Daily Short Story Diary - Week 14
Day 92: March 31, 2019
MUO-KA’S CHILD by Indrapramit Das
The Humanity of Monsters – 2015
Fantasy – 20 Pages (about, digital)
This one is pretty much a twenty-page description of a fantastical place with huge beasts, or something. Nothing much happens, the protagonist is uncomfortable and scared at times, but as a reader I felt none of this emotion, just stuff on the pages. There’s a bit of a sneak ending, but it doesn’t really have punch.
Day 93: April 1, 2019
SHARK! SHARK! By Ray Cluley
Water for Drowning – 2019 (story originally published in Black Static, 2012)
Horror – 20 Pages
This one takes a bit to get into, the cutesy redundancy in narration rides a razor thin line between irritating and entertaining. Cluley went double on the shift from the norm in that it breaks the third wall, but at time tells the story within the story as it tells the story. For me, the only downfall is really the meta voiceover bits, guess maybe I did find the cutesy redundancy a bit irritating. That said, once the reveal falls into motion, I’m all in. Fucking I love monsters and B-horror visuals.
Day 94: April 2, 2019
WHY, HONEY by Raymond Carver
Where I’m Calling From – Selected Stories 1989 (story originally published in 1963)
General – 6 Pages
This one begins with that wholly understandable thing of a mother letting her bad kid slide. We’ve all seen it. This one appears in a letter response and I reckoned on something completely else from what happened given where it was going and ho-lee she-iiit this one ratcheted the ending into something truly chilling and way, way, way too recognizable. Fantastic story with a huge payoff.
Day 95: April 3, 2019
BEDROCK by Annie Proulx
Heart Songs and Other Stories – 1988
General – 13 Pages
I fucking love how Annie Proulx strings together words, builds worlds at least semi-familiar to me, people a little more than semi-familiar in some cases, builds suspense and anticipation. She is a master. But, a little more often I’d like a nice payoff, some righteous violence—she does it sometimes, but here, in these stories, she’s pretty well writing situations that end without much happiness for the reader. In this one, for anybody else who has read it and might read this post, I wish she’d burned the damned house down with the wife and her brother inside.
Day 96: April 4, 2019
I STAND HERE IRONING by Tillie Olsen
100 Years of the Best American Short Stories – 2015 (story originally published in Pacific Spectator, 1957)
General – 6 Pages
The general, everyday helplessness of being poor has the perfect kind of claws for me. I’m in it right then because it rings with my own reality (like the majority, it seems). Here though, we have a mother and a sickly child, told from the pining, pained mother’s perspective. It’s quick and engaging, can’t help but register the plight of their hapless existence, but as the story progresses the sickly child grows beyond mother and mother is still right where she was before, mostly worried.
Day 97: April 5, 2019
AFTER YOU, MY DEAR ALPHONSE by Shirley Jackson
The Lottery and Other Stories – 1949 (story originally published in The New Yorker, 1943)
General – 5 Pages
This is a flash story, essentially about a racist woman who sees a black boy and automatically thinks he’s a charity case, this despite that his father is a foreman at a factory and his mother doesn’t need to work outside the home. Probably, it was really biting at the time. I’m all for causing discomfort to the assumed upper classes.
Day 98: April 6, 2019
THE TOY SHOP by Sue Eaton
The Second Book of Corona Horror Stories – 2018
Horror – 12 Pages (about, digital)
This one has a fun, nasty little idea. A boy finds a portal toy shop and finds himself whisked away a few times. Trouble is, given the outcome of the story, the shopkeeper isn’t very enthusiastic and I should think he would be, given the stakes. It’s also a bit clumsy in delivery. That said, there’s a good bit of fun in this story.
Favorite of the week was WHY, HONEY by Raymond Carver.