I love reading. When I was in third grade, my mom had me make a list of all the books I’d read in the last year. Once we got through the library loan records and my Sonlight reading list, I discovered that I’d read between two and three hundred books that year.
When I was in tenth grade, I fell behind and stopped working on most of my schoolwork for a lot of reasons–my mom had just had twins, I was babysitting for her a lot, I was stressed and probably depressed, I was socially isolated in unhealthy ways, and I coped by reading everything in sight. I read and drew and wrote lots that year, but mostly I read. Sometimes I think that books were my lifeline to sanity while I lived at home.
During college, people would ask me why I chose to be an English major. I’d jokingly tell them that it was so I could get good grades just for reading all the time like I would do anyway.
Writing has always been part of who I am, as well. I wrote a historical fiction “novel” in high school, various short stories, and lots and lots of essays. In the last few years I have begun to explore poetry, write more fiction, and really focus on honing my craft.
But my favorite thing is still reading, challenging myself to read the greats and develop a good ear for quality language and voice and presence. To push myself to enjoy what I might not find easy in order to learn and stretch my own writing. And to just read for reading’s sake, savoring the presence of an author’s story and losing myself in someone else’s world and words.
Short stories are my very favorite of all. They fit well into a busy life. I love how they can be tight and focused like poetry, but the genre allows them to also be broader and more narrative. However, the form seems to be fading, and fewer authors are writing short stories and fewer schools are studying them. They’re not yet outdated, but there’s a slow fade happening for short stories in the publishing world. And that’s sad, because you’d think there would be a bigger market for them in the world of e-readers and online publishing venues and Twitter and blogs.
Inspired after attending a speaking event by Lorin Stein a few months back (promoting The Paris Review‘s new short story collection, Object Lessons), I decided I wanted to do more here with writing and promoting this great genre.
So here’s the plan:
During the first week of April, I’m going to host a short story week on Wine & Marble.
And I want you to help.
I’d like to feature a short story every day from March 31st (Easter Sunday) to April 6th.
That’s seven stories.
You write it, I’ll help you clean it up, and we’ll publish it here.
I’ll be accepting submissions from now until March 23rd. Send them to me at email@example.com.
To kick this off, I’d like to give you a short story I wrote a couple years back.
Click here to download Wine at Christmas.