Small is beautiful
I find it sad there is not much appetite for the publishing of single-authored short story collections. Apparently they are not profitable. It’s always heartening therefore to read of publishers who sing the praises of this short but demanding genre that says so much in so few words. Comma Press is one such publisher who says this in its mission statement:
Comma’s Mission is to put the short story at the heart of contemporary narrative culture. Through innovative commissions, collaborations and digital initiatives, we will explore the power of the short story to transcend cultural and disciplinary boundaries, and to enable greater understanding across these boundaries.
Perhaps this message has never been so important as now, when the UK, its nations and its regions, are forging new identities in a post-Brexit world and making their voices heard.
I have a huge appetite for the short story genre (genre rather than form as it is open to so many forms). Masters of the genre put forward the case for its power. A few which always stick with me:
In its abilities to stretch, move through time, present unexpected twists and shapes, the short story is a limber as Lycra but equally unforgiving.
American writer Lorrie Moore
Short stories are the deep, encoded crystallizations of all human knowledge. They are rarefied, dense meaning machines.
American writer George Saunders
And closer to home, the wonderful Welsh writer, Cynan Jones, says it all so simply:
The short story seeks to imply rather than explain. To give the reader just enough to fire their own instinct to understand the World… a short story is about what it leaves behind.