I cannot be the only person who wanted absolutely nothing to do with short stories after high school english was over. They seemed a positively pointless bit of writing that were forced down the throats of teenagers everywhere for purposes of torture, solely.
Despite my adolescent distaste for short stories, there had been one I was always partial to: Bartleby the Scrivener, by Herman Melville. Something always just stuck with me about his whole “I’d prefer not to” comment. Perhaps it was the fact that I preferred not to be reading short stories?
It wasn’t until many years after high school, when I found myself stuck in a job where I had literally nothing to do for days on end that I rediscovered short stories. I mean, honestly, reading a novel at your desk is just tacky and unprofessional. But a short story on your computer? You look busy! I began with re-reading Melville’s story, and then moved on to others.
Then I discovered that many of my favorite authors and written loads of short stories. Bradbury, King, Gaiman. Uh, hello?! Awesome fiction in quick doses? Game on!
I’ve since acquired a few collections of short stories, for dabbling on during and in between novel, and non-fiction works. These include a collection of Bradbury short stories, a collection of Chekhov stories, and a collection of short stories called The Weird by various sci-fi, horror, and related genre writers. It’s awesome.
How do you feel about short stories? Have you tried any out? Do you sometimes lament about not reading more, but aren’t sure how exactly to get back into it? Don’t want to commit yourself to an entire novel you might not like? Short story-it-up, folks!