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David S. Atkinson: Short Stories Present a Divine Singularity

hemingway

photo: Dylan Cembalski via Flickr

When Atticus Books first invited me to submit thoughts on the short story, I immediately formed grand plans. I was going to write such an impassioned and persuasive essay that the masses were going to remember. For a brief moment, I was going to personally lead the renaissance of the short story. However, I then thought a little deeper.

After all, who could have read Hemmingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and still need an explanation? No essay of mine could illustrate the story any better than Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Anyone who hasn’t read these stories, or others like them, simply needs to. No explanation could do any better. Besides, somebody who refused to read short stories probably also wouldn’t read my essay.

No essay of mine could illustrate the story any better than Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Anyone who hasn’t read [this story], or others like [it], simply needs to. No explanation could do any better.

What I love about short stories is Etgar Keret’s “Fatso” and Haruki Murakami’s “The Second Bakery Attack.” What I mean is that I love the stories themselves. Though I think that short stories (due to the amount of information that the human brain can hold at one time) have the ability to present a perfect divine singularity for us to contemplate, I think the magic is in what people have done rather than the form itself.

That being said, what some people have done is truly sacred. No matter what else she does in her life, I will always remember Joyce Carol Oates as the writer of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Anyone who has experienced the magic already knows. Anyone who hasn’t just won’t understand.

 

 

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About David S. Atkinson

David S. Atkinson received his MFA in writing from the University of Nebraska. His stories have appeared in (and/or are soon to be appearing in) Gray Sparrow, Children Churches and Daddies, Split Quarterly, Cannoli Pie, C4: The Chamber Four Lit Mag, Brave Blue Mice, Atticus Review, and Fine Lines. His book reviews have appeared in Gently Read Literature, The Rumpus, and All Things Pankish. The web site dedicated to his writing can be found at davidsatkinsonwriting.com. He currently serves as a reader for Gray Sparrow and in his non-literary time he works as a patent attorney in Denver.

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