To finish out this year’s Spring Break Short Story Recommendations I’m also reviving (albeit temporarily) an old feature, Supporting Friends Friday. I’m rounding out my short story selections with Stacey C. Johnson‘s “Survey of Poetry,” found at her excellent blog Breadcrumbs.
Spring Break Short Story Recommendation 2023: The Haunting of Hill House
Today’s installment of Spring Break Shorty Story Recommendations is actually not a short story, but rather a novella or short novel, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. My copy is the 1984 Penguin Books edition, which runs at about 246 pages of text. That seems like standard novel length, but the print is a bit large, and while there are distinct chapters, the book feels like a very long short story or a shorter novel.
Nevertheless, it’s my blog and I have decided to feature this chilling novella in this year’s Spring Break Short Story Recommendations. It is a classic of the haunted house genre, and is a powerfully psychological tale.
Spring Break Short Story Recommendation 2023: “Barn Burning”
In lieu of the typical Monday Morning Movie Review today, I’m dedicating most posts this week to reviews of short stories (and possibly one short novella).
Spring Break has sprung, which means it’s time for my annual Spring Break Short Story Recommendations. Spring Break is one of the few times each year where I find myself with the leisure time necessary to read literary (and non-literary) short stories, and to celebrate this wonderful format.
It seems that in our age of hyper-connectivity and bite- (and byte-) sized content, we’re either reading massive amounts of digital fast food (like this blog), or settling in over the course of many evenings with long-form novels. My perception could be completely slanted towards my own experience—quite likely—but I get the sense that the noble short story has suffered somewhat.
(A quick aside: for the best bite-sized writing I’ve yet to find on the Internet, check out Stacey C. Johnson‘s blog Breadcrumbs; her writing is so inviting and mysterious, and probes at the interesting corners of life. Check out her piece “Survey of Poetry“; it’s excellent, and it’s about a mischievous [and real!] octopus.)
Even if I’m wrong about that assessment, I am right about this one: the short story is a form worth preserving. I have long harbored, though not acted upon, ambitions to write a collection of short stories; perhaps I’ll one day put cursor to digital paper and get the thing done. My own incalcitrance, however, is no reason for you not to read (or write!) short stories.
All philosophical ramblings aside, let’s get to today’s short story: William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning“:
Son of Sonnet: The Ballad of Forgotten Dreams
Son of Sonnet—now going by his given name, Michael Gettinger—is back with a mildly post-apocalyptic poem.
The premise is intriguing; Son tells me the request was for “a poem about being a feminist in a world where you’re the only female human left. Every other human is a male.” That sounds like the premise of a 1970s sci-fi flick!
Naturally, it’s not a great existence, but the feminist seems to realize the error of her ways. These lines were particularly poignant: “I learned a lesson through romance/That man may build for woman’s sake.” How very true—I’ve accomplished a great deal in my life simply because I wanted to impress women. I think that’s probably true for most men.
With that, here is Michael Gettinger/Son of Sonnet’s “The Ballad of Forgotten Dreams”:
Poem: The PACs
My call for submissions continues to yield fruit—KC, a regular contributor to and participant in the Dragon Common Room Telegram chat and its various projects—reached out with this poem, which she says is “a satirical take on Dr. Seuss’s poem ‘The Zax‘….”
When I asked KC if she had any biographical information she’d like to share, she said, “I don’t! Sorry! I’m literally just a bored housewife who writes for fun.” Then she sent along something a bit more indicative of her talents: she “is one of the writers of Rachel Fulton Brown’s Dragon Common Room Books; a contributing author to Centrism Games, Aurora Bearialis, and the upcoming Draco Alchemicus. But mostly she is a wife and mother who writes for the she[e]r fun of it.”
As we head into the election season, this little poem is a fun reminder of the perils of Uniparty politics.
With that, here is KC’s “The PACs”:
Son of Sonnet: Change
I approached the Poet Formerly Known as Son of Sonnet (PFKSoS), Michael Gettinger, about writing a little something for the slowly approaching autumnality that I crave, and after demurring initially, he popped out this little gem about the changing of the seasons—of the world, to be sure, but also of our lives.
I’m always eager for fall weather, but Gettinger’s poem is a good reminder that we always forget the lows that come with each season, instead focusing on the highs.
Perhaps that’s not all bad; after all, how else are we to endure the heat and humidity of summer if we don’t forget them briefly and think about the pool parties and barbecues instead?
With that, here is “Change” by Son of Sonnet / Michael Gettinger:
Son of Sonnet: Summer Nights
We’re in the waning days of summer—at least, of glorious summer vacation—and I wanted to commemorate these fading, waning days with some poetry.
Ergo, I commissioned Michael Gettinger—formerly The Artist Known as Son of Sonnet—to twenty-three-skidoo up some summertime poetry. Of the two themes I requested, the second was “The Hazy Nostalgia of Late Summer” (the first was “Back to School”).
There’s something about intense humidity and sunlight at 9 PM that conjure up heady memories of better times. Michael captured that beautifully in this poem.
With that, here is Michael Gettinger’s “Summer Nights”:
Supporting Friends Friday: The Literary Serenity Archives
Just when it seems that I am running out of friends to support, I stumble upon some new bloggers whose work I admire. Such is the case with this Friday’s featured “friend.”
While I don’t know her personally—and, thus, “friend” might be a bit bold of a claim—I’ve come to enjoy Joyce Jacobo‘s charming literature blog, The Literary Serenity Archives.
Son of Sonnet: Passion
While scribbling away on some blog posts last week, I had a pleasant surprise: a new poetry submission care of Son of Sonnet! It’s a work about the undeniable passion shared between men and women.
Regular readers know that I am an unalloyed fan of Son’s poetry, and I encourage each of my readers to consider a subscription to his Locals page. It’s the best way to support his work directly, and I know that appreciates every subscriber. Son is also very responsive to feedback and comments, so it makes for a lively community.
I’ve really been beating this drum lately—we need to support creators on our side of this great culture war. The Left creates crap culture, but they support it and produce a lot of it; what they lack in quality they make up for with financial support and total media saturation.
But I digress. Your generous subscriptions to my SubscribeStar page have made it possible to patronize Son’s work. As a community of artists, readers, and pundits, we should work together as much as possible to cultivate and support one another’s talents. I can’t pay Son much—yet—but I’m able to offer him something for his talents because of your generosity.
For a sample of Son’s work on this blog, check out The Gemini Sonnets; you can read all six here: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6.
You can also read Son of Sonnet’s poetry on his Telegram channel, on Gab, on Minds, and, of course, on Locals.