Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lyrical Instances

Couldn't help but notice that several short-story collections made The New York Times' 100 notable books of 2009.

And yet... we always hear that publishers aren't interested in short-story collections. And yet... short-story collections somehow keep getting published.

Here's Antonya Nelson, from an interview with The Cincinnati Review, on how she prefers short stories to novels:

"My sensibility is more inclined in the direction of the short story. I'm more comfortable dwelling in the moment and in the vignette, and in exploring lyrical instances, which I think the short-story form accommodates much better than the novel.

"...[Stories are] like painting on one canvas, whereas writing a novel is like working in a room full of canvases, and knowing that hidden below the floor is a basement full of more canvasses, all half-done."


Ethel Rohan said...

I have one of those basements :-)

Ania Vesenny said...

I love how Nelson expressed her relationship with short stories! This is exactly how I feel about both reading and writing short stories vs. novels.

Thank you for sharing!

Andrew Roe said...

Ethel: me too (and it's been neglected as of late).

Ania: yeah, it's a great interview. That phrase "exploring lyrical instances" really struck me. Nelson also said she thought one reason novels are more popular is that they're optimistic. She quoted her writing students as saying "Why are all these short stories so depressing?"