Sunday, May 27, 2007

Scuba Diving in My Bathroom Sink

This week, another writer on a writing forum I frequent alerted me to an interesting Washington Post article Self Taught: For the Long Disparaged Art of Short Fiction, A Widening Appreciation of the Form

There is one quote in particular from the article that I feel is a very good example of the sort of prejudice short story writers encounter in a culture where novels are central and short stories are often just considered a writer's "warm up" act. Former Book Review editor, Charles McGrath, once compared short story writers to "People who learn golf by never venturing onto a golf course, but instead practicing at a driving range."

Several years ago I encountered a writing professor with a similar attitude. When I turned in a portfolio of short stories as my final writing project, this is what she wrote on my cover page. "The problem I have with short stories is their shortness makes one feel like trying to learn how to scuba dive by putting one's head in a bathroom sink full of water each night."

I guess I'm destined to be shallow, because I'm still writing and publishing short stories in addition to starting my second novel.

No news yet, regarding my near year long search for an agent to represent my first novel. I'm still waiting for word regarding several partials still out there with a few top agents. And I still have not heard back from the editor at Knopf that requested my full. It's been nearly nine months, but it was a wild card query I sent, sans an agent. So while I am patiently waiting, I continue to write, because that's what I do--write and wait. Write and wait. And of course scuba dive in my bathroom sink :-)


Tia said...

I think short stories are harder to write than novels. It's the ultimate in tight writing. I have only written a few short stories that I think turned out well, and I have published none of them.

However, I must honestly say that I did not try very hard. My first love is with novels, and that is what I really enjoy writing.

Writer, Rejected said...

Oh, the hard, hard life of a short-story writer. It can be discouraging, but we do it because we know that it is an amazing art form, which only few can accomplish. Hey, but check out my new blog for more short-fiction outrages: