What Short Story Month?

Short Story MonthLet’s make this clear: I did not make this up. For seriously, yo.

It’s at the heels of the Inter/National Poetry Month – and if the theory that the readers of this blog run in very small circles, then you know what I’m talking about, what with the daily renga over at Joel Toledo’s blog contributing to the whole Ooh Poetry Festivities. And that’s fantastic. That’s great. Anything to further literature, short of shoving manuscripts down the throats of unsuspecting passers-by.

But. When I/NPM was announced, well, I thought – like any bitter short story writer would, haha – “Don’t the fictionists get their own month?” (It’s not as temper-tantrum-y as it came out, I swear.) I didn’t know how such a month would work, given that the short story is goddamn long compared to the poem (with notable exceptions – go to hell, T.S. Eliot, and don’t you dare hide Walt Whitman) and lots of other things like blah and blah and blah. A round-robin can’t be accomplished in one day, unless writers really are the unsocial sort and churn out paragraphs and lie in wait for the next paragraph.

And then the people at Emerging Writers Network (Dan Wickett) thought of something kick-ass. And tada, the Very Unofficial Short Story Month. (If you don’t believe me, go here, and then here. And then Google it.)

Dan Wickett at EWN has proposed we go about it this way: “find three stories to read and blog about – one from a collection that maybe I’ve held onto a little too long, should have finished and reviewed by now, etc; one from a print journal; and one from an online journal. By month’s end, if all goals are met, just under 100 short stories will have been read and commented upon.”

Now. Knowing my tendency to get distracted by shiny objects, I’ll have a really hard time accomplishing that 100-Short Stories mark. But I will try.

And you are SO welcome to join me. Email me at sleepnotsheep@gmail.com so you can guest-blog at this little blog here. PLEASE I BEG YOU. Ahem. DON’T MAKE ME CALL YOU OUT YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Ahem. If you don’t want to yap on about short fiction, you can do other things, like, uh, read short stories, get a copy of a short story collection, subscribe to an online journal, read short stories, write short stories, give someone a love story with the names of the protagonists replaced by your and your hunny-bunny’s names, read short stories, write short stories, buy this fledgling and flailing fictionist here a drink.

And. And. And. You’re asking, “Why? What for?” I’ll try not to hit you too hard with a hairbrush as I say, “Because, damn it, it’s time people read short stories.” Is short fiction really the boo-hoo genre? According to one panelist/commenter(?)/tambay(!) (I conveniently don’t remember your name, but you were in Mogwai, and you were wearing a white blouse thing) from February’s Writers Festival, “Short fiction – fiction – is the most ignored genre in Philippine literature.” And I gasped at that, yes, I did, but I thought, True. Bitterness and sourgraping is not the issue here. It’s to further literature, even if I have to shove blog entries about short stories down the throats of unsuspecting traffic.

Can’t I just say, “Because, damn it” or “Why not?” or “La lang”?

Also, you may ask, isn’t this exercise a little too self-serving? Well, aren’t you just a little question machine? (Credits to Fringe! :p) My answer? I suppose. Haha. I’m not here to argue the merits of lit-sharing, because I’m a lover not a fighter, and because, well, I’m also banking on the fact that after a couple of days, this blog won’t just yammer on and on about the stories I love – you could have your entry as well, here (NUDGE NUDGE WINK WINK DAMN IT) or in your own blogs. And let’s be optimistic about it: maybe I make a few people read, maybe, well, we get to be all in this together.

And because stories are wonderful little rainbows/blades/grasshoppers/mudcakes in your palms.

That said, I am five days late. We are so off to a good start. So. But I tried to catch up. If you’ll follow these links over tharr, you’ll see my entries supposedly for May 1st down to yesterday. Why make it seem like I did it everyday? Because I’m OC, and I don’t want my archives messed up because I stayed under my rock too long.

May 01 – “Missing Women” by June Spence; “The Children Stay” by Alice Munro; “Intimacy” by Raymond Carver.

May 02 – “The Metaphor is Dead—Pass It On” by Carol Shields; “The Girl Who Became a Fish” by Fidelis Angela C. Tan; “Family” by Bret Lott.

May 03 – “A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri; “Reconnaissance” by Tara FT Sering; “The Facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios” by Yann Martel.

May 04 – “Toad’s Mouth” by Isabel Allende; “The Virgin” by Kerima Polotan; “The Cannon” by Kelly Link.

May 05 – “The Housemaid” by Timothy Montes; “The Painted One” by Lakambini Sitoy; “In Caress of Beloved Faces” by Wilfrido Nolledo.

As you can see, had a shitload of catching up to do. Guh. So I would really appreciate it if you help me out. :) Spread the word, and uh, more rallying stuff. Yeah.

PS – And Holy Baby Panda – we have a logo! It’s by Steven Seighman of Dzanc Books, and yes, it’s green. I’m still trying to figure out why there’s a ruler over there yonder, but whatever. I am easily distracted by shiny things, and that logo over there is the most shiniestest, uh-huh.

PS – And a note: the only resources I have are anthologies, the odd copy of Free Press, Graphic, and Story Philippines, and the interweb, as well as short story collections by authors I love. Biased, yes, and woefully limited. So I’d appreciate it if you send me stories: sleepnotsheep@gmail.com. Not stories you want to publish, haha, get them manuscript-wielding pitchforks out of the way, but stories you want me to talk about. Or you can be a dear and write about it too, and I’ll post it here, haha.


About Sasha Martinez

Her sins were scarlet, but her books were read.

2 responses to “What Short Story Month?”

  1. phabulous says :

    wow. parang nakumbinse mo na yata ako magbasa ulit.

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