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Monthly Archive for March, 2013

This story reminded me of Butler’s “Mr. Green” from his book A Good Sent From a Strange Mountain. It has some of the same components that Butler used in“Mr. Green.” First, and the most obvious, they were both birds. In this story the tale is told by the bird (or reincarnated husband); in “Mr. Green,” the […]

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Rivers of Bees

In contrast to Ashley, Kij Johnson has actually consistently produced by favorite stories so far this semester. I shouldn’t have waited to read “At the Mouth of the River of Bees” last, though. I realize that now, as I’m a teary mess, lying on my bed with tissues and my teddy bear. I’ve got a […]

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The Right Subject

This week, as usual, I read Kij Johnson’s story last. Admittedly, her stories have been my least favorite of the bunch. While they are consistently engaging and thought-provoking, I just haven’t been able to get into them. I sat in Panera as I read my favorite author’s story first, “Eisenheim the Illusionist” by Steven Millhauser, […]

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The Unexpected Ending

We talked in my workshop group during the creative writing conference about the twist ending. We decided that most of the time when any of us had used one in a draft, its purpose was to say “Surprise! Look how clever I am.” The ending became something we were set on keeping in the piece, […]

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Hi everyone, I found a great source that has numerous podcasts in which stories of the fantastic are read. I used it last night to listen to “The Beautiful Coalwoman,” by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, read by Wilson Fowlie of The Maple Leaf Singers. The website is www.podcastle.org

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” Maxence, who wanted only to crawl off to sleep, straightened in his drunken and, as best he could, assumed the air of a great lover hearing tell of a legendary lonely lady (129).” At first glance, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s “The Beautiful Coalwoman” was very similar to Arthurian legend or one of Grimm’s fairy tales in […]

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Enclosed

The Dome, in a single stroke, has abolished Nature. The hills, the streams, the woods, the fields, all have become elements in a new decor, an artfully designed landscape–designed by the mere fact of existing under the Dome. While reading Millhauser’s “The Dome,” I couldn’t help but imagine putting a cup over a captured spider […]

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This is my favorite story. I remember articles I read how famous magicians such as Lance Burton would walk around day after day carrying coins and cards palmed in his hands just so he could have his hand look nature when he did a trick, and no one would be the wiser to the fact […]

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He arrived one night on horseback. He dismounted, or fell off, more like; happens to all of them, after ten long hours in the saddle through dune, marsh, and peat bog. Whether you’re a gypsy making a trip to the town of Macondo in One Hundred Years of Solitude or the famous man visiting the […]

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What it means to be a writer

Being a part of the Writing Conference this weekend really opened my creative side up to many new views. I think things really hit me when Aja Gabel was reading this morning. She seemed so nervous because she was trying out a piece that was brand new to her, something she was still toying with. […]

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“I can attest to the fact that no one laughed at my burial, and that everything went according to custom, in tasteful gloom.” If you looked up gallows humor in the dictionary, you might find “The Styx” by Chateaureynaud. I really appreciated the humor in this story. At the beginning of the semester, JGB cautioned […]

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A Visit from a Literary Master

I am still in shock over getting to be in the same auditorium as, let alone listen to advice from, perhaps one of the greatest writers of the twenty-first century, Barbara Kingsolver.  Her work has been an inspiration to thousands of people across continents with novels such as The Bean Trees, Pigs in Heaven, The […]

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I really loved both of these stories, “La Tête” in particular. They were both extremely compelling, wonderfully strange–even disgusting at times–and so short an bizarrely sweet. I can’t quite put my finger on it… Perhaps it’s just that I really appreciate the common structural values that they both share. They both have a brevity and directness to them; one […]

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Any Color?

When I first read the title of Etgar Keret’s short story “Pick a Color,” I didn’t think it would be anything special. But the saying, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” definitely applies here. Keret is unbelievably talented. It was a total and complete shock to me that the story turned out the way […]

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And then he saw the child. It was a dry and bloated bag of skin that all the ants in the world were dragging toward their holes along the stone path in the garden. Aureliano could not move. Not because he was paralyzed by horror but because at that prodigious instant Melquíades’ final keys were […]

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She does not pray for her troops’ safety in crossing the seas or a victory in Silla, for she has seen these things already. No: she is nine months’ pregnant and her child frets to be born. The contractions drive her to her knees, panting. Her urine runs into the hard-packed earth; snot and saliva […]

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Afraid of the Dark

Together, one carrying the other, they wandered the highways and byways at random, sleeping in small inns but also in fields, beneath bridges, on the beach. And always, the head complained — it ached; it was afraid of the night, of the day, of everything! It was fear incarnate, absolute, confined to the tiny chamber […]

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Comparisons

I just want to take one post to compare two stories. I thought that the styles of writing for Chateaureynaud’s “Excursion” and Millhauser’s “History of Disturbance” were parallels. When I started reading Millhauser’s story, I thought to myself that the entire story would be in second person and that I would be in Elena’s shoes. […]

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Pullulating

I did not find “History of a Disturbance” to be fantastic. It read more like the history of a mid-life crisis, perhaps more extreme than what usually comes to mind when we think of one, but not anything magical or weird. The way the narrator describes looking at his hand and watching it become an […]

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez has imagined a world that is boiling over with the fantastic, while managing to maintain an unwavering sense of reality in One Hundred Years of Solitude. The story of the town of Macondo, from birth to resolution, is formatted like a tale you’d hear while sitting around a camp fire or like […]

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