Short Story Month has been burning along like a furnace in January, but it’s May right now. So the furnace metaphor isn’t really a proper one. It’s not that hot out either, otherwise I’d use the sun metaphor. Burning like a Jalapeno? That’s also bad. Burning like spring fever in the pants of sexually mature human beings? Meh, that’ll do. Let’s move on.
Looks like a new issue of PANK dropped last week with weird and enticing stories. I don’t really understand Lidia Yuknavitch’s piece On Being a Woman Writer, but the language and movement of it has an interesting/intriguing/seductive quality to it. Check it:
I saw a sign. The sign said, this way to the other within. But there was another sign next to it, big ass flashy neon sign that said, this way to language, culture, and subjectivity. The two signs made my skin feel hot and my thighs itch. Was one of the signs a trick?
I saw a guy go by, following the language, culture and subjectivity sign—without hesitation. He looked really confident. He looked unified. He had a really good tan. He was a snappy dresser. He looked heroic. But I was naked, sweaty, and I kind of had to pee. I just felt hot, itchy and like I might die if I didn’t move.
I decided to follow the ‘other within’ sign. Then I felt like masturbating, so I did that, there inside the white, and I heard a noise back down the direction the heroic guy had gone, and I looked back, and he’d tripped on something and fallen. Weird, I thought, and then I finished and came really hard and let the wet be what it was—salty ocean goo–and kept walking.
Then I saw another woman. She was tall, and her hair, unlike mine, was black as sun. Her name was Julia, she said. She said, “It is probably necessary to be a woman, not to renounce theoretical reason but to compel it to increase its power by giving it an object beyond its limits.”
Also notable is Mary Jones’s Burglary:
Carol decided to burglarize her neighbor’s house. She was a friend of the family, but there were things she wanted that the family had. She was tired of seeing the things, leaving them for the family.
And Three Stories by Adam Peterson:
The rest of the world watched through binoculars as the Americans changed. They were glad there was an ocean again but sad that no one was on the right side of it except for Michael Jackson and his best friend Pepsi.
Matt Bell‘s up to his old tricks, being his usual ambitious self by posting about 31 stories in 31 days. He’s getting some help from writers like Nancy Smith and BL Pawelek and, hey, look at that, Tom Williams did a write-up of Amber Sparks’s “You Will be the Living Equation”, originally published in Issue Seven: Endurance. Tom says some good things:
Sparks’s story is one to celebrate, both because it shines so brightly as an example of the unexpected things a short story can do, and because it deepens the use of second person, keeps it vital and thriving, and worthy of the next writer who—as Amber Sparks did—will find a way to make it sing.
Thanks Tom and Matt! And don’t forget to head over to Short Story Month official headquarters, EWN, where the mad genius behind Dzanc books, Dan Wickett, is posting about some killer writing. Happy SSM everyone!