OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “THE CUT WORM,” BY MITCH JAMES AND “DRINK WHILE YOU CAN,” BY LOU VITTI, CAN BE FOUND, ALONG WITH THIS MONTH’S “FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY,” BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST OR CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.
Life, Forrest Gump once told us, is like a box of chocolates — and the same could be said of this week’s selections on Snowflakes in a Blizzard. All three, in one form or another, are collections of short pieces.
A fellow author told me recently that she had pitched her book of short stories to a New York publisher, only to be told: “No one is publishing short stories.”
If so, “no one” might be behind the curve. Short fiction, in particular, fits our modern biorhythms and schedules. It offers a reading experience with a beginning and an end in one sitting. A book of short stories can be enjoyed one day, set aside for weeks or months, then resumed with no loss of continuity. If you don’t like one piece of writing, simply move to the next.
Perhaps more importantly, short pieces allow an author to employ myriad points of view within a single volume. Moreover, previously published work can be included with the new.
John Domini, whose “MOVIEOLA!” will be featured on Snowflakes beginning tomorrow, writes: “A strange piece of work like this has a complex provenance, naturally. I can say I wrote the stories over ten years, and found magazine publication for them all. At the same time, naturally, I had other work, like a novel and a book of essays. But every now and then, one of these would bubble up, and I went with the impulse. When I had enough for a book, I revised all the stories with the whole in mind. ”
Tony Flood’s job in British television brought him into contact with a galaxy of celebrities from the movies, television, music and sports, and his box of chocolates involves tales about them. Because he only encountered these individuals briefly, his book “My Life With the Stars” is the perfect way to pass along stories that are are not in-depth biographies, but fleeting glimpses.
Finally, there is the experience of C. Cimmone, author of “When I Was Alive”:
“I had been writing since I was a child,” she writes, “but had never done much with it. Professors commended my essays and degree program achievements, but reminded that ‘writing won’t pay the bills.’ Years later, with my 30th birthday looming, I began dabbling in the comedy scene. I started doing a lot of writing simply to ‘get it out,’ but I was unsure what to do with the pieces that could not be performed on a gritty comedy club stage. A fellow comic suggested I post one of my ‘gooey hearted’ stories on a social space geared to sharing ‘life stories.’
“I initially laughed at the idea and advised ‘what is that going to accomplish?’ His Texas response was, ‘Well, honey, you never know…’ A few months after I posted a few stories to the site – two of which were too long and automatically cut off without my noticing – I received an email with ‘Contract Attached.’ I assumed it was spam. I sat in a grocery store parking lot trying to decide if I had been a victim of identity theft. I miraculously remembered the site and went on to understand that my story, when placed on the site, had been entered into a short story contest, which I had won.”
UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, APRIL 11-17.
“MOVIOLA!” BY JOHN DOMINI.
A linked series of stories (all previously published), this book takes you through a night at the movies — and not the Art-House, but the Mall-Plex.
The stories sample from blockbuster types: the rom-com, the action-adventure, the superhero and spy. The narratives, however, are still under construction, and so every storyline is an opportunity for some unimaginable twist. Motive and identity shift all over the place, offering both narrative and anti-narrative, while the stunted shoptalk of the Industry struggles to keep up.
The result is at once comical and moving, recalling Steve Erickson and Italo Calvino, part game and part celebration.
“MY LIFE WITH THE STARS,” BY TONY FLOOD
Packed with revelations and amusing anecdotes about a galaxy of show business and sports stars author Tony Flood has interviewed and written about during his career as a journalist. Flood reveals the secrets of Elvis Presley, George Best, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Britt Ekland, Muhammad Ali, Joan Collins, Peter Sellers and a host of others.
“WHEN I WAS ALIVE,” BY C. CIMMONE.
WHEN I WAS ALIVE is a collection of short stories, based on actual events. Much of the events are based on my experience of growing up poor and off the beaten path. The main character narrates each of the stories, which exercises a different emotion: intrigue, self-doubt, grief, disbelief, wonder and indiscriminate love. Despite her seemingly off-putting appearance, the young Cimmone finds normalcy among everything we see unfit, disturbing and tainted. Cimmone makes us feel real and alive again. She loves her father, stray cats, and her mother’s distaste for most everything.
Speaking of short stories, I received this e-mail last week from Kathy Anderson:
- Longlisted for The Story Prize, 2016
- Finalist for 2016 Publishing Triangle’s Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction
- Finalist for 2016 Lambda Literary Awards, Lesbian Fiction
- Finalist for 2016 Foreword INDIES Award, Short Stories