Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Short Story Derby!!!

So there has been set forth a challenge this summer to write the best short story. Well, not the best in the world. Just out of some of my friends. And we're actually not even really looking for the "best". It's more of a celebration than a contest. I'm really excited about it, so I hope it's really happening. People have been very silent about it, so I hope it's a sign that people are busily writing and keeping their ideas for an end of summer surprise. I've been intrigued by the short story format for some time. It seems so doable to me. Maybe I'm fooling myself. A novel seems impossible. But a short story, on the other hand, seems like something a regular gal like me might be able to do. I've been reading and listening to a lot of short stories over the past few months. I can't get enough of them. My favorite thing about them is that, well, they are short. I love the idea of getting any sort of theme or message or even something interesting into such a small space. The author needs to be calculated with what he or she leaves in or out. I'm partial to Russian authors lately, so I've read some Chekov, Babel, Gogol... But I've also been reading Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges... hmmm... mostly foreign. But that's probably okay. Anyway, to help me along my journey I got this book at the biggest and definitely one of the greatest bookstores I've ever been to--Powell's in downtown Portland. It was highly recommended. So far I like it, but even though she's stating the opposite, I still feel like I have to be born to write, or not at all. It doesn't really seem like a learned thing. And I enjoy writing, but it's not like I can't seem to stop myself or that it's all I can think about or anything. So I guess we'll see how it goes. Anyway, this book is called Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. If you can't read the subtitle it says, "Some Instructions on Writing and Life". Sounds a little cheesy. No offense. We'll see how it goes.


lady ace said...

weird. i don't know how that happened. the picture of the book changed. i'm really not reading crime and punishment to help me with my short story! that would be ridic!!!

Maudie Jane said...

That would be ridic, but I'm excited to hear how your short story goes. I love short stories; I have been getting into them lately too. It seems that the writing is much more powerful because it is so compact. Or maybe it's because you are reading it in one or two sittings and you can get more out of it. I don't know but short stories rock.

lady ace said...

ooohhh! what have you been reading?