Monday, October 27, 2014

On "Jennifer Aniston Comes to Stay Awhile" by Jared Yates Sexton (3051 words) *****

I saw Jared read this story in Atlanta and was totally mesmerized. Too often, during a reading, I find myself moving to other thoughts, drifting in an out. But Jared's performance, along with the story itself, kept me focused. Here, Aniston comes to stay at the narrator's house. She stands in for the angst we feel about our own love lives, the idea that we will never be loved, never find it, countered by the idea that by settling on just one person we might be missing out on the real one we belong with. Read the story here at Punchnels.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On "One or Two Afternoons" by Lincoln Michel (1211 words) *****

I've long thought about writing a story in two parts, both of which involve the exact same dialogue but in utterly different contexts. I've never gotten around to that tale, and I'm not sure that I have at this point the two correct settings for such a piece. But I do like the idea of two pieces commenting on one another in a kind of parallel track. Although involving different sets of dialogue, Michel's piece is a cool tale of contrasts and of deceptions. What's more to a point in this tale is what isn't here, all the details left out. Violence between ex-lovers gets pit-for-pat treatment here, but on parallel tracks. Read the story here at the Collagist.

Friday, October 17, 2014

On "What You Know" by Jennifer Pashley (1161 words) ****

Here's a hard one about growing up too soon. Pashley's narrator talks about adult things while the things the others around her talk about are "cool" kid things. The effect is one of harsh contradistinction. I'd have been one of the kids showing off how to make stick figures with Popsicle sticks. I'm not unhappy to have missed out on a harsh upbringing, though there are times I feel like I've been stuck in that more innocent world with no nice way to stay in unless I remain alone. The next step is scary, but isn't that the point? Read Pashley's piece here at Memorious.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

On "All She Wanted" by Beth Newcomer (2930 words) ***

Newcomer's story revolves around the love life of one Maizie, who discovers, over the course of her life more and more about the man she really wants--which is not one who checks off every item on her list and who has, simply, one special quality. Read the story here at Diverse Voices.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On "Stalagmites" by Christine Hennessey (2676 words) ****

A cave takes on metaphoric undertones in this tale of a marriage on the brink of ending. A child tries desperately to keep her parents together on this final vacation together, where for a brief moment there is a bit of hope. Read the story here at Summerset Review.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

On "The Miracle Boy" by Patrick Irelan (3810 words) ***

The story begins with a kid walking on water, and as one might expect, such an action brings with it a fair amount of notice from the community around and a certain amount of exploitation by the family involved. Irelan's tale takes a rather snide look at the media and at what we consider special. Just what is a miracle? Can't something we consider "ordinary" be just as much of one? Read the tale here at Defenestration.