short stories

Short stories kill me.

I think my problem is that all the ones I write feel unfinished, full of serrated edges that catch my throat so easily. And yet, once my throat’s gaping, I don’t let it bleed. If I did, maybe the red would saturate my tale, make it rise. Give it meat.

So I lied in the first line. Short stories don’t kill me. I don’t let them get close enough to even fear injury. I give them no blood. But I should. Hel, I bleed all over my novels, hurt myself for them–I singed my eyes with ghost chili smoke for The Dream Tree, remember? My short stories don’t kill me, but they should.

It’s simple: when I write a story and read it, I know what’s wrong. My gut does, at least. My last story–Pinion–a piece about owl hunters, told me the climax came too soon. That there was more story that needed telling before the end. That the girl, Fera, had something to say, but wasn’t saying it (that I wasn’t saying it). How can a piece be urgent, necessary, without the limbs and mind to shove it along? All I had to do was take the time–while slicing corned beef at work, while climbing a mountain yesterday–to figure my shiit out, and then (when my hands weren’t busy) write it.

My stories, I promise–

to give you flesh, and not just bone
to see you for what you are, and not what I think you are; to feed you feed you feed you, and carve you a home in the vast unused wastes of my brain.


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