“Deep curiosity, deep listening, that’s what we have to give to each other. Reading is a form of deep listening, isn’t it? Staying with something, and being affected by it." Maggie Gee
Posts tagged "short stories"
Grace Paley: 'Goodbye and Good Luck'

Grace Paley: ‘Goodbye and Good Luck’

I was fortunate enough to see Grace Paley speak. It was back in 2003 or thereabouts at the Small Wonder Festival at Charleston. I think it might have been the first time the festival, which celebrates the wonder of short stories (the clue’s in the title), had taken place. Grace Paley had been due to...
Raving

Raving

He kissed my cracked lips. ‘A paternal kiss… you are like a daughter to me.’ I run my tongue over my lips. Oozing, something sticky. Blood… saliva? Who knows. Someone is shining a bright light into my eyes… I’m trying to open them… I can’t. My head is weighed down… I try again… I close...
A ghost of Christmas, present

A ghost of Christmas, present

The smell hits me as Gary closes the door behind me. Some Scratch ’n’ Sniff abomination – I’d call it ‘December 1983’, but I’m damned if I know what it actually is. “It’s frankincense,” Gary says. “Off a display at Bed Bath & Beyond. Little spray bottle. Heh.” He shrugs. “Guess I got trigger-happy.” “Apparently,” I...
Atoms like snowflakes

Atoms like snowflakes

We are in a city where all the streets go up and down, urbanism on an inclined plane, the goddamned omnipresent sea or mountains, sea to the south, mountains to the north, and a scar in the form of an avenue that bisects the city on the diagonal – skewed along a physical, moral, class...
Cuckoo

Cuckoo

At first, I thought that old devil of a back problem had returned to haunt me. I assumed the position – lay down, knees up, feet flat on the floor. Unlike Martha, I’m not one for the dramatic, but I did text her to come back ASAP. My no-longer-little niece, Alex, was sat beside me...
The strange art of the short story

The strange art of the short story

When I decided to publish an anthology of short stories, I didn’t guess just how absorbing it would be. I had to choose, and choice focuses the mind beautifully. The short story is an intricate, difficult and intriguing beast. It isn’t a truncated novel but belongs to a genre all of its own and not...
Magpies

Magpies

The girl tenses when her mother calls her name like that. She clings to the racks; sleeves brushing against her cheek. She crosses the store. Normally, her mother doesn’t like to be overt; only gentle movements when she’s found what she wants. Sometimes the girl won’t even notice. Today, though, she is loud. She is...
Wilde

Wilde

Inside the Dublin guesthouse, over a breakfast of peppery scrambled eggs, I sat watching the young couple below on the street. They stood on the opposite side of the road, next to the bus stop’s thin yellow pole, bundled up in woollen accessories and thick, dark jackets. They pressed their bodies together, their arms clasping...
Lagoon

Lagoon

I can’t stop taking pictures of the big ships; I’m doing it this afternoon with Teresa, just as I did that day at the end of July in 2013. I was sitting in the usual bar, on the Riva dei Sette Martiri, where you barely even notice the passage of the cruise ships anymore. They...
Everywhere but here

Everywhere but here

Kristin Hersh is probably the best singer-songwriter you have never heard of. Just like her music, Seeing Sideways: A Memoir of Music & Motherhood (Jawbone press, 7 May) is poetic, lyrical and complex. I’ve been a fan (she prefers the word ‘listener’) since the early 1990s. Her band Throwing Muses has been around since the...