What I’ll be Reading for the 2017 Deal Me In Short Story Challenge


This year for Deal Me In (my 7th!) I’ve decided to try something a little new. I’ve decided to let fate decide, er, I mean let THE fates decide.  You know, the three fates from Greek Mythology?  Clotho, Lachesis & Atropos? (pictured below) In Plato’s Republic, Lachesis sings of “things that were,” Clothos of “the things that are,” and Atropos of “the things that are to be.” So I’ve roughly assigned some stories or essays that fit those categories.  But that’s only three suits, right?  I needed a fourth, and for some reason I recalled that the streets in the Indianapolis neighborhood I grew up in had literary names. (Hawthorne, Emerson, Riley, etc.) So I’m going to “take a stroll through the old neighborhood”and read things by the “author” street names in that neighborhood.  How’s that? I’ve also included some more essays in my roster, making this a non-pure “short story” challenge. But the rules are flexible on that. 🙂 I’m repeating my tradition of making “deuces wild” to allow some ad hoc selections throughout the year.  I will try to keep those in line with their suit, though.


(above pic found at http://andberlin.com/2012/09/13/castell-coch-red-castle-near-cardiff/)

Here are my stories/essays:



Lachesis – the past


♦A♦Letter from a Birmingham Jail – Martin Luther King (week 5)

♦2♦ – Wild Card – Fort Wayne is Still 7th on Hitler’s List by B.J. Hollars –  (week 20)

♦3♦I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou (week 7)

♦4♦ – The Perfect Past – Vladimir Nabokov

♦5♦ – The Lincoln Train – Maureen F. McHugh (week 21)

♦6♦ – Winter, 1965 – Frederic Tuten

♦7♦– Go Back – Karen Joy Fowler

♦8♦Hippies and Beats – Edward Hoagland (week 24)

♦9♦ – How She Remembers It – Rick Bass

♦10♦Winter Elders – Shawn Vestal (week 11)

♦J♦ – What it Means to be Colored Me (essay) – Zora Neale Hurston

♦Q♦ – The Hills of Zion (essay) – H.L. Mencken

♦K♦The Devil Baby at Hull House (essay) – Jane Addams (week 6)


Clotho – the present


♠A♠ – The Future is Now (essay) – Katharine Porter (week 23)

♠2♠ – Wild

♠3♠ – Tradition and the Individual Talent (essay) – T.S. Eliot (week 13)

♠4♠ – What Are Masterpieces? (essay) – Gertrude Stein (week 27)

♠5♠ – The Mongerji Letters – Geetha Iyee (week 4)

♠6♠ – The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates – Stephen King (week 22)

♠7♠ – Safety – Linda Fitzpatrick (week 9)

♠8♠ – Interview With a Moron – Elizabeth Stuckey French

♠9♠ – La Pulchra Nota – Molly McNett (Week 12)

♠10♠ – Watching a Woman on the M101 Express – Kamilah Aisha Moon

♠J♠ – Mr. Voice – Jess Walter (week 2)

♠Q♠ – The Big Cat – Louise Erdrich

♠K♠ – Double On-Call – John Green (week 8)


Atropos -the future


♥A♥– Moving On – Diane Cook

♥2♥ – Wild – The People of Sand and Slag by Paulo Bacigalupi (week 25)

♥3♥ – Happy Endings – Kevin Conti

♥4♥By the Time You Read This – Yannick Murphy (week 1)

♥5♥Jeffty is Five – Harlan Ellison (week 26)

♥6♥ – Divergence – David H. Lynn

♥7♥ – The Prize of Peril – Robert Sheckley

♥8♥The Aliens Who Knew, I Mean, Everything – George Alec Effinger

♥9♥ -Sex Ex Machina (essay) – James Thurber (week 17)

♥10♥ – The Creation Myth of Cooperstown (essay) – Stephen Jay Gould

♥J♥ – The Paper Menagerie – Ken Liu

♥Q♥The Anything Box – Zenna Henderson (week 3)

♥K♥ – The Spirit Stone – Maurice Broaddus (week 18)


The old neighborhood – stories by authors the streets of my childhood neighborhood were named after (with one exception, but that exception still is an Indianapolis street name, just not one where I grew up) 🙂

♣A♣ – Leaf Girl – Elizabeth Pearl (week 15)

♣2♣ – Wild Card – Sights from a Steeple by Nathaniel Hawthorne (week 19)

♣3♣ – A Plea for the Constitution (non-fiction) – George Bancroft

♣4♣ – Dedication Speech at Chickamauga – Lew Wallace

♣5♣ –  Friendship (essay) – Ralph Waldo Emerson

♣6♣ – Old Christmas – Washington Irving

♣7♣ – The Corn Song – John Greenleaf Whittier

♣8♣ – The Snow Image: A Childish Miracle – Nathaniel Hawthorne (week 16)

♣9♣ – Character (essay) – Ralph Waldo Emerson

♣10♣ – Legend of Two Discreet Statues – Washington Irving

♣J♣ – The Celestial Railroad – Nathaniel Hawthorne (week 14)

♣Q♣ – Love (essay) – Ralph Waldo Emerson (week 28)

♣K♣ – Strange Stories by a Nervous Gentleman – Washington Irving

Some of my sources for this year:

What about YOU?  Are you participating in the Deal Me In Challenge this year?  Why not give it a try?  It’s a fun way to keep yourself reading even when things get busy. I mean, who doesn’t have time to at least read one little short story a week, right? 🙂



  1. DebraB said,

    December 23, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Love your list and your concept of using the Greek myths!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dale said,

    December 24, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Great list, Jay! I hadn’t heard of your Washington Irving stories. Looking forward to reading about them as well as the rest of your list. I have been contemplating doing something with essays.


    • Jay said,

      December 25, 2016 at 11:15 am

      The one Irving story “Strange Stories of a Nervous Gentleman” is actually a series of shorter stories that’s a little lengthy but I figured that will help average out some of the shorter ones.

      Regarding essays, there were a lot of good ones in my Joyce Carol Oates-edited collection. If it goes well, I’ll do some more in the next iteration.


  3. Jason M. said,

    December 25, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Love the idea! Hope to see you find a way to work in a “Twilight Zone” source-material short story this year, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 25, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Thanks, Jason. I may yet do an additional thirteen in the Full Moon Fever add-on variant. Thos would be darker. More TZ-appropriate stories too. And there’s always a wild card or two…


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