to cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive expe­ri­ence, how­ev­er brief. I even edit­ed a col­lec­tion (with Car­olyn Shute) that has no theme, oth­er than qual­i­ty. It’s called Best Shorts. Over the years I have writ­ten num­bers of them. There are two col­lec­tions of my sto­ries, Strange Hap­pen­ings, and What do Fish Have to Do with Any­thing? Some nine oth­ers are in the­mat­ic antholo­gies and I think there’s an unpub­lished one some­where in my files. There is even a one-act play in a col­lec­tion called Act­ing Out. 

short stories

My reg­u­lar mode of thought is nov­els, so I usu­al­ly don’t write short sto­ries unless I’m asked to write one. Find­ing them a real chal­lenge to write, I begin by read­ing many, so as to reset my nar­ra­tive grooves. Curi­ous­ly enough, my short sto­ries are very much more auto-bio­graph­i­cal than my novels—or at least they are most often based on some­thing that real­ly hap­pened to me. Con­sid­er “Scout’s Hon­or,” which appears in the anthol­o­gy, When I Was Your Age. Read­ers find it very fun­ny, even absurd. Yet, much of it real­ly hap­pened to me, includ­ing the inci­dent in which a can of beans is opened with a hatch­et. I have no plans to write more, unless I’m asked. But then again … 

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