Short Story Month: An Audio Story
When the composer and performer Moss Freed finished recording his new jazz album What Do You See When You Close Your Eyes?, he wondered what kind of response it might elicit from the listener, and approached some writers to see if they might put it into words. This is novelist Naomi Alderman’s response.
“(Which, don’t even get me started, half the fun of listening to music and possibly more than half is context, this is a very nearly religious conviction for me, all hail context forever, I know this battle is already lost however I will be waging it til my dying breath, “context!” I will cry from my deathbed, “context!” I will say to those whom I haunt later on, “I got haunted and the best my ghost can come up to scare me with is ‘context’” my hauntees will complain, everyone’s a critic, however not everyone is a ghost, yet.)”—I would buy a 1000-page book of John Darnielle’s parentheticals
“This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.”—David Levithan
“I am in the middle of it: chaos and poetry; poetry and love and again, complete chaos. Pain, disorder, occasional clarity; and at the bottom of it all: only love; poetry. Sheer enchantment, fear, humiliation. It all comes with love.”—Anna Akhmatova, from The Akhmatova Journals
Jessica Kluthe for #shortstorymonth
To celebrate Short Story Month, we’ve asked some awesome writers, editors, and other literary types to weigh in on their favourite stories and collections, and what makes a piece of short lit great. Today, writer Jessica Kluthe.
Little Fiction was my introduction to reading on my phone; there is something marvelous about carrying a story around inside that little tiny device that I can read when I’m waiting in line, or have five minutes and my book is (always) in another room. After reading Little Fiction stories, I decided to read a book on my phone and bought Steven Heighton’s The Dead Are More Visible; you don’t have to look too far to find a review that will make you immediately “add to cart.” I don’t know why, but I also decided to read The Dead are More Visible in the dark (I guess because I could), and I found something moving, haunting even, about this reading experience and his stories. Heighton’s collection entered the black around me and the images floated through the night—especially those of the title story. This collection contains eleven stories and all reach out in their own way, characters that seek to connect, while each story is different in form and content—you’ll find that the daylight will peek in beneath the doorway before you’ve put it down.
Jessica Kluthe is an author and writing instructor from Edmonton, AB. Her first book, Rosina, The Midwife was published by Brindle & Glass earlier this year. Her most recent Little Fiction title, Inheritance, is available for download here.
If You Forget Me
I want you to know
You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.
If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.
if each day,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
— Pablo Neruda