I find short stories to be impossible. Don’t get me wrong I love short tales and am in awe of those writers who can manage to fully express their narratives within the parameters of the genre. How any writer can navigate such a low word and page limit is beyond my current comprehension. I suppose that is why Neil Gaiman and Stephen King rank among my favorite authors. They have the skill and precision to execute a story both in long narrative and short form with an envious finesse. (Now, there are probably many more authors who have this ability and if you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments because I am always looking for a good book to read). I have yet to manage to write a short story. My way with words tends to still run a bit on the long side, as those who read this blog can attest to. However, I definitely appreciate the form and its possibilities.
Today, while fulfilling the mundane task of purchasing new tires, I read a collection of short stories called Echoes of Old Souls by Nika Harper. The stories contained within the pages run the gamut of emotions. Some are funny. Others are very melancholy and some really are just entertaining. Yet, they all somehow work alongside one another. All are woven through the idea of memories and moments evoked by a familiar melody. The characters are developed and intriguing and the narrative pack a surprising emotional weight. Let’s just say that unrequited love was never so well expressed nor the anguish of being unable to fulfill a promise. I highly recommend picking this book up. It is a great read from a new author who seems to only be getting better. Really, she is constantly writing and helping others to do the same.
Reading this book and Gaiman’s Calendar of Tales makes me want to try my hand at the short story form. I don’t know if I’ll ever be good at it, but damn if it doesn’t feel like a worthwhile endeavor. Who knows? Maybe writing a short will help me in my longer creative efforts.