This month, my short stories column at PopMatters is all about the journey — by train, bus, airplane, car, even foot. And how, in that state of being neither here nor there, just about anything can happen. These five stories are also excellent examples of travel as a versatile literary device. The stories (free to read online) are from all over the world and by these fine writers: Asako Serizawa, Nanjil Nadan, Goli Taraghi, Stephen King, and John Cheever.
In her second short story collection, Waiting, Nighat Gandhi explores many of the same preoccupations that have dominated both her fiction and non-fiction thus far but with even more minute and interior details. [...] In this latest collection too, Gandhi’s women are trying to comprehend and address subjects and themes that are either taboo or fetishised. However, their voices are still repressed – questioning, rebelling, or negotiating inside their heads – as they themselves remain trapped in their worlds, waiting passively for something to change.
Having written and published 20+ short stories since 2016, I can say, with absolute conviction, that there is no single, universal process to how a short story comes together. [...] So, while I've not developed any single blueprint for writing short stories, what I have found is a somewhat consistent pattern in the phases I go through. Here they are (and some of this is, I confess, with tongue firmly in cheek):