Monday, August 18, 2008

Update -- short stories

Well, I got up a bit earlier today than planned -- about 2:15 p.m. I didn't sleep real well, lots of tossing and turning, half-awake, half-asleep, but that's pretty normal for me. Other than that, my day's been pretty normal: went to the library to read the newspaper, went biking for an hour or so, spent some time over at school working on this coming fall's curriculum. What really seems odd now, going on 11:00 p.m., is that I'm planning on being up all night, and everyone I know will be sleeping. Of course, that sense of being alone, and the only person awake in the world, isn't all that unusual.

Though no one has asked, I thought I'd provide an update on the short story a day summer project. It's still going on. I read a collection of stories by Charles DeLint called Moonlight and Vines. I really like DeLint; he's one of the original urban fantasy writers. He can really make you care about characters in just a few pages, a very sentimental writer. Lots of his stories tug at your heartstrings: lost love, unrequited love, things I can definitely relate to. One thing that kind of bothered me was that in a number of stories, he varied his point of view from first person to third person and back again. It struck me as jarring and maybe unnecessary. But it also bothered me because the novel I started writing last January (but has been on indefinite hold since then) alternates chapters being told by two different narrators. I wonder if I'm being too pretentious.

Right now, I'm reading a collection of Raymond Carver short stories. I really love and admire Carver's short fiction. This has been a really interesting book to read; the stories are arranged in vaguely chronological order (according to Carver's intro), and I can see a real progression in the writing style. Carver excels at the slice-of-life story, but the early ones seem to just kind of fall flat a lot of times, no real ending, just a stopping point. By halfway through the book, where I am now, the stories are much more coherent and satisfying. An interesting perspective for someone like me to take on a well-respected, well-known, professional author.


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