Archive for the Short Stories Category

The Stones by Richard Shelton

Posted in books, Short Stories with tags , on June 21, 2010 by John

A great short story Ross made me read.

I love to go out on summer nights and watch the stones grow. I think they grow better here in the desert, where it is warm and dry, than almost anywhere. Or perhaps it is only that the young ones are more active here.

Young stones tend to move about more than their elders consider good for them. Most young stones have a secret desire which their parents had before them but have forgotten ages ago. And because this desire involves water, it is never mentioned. The older stones disapprove of water and say, “Water is a gadfly who never stays in one place long enough to learn anything.” But the young stones try to work themselves into a position, slowly and without their elders noticing it, in which a sizable stream of water during a summer storm might catch them broadside and unknowing, so to speak, push them along over a slope or down an arroyo. In spite of the danger this involves, they want to travel and see something of the world and settle in a new place, far from home, where they can raise their own dynasties, away from the domination of their parents.

And although family ties are very strong among stones, many have succeeded; and they carry scars to prove to their children that they once went on a journey, helter-skelter and high water, and traveled perhaps fifteen feet, an incredible distance. As they grow older, they cease to brag about such clandestine adventures.

It is true that old stones get to be very conservative. They consider all movement either dangerous or downright sinful. They remain comfortably where they are and often get fat. Fatness, as a matter of fact, is a mark of distinction.

And on summer nights, after the young stones are asleep, the elders turn to a serious and frightening subject — the moon. which is always spoken of in whispers. “see how it glows and whips across the sky, always changing its shape,” one says. And another says, “Feel how it pulls at us, urging us to follow.” And a third whispers, “It is a stone gone mad.”

Richard Shelton’s website

“Midnight in Dostoevsky” / More Monsters

Posted in 1993, 2007, 2008, 2009, America, babies, blogs, books, california, children, friends, hearkening back, holding in one's pee-pee, horror, hype, lady-men, melty faces, Mind Control, nostalgia, old news, out-of-body experiences, predictable college photographs, Short Stories, supernatural, WEST COAST on December 3, 2009 by Shiv

By Don Delillo. Another steal from the New Yorker this week. And that makes 3 about/from New York this week. All I have to say, I suppose, is that I live on the West Coast. And I live in a big house. And maybe I don’t blog enough.

While I’m at it, I’d also like to introduce my Portland family to the blog. Beth’s joined us already with a good post on pop. And Brad, the last quarter of NE Monroe will hopefully join soon and I’m sure provide a lot of corn. Muahaaa,

Now, THAT said, do you guys remember Wes’s “Dummy Monster” story from way back when? Well, for those that haven’t heard it, ask someone who has or just believe these ones we (Beth) recently found on the interweb. The information highway has become a farily big place, I’d say. Good thing we have this small space to talk about it. I hope to hear from all of you regarding this matter.


Posted in books, reading, Russia, Short Stories with tags , on September 11, 2009 by kevin

“Zoshchenko’s technique is that of the skaz, the oral tale. The tale is supposed to have a moral, instructional point, to illustrate something; that is the excuse for telling and listening. But the point gets lost on the way: the story teller is caught up in the story itself or simply succombs to the delight of having an audience. It is himself he expresses, and not the moral. Either he loses it completely or arrives at a conclusion as unexpected for him as it is for the audience, or he tacks it on by force majeure, exposing either his own clay feet or the insubstantiality of all conclusions, or both.”

-Sidney Monas

This story isn’t the best example of that, or close to Zoshchenko’s best,  although it is an enjoyable little thing. I chose it mainly becuase it is much easier to transcribe 3 pages of text than it is 40. That and Shiv asked for more stories 😉

Poverty (Zoshchenko, early 1900’s)

Nowadays, brothers, what is the most fashionable word there is, eh?

Nowadays, the most fashionable word that can be is, of course, electrification.

I won’t argue that it isn’t a matter of immense importance to light up Soviet Russia with electricity. Nevertheless, even this matter has its shady side. I am not saying, comrades, that it costs a lot. It costs nothing more expensive than money. That’s not what I’m talking about.

This is what I mean.

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Principles that make for a good story

Posted in books, reading, Russia, Short Stories with tags , , on September 2, 2009 by kevin

1. Absence of lengthy verbiage of a political-social-economic nature

2. Total Objectivity

3. Truthful descriptions of persons and objects

4. Extreme brevity

5. Audacity and originality: flee the stereotype

6. Compassion

Dutifully transcribed by yours truly from the Pevear/Volokhonsky…

The Huntsman (Chekhov 1885)

A sultry and stifling day. Not a cloud in the sky…The sun-scorched grass looks bleak, hopeless: there may be rain, but it will never be green again…The forest stands silent, motionless, as if its treetops were looking off somewhere or waiting for something.

A tall, narrow-shouldered man of about forty, in a red shirt, patched gentleman’s trousers, and big boots, lazily saunters along the edge of the clearing. He saunters down the road. To his right are green trees, to his left, all the way to the horizon, stretches a golden sea of ripe rye…His face is red and sweaty. A white cap with a straight jockey’s visor, apparently the gift of some generous squire, sits dashingly on his handsome blond head. Over his shoulder hangs a game back with crumpled black grouse in it. The man is carrying a cocked double-barreled shotgun and squinting his eyes at his old, skinny dog, who runs ahead, sniffing about in the bushes. It is quiet, not a sound anywhere…Everything alive is hiding from the heat.

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