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

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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,

300 short stories: story 263

story: “Bullet in the Brain”

author: Tobias Wolff

year: 1995

where: Aspen

note: Reread! Breathtaking.

a line:  “He did not remember Professor Josephs telling his class how Athenian prisoners in Sicily had been released if they could recite Aeschylus, and then reciting Aeschylus himself, right there, in the Greek.”

theme(s): Society, Memory, Death, Joy

300 short stories:: story 180

story: “Cream”

author: Haruki Murakami

year: 2019

where: in the bedroom

note: There wasn’t a cat.

a line: “In my life, whenever an inexplicable, illogical, disturbing event takes place (I’m not saying that it happens often, but it has a few times), I always come back to that circle—the circle with many centers but no circumference.”

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?”