On Cultivating a Reading Habit

Recently, an acquaintance, let us call her X, asked me how she could start a reading habit. Given that she is close to my age, I asked her what kinds of things she liked to read, thinking I might offer her some book suggestions. Consider my surprise when she confessed that she could remember the last time she actually read a book. “But I read a lot of news and stuff online,” she said in her own defense. When I shared this with some other reader friends, they admitted to their own difficulties with reading as much as they used to. Some said there was enough drama going on around the world, so they did not feel a need to read fictionalized drama. Some, like X, said they read online and did not care about offline reading. And there were the odd few who said they “prefer to experience life rather than reading about it.” Continue reading On Cultivating a Reading Habit

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5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads for October 2017

Last October, I went the predictable route with a collection of horror stories for Halloween. This month, let’s turn to fairytale retellings, one of my favorite fiction sub-genres. As with many readers and writers, fairytales, with all their enchantment, magic, and fantasy aspects were my first thrilling introduction to storytelling. And these retellings for adults not only subvert the usual, tired tropes — the damsel in distress, the wicked witch, the handsome prince, the evil giant, etc. — but give us more complex and nuanced worlds and characters. Many famous writers have tried their hand, through novels and short stories, at both revisionist retellings of ancient fairytales and creating original ones of their own. We’ll get to the latter another month. For now, let’s take a look at the traditional, well-known ones that have been retold and made entirely new by these writers: Angela Carter, Susan Scarf Merrell, Robert Coover, Jennifer Wortman, and Michael Cunningham. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads for October 2017

Published: Separation Notice (Vestal Review)

I wrote this piece of satire earlier in September when we were all awestruck with the hurricanes in the US, the journalist killings in India, the genocides in Bangladesh, and more. And, of course, the daily presidential disasters. It seems that the more outrageous our world becomes, the less we are capable of any sane response to it. Okay, maybe that’s just a small minority of us who need to resort to absurdist tropes and satire in our work to be able to carry on with it. Anyway, this is an official layoff notice to the Patron Saint of Disasters, Saint Medard. You can read more about him here. Continue reading Published: Separation Notice (Vestal Review)

Booknotes: Favorite Writing How-to Books Part 4

Happy International Translation Day. Perhaps you are wondering why there is yet another Hallmark-like day for this. I had to look it up too. Wikipedia, that font of never-ending rabbit holes, er, wisdom, says that FIT (International Federation of Translators) had designated this day in 1991 for the official celebration of translation because it is also the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator considered the patron saint of translators. Of course, the celebration is for all countries, not just Christian ones. And, earlier this year, the UN also passed a resolution declaring September 30 as International Translation Day to recognize the role of professional translation in bringing nations together. At the outset, let me say that I believe all of us, readers and writers alike, are translators. The very act of reading involves translating and interpreting the writer’s meaning and intent. The act of writing involves translating and interpreting one’s own meaning of everything we have ourselves read, seen, heard, experienced. So, translation to me is not simply the act of converting words from Language A to Language B. And, as such, I have found the following books on translation important to me as a reader and a writer above anything else. Continue reading Booknotes: Favorite Writing How-to Books Part 4

A Nomination for the Best of the Net Anthology

Last year, a short story of mine, The Waiting, was published at Lunch Ticket, the magazine run by Antioch University’s MFA students and alumni. I am so honored and humbled that the Lunch Ticket Team has nominated the story for this particular award because I have been following it for years to discover some amazing short stories published by online literary magazines. Hosted by Sundress Publications, the award has always had such a diverse roster of finalists. Continue reading A Nomination for the Best of the Net Anthology