I decided that I wanted to take a short story class, so I signed up for one at Stanford. This is week one. The teacher is a guy named Shimon Tanaka, and he seems really cool. I Googled him, and have found one short story, “The Flight Back,” that I really liked. I am going to look for others!
It is an Internet class, which is a little odd. I may need to watch my Internet manners, because Shimon has already commented that I am “edgy.” His quotes. I’m debating just keeping my mouth shut (fingers, actually) going forward, but I suspect I won’t. We Richardsons can’t help but mix it up.
So what are we learning? Week one we’re focused on plot – “Introduction, Making That Page Turn.” That is a good topic for me, because plot is the thing I have most trouble with. And Shimon has had us focus on “conflict” and “tension” – things that make a story move forward. It has been pretty helpful.
This week we read two short stories: “Cathedral,” by Raymond Carver, and “Happy Endings,” by Margaret Atwood. Reading “Cathedral” was cool, but I’ve read the darn thing many times before. And next week we read “The Lady With The Pet Dog” which is in just about every short story anthology. It’s probably asking too much to have something from Uncage Me thrown in there! Anyway, maybe by reading “Pet Dog” again I can get some more insight into how Chekhov pulled off his magic.
Hopefully more to come. Stay tuned…