Many people define their reading habits narrowly. You read novels. You read nonfiction. You read poetry. You read the newspaper. But I don’t know anyone who rules out short stories as an enjoyable and provocative way to spend a succinct period of reading time. “When you read a short story,” writes George Saunders – a formidable practitioner of the form – “you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you.”
Isn’t that key to just about all writing? You emerge from the world of the story more aware, more in love. I suspect each of this issue’s featured authors, including our “Ocean of Possibility” short story contest winner Graydon Megan, could get behind this philosophy when it comes to the reader’s experience of his or her work. Come fall in love. What writer could ask for more?
This issue of The Writer includes a variety of voices from the world of writing, including many that focus on the short story. Those who work in the short story universe are fond of saying that every word has to pull its weight to achieve the overall effect. But isn’t that true of longer forms as well? As true of poetry as of essays? We invite you to take the lessons of the short story and integrate them into your own craft regardless of genre, scope or style. The short story is a powerful form, but it’s the writing, not the size, that makes it work.
Also, we say goodbye in this issue to our agile managing editor Aubrey Everett, who was instrumental in re-launching The Writer several years ago when it moved from Madison, Wisconsin, back to its hometown of Boston. Her expertise, intelligence and know-how informed our daily operations, and for many of our contributors, she was the friendly gateway to publication. Anyone who has self-awareness and ambition understands Hamlet’s line: “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” We are grateful for her influence and wish Aubrey success and happiness as she takes what she knows about the field to the next level in her professional life.