300 short stories:: story 236

story: “The Long-Distance Runner”

author: Grace Paley

year: 1974

where: The Louvre Abu Dhabi & home

note: In this story, Paley reverses traditional black-white female race relations. It is a great story to read in conversation with Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers’ non-fiction book They Were Here Property.

a line: “You in my house…. You do as I say. For two cents, I throw you out.”

theme(s): white flight; social justice; segregation;


300 short stories:: story 224

story: “The Contest”

author: Grace Paley

year: 1959

where: casa dolce casa

note: Il était une fois, there was a man who was intimidated by a woman who knew what she wanted. Small men call women selfish if they feel like a woman’s life will never revolve solely around them. It was true then, and it can still be true now.

a line: “A medium girl, size twelve, a clay pot with handles–she could be grasped. I met her in the rain outside some cultural activity at Cooper Union or Washington Irving High School.”

theme(s): Men and women, ambition, perception

300 short stories:: story 223

story: “Goodbye and Good Luck”

author: Grace Paley

year: 1959

where: taxi & home

note: This is one of Paley’s first three stories she ever wrote.

a line: “’I was popular in certain circles, says Aunt Rose.”

theme(s): Marriage, love, happiness, polyamory

300 short stories:: story 222

story: “A Woman, Young and Old”

author: Grace Paley

year: Grace’s first (of three) story collections was published when she was in her late 30s; this story appeared in that first collection. 1959!

where: mio ufficio, before my Italian lesson 

note: The title of this story comes from a Yeats poem, where the poet explores the idea that sex is the only thing the transcends over time.

a line: “’Men are different than women,’ said Joanna, and it’s the only thing she says in this entire story.”

theme(s): Wartime romance, female competition, young love

100 days 100 short stories:: story thirteen

story: Wants  

author: Grace Paley

year: 1974

where: on iPhone, preparing cinnamon tea

note: current library books overdue include One hundred more poems from the Japanese, Lies Across America, & Macbeth 

a line: “What I mean is, I sat down on the library steps and he went away.”