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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Short Stories, or How the Universe Works

Short stories have never interested us much. Perhaps it goes back to literature classes that forced us to answer twelve questions about every short story we read to show we understood its meaning and whatever.

A few months ago we were emboldened by Litlove's post about a story by Maupassant to pick up our volume of his short stories and read. We all tell stories every day of our lives, and many of Maupassant's stories struck us as being just like that. We had never thought of or regarded short stories in such a way, and soon the previously conceived possibility of writing some of our own transformed into a present probability.

Just when we start to consider writing short stories, we also follow a suggestion to read short stories. We do not intentionally do one because of the other. Reading the stories, however, reveals things to us that help us to understand the writing of them. This is all to set up the first of a series of questions we pose to either of our readers: what is the cause and what is the effect? Do we find the answer and then discover the question? Or do we know the question but don't ask it until we have stumbled upon the answer? Do we subconsciously mold one to fit the other? What is it that brings question and answer together? Does a person or thing uncover a hidden need, or create a new need? Or does a hidden need seek out the person or thing to uncover it?

You may discuss among yourselves for the next five minutes, and then please share your answers with the rest of us.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, the age old question: from whom does a text get its meaning, the writer or the reader. I can only write for myself and the art form, and as a reader I like to know the author's intention.