My newest work, a series of three-to- four-page stories spoken by characters caught at revealing moments in their lives, started with a little story I thought was a one-off. That piece centered on a not-too- young woman in Indiana buying her wedding dress. I never felt exactly as if I wrote that story; I simply got out of the way of the speaker. In less than four pages she set out an entire life and its several bad choices, including her choice to marry a good man whom she would probably come to hate. I loved the hurtling pace of the thing, and the superpacked quality of her concision. The story went off into a book, and for the next few years I kept halfway thinking about it, remembering how writing it was like riding a sled down an ice-slick hill.
Eventually I tried another one, very different from the first, and then more possibilities occurred to me. I was tired of novels, particularly my own, and tired of traditional stories. These new things, though—dramatic monologues, to borrow the playwrights’ term—presented new possibilities and gave me a whole new source of energy. So I’ve kept writing them. Here are links to two of them:
READ PINK BLINDNESS
Out in the sun porch, every surface is draped and dripping pink: ribbons and wrapping paper and punch and cupcakes. A strawberry milkshake could have exploded in there and no one would have known the difference. The shower’s been going on for two hours and we’ve all adjusted, but poor Rich, the father-to-be, stops in the doorway, pink blind.
READ GOOD NEWS
“You can throw a couple of your extra jewels my way. You’ll have them to spare.” If I keep this up we’ll wind up in the bedroom, so you can see there are a number of up sides, as long as I can keep her away from the people I work with.