On bringing short fiction back into your reading schedule

You don’t have to wait for May and (sometimes blogger) Steven Beattie’s short story extravaganza at That Shakespearean Rag to get these wee nuggets of narrative goodness back into rotation. You have so much time RIGHT NOW! Yay to this… you know, except the part where the authors never got a lick of cash because all the stories were photocopied.

I used to read a ton of short stories. My love of short fiction grew out of the many creative writing classes I took in my early 20s. I didn’t finish college, but living outside Boston as a young adult, I took advantage of the many workshops on offer, and took as many writing classes as I could afford. We read a lot of short stories in those classes, and I fell in love with story after story.

I started filling an old binder with the photocopied printouts of stories we read in class. Writer friends recommended stories, which I’d track down in the library, copy, and add to the binder. Of course I’d read short fiction before, both in and out of school. But during those years in my early twenties I was hungry for short stories in a new way. I couldn’t get enough. I loved their quickness, how they could sharpen a character or an emotion down to its essential truth and lay it bare on the page.

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