Short Stories All the Time

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

24 May, 2015

Naomi J. Williams, "Permission"

This first-person POV story takes place in early 19th century France. Jacquette's brother, Jean-Francis, died as a great naval navigator. She petitions the king that her family be allowed to append his name, Lapérouse, to their names. Naturally, the men are allowed and Jacquette and her sister are
not even listed on the decree. The story is ultimately about aging and identity and women's rights. Jacquette is 74 years old and asks at the beginning of the story, "Isn't it enough to bear the twin indignities of womanhood and old age without also having to fix the mistakes of men?" The big mistake is that the clerk incorrectly spelled the name, three times and in three different ways, and Antoine, Jacquette's husband doesn't even notice and then doesn't think that it matters.

When I first read the story some cliche phrases made me want to throw the journal on the ground but I gave it another chance and it's actually quite a fine story. I think the phrases that were bothering me were an attempt by the author to create a 19th century voice. And, it does make me want to pull the story "Snow Men" published by One Story, issue 131, off of my shelf and read it. Without ever purchasing another book, I have enough short story journals, anthologies and collections to last the rest of my life. I cannot read as fast as I purchase.

"Permission" was published in Zoetrope: All-Story, issue spring 2015.

link to Naomi J. Williams's web page

25 December, 2009

Greil Marcus, "Tied to History" essay; Diane Williams, "My First Real Home"

Read Greil Marcus's essay, "Tied to History," originally published in Threepenny Review and now in the 2010 Pushcart Prize XXXIV Best of the Small Presses anthology. Using his personal history, the movie Blue Velvet, etc. he explores memory, real and not real, memory inside other memories and when is a story one's own.

Also read Diane Williams's short short "My First Real Home" that was originally published by Post Road magazine. It is only about 500 words long. The 1st-person POV character takes his/her knives to Ernie, a man who sharpens knives, keeps a meticulous lawn, then dies.