Who Says Essays On Pivotal Issues In Contemporary Storytelling

Who Says Essays On Pivotal Issues In Contemporary Storytelling-47
The short story is a fundamentally unironic form, and for this reason I think it is doomed.When the available literary forms no longer match the available real-life content, the novel can reabsorb the mismatch and use it as material.

The short story is a fundamentally unironic form, and for this reason I think it is doomed.When the available literary forms no longer match the available real-life content, the novel can reabsorb the mismatch and use it as material.Missing persons, missed opportunities, very brief encounters, occuring in the margins of “Life Itself”: when the content is minimalist, then it makes sense to follow the short-fiction dictates: condense, delete, omit.

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The result is not just in medias res, but in-your-face in medias res, a maze of names, subordinate clauses, and minor collisions: “The morning after her granddaughter’s frantic phone call, Lorraine skipped her usual coffee session at the Limestone Diner and drove out to the accident scene instead”; “Graves had been sick for three days when, on the long, straight highway between Mazar and Kunduz, a dark blue truck coming toward them shed its rear wheel in a spray of orange-yellow sparks.” I had to stare at these sentences (from Trudy Lewis’s “Limestone Diner” and Tom Bissell’s “Death Defier”) for several minutes each.The canonical example is , a work which, according to his prologue, Cervantes conceived in a prison cell in Seville.Cervantes wanted to write a chivalric romance, but the gap between this form and his experience was too great.Then he broke through the formal “prison”: he made the gap the subject of a book.Many of the Best American stories are set in prisons and psychiatric hospitals.Today’s short stories all seem to bear an invisible check mark, the ghastly imprimatur of the fiction factory; the very sentences are animated by some kind of vegetable consciousness: “I worked for Kristin,” they seem to say, or “Jeff thought I was fucking hilarious.” Meanwhile, the ghosts of deleted paragraphs rattle their chains from the margins.I recently read from cover to cover the Best American Short Stories anthologies of 20.A short story says, “I looked for x, and didn’t find it,” or, “I was not looking anymore, and then I found x.” A novel says, “I looked for x, and found a, b, c, g, q, r, and w.” The novel consists of all the irrelevant garbage, the effort to redeem that garbage, to integrate it into Life Itself, to redraw the boundaries of Life Itself.The novel is a fundamentally ironic form; hence its power of self-regeneration.Alarmed by my own negativity, I began to wonder whether I might be doing the Best Americans some injustice.For a point of comparison, I reread a few stories by Chekhov, who is still the ostensible role model for American “short-fiction practitioners.” (Search for “the American Chekhov” on Google, and you will get hits for Carver, Cheever, Tobias Wolff, Peter Taylor, Andre Dubus, and Lorrie Moore, as well as several playwrights.) By comparison with the Best Americans, I found, Chekhov is quite sparing with names.

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    Which highlights distinguished titles in the field of storytelling published for children and adults. Storytellers, librarians, and co-editors of WHO SAYS? Essays on Pivotal Issues in Contemporary in Storytelling, Melissa Heckler and Carol Birch serve on the ANNE IZARD STORYTELLERS’ CHOICE AWARD committee.…

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    Jewish Models for Adapting Folktales for Telling Aloud” in WHO SAYS? ESSAYS ON PIVOTAL ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY STORYTELLING. Little Rock, AK August House, 1995. pp. 64-90. “Participatory Storytelling A Partnership Between Storyteller and Listener” in TALES AS TOOLS THE POWER OF STORY IN THE CLASSROOM.…

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