December 2nd, 2008

The Short Story’s Moment of Mystic Expansion

“The short story concentrates on its grain of sand, in the fierce belief that there — right there, in the palm of its hand — lies the universe. It seeks to know that grain of sand the way a lover seeks to know the face of the beloved. It looks for the moment when the grain of sand reveals its true nature. In that moment of mystic expansion, when the macrocosmic flower bursts from the microcosmic seed, the short story feels its power. It becomes bigger than itself.

–From Steven Millhauser’s *NYT Book Review* essay, The Ambition of the Short Story

This essay was part of Bruce Johnstone’s presentation at the Waterloo reading last week, and it was joyful news indeed. The writing little high flown at times (takes a few swipes at the novel, a perfectly respectable form of prose) but it also reminds a story reader and/or writer of the possibilities and responsibilities of this beautiful form. I don’t understand the picture of the cow, actually. Do you?

When Johnny saw the numbers he lied

One Response to “The Short Story’s Moment of Mystic Expansion”

So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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