300 short stories:: story 231

story: “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried”

author: Amy Hempel

year: 1985

where: Al Reem Island

note: This is Hempel’s first published story. When the narrator says, “I remember only the useless things I hear”, it reminded me of the mother in “Mercedes Kane”who laments in the first paragraph about what she can and cannot remember.

a line: “We watched a movie starring men we used to think we wanted to sleep with. Hers was a tough cop out to stop mine, a vicious rapist who went after cocktail waitresses.”

theme(s): Friendship, loss, grief, fear, youth


300 short stories:: story 228/229/230

story: “Sing to It” & “The Orphan Lamb” & “Greed”

author: Amy Hempel

year: 2019

where: Al Reem Island

note: These are from her new collection, some are very short. Recommended by my friend, the poet S. Graham. I’m still thinking about the end of “Greed”; I’m not entirely sure what happened.

a line: “She was so many years older than my husband, running on the fumes of her beauty.” Greed

theme(s): Romantic affairs, Language, Betrayal,

300 short stories:: story 226

story: “Mercedes Kane”

author: Elizabeth McCracken

year: 1994

where:  客厅,大门

note: Always on the search for more stories about mothers and daughters.

a line: “She was sure she would’ve been great in her twenties, thirties, forever, if she had just been encouraged to greatness early on.”

theme(s): Mothers and daughters, genius, child prodigy, parenthood

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