300 short stories: story 269

story: “The Shared Patio”

author: Miranda July

year: 2007

where: Reed College at Writer Jim Shepard’s Close Reading Craft Talk. An amazing experience!

note: I bought July’s book, No One Belongs Here More Than You, years ago at the cozy Barnes and Nobles on 6th Avenue in New York. That outpost has since closed. I remember the cover was bright yellow with bold black writing on the cover. It felt like the most New York book I had ever seen. I was intimidated to read it. I felt it was either too sophisticated for me at that stage in my life–alternatively, I wondered if it was fluff. Now, I know it was the former.

a line:  “It still counts, even though it happened when he was unconscious.”

theme(s): Unrequited love, self-help, delusions, loneliness


300 short stories: story 268

story: “Contract Overseas”

author: Mia Alvar

year: 2015

where: Bagdad Theater on Hawthorne Blvd.

note: I love brother sister sibling stories. This collection was recommended to me in Aspen.

a line:  “After the cafés closed, they spilled into the dormitories to prolong such life-and-death debates as whether literature had social duties, as Salvador Lopez believed, or whether art’s only obligation was to art itself, as Jose Garcia Villa did.”

theme(s): Siblings, sacrifice, education, womanhood, writing

300 short stories: story 267

story: “What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us”

author: Laura van den Berg

year: 2010

where: Reed College

note: I have been time-sharing under a rock; this is my first read by the author, though I’ve known her existence for a long time now. I was fortunate to hear her read last night at Tin House.

a line:  “Madagascar was not the first expedition on which I had accompanied my mother.”

theme(s): Mothers and daughters, adventure, separation, loss, survival, aging

300 short stories: story 266

story: “Everyone Cried”

author: Lydia Davis

year: 2019

where: Our Tiny House in Oregon

note: From the 2019 NYer online Flash Fiction series

a line:  “After lunch, we usually felt better, and the office was filled with its normal hum and bustle, people carrying folders and walking briskly here and there, sudden bursts of laughter rising from cubicles.”

theme(s): Work life, emotions, stress, routine

300 short stories: story 265

story: “Pet Milk”

author: Stuart Dybek

year: 1984

where: Aspen

note: I want to try a King Alphonse drink sometime.

a line:  “There was a yellow plastic radio on her kitchen table, usually tuned to the polka station, though sometimes she’d miss it by half a notch and get the Greek station instead, or the Spanish, or the Ukrainian. In Chicago, where we lived, all the incompatible states of Europe were pressed together down at the staticky right end of the dial. She didn’t seem to notice, as long as she wasn’t hearing English.”

theme(s): Memory, Associations, Young Love, Waiting,