Tuesday, June 5, 2012

There Might Be Zombies Next Door

Film still from the film Fido
So, we're moving into a new house at the end of this month.  Today we went to the house to go over some paperwork, do a conditions move-in check, and so on.  While we were in the front yard, two children bicycled up.  They slowed and then came to a stop in front of the house.  Our landlord had just pulled the FOR RENT sign from the lawn and was crossing back over the sidewalk when the boy on the bicycle stopped him.
       With a concerned face, the boy said that he'd heard from the other neighbor kids that zombies lived in the house.  He needed to know if, in fact, this was true, and if it were true, if the zombies were still presently occupying the residence, and if so, how many zombies--ballpark figure--were there.
       Yes, our landlord said.  But only two zombies.  Then he pointed at us as we stood by the front door.
       We waved, smiling.
       The boy looked over his shoulder at the girl on the bicycle behind him.  Then he looked back at us and the landlord who left the boy to dwell upon the news.
       The boy's mouth remained open and he ever so slowly began bicycling away as the girl, seemingly unconcerned or not fully yet understanding the implications of living near zombies, followed behind.

This Halloween, we will have no trouble whatsoever coming up with our costumes.  And maybe some day this summer, we'll just do a little gardening and routine yard-work dressed as zombies, too.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Miscellany: While You Were Reading

Photograph of a book opened on a bed
"Sick in Bed" by Pete, 
used under CC license
While celebrating National Short Story Month here at What She Might Think, a few major events occurred in between the stories. In case you missed them:

In other news . . . 
Cover of Mother and Child by Carole Maso, image of clay woman with fanciful dress
Mother & Child
by Carole Maso
  • She realized that Carole Maso has a new novel; it's named Mother and Child; it will be released June 26, 2012 by Counterpoint Press.  She was lucky enough to introduce Carole Maso at a 2007 reading at the Katherine Anne Porter house in Kyle, Texas.  Please see the Texas State University online literary journal, Front Porch, to watch the Maso reading online
fault tree by
kathryn l. pringle (2012)

Friday, June 1, 2012

NOW AVAILABLE! The Nortang Bears in SAND Journal, Issue 5

Cover and sleeve for Issue 5 of Sand Journal in Berlin
 You can now read her story "The Nortang Bears" in Issue 5 of SAND Journal: Berlin's English Literary Journal, which just hit the stands.  You can find issues of SAND in shops around Berlin or order it via email/Paypal, and they'll send you a copy by post. 

If the story were long, she'd share a bit more, but it's a very short story, and one of her favorites at the moment.

Up in the high mountains live the Nortang Bears . . . 
Image of first page of The Nortang Bears by Erin Pringle-Toungate

Thursday, May 31, 2012

In Closing: National Short Story Month 2012

We've spent the month of May here at What She Might Think showcasing a story a day in celebration of National Short Story Month.  Rather than having a story-for-today, here is the list of every selected story, along with a link to its original post (and from there, a link to the story's text).

Day 1-4: "Diagnostic Drift" by Michael Martone
Day 5: "The Brewsters" by Laura Ellen Scott
Centennial Statue by Alan Cotrill, at
Coshocton, Ohio Public Library
Day 6: "The Juniper Tree" (folkstory, no author)
Day 7: "All the Anne Franks" by Erik Hoel
Day 8: "Roots" by Chadwick Redden
Day 9: "Concerning Ghosts" by Michael Stewart
Day 10: "Mirrors" by Carol Shields
Day 11: "The Red Bow" by George Saunders
Day 12: "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
             by Joyce Carol Oates
Day 14: "Hands" by Sherwood Anderson
Day 15: "For Sale" attributed to Ernest Hemingway
Day 16: "Of Missing Persons" by Jack Finney
Day 17: "Old Lady Lloyd" by L.M. Montgomery
Day 18: "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe
Day 19: "The Baby-Sitter" by Robert Coover
Day 20: "Bartleby the Scrivener" by Herman Melville
Day 21: "The Red House" by Ian T. MacMillan
Day 22: "The Things They Left Behind" by Stephen King
Day 23: "The Still Point of the Turning World" by Patricia Highsmith
Day 24: "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
Day 25: "Show-and-Tell" by George Singleton
Day 26: "The Daredevil's Wife" by Tom Noyes
Day 27: "Story About the Body" by Robert Hass
Day 28: "Speaking of Courage" by Tim O'Brien
Day 29: "Inland Sea" by Stuart Dybek
Day 30: "The River" by Flannery O'Connor

This is not an ever-fixed list.  Certainly, some of the greats have been left out, such as Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Kate Chopin, Raymond Carver and many others.  Should they be on here?  Absolutely.  Next year, then.  Next year.  But this is a fine list, she thinks, of short stories and their writers--both living and not, whose work shows why the genre has continued, will continue, and should be celebrated this month and every day until it returns with flowers. 

If you chose a story for today, what would it be?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Short-Story Month: Day 30, The River by Flannery O'Connor

"It occurred to him that he was lucky this time that they had found Mrs. Connin who would take you away for the day instead of an ordinary sitter who only sat where you lived or went to the park. You found out more when you left where you lived. He had found out already this morning that he had been made by a carpenter named Jesus Christ. Before he had thought it had been a doctor named Sladewell, a fat man with a yellow mustache who gave him shots and thought his name was Herbert, but this must have been a joke."

"North Georgia River" by Melissa,
Used under CC license
We're drawing toward the end of National Short Story Month, and have yet to feature a story by one of the best American writers, Flannery O'Connor.  

And, so, today's selection is her story "The River". "The River" follows a boy whose parents have hired a Southern fundamentalist--perhaps by mistake, as it seems--to watch him for the day.  She ends up taking the boy to a river baptism, a new experience for the boy who later returns to the river alone.  

Like nearly all of O'Connor's stories, although her own religiosity and tendency toward trying to save her readers through careful allegorical imagery and grotesque images, "The River" defies O'Connor's religious wish in the story and shows us complex characters in the strange situations that religion itself stages time and again.  Regardless of O'Connor's intentions, "The River" is an excellent story of the way humans try to control their own lives by controlling each other's and the terrible fiasco that comes from such behavior.  And the main character, "Bevel", is hilarious, too.  And he knows it.

"The Riverby
Flannery O'Connor

(link goes to a nearly full "preview" 
of the story on GoogleBooks)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Short-Story Month: Day 29, Inland Sea by Stuart Dybek

by Shirl, used under CC license
Today's selected story is two sentences long.  And the sentences are made to work so hard, but with a seeming lack of effort, that certainly one should wonder if this is poetry or prose.  Right now, it's categorized as flash fiction, but seems more of the imagist camp, of the William Carlos Williams club.  Regardless.

Were every sentence in fiction so well built, like the architecture of a ballerina's extended leg, well, then, that would be lovely. 

The story also was selected as part of the annual Wigleaf series, which is aimed at collecting the best flash fiction published in a given year, and where she discovered this.

Stuart Dybek

Monday, May 28, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 28, Speaking of Courage by Tim O'Brien

by z0xx Under CC license
"The town seemed remote somehow. Sally was married and Max was drowned and his father was at home watching baseball on national TV."

Today's selection is a war story that follows the character Norman Bowker who, having returned from war, finds himself driving circles around a lake in his father's truck, and in his memory.

by Tim O'Brien

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 27, Story About The Body by Robert Hass

Photograph of a beehive in a tree overlooking a hill
by Charlotte Nordahl, CC license
"The young composer, working that summer at an artist's colony, had watched her for a week."

Embedded within a newspaper article by poet Robert Pinksy is Robert Hass's prose poem "Story About the Body".  Or not poem, one might argue, but flash fiction piece.  Or one might argue, not flash fiction but a very short story.  What's the difference?  Good question.

For today, the work will be a short story and one that definitely, in its writing and reading, is a celebration of the form--since, of course, the title itself draws attention to the form.  So, without further ado, here is the story for Day 27 of National Short-Story Month, from his collection Human Wishes,


by Robert Hass

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 26, The Daredevil's Wife by Tom Noyes

Photo of a photo of niagra falls
by Rebecca Partington,
Used under CC license

     "Otherwise a calm evening. No eleventh-hour ultimatums, no last-ditch begging. The daredevil and his wife stay home sip wine, channel-surf.
      The daredevil's wife is understandably anxious and distressed, but the daredevil knows, deep-down, she's on board."

Day 26.
National Short-Story Month.

In continuing the lighter of the dark stories from yesterday, she has to decided to continue the lighter of the dark with a dark story lightly told about a man bent on saving his wife, or himself.

by Tom Noyes
(scroll down the Eureka website to read)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 25, Show-and-Tell by George Singleton

Photograph of a turtle against a black-and-white checked background (floor)
by Taro Taylor,
Used under CC license

He held his arms wide open, as if I were a returning POW. "Did your teacher send back a note to me?"
I reached in my pocket and pulled out the letter from Héloise to Abelard. I handed it to him and said, "She made me quit reading."
"She made you quit reading? How far along did you get?"
I told him that I had only gotten to the part about "sugar-booger-baby." 

Six days remain of National Short Story Month, and so far, of the selected stories, none have been humorous.  And so, it's about time for some relief--a story about a boy whose father courts his teacher through a series of covert show-and-tells--by one of the United States' humorists, George Singleton. Of course, for humor to work there must be the bittersweet, too, and there is, there is.  

"Show-and-Tell" is from Singleton's collection The Half-Mammals of Dixie, which she remembers reading in the backyard on a blanket in San Marcos, Texas, having found the book at a library sale. 

by George Singleton