Friday, May 07, 2010

What the Story Writers are Doing...

So I gather that it is National Short Fiction Month. It's the first I've heard of such a beast, though I do think it's a good thing not to let the poets get all of the attention. If Gordon Downie had only penned a song with the lines "Don't tell me what the short story writers are doin'" perhaps we'd have a bit more respect. On Twitter the other day Tom Waits had quipped that Marcel Marceau gets more radio play than he does. Which, to stretch things more than they could possibly bear, might make short fiction Tom Waits to poetry's Gordon Downie. Downie may get a lot of airplay, but we all know where the real soul lies.

In any case, a few folks have been doing their best to try and shine a little spotlight on the short story this month. Steven Beattie has once again embarked on 31 Days of Short Stories, radically altering my reading patterns for the next year. The Globe is highlighting a story a day on the blog. And over at Salty Ink, Chad Pelley is posting on short story writers he's been most influenced by. This week, Kathleen Winter, for her (and our) boYs. Chad writes:

Her vibrant use of language raised a bar for me, as a writer.

Kathleen Winter’s vibrant collection of short stories, boYs, has won the hip-assuring Metcalf-Rooke Award and the prestigious Winterset award. If you haven’t read it yet, what more encouragement do you need?

This book is alive, sentences pop like firecrackers, you expect nothing and love everything. This is ultra-modern, punchy, lucid diction. What I enjoyed the most were her consistently jagged, unexpected, and yet remarkably apt descriptions, some of which catch you offguard, like, “Sponge flan soaked in red sauce that tasted like bandages,” and “[The wind] smelled like wildflowers and clouds and lakes with trout in them.” As I read the pages I saw images, not words. It is one of few books I’ve read that appeals to all of the senses: even the sounds blare off the pages, and then there are the smells, like “…sweet to breathe the mysterious scent of someone else’s blankets.” We all know that smell, right? This is a catchy, diction-driven book well-deserving of all of its attention.

For the rest of his post, please go here.

I have some other fabulous Kathleen Winter news, but will save it for another post.

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