Go read something!

Back by popular demand. Or … just demand. Or … just back.

It’s been a loooong time since I posted a Go Read Something, and I’ve got oodles of stories and poems and essays that I’ve gathered to share! I’ve just been slacking on posting them because … life.

I’m trying to get back on track, so please enjoy!

For this week’s return to “Go Read Something!” please enjoy Rebecca McKanna’s “A Chain of Tiny Disasters” from “Narrative” magazine.

Good-bye to 2014

Near the end of 2013, I created a list of goals for 2014. They were all professional goals related to my career (writing goals, editing goals, teaching goals). Early in 2014, I check in on that list periodically, but somewhere along the line, I lost track of checking in on the items listed there in favor of actually pursuing them. A very good thing.

Of the fifteen items on the list, I accomplished eight. Of the remaining seven, four fell by the wayside because of some new professional opportunities that arose (thereby making the ones on the list moot). So, I consider those a wash. Another was something I made the conscious decision not to pursue in favor of something else on the list (they were really competing goals), and another was something that I decided to hold off until 2015 because of some other more time-sensitive commitments in 2014. That leaves one goal that was missed, and there’s no excuses on it. It was a simple one that I should have stayed on top of, but I just didn’t. Nonetheless, I’d say I did pretty damn good for the year.

A goal that I discussed here, and that wasn’t on the list, had to do with my reading: My Year of the Short Story, which I wrote about back in March. I’d say this one was a success; of the ~47 books I read in 2014, 28 were short story collections (and four others were writing/craft books). That means about 60% of what I read were short stories. And, back in March, I said that my tentative goal “was to just make sure I’m reading more short stories than non-short stories for the year overall.” Boom. Another goal accomplished in 2014.

In addition, the experience of reading more short stories in 2014 also exposed me to several authors I wouldn’t have likely found otherwise (because they have only published in the short form). In fact, I ended up reading multiple collections by a few authors because I loved their work so much. I also found myself identifying with what I was reading in ways I haven’t before. In the past, most of my reading left me saying to myself, “Why do I think I can do this?” But the books I was reading this year—at least the short story collections—left me thinking, “I think I just might be able to do this.” In what I was reading, I found similar perceptions. Similar language use. Similar ideas and concepts. It was inspiring and, surprisingly, empowering.

The experience also let me reclaim my love for short stories. Through “forcing” myself to read more short stories, I remembered why I loved them so much. It’s such an amazing form of writing. So compact. So powerful. It left me feeling really good about writing (exclusively) in the short form at this time, and it has even spurned me to push myself to write even “shorter” going into 2015 (more on that later).

All in all, while I don’t have a ton of publications to show for 2014 (only two, with five submissions still pending), I did do a lot of writing and reading. I accomplished the most important of the goals I had for 2014, and I feel like I’m moving in the right direction. My writing is improving, my confidence is growing, and I’m ready to make some more goals for 2015.

Go Read Something!

Almost two years ago, I took an online writing workshop that focused on writing flash fiction. One of the publications we were encouraged to read was The Collagist, and with good reason. One of the pieces of flash we studied was this one, and I still think it’s a great example of the short, short story form. It’s a story that, honestly, could have gone on much longer. It could have been infused with more scenes, more backstory, more character examination. But I don’t think that adding “more” would have done anything for the effect. It just would have been more words, which isn’t always necessary.

Go read “The Air Must Circulate” by Renee E. D’Aoust, published in The Collagist.

Go Read Something!

In an interesting twist, I was going down my list of recommended pieces and this one actually fell on this date without pre-planning. I honestly didn’t even realize that 9/11 was a Thursday this year. Part of me wanted to reshuffle my list. Part of me thought it was a little too weird. But, I left it. Some things happen for a reason. And other things happen without a reason at all.

Take it for what it’s worth, but it’s true.

Go read “Leaping” by Brian Doyle, published by Frontline/PBS.

Go Read Something!

In a writing workshop I participated in this past spring, this story was recommended to one of the other students. The recommendation was made in regard to a family dinner scene the student was trying to pin down, and it just wasn’t working. The workshop instructor recommended this story as a great example of a compelling dinner scene. She was right. But, man, the story was so much more than that.

Go read “North of,” written by Marie-Helene Bertino and published by Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading.

Marie-Helene Bertino
Marie-Helene Bertino

Marie-Helene Bertino