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Category Archive for 'Kij Johnson'

This semester I’ve been learning not only how to write, but how to live. Sure, there have been a lot of great metaphors, similes, and stories that exemplify what I wish I could write. Millhauser has a way with endings, which are the most infuriating portion of any story I’ve ever attempted to write. Johnson […]

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New Beginnings

First of all, authors of the fantastic have some sort of clinical aversion to exclamation points. The Millhauser stories, in particular, are fantastic in that they are told in a rather cut-and-dry way; the dresses covered everything, the tower touched heaven, the paintings were moving. An element of the fantastic is that it tries to […]

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La Liberté

(Perhaps the dogs always told these stories and we could not understand them. Now they tell their stories here in North Park, as does the pack in Cruz Park a little to the south, and so across the world. The tales are not all the same, though there are similarities. There is no possibility of […]

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Long Story, Short

I will curse the stars and go down fighting. But it will still have been a wonderful thing, to cross the mist. “The Man Who Bridged the Mist” Three things make this story eerie. One. I feel as if I’ve read this story before, or had this experience at one point in time in my […]

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I loved this story. The characters emerge from Johnson’s prose fully imagined and engaging. The world is fascinating and weird, but Johnson was so sure of it that I never questioned mist solid enough to support a boat through which swim monsters. The story stayed grounded in real problems, starting with the need to build […]

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Ponies

At first, I didn’t think Kij Johnson’s “Ponies” was a story about peer pressure. Honestly, I didn’t think this was anything but a nightmarish Nick at Nite special. It wasn’t until Jenny and I were having lunch that I saw the light. “So that was pretty awful,” I’d said over my chicken. “Peer pressure stories […]

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Legends and Journeys

The fudoki was the collection of stories about all the cats that had lived in a place. It described what made it a home and what made the cats a family. Mothers taught their kittens the fudoki. If the mother died too soon, the other cats, the aunts and cousins, would teach the kittens. A […]

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Ponies and Cats

So you’ve got some “Wolf Trapping” and then you follow that up with “Ponies” and by then I’m pretty sure Johnson only writes terribly sad stories about animals dying. But then you’ve got “The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles” and that’s sort of a happy story about a cat finding a family. You’ve got […]

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The In Crowd

Sunny shivers, her eyes shut tight.  Barbara cuts off the second wing and lays it beside the first.” “Ponies” left me with a feeling of uncertainty.  I had to read it a couple of times to truly grasp the concept of the four page short story.  At first, the fable felt colorful and girly, with […]

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Familiar Ponies

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I found this story to be deeply troubling. The part I was most disturbed by was when, after her up-to-now best friend is trampled to death, Barbara tries to tag along with TheOtherGirls. Johnson describes TopGirl as being unsure of what to make of what they’ve seen, […]

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“Wolf Trapping”

I quite enjoyed this story. Based on the title, I was prepared for something entirely different but was reassured by the end of the first paragraph. This story had a great sense of its world. The descriptions of the scenery and the way the characters moved through it helped build this secluded, icy place without […]

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1. Small things and tedious attention to detail 2. Humans chewing off their arms 3. Many, many other things For whatever reason, ever since I was a child, extreme attention to detail has made me queasy. This means that while I was growing up I could never bead a bracelet, the mere act of trying […]

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Toolbox

1,118,390 words before these. The writer’s craft is no longer a skill she has learned but a ship she sails. It remains hard to control in strong winds. I sincerely loved this story because of its style, emotion, and diction. It was truly about the narrator, the writer, who is projecting her personality, her feelings, […]

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Distance

Kij Johnson’s “Story Kit” is an intense, unique piece of meta-fiction. Johnson discusses loss, writing, and deception in haunting, enigmatic fragments of charged prose. I can write about it if I am careful, if I keep it far enough away. This line is the first clue to how much distance this writer needs with 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 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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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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Another Chenting

He did not know the Chenting she had gone to, but he knew it was not his. Though this story is the shortest of those we read, I found that it struck a chord in me that lingered a little longer than the others. We’ve talked several times in class about how the notion of […]

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I suspected that Raymann had died without knowing anything about his broker’s secrets. The idea that the same thing might happen to me was intolerable. I brooded over this entire days at a time in my shop… yet my entire temperament as an antique dealer urged me to discover what he hid from me. In […]

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What Hurts the Most

He had found Chenting just as he had expected, a place where an old man’s pains were eased. But she had imagined another Chenting, a place where youth is irrelevant and even beauty is lonely. He did not know the Chenting she had gone to, but he knew it was not his. How do you […]

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