Sheheryar B. Sheikh
A new journal is born, one with an ancient name. How does it merge the split-ends of legacy and innovation? It embraces the age-old tradition of straightforward storytelling and updating it with a solid cast of fledgling writers.
A new journal is born, one with an ancient name. How does it merge the split-ends of legacy and innovation? It embraces the age-old tradition of straightforward storytelling and updating it with a solid cast of fledgling writers. Two of the four stories in this first issue are by students; one of them, Jessica Atkinson, is in her freshman year at college. Besides the four stories, there are two photo features and one interview. It’s easy to grasp the concept and execution of Short Story, but it’s not a simple journal at all. The monochrome photo features, titled “Paris” and “Kanuga” seem to build haunting narratives before fading away. The interview is with Matthew Bruccoli, a University of South Carolina professor, bookman and self-proclaimed literary historian, with severe opinions about the art of writing. Bruccoli is an expert on the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, John O’Hara, and many others. His interview reeks of a teacher’s tough-love advice for budding writers, such as: “The only apprenticeship for being a writer is to write,” and “A piece of literature doesn’t exist until it’s published [. . .] publication is the essential act of authorship.” About the writing life, he says, “If your child wants to be a writer, shoot him. Save him or her a lifetime of disappointment. The only thing worse is wanting to be an actor.” Like all good mentors, Bruccoli spits out wisdom. George Singleton, in his story “Filling in Blanks,” portrays a multilayered South. His advice isn’t as simple as Bruccoli’s since it’s hidden under a compelling narrative arc, which seduces the reader with its stark characters. The other three stories (by Atkinson, Irvin Faust and Sayzie Koldys) are not lightweights either. It shouldn’t be long before the Joyce Carol Oateses and the John Updikes of literature begin flooding editor Caroline Lord’s mailbox. Read it while the lesser-known greats are featured. [www.shortstoryreview.org ]