300 short stories:: story 178

story: “Nashua”

author: Sara Majka

year: 2016

where: on the golden sofa

note: the kind of story that makes you want to write stories

a line: “I cried some nights as I wanted a child back then and I was almost past the point of being able to have one.”

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300 short stories:: story 173

story: “The Paper Menagerie”

author: Ken Liu

year: 2011

where: Think Coffee…first short story of the new year. Hello, 2019!

note: The first short story to win the Nebula, the Hugo and the World Fantasy Award

a line: “The catalog said she was eighteen, loved to dance, and spoke good English because she was from Hong Kong. None of these facts turned out to be true.”

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 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 153

story: Cecilia Awakened 

author: Tessa Hadley

year: 2018

where:  il mio ufficio

note: none

a line: “Her mother, Cecilia’s grandmother, who was elegant and drank and had lovers, had remonstrated when Angela was younger: if only she’d move more gracefully, less jerkily, if only she’d try contact lenses and wear dresses instead of shirts and slacks. Angela had advanced unhappily toward middle age, when such pressures would surely come to an end. And then before she was forty, when she was on her third book—her second had been a minor hit—and just around the time that she met Ken, her mother died, and so never knew that her awkward daughter had succeeded in hooking a man after all. Weeping angry tears, Angela allowed herself this bitterness when the funeral was over, mocking herself and her mother—but only when she was alone, in her most private thoughts.”

300 short stories:: story 141

story: How Can I help? 

author: Rivka Galchen

year: 2016

where: kitchen table in front of half-finished buildings and an artificial billabong

note: In an unrelated New York Times article, the journalist writes on Galchen, “A while back, the writer Rivka Galchen, visiting a writing seminar of mine, was asked by a student why she made the main character of her novel ‘Atmospheric Disturbances’ a man. She replied that if her emotionally remote and highly cerebral narrator were a woman, that narrator would be called unlikable at best, unbelievable at worst. ”

a line: “Maybe if I could actually be nice to my sister, in my heart, I wouldn’t have to be so nice to her in the pastures and parking lots of our real world.”

300 short stories:: story 133

story: American Dreams 

author: Peter Carey

year: 1974

where: airplane, somewhere over Europa

note: My first Peter Carey short story and the theme works in nicely with a non-fiction essay I have been working on, actually. Bingo!

a line: “On Bald Hill there are half a dozen telescopes through which the Americans can spy on the town and reassure themselves that it is the same down there as it is on Bald Hill.”