Thursday, April 30, 2015

National Short Story Month--2015

My Horoscope (Aquarius)  in the Los Angeles Times today (April 30, 2015) reads as follows:
"Seize a chance to get in front of people to talk about what you're selling.  Whether it's a product, relationship, or idea, you'll be persuasive."
Although I no longer "get in front of people," as I once did in the classroom, and although I am more than a little reluctant to use the word "selling" in regard to my ideas about the short story, I have to admit that I have always hoped to be "persuasive" about the virtues of that underrated literary form. And I have always fancied myself a "seize the day" kind of guy.  So!
Tomorrow is the first day of Short Story Month, an informal recognition that began in 2007 by Dan Wickett of Emerging Writers' Network and which still exists informally--made up of a loose congregation of bloggers, writers, and critics with no official, i.e. financial, support,  such as the Academy of American Poets' support of  National Poetry Month in April since 1996.
If you google Short Story Month 2015, you will find a few publishers, such as Atticus Books, Vintage,  and Graywolf,  recognizing May as the month of the short story, and you will see that a few sites have set up plans to  publish or invite stories for the next thirty-one days.
For several years I have been working on a magnum opus of sorts—a critical history of the form, analyzing the thematic and technical characteristics of those stories that serve as milestones in the genre's development.
This year, in honor of Short Story Month, I plan to post  thirty-one brief discussions (one-a-day, if my energy holds out) of those stories that mark important points of the short story's development. I hope to explain why they are important.
I begin tomorrow by looking at the famous "Falcon" story from Boccaccio's Decameron.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Apologies and Promises

In the seven years I have been writing these blog posts, this month (April, 2015) is the first month I have failed to post an essay or commentary. I apologize to my readers and can only plead that my reasons are personal responsibilities to my family.

During this month, I planned several projects in response to comments and requests from some of my readers, for which I have done considerable reading, but have not had the time for concentrated thought and writing. The projects I have postponed, but which I still hope to get to, are as follows:
            The stories of Scottish writer James Kelman, in response to suggestions from Brian Hamill, submissions editor for an interesting journal of New Fiction called Thi Wurd.

2.      The stories of British writer V. S. Pritchett, especially the stories in a new paperback of entitled On the Edge of the Cliff, sent to me by James Doyle of Turnpike Books.

3.      African Stories in a 2012 collection edited by Barbara  Solomon and W. Reginald Rampone, Jr. entitled An African Quilt.

4.      The Stories of Donald Antrim in his collection The Emerald Light in the Air, recommended by Jason Makansi.

But I fear I must postpone writing on these projects for still another month.  During the month of May, I plan to post a series of short essays on 31 stories (one for each day of Short Story Month) that are important in the development of the short story as a genre, beginning with Boccaccio in the Renaissance and extending at least through the so-called Renaissance of the Short Story near the end of the Twentieth Century. These pieces are part of a large "work-in-progress" on the history of the short story, on which I have been working for several years.