the short story of the short story

«It is well known that the short story was invented by the Man in the Moon for two important reasons worth reminding ourselves of no matter where we live or what we’re made of: the first is that the Man in the Moon always found it difficult to finish a novel because of the instability of the moon’s light conditions. Imagine having to read with a flickering candle light—no fun. The other one has to do with love. The Man in the Moon loves Luna, the Woman in the Moon, the mother of menstruation: he found that reading a novel takes him for too long too far away from her. The multitude of characters, the often complicated plot, the superimposed structure of the classical, readable novel make it hard to simply dive in and climb out of it. The short story, on the other hand, especially in the form of its younger cousin, the flash story, is more often wild and won’t mind reckless, rickety reading. The short story is pure and easy, short and succulent. But perhaps you find this hard to believe even though your own mother and father told you about the Man and the Woman in the Moon, the projection of humanity on the round, scarred, friendly face of Earth’s eternal companion. Perhaps you have a much better, more rational, modern explanation for the existence of the short story. As things stand between us, I like my own version, not in the least because it’s short.»


From: Atticus Books Blog, “Marcus Speh: Flash Fiction Encourages Reckless, Rickety Reading (and that’s okay)“, May 9, 2012.

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