Thursday, May 17, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 17, Old Lady Lloyd by L.M. Montgomery

"The children believed she amused herself counting the gold in the big black box under her bed. Spencervale children children held the old lady in mortal terror; some of them--the "Spencer Road" fry--believed she was a witch [.  . .]" 

Illustration of fictional character Anne Shirley from L.M. Montgomery's book Chronicles of Avonlea
From Chronicles of Avonlea,
character Anne Shirley
It's Day 17 of National Short-Story Month.  Until today, every selected story has been by a United States author.  Today's selection, however, if from the United States' close relation, Canada.

L.M. Montgomery's story collection, Chronicles of Avonlea, follows the place, people, and the main character Anne Shirley, from Montgomery's popular series Anne of Green Gables. By this time, Anne Shirley is a young woman; however, knowledge of Anne Shirley's past is not necessary to enjoying these works.  Most, if not all, the characters are not from the original series.

It has seemed to her every time she had read any of Montgomery's work, whether at age 12 or 30, that Montgomery is a superior writer at, especially, the crafting of landscapes.  It is somewhat easy to have a reader imagine, let's say, an orchard.  But it is something quite other to walk the reader through the orchard as another person.  But Montgomery can do that, and does that consistently.  It is a beautiful world L.M. Montgomery gives us.  

There is a fragile lightness and cheer and underlying wish for goodness that comes beneath Montgomery's work, but that does not come from, for example, a negligence of the desperation of humankind.  No, Montgomery does not have a sort of Pollyanna-with-closed-eyes perspective but seems almost constantly aware of the precipice, and it is that that enriches her work.  

But we can save what she might think about Montgomery's work for another day.  Today we must read the story "Old Lady Lloyd", and celebrate that such a work and writer should be in the world.      

by L.M. Montgomery

Spencervale gossip always said that "Old Lady Lloyd" was rich and mean and proud. Gossip, as usual, was one-third right and two-thirds wrong. old Lady Lloyd was neither rich nor mean; in reality she was pitifully poor--so poor that "Crooked Jack" Spencer, who dug her garden and c hopped her wood for her, was opulent by contrast; for he, at least, never lacked three meals a day, and the Old Lady could sometimes achieve no more than one. But she was very proud--so proud that she would have died rather than let the Spencervale people, among whom she had queened it in her youth, suspect how poor she was and to what straits was somtimes reduced. She much preferred to have them think her miserly and odd--a queer old recluse who never went anywhere, even to church, and who paid the smallest subscription to the minister's salary of anyone in the congregation.
Text for Our Lady Lloyd by L.M. Montgomery

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 16, Of Missing Persons by Jack Finney

Walk in as though it were an ordinary travel bureau, 
the stranger I’d met at a bar had told me. Ask a few
ordinary questions—about a trip you’re planning, a 
vacation, anything like that. Then hint about The Folder
a little, but whatever you do, don’t mention it directly; 
wait till he brings it up himself. And if he doesn’t, you 
might as well forget it. If you can.

Until today, each story selected in celebration of National Short Story Month has been published online, and as such, each post has linked to where that story exists on the vast web.  However, today's selection cannot be found online (outside of a copyright-infringed version), but it should be singled out, regardless.

She originally read "Of Missing Persons" in the anthology, Stories of Suspense.  It's a story well worth checking out--a sort of time-travel story that begins in a city, in an anonymous store. The story appears in his collection, About Time: 12 Short Stories.

From here

"Of Missing Persons"
by Jack Finney

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 15, Perhaps Ernest Hemingway

According to, it has not been determined whether or not the famous six-word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway was actually written by Hemingway.  Regardless of the story's author, that's today's selection for National Short Story Month:

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn

Photograph of woman alone in field flanked by forest
Used under CC license

Monday, May 14, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 14, Hands by Sherwood Anderson

Sherwood Anderson
It's a new week and the midpoint of celebrating National Short Story Month.  And so, today's selection is a story from the Midwest, and from one of the most remarkable short-story collections written or published in the United States.   

"The story of Wing Biddlebaum is a story of hands. Their restless activity, like unto the beating of the wings of an imprisoned bird, had given him his name. Some obscure poet of the town had thought of it. The hands alarmed their owner."

"Hands" by Sherwood Anderson
from his story collection Winesburg, Ohio (1919)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 13, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

"He wagged a finger and laughed and said,
 'Gonna get you, baby'" [. . .]" 

Perhaps the story for Day 13 should be 
Little Red Riding Hood in order to set 
the mood for what might have been 
tomorrow's story, but instead, here's 
what she would call a contemporary 
retelling of that folktale by Joyce Carol Oates, 
"Where Are You Going, Where Have you Been?"

In Video: Joyce Carol Oates talks about
"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"
(2:02 runtime)

by Joyce Carol Oates

(For those  Joyce Carol Oates fans interested in seeing some of Oates's original manuscript pages  for her other stories, please visit the virtual archive at University of San Francisco. Also, if you missed Oates's winning of the 1990 Rea award for short fiction, see the NYT article.)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 12, Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Faith kept me back a while," 
replied the young man, with a tremor in his voice, 
caused by the sudden appearance of his companion, 
although not wholly unexpected.

"Trees in the Fog" by Matthew Bietz,
Used under CC license

Yesterday's selection, "The Red Bow" by George Saunders, has always reminded me of one of my favorite stories.  And so to celebrate the twelfth day of National Short Story Month, please enjoy 

by Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Young Goodman Brown.  Young Goodman Brown came forth at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exhange a parting kiss with his young wife. And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she called to Goodman Brown.

Continue Reading

Friday, May 11, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 11, The Red Bow by George Saunders

Used under CC license

"NEXT NIGHT, walking out where 
it happened, I found her little red bow.
I brought it in, threw it down on the 
table, said: My God my God."
Day 11
Short Story 

Today's selection, by George Saunders, was originally published in Esquire, later anthologized in Not Normal, Illinois, a nominee for the Bram Stoker award, and winner of a National Magazine Award.  The story appears in Saunders's story collection, In Persuasion Nation.

But the story is more interesting than all that.

by George Saunders

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 10, Mirrors by Carol Shields

Today's story selection
comes from a writer whose
line and work always
has a quiet patience to its
tone and content.  One of
the master writers of the
20th century who is most
known for her novels such
as the Pulitzer-Prize winning
Stone Diaries, Carol Shields.

"Untitled" by Daniel Oines,
Used under CC license

"From June to August they choose to forget who they are, or at least what they look like, electing an annual season of non-reflectiveness in the same way other people put away their clocks for the summer or their computers or door keys or microwave ovens."

Please, enjoy

by Carol Shields

(Shields was originally from Illinois 
but later moved to Canada, so she's often 
thought of as a Canadian writer, but 
to this writer and also native of Illinois, 
Shields's concerns have always
seemed Midwestern.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Box of Delights Anthology on Kindle

Aeon Press's Box of Delights, Cover
Winter 2011 - KINDLE VERSION
Box of Delights, edited by John Kenny and published out of Dublin, Ireland, is now available on the Kindle.

It may be National Short Story Month in the U.S., but if you want to make your celebration an international one,  try Box of Delights, an anthology of contemporary horror fiction by 16 writers around the world.  Her story, "The Lightning Tree", is one of those stories.

Box of Anthology writers 
(links follow to the writer's webpage)

Sean MacRoibin
Eleanor Marney
Erin Pringle

a) here for the U.S. Kindle edition of Box of Delights
b) here for the U.K. Kindle edition
c) here for a print copy of Box of Delights

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 9, Concerning Ghosts by Michael Stewart

Black and white photograph of a wire fan
"Fan" by Mike Schmid,
Used under CC license

"My ghosts move as trees age." 


Day 9.


                                                            "Concerning Ghosts" by 
Michael Stewart