And now… The Short Story Initiative!

Nancy at Simple Clockwork is retooling the “Short Stories on Wednesdays” meme and creating a new, monthly version to replace it. This monthly version is called…


Each month will have a common theme and a “Mister Linky” where participants can link back to their blog posts or websites. The theme for the first month is “Getting to know each other,” and participants are asked to answer the following questions, so here goes…

1. Why do you want to join The Short Story Initiative?

I think I’m “grandfathered in” by having participated in Short Stories on Wednesdays! 🙂 AND because I want to hear of new stories and new writers, and connect with other readers who enjoy this form.

2. What kind of short stories do you read? Is there a specific genre or culture or nationality you would like to explore through short stories?

I read all kinds. In my annual short story reading project I try to have several different categories. I also enjoy re-reading those stories which are really, really good.

3. Who is your favorite short story writer? Why?

“Too many to mention,” but I’ll name some: Chekhov, Kipling, Kurt Vonnegut, H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, M.R. James (ghost storie!s), Ernest Hemingway, William Trevor, Haruki Murakami, Jack London, Edgar Allan Poe. I admire any writer who, with the economy of words required by the short story form, can tell a complete story that includes some depth of plot and character.

4. What is the most memorable short story you have read?

Again, too many to pick just one. Some stories I find myself recommending often to others are: “The Black Monk” by Anton Chekhov, “The Waiting Supper” by Thomas Hardy, “Brushwood Boy” by Rudyard Kipling, “Smee” by A.M. Burrage, and “The Three Hermits” by Tolstoy – to name just a few.

5. What is your experience with short stories in the past? Is it a good or bad experience?

Good, of course, or I wouldn’t be here! 🙂 I have many hefty SS anthologies in my personal library, and many collections by specific authors. In my old book club, we had a tradition where, for each July meeting, it was “short story month.” Each member would pick a story and share it via photocopy or emailed PDF and the group read all the stories. It was always my favorite meeting of the year, as I was exposed to many new authors and stories that I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise.

6. Share one book confession when it
comes to short stories?

I used to think O. Henry was “O’Henry.” (you know, like he was an Irishman!)

7. Share something about yourself that has nothing to do with short stories.

I’m a total trivia/quiz show addict. At least once or twice a week I can be found at the local bars that feature the Buzztime trivia game (I’m “OTTO” in that network – if you participate, look me up!). I’ve tried out for the tv show “Jeopardy!” twice and made it to the contestant pool both times but have never gotten “the call” to appear on the show. My current term in the pool expires in January, so keep your fingers crossed for me. 🙂

(“This… is… Jeopardy!”)


I look forward to getting to know the other short story afficionados out there, and I’d like to add a big “thank you” to Nancy for her administrative efforts for The Short Story Initiative.



  1. nzumel said,

    September 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    That “O’Henry” confession is funny. Looking forward to everyone’s reviews!


    • Jay said,

      September 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I am looking foward to them also!



  2. Nancy said,

    September 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Hi, Jay! Am I excited to see you participating in The Short Story Initiative! That O. Henry bit made me smile. I first thought him a pirate myself. I enjoy Wilde’s stories, too. And I got here a collection by Trevor I haven’t even opened yet. Then last night, my book shopping addiction pushed me to buy my first collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury and Washington Irving. I’m looking forward to your posts. For now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed until you get into “Jeopardy”. Thanks for joining!


    • Jay said,

      September 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Nancy,
      I am excited about the SSI! I have Trevor’s collection, “After Rain,” which had many great stories, a few of which I’ve blogged about in the past year and a half or so. I just bought Bradbury’s collection “The Illustrated Man” this past Monday. Irving has long been a favorite of mine too. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is another favorite. I even lived in a place called “Irvington” (named after him) once!


      • Nancy said,

        September 6, 2012 at 12:50 pm

        I got Trevor’s “Ireland”, though. I just finished reading Irving The Specter Bridegroom and The Broken Heart. I’m saving The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle for the weekend. Irvington! 🙂


    • Jay said,

      September 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      P.S. (Nancy) I’m having trouble leaving a comment on your blog too. When I hit submit, it thinks for a moment and then pops back to the blank form and my comment is gone. I tried switching from my iPad to a desktop and the same thing happened both times. 😦


      • Nancy said,

        September 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

        No worries. Your two comments actually went through. I had to take down the verification process for the benefit of everyone (like Risa who have had trouble with commenting on my blog for weeks already), but since that makes my blog vulnerable, I have to go back to moderating comments. You won’t see your comment appear immediately after your post it. So I went ahead and approved your comments, and voila! 🙂


      • Jay said,

        September 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm

        OK, thanks for letting me know. I don’t think it said, as it usually does, “your comment is awaiting moderation” unless I missed it. Both my comments were the same, essentially, so you can delete one 🙂


  3. anatheimp said,

    September 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    I just love short stories. I must find the time to take part.


  4. Jade said,

    September 5, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    My absolute favorite short story is Hills Like White Elephants by Hemingway. It’s just so…I don’t even know. Beautiful, amazing and a million other things!


    • Jay said,

      September 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Jade,
      I haven’t read that one yet, but Hemingway is one of the masters in my opinion. (Hmm… I think we’ve had this conversation before…) 🙂


  5. Risa said,

    September 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Ha ha! I used to make the very same mistake with O. Henry. I wonder what the ‘O’ is supposed to stand for when it isn’t really his own name anyway…

    And I had no idea “The Black Monk” was a short story. I was under the impression it was a novel…


    • Jay said,

      September 9, 2012 at 11:09 am

      Hi Risa,
      The Black Monk is a little longer than most short stories, but not so long to be considered a novella even (I think). It is great. I found myself reminded of it last year when the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library’s book club read Vonnegut’s “Sirens of Titan” – the “Chrono Synclasitic Infandibulum” (I’m sure I butchered that spelling) phenomenon in that novel sounded somewhat like the method by which the apparition of The Black Monk travels in Tolstoy’s story of a hundred years before. I recommended it to the club but I don’t know if any of them eventually read it or not. Probably not. 😦


  6. Che said,

    September 7, 2012 at 5:40 am

    I love Murakami. For a long time I stuck to his novels and then stumbled on Elephant Vanishes and loved it. I’ve read After the Quake partly but have no clue about Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. Perhaps, I’ll read more of him for this event.


    • Jay said,

      September 9, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Hi Che,
      He has quickly become one of my favorites. I also read his novel, Norwegian Wood, this year and found myself really liking it in spite of its tragic subject matter. I’m amazed when a writer can pull off something like that.


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