Short Stories All the Time

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

03 July, 2011

Richard Bausch, "Ancient History"

I've read this story before but read it again today and it is a good example of something Charles E. May mentions in his recent blog entry reviewing an Alice Munro story, "Gravel." He states,

"One of the first things I look for when reading a story is the motivation for its telling....The problem is that we usually remember the past in isolated moments—events that happen, but we have difficulty remembering what causally connects them, what relationship one event has to another....we may remember what happened, but not how it happened, what caused it. One tells a story in order to try to understand the links, the motivation, the causes."

"Ancient History" includes a thirty-six year old woman and her eighteen year old son. Lawrence, the husband and father died six months earlier. We watch Charles' uneasiness, sadness, and bewilderment at his father's sudden and unexpected death which is natural and to be expected. However, as the story moves along, Charles appears to be depressed. The reader accompanies Charles to the realization that his father was going to leave them anyway. The marriage had fallen apart, for reasons not known to the reader but Charles saw the differences in his parents' behaviors. So, not only does Charles have to try to deal with the sudden death of his still young father but also with the knowledge that the family was disintegrating anyway.

Every story I read by Richard Bausch is a masterpiece and I am truly amazed at the perception and ease with which Bausch captures the nuances of emotion. 

"Ancient History" takes place in Washington D.C. in about 1979. It is written in third-person POV and past tense and is 18 pages long.

26 July, 2009

Annie Proulx, "The Wamsutter Wolf," and Charles E. May, "This is Me"

Submitted "See Sally See" to a Glimmer Train contest.

And, read Annie Proulx's "The Wamsutter Wolf." This story is set in Wyoming and she created such complete characters that I felt I'd stepped into their world, albeit a scary world. By now, we are used to Proulx's hard, tough, raunchy people; however, I never tire of them. I read the story twice and will read it again and again.

Also, read Charles E. May's story, "This is Me." A PDF of it can be found at: I enjoyed this story about a woman waiting in the hospital for her mother to die. It is not sentimental and the first-person POV feels right for this kind of story.