I’m digging on my shelves for books of short stories. Short stories are not really a thing I’ve read since college. I’m not sure why. Maybe l like the bigger commitment to novels. Maybe I just really hated “The Elephant Vanishes” ten years ago.
I have A.S. Byatt’s Little Black Book of Stories, but I can’t give my students the 40 pages of “A Stone Woman.” I will find something in Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors, I’m sure. And this anthology, “The Art of the Story,” edited by Daniel Halpern. I remember Ann Beattie’s “In Amalfi” from when I was nineteen. I remember the title, that it’s a thing I read. But I think I liked it?
Maybe ten, twenty pages just isn’t long enough for me to be tricked into feeling that a character is real. Maybe that’s why this isn’t what I read.
I’m going to give them “The Fourth State of Matter,” of course, and Meehan Crist’s amazing lyric essay on human dissection.
I have four hour-long lessons to convey everything - anything - about writing pieces of prose.