300 short stories:: story 170

story: “Time for the Eyes to Adjust”

author: Linn Ullmann

year: 2018

where: New York City 

note: some of this story reminds me of Picasso’s personal life (though I hear there are clues in this story that the story leans more autobiographical towards the writer’s parents)

a line: “The father used to say that for his seventieth birthday he would invite all the wives, too, and the mothers and the women who were neither wives nor mothers, but who had nevertheless played a part one way or another. What do you call them?”

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300 short stories:: story 168

story: “Wild Berry Blue”

author: Rivka Galchen

year: 2014

where: some backseat taxi, some bedroom

note: the strongest, in my opinion, from her American Innovations collection

a line: “He was my first love, my first love in the way that first loves are usually second or third or fourth loves. I still think about a stranger in a green jacket across from me in the waiting room at the DMV. About a blue-eyed man with a singed earlobe that I saw at a Baskin-Robbins with his daughter. My first that kind of love. I never got over him. I never get over anyone. ”

bonus line: “A part of me decides I am taking him back into my heart. Even if no room will be left for anything else.”

300 short stories:: story 167

story: “The Entire Northern Side Was Covered with Fire”

author: Rivka Galchen

year: 2014

where: casa e lavoro

note: this story is more an experience than a memory-maker

a line: “The novel was a love story, between a bird and a whale. Why was I already low on money? Partially because money just flies, as they say, or I guess it’s time they say about that, the flying, but money, too. Very winged.”

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.”

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.”