300 short stories:: story 219

story: “And How Much of These Hills Is Gold”

author: C Pam Zhang

year: 2017

where: before work at work

note: This is a short story reworking of the first chapter of the forthcoming novel of the same name. Also, the portion about how the brother may ultimately inherit his father’s character reminds me of the father and son in The Night Tiger.

a line: “Sam’s shadow licks back at Lucy’s bare toes; in Sam’s mind the shadow is the true height, the body a temporary inconvenience. When I’m sheriff, Sam says. When I’m a wrangler. More recently: When I’m a famous outlaw. When I’m grown. Young enough to think desire alone shapes the world.’”

theme(s): Death, Frontier, Survival

 

 

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300 short stories:: story 216

story: “The Wedding ”

author: Joy Williams

year: 1972

where: home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play

note: The ending reminds me of the Chagall painting “Over the Town”…also his “Wedding” but not as much!

a line: “The people in Elizabeth’s fables were always looking for truth or happiness and they were always being given mirrors or lumps of coals. Elizabeth’s stories were inhabited by wolves and cart horses and solipsists.’”

theme(s): Love, Marriage, Storytelling

300 short stories:: story 204 & 205

story: Two Stories about Emma “The Whirlpool Rapids” & “Walking on Water”

author: Margaret Atwood

year: 1987

where: home

note: In every story you hope to find an aha moment, and in these two connected tales, I found more than one; this was particularly true for the line below, where a man acted just like this towards me when I was in my early twenties in a hotel room in a faraway city. It was my first time experiencing this, but it has happened twice more with different men. And as women, we must find some way to reconcile that these accomplished men probably forget the incidents at all.

a line: “Emma said it looked like Newfoundland. Robbie had never been to Newfoundland, and sulked. He didn’t like the thought of Emma having been to places he hadn’t. Emma, to restore his good homur–it was too hot to be angry–said she never actually been there, she’d only seen pictures of it.”

300 short stories:: story 181

story: “The Blue Tree”

author: Rick Bass

year: 2014-ish

where: sofa and sleepy

note: This story encapsulates the impermanence of things, things like youth, places, and moments, but also–the pleasure of reading a short story. I’m reading and rereading Rick Bass this week while pondering the destruction of Joshua Tree National Park and other parks throughout the US, caused by human hubris and malice.

a line: “He savors it, knowing it won’t always be this way. But it is now. More so than he could ever have imagined.”