MANY GOOD STORIES are of the kind you admire for their plotting or their writing, colorful characters or sense of adventure.
Others challenge you, asking first, “What would you do?” They take you through several emotions then drop you back down to earth, a changed person.
Our new fiction feature is the latter: “Sorry For Your Loss” by Greg Golley. The story is not just excellent as a story, but as a metaphor for the changes, in lifestyle and emotion, we’ve all been through the past year. I’d like to think we’ve been changed for the better– deepened, put more in touch with our humanity– as the narrator in the story is changed.
Anyway, we hope you like it!
I seemed to be alone in the house. Soothed by the sound of the furnace kicking in and by the feel of warm slippers on my stocking feet, I opened the fridge to see what was there. I finally selected an IPA and ambled over to the window to admire my newly cleaned-up yard, wondering distantly how the whole dinner-with-Nathan question had been settled. Looking back, I can now appreciate these few thoughtless actions as my final moments of true innocence. What I saw when I looked into the backyard was my future – handed down to me like a sentence.
(Art: “The Good Samaritan” by Eugene Delacroix.)
FINDING A BETTER MODEL
WHICH elements will be required to create “hit” short stories that can grab the attention of large swaths of the public?
Some of them are present in our latest short story by Nick Gallup, “Just Another Silly Love Song.” Such as: two dynamic lead characters with strikingly different personalities; tangible details used to emphasize those personalities (a red Corvette; a black cocktail dress); a well-structured and unified plot with built-in conflict, nothing extraneous, which maintains focus throughout– and much else.
Add to these elements a sense of depth: the two lead characters displaying, well, character– the ability to move beyond themselves in helping others– and you have for the reader a perfect mix. Oh, did I also mention the element of love? That ultimate ingredient in crafting compelling art?
But the best way to know what we’re talking about is to read the story.
Roxy looked a mess. She took note of my looking and correctly interpreted my conclusions. “Sorry I don’t look party-perfect, Ty,” she said sarcastically, with heavy emphasis on Ty, as if it were an affectation. “An unexpected problem came up. I had to don a cap and gown and wash all my make-up off to avoid infection.” She held up slender hands. “Want to know where these have been for the past two hours?”
(Art: “Return of a Night Bombing Flight of Voisin Aircraft” by Francois Flemeng.)
THE SUBJECT of editorial independence has come up within the literary world much of late– especially with the recent ouster of Ian Buruma at New York Review of Books.
TO STAY topical we present a new short story from that always entertaining observer of American business, manners, and culture, Alan Swyer. His new tale, “The Sage,” looks at creative smarts and editorial independence within the film industry– a business Alan Swyer knows much about.
CAN Swyer’s lead character, a movie maker named Tarlowe, rescue a troubled film project involving a difficult celebrity wise man– and maintain his integrity while doing so? An inside look at a tumultuous world.
The non-stop travel, coupled with interviews that ranged from eye-opening to scintillating, proved to be a dizzying experience. But even as he reported in periodically, informing his benefactor about what had been said, and by whom, a question kept gnawing at Tarlowe. How would the man who billed himself as The Sage, but who came off in person like a somewhat epicene song-and-dance man, fit in among such luminaries?
(Art: “Burning the Darkness” by Nicholas Roerich.)