Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label July. Show all posts
Showing posts with label July. Show all posts

04 August, 2010

Miranda July, "The Man on the Stairs" and "The Sister"

"The Man on the Stairs" is a first-person, very close, story about a woman who hears a man on the stairs in  the middle of the night. During the man's slow movement up the stairs the narrator is forced to evaluate her life and realizes she's rushed through everything and now death might be near. July handles anticipation and fear very well as we wait with the narrator for the man on the stairs. The narrator, of "The Sister," again first-person point-of-view, an old bachelor, anticipates with great longing and imagination that Victor will introduce him to his sister who he has been fantasizing as a teenager. It is a sweet, sad, story of loneliness and sexuality.

Review by J.W. Wang, Southeast Review, March 2009

I read this story in her collection, No one belongs here more than you, but I see that it is posted online at Fence, Spring 2004 issue.

01 August, 2010

Miranda July, "Majesty"

Another 1st person POV story in her collection, No one belongs here more than you. This one is about 12 pages long and more complicated than the last two I read. This woman, 46 years old, divorced, works at non-profit agency QuakeKare and dreams about meeting and having sex with PrinceWilliam although she claims no interest in the British royals.  The narrator's sister is a younger and polar opposite and the sisters have an unusual and inappropriate relationship. A reoccurring nightmare has the same conclusion except on October 9, 2002. I have no idea the significance of this date but in Wikipedia I found: Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is making various ceremonial appearances in Canada in her role as the Queen of Canada

27 July, 2010

Miranda July, "The Swim Team"

Written in first-person POV and only a little over 5 pages, this story evokes a situation most of us would never imagine. A young woman, poor and stuck in a tiny town, convincingly teaches swimming, all the strokes, to three octogenarians, using bowls of salt water. That is the "staging" for the story. The "subtext" is that this young woman knew that if her boyfriend's imagined history of her was "barren" that they would probably break up.

24 July, 2010

Miranda July, "The Shared Patio"

"The Shared Patio" is written in first-person POV and about eleven pages long. The narrator lives upstairs from Vincent, a mild epileptic and his wife, a physician's assistant. The narrator has been told by her landlord that the downstairs people are to share the patio with her, the upstairs tenant. She begins a score keeping regimen to make sure that she gets her share of the patio value. It is also a story of resurrection, physical and metaphysical. This is a beautifully odd story. The writing style is taut but open, spare but large.

The version of the story published in the, winter, 2005, issue of Zoetrope: All-Story begins with an extra sentence, "He is in love with me but he doesn't know it." I think this additional sentence makes the story a little easier to grasp a little earlier. However, I do not think it's necessary. And, Helena, in the All-Story version, is Vincent's girlfriend, not wife. I didn't check to see if there were other changes. Those just jumped out at me.

Miranda July is also a film maker and performance artist. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum as well as 2 Whitney Biennials, 2002 and 2004. Her film, Me and You and Everyone We Know premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2005.

I love this, winter 2005, issue of Zoetrope: All-Story designed by Tom Waits. His photographs of oil stains in various parking lots are included on many pages.

30 July, 2009

Miranda July, "Birthmark"

Read the short story, "Birthmark" by Miranda July. It explores the emotional attachment of a prominent birthmark and after its removal, the unanticipated emptiness.

This story is included in The Paris Review: Book of People with Problems.

July's story is edited differently at her reading from December 17, 2007 at Studio 360. It is interesting to see the creative process at work between the two versions.