FICTION

Teaching creative writing first showed me the value of stories. Not that my soul didn’t know, as stories are the stuff of youth and growth. But as a writer, a number of topics seem better suited to stories than to poems. This became obvious, somehow, in the classroom.

It might be the impersonality of stories that makes them attractive. They can be cast as fiction, of course, with an unknown result. Or with results opposite from what happened, or exactly what happened, or only what one might wish had happened. I’m also attracted to stories that present a problem, or point to an irony or to a contradiction in life, without judgment and without indicating a solution.

Is this because so much of life leaves us wondering, and I want the companionship of someone who sees how complicated things are? And, on occasion, a mind that realizes how unimportant everything is, and how reassuring a small, comfortable life can be? Whether mine or a fictional character’s. Then along comes a story that reawakens my sense of how vast our world is, and how replete with mystery and unfamiliar passion. And then another comes that presents a clear moral and punches it without shame.

I ramble among these possibilities, entertaining my heart with one or another.

Here are two of my short stories: