Aaannd…just in under the wire is the first installment in my new regular feature Short Story Sunday. (Well, for those of you west of U.S. Eastern Time Zone, that is.) Each Sunday (or as close to that as I can manage!) I’ll be posting reviews on a different short story. Why, you ask? I’m so glad you did!
A few years ago, I decided to take my first tentative steps back into the world of books. The problem was, that after so many years away, I had only a vague idea of what I liked, and I didn’t want to invest a great deal of time or money on something that didn’t speak to me. That’s when I discovered the joy of the short story.
A well-crafted short story is a rare thing. The author has only a very limited time to connect with you, the reader. That means fewer pages to make you wonder, to make you care and to make you understand everything about the people and places presented to you. Every word and every nuance must be chosen with purpose; everything superfluous must be extracted. If the author is successful, I truly believe a short story can be every bit as impactful as the lengthiest of tomes. That’s what I discovered when I stumbled upon then-Indie writer Jason Gurley and his moving short story, The Dark Age.
The Dark Age is about an astronaut headed to a deep space mission. The day he embarks on what will be a 150 year journey is the day his daughter is born. Knowing her only through videos and e-mails, he watches her grow before his eyes. When it’s time for them to enter into hibernation sleep, he his hit with the realization that when he reaches his destination, his family will be gone.
This was a beautifully written, poignant story. Although it was only 30 pages long, it had me in tears. Gurley is a father himself, so maybe that’s why it was so incredibly sincere. Loved it, loved it, and became a huge Jason Gurley fan because of it.
It was short stories that got me over my fear of reading. Is that the right word — fear? It seems so silly, but I think that’s what it was. Fear of choosing the wrong book and wasting my time or money was at least some of it, but really what I think it was was a fear of not knowing myself, and perhaps a bit, a fear of discovering myself. Short stories gave me the opportunity to take baby steps in the process of figuring out not just who I am as a reader, but who I am as a person.
I really think that books can be transformative. How about you? What books have made an impact on your life? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Until then, happy reading!
Little Book Reviews