Day 1: SJ Sindu’s “SR-9”
Day 2: Rebecca Keith’s “Toast of New York”
Day 3: Yiyun Li’s “On The Street Where You Live”
Day 4: Kelli Jo Ford’s “You Will Miss Me When I Burn”
Day 5: Deirdre Coyle’s “How to Vomit Living Creatures”
Day 6: Emily Chammah’s “Tell Me, Please”
Day 7: Mary Miller’s “Cedars of Lebanon”
Day 8: Emma Horwitz’ “Fingering”
Day 9: Rion Amilcar Scott’s “A Friendly Game”
Day 10: Daniel Peña’s “Three Phases of Love and Deportation in Ciudad Juarez”
Day 11: April Ayers Lawson’s “Three Friends In a Hammock”
Day 12: Mary Miller’s “The House on Main Street”
Day 13: Allison Kade’s “The Purple Baby”
Day 14: Madeline Dubus’ “Godspeed”
Day 15: Annabel Graham’s “Celestial Bodies”
Day 16: Halimah Marcus’ “Running Alone”
Day 17: Deirdre Coyle’s “Girlfriend”
Day 18: Alisha Ebling’s “Hungry”
Day 19: Kate Axelrod’s “Comfort Pack”
Day 20: Ruth Madievsky’s “Hamster”
Day 21: Julianne Pachico’s “Honey Bunny”
Day 22: Maggie Shipstead’s “Backcountry”
Day 23: Ottessa Moshfegh’s “An Honest Woman”
Day 24: Alix Ohlin’s “Quarantine”
Day 25: Patricia Engel’s “Lucho”
Day 26: Kait Heacock’s “The Girl”
Day 27: Brenda Peynado’s “The Drownings”
Day 28: Chanelle Benz’ “West of the Known”
Day 29: Kristen Arnett’s “Felt in the Jaw”
Day 30: Grace Paley’s “The Little Girl”
Day 31: Kate Folk’s “A Scale Model of Gull Point”
Marie-Helene Bertino’s “Free Ham”
This post was meant for the first day of the month! And what a way to celebrate the first day of February! On this day the editors of The Forge Literary Magazine decided to republish one of Bertino’s stories from her collection and first book, Safe As Houses! Go read it! It’s the first story in her book and a great one to segue to the rest of her wildly inventive and hilarious stories!
P.S. This is my second time one of Bertino’s stories makes its way into the Short Story of the Day series (obviously she’s one of my favorites) so you should check that post as well if you missed it!
Akhil Sharma’s “Cosmopolitan”
“After walking for nearly two hours, Gopal sat on a bench and ate an ice cream cone while reading an article in Cosmopolitan about what makes a good lover. He had seen the magazine in CVS and, noting the article mentioned on the cover, had been reminded how easily one can learn anything in America.”
This post was meant for the last day of the month!
Stephanie Vaughn’s “Dog Heaven“
Love, love, love this story. I’m so thankful that Tobias Wolff had chosen this story for a New Yorker Fiction podcast selection because I would’ve probably never encounter it any other way. This story definitely made me get Vaughn’s collection, Sweet Talk, which contained the story, and many others which were equally great. A hard copy reading is so much better than online reading. Definitely a must-read. Listen to Wolff read it. The New Yorker Fiction podcast is free and easy to download on iTunes!
Derek Palacio’s “Sugarcane”
“He tried telling Eduardo that many sicknesses could be frailties of the mind. He’d explained the little white capsules with a false name, Diocyclin, which he gave out to the ambiguously ill. He even broke one in front of the boy to show him how it was just water inside.”
Once more, I’ve tapped into the stories anthologized in the 2013 edition of The O. Henry Prize Stories, again (Kelly Link’s was the first), to show my affection for Derek Palacio’s story “Sugarcane” which does a great job of showcasing how writing can be done well.
So a little background info on Palacio: he’s the co-director, with Claire Vaye Watkins!, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada and his debut novel, The Mortifications, is coming out later this year!
Palacio’s story does a great job of putting its focus on the complex character that is Armando, the town’s doctor. He is a man, who despite his important service to the community, is “not privileged beyond his standard cup of sugar”, a commodity that is given once a week and thus, of high value and importance in the story.
Living in Cuba and under communist rule, Armando also lives under a government that makes no distinction in his profession, despite being trained as a surgeon, or in giving him a just reward as a means of compensation. Palacio makes great use of flashbacks to speak on Armando as a teacher and his teacher-student relationship with Eduardo, the boy who ends up interning with him in hopes of going to university and becoming a surgeon. I’ll hold my tongue on the rest of the plot so definitely check it out!
P.S. I was looking around the internet for any mentions of this story and ran into a great “writing craft and literary criticism website” called Great Writers Steal. Check them out as well! There’s a great post on Palacio’s story that further explores what to look forward to in the story and more importantly, what one can “steal” to become a better writer! #WriteOn
Kathryn Chetkovich’s “Appetites”
So this morning I really wanted and was in need of inspiration, so guess what I had in store to revisit? That’s right, my copy of The Best American Short Stories 1998. Man, that anthology sure is the best. I’d like to thank Professor Crandall, one of Fairfield’s great teachers, for the book recommendation.
The 1998 edition was a real eye opener in terms of exploring my love of the short story form. There’s a lot of great stories that I like to come back for reference or inspiration. Today, Kathryn Chetkovich’s story was on my mind. A lot of my admiration goes out to it, the way she handles the prose so fluidly and with ease really makes it a perfect story to read. To vividly see what a short story can do — it sure makes my heart flutter with enthusiasm to replicate the same.