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Feb. 28th, 2006 @ 03:49 pm never read stories and do livejournal at the same time
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Current Music: Ween - Right to the Ways and the Rules of the World (live)
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Paul Gibson is right.

This song is amazing--if only because it's hard to tell who is more drunk, the band or the audience.

On an unrelated note, anyone here know anything about fishing up north? I kind of want to go fishing in Lake Erie someday. The only time I ever went fishing was with my grandpa when I was three, and now I am twenty and my grandpa is dead. I mention this because Dascomb had surprisingly good blackened catfish today, and Dascomb never has good seafood. I suppose that's the difference between saltwater fish from halfway across the continent and freshwater fish from just up north.

On an even more unrelated note, I have a growing distaste for anthologies of short stories written for writers, the kind with names like Best American Short Stories from Around The World, or The Anton F. Pufflemeister Anthology. (The one I'm reading right now is "Stone Animals" by Kelly Link, a story so irritatingly brilliant I'm taking a break from reading to write about it.) Don't get me wrong, there are real gems in there--I mean, you don't get published in one of these unless your technique is really solid--but I have the feeling that half these folk fall so in love with their command of language that they forget they're telling a story. Maybe swarms of check-plus images and oceans of vivid but completely unnecessary detail impress your workshop, but when they serve absolutely no purpose you end up with a story only another writer can appreciate. I thought the point of writing good stories was to write good stories, not to show off how many strings of clever unrelated sentences you can cram into sixteen pages. That's not to say that real writers don't go over the top sometimes--talented ones can pull off doing it all the time, even--but so many of these guys go through the motions of good writing without actually writing anything. They're like the cariacturists I see on the new Tamshui boardwalk, the ones that can do soulless, photo-perfect sketches of passersby and nothing else.

Maybe that's the difference between writing and writing to get laid.

(edit) Okay, I recant. If only because I'm reading "Anda's Game" by Cory Doctorow, which is in said anthology, and singlehandedly redeems it.

This is a story written by someone not of our generation, and it takes place in Internet gamer culture.

4) OMFG.

Bonus points for authentic treatment of clan culture, rocket jumping, gold farming, a totally sweet BFG cameo, and real Internet-generation language (not the H2USRRY OMGLOL crap that gets thrown around by thirty-year-old Hollywood scriptwriters on AOL), including several uses of "noob" and "pwnt". Penalties for conflating Star Wars Battlefront, Quake 3, and EverQuest, and completely missing the point of video games. Major penalties for writing about the experience of playing the game itself--which is not exciting to anyone already familiar with that experience--instead of the spectacular power struggles, romances, and epic-scale deceit that he would be familiar with had he ever stuck with a social MMORPG for more than two months. Probably some guy who played World of Warcraft once and thought it was neat.
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Date:March 3rd, 2006 04:44 am (UTC)

Best American Short Stories

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Hey, I just finished reading Kelly Link's "Stone Animals" myself. Forty pages of boredom. All of these "Master of Fine Arts" writers read the same. They have good technical skills but they don't tell interesting stories. I assume you're reading 2005's "Best American Short Stories," edited by Michael Chabon. I've only read three stories so far, but I'm not impressed. Lynne Sharon Schwartz's "A Taste of Dust" read pretty much like "Stone Animals" and was just as boring, though thankfully shorter. J. Robert Lennon's "Eight Pieces for the Left Hand" was worth a chuckle -- but is it really one of America's "best" short stories?
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Date:March 3rd, 2006 04:45 am (UTC)

Re: Best American Short Stories

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Who are you?
Date:March 4th, 2006 06:04 pm (UTC)

Re: Best American Short Stories

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My name is Adam. http://whatnotandmore.blogspot.com/

And, by the way, give Rick Dunlap a call if you want to fish Lake Erie. Get some friends together -- it's about $80 apiece to charter a boat for Walleye or Bass fishing. It's fun.