300 short stories:: story 166

story: “The Lost Order”

author: Rivka Galchen

year: 2014

where: casa dolce casa

note: I can’t recall the stimulus for purchasing Galchen’s book, American Innovations, and this makes me sad. I hate forgetting. This story has a ring like Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing”…a ringing call. The main character also feels like a more morose and confused Lorrie Moore character.

a line: “I have not always–had not even long–been a daylight ghost, a layabout, a mal pensant, a vacancy, a housewife, a person foiled by the challenge of getting dressed and someone who considered eating less a valid primary goal.”

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300 short stories:: story 165

story: “White Rain”

author: Helen McClory

year: 2018

where: outside still, Abu Dhabi

note: another gem from w i g l e a f

a line: “In text she was that way; overeager, pressing. I had withdrawn. She pushed back, then lashed out. Then a spattering of texts and incidental photographs that were obviously sent out in a kind of bruised friendship.”

300 short stories:: story 164

story: “The Great Wall of China”

author: Kafka

year: published 1931, written 1917

where: outside, nice autumn weather in the Dhabs

note: a story about nation-building, oh brilliant brilliant Kafka

a line: “In this respect of course our own age had a great advantage over that long-past one; almost every educated contemporary was a mason by profession and infallible in the matter of laying foundation. But that was not at all what the scholar was driving at; instead he claimed that the Great Wall alone would create, for the first time in history of mankind, a secure foundation for a new Tower of Babel. ”

300 short stories:: story 163

story: “Now That the Circus Has Shut Down, the Human Cannonball Looks for Work”

author: Meghan Phillips

year: 2018

where: 我的办公室 (again)

note: This short short story has the punch at the end like contemporary English poetry. Maybe it has something to do with its length too; though it would not be mistaken for a prose poem.

a line: “He’s happy to be a reference, but he’s not sure how much weight the words of a clown will carry.”

300 short stories:: story 162

story: “Here Comes the Sun”

author: Yeo Wei Wei

year: 2017

where: 我的办公室

note: Reminds me of Rachel Heng’s “Vegetarian” from Prairie Schooner

a line: “Before the mynah, other birds, insects and small animals visited the room. Butterflies, moths, dragonflies – they flitted in and out, resting on the bright pink curtains or on the rim of the enamel washbasin with its gaily painted flowers.”

300 short stories:: story 162

story: Love Machine

author: Samantha Hunt

year: 2017

where: home physically, but mentally with The Man Who Fell to Earth

note: George Saunders, Ovid, and Dostoevsky would have a party in this story

a line: “’Machines,’ he continues, ‘have one of only two choices. Either they are run by humans or else they run themselves. And the way I see it, either choice is no good for me.’”

300 short stories:: story 161

story: The Black Cat

author: Edgar Allen Poe

year: 1843

where: mio ufficio

note: Someone left this fine story at the printer! Snatched! Also, this story was first printed in Philadelphia, my home city. A good story for a Halloween mood.

a line: “My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame.”