August 5, 2010

An Excerpt from “Certitude”

What I’m Reading Today:  More wonderful Kraken.  It starts quietly, but China's minute and wonderful observations about the world are so compelling! Every paragraph or two, I go, "Ah!"

An excerpt from one of the wonderful short shorts by my friend Rusty Barnes in his book Breaking It Down. Such fabulous writing coupled with such compelling situations. Short shorts are not my length, but they sure are Rusty’s. I urge you to get a copy today.

From “Certitude”

Mathilde knew that Warren wanted nothing more than to be feral, a slavering beastly man prone to sudden rages, a man who might chase down a kill with great loping strides like a wolf, neatly hamstring it, and howl his success to the stars. She knew this with certitude and no little anxiety, as women know things about their husbands that they can never touch or affect. Out there, just beyond their comfortable suburban home, their daughter Violet had gone to smoke marijuana with her friends, and Warren had caught her by the sound of her giggle when he had stepped into the woods to urinate after raking the leaves, and after chasing away her friends Bobby and Tito, had summarily disowned her and thrown her out on her teenaged rump.

Warren had not always been this way, never so quick to passion and short of intellect. Mathilde recalled him as she had known him for most of their twenty years together, a lanky man with a slight gut who could put a new clutch plate in the car at noon and watch an opera that same night. She recalled every detail of their five-year engagement, their eventual decision to have Violet—her name an obvious Verdi homage—and all the various and sundry elements of a life lived together, and generally lived well.
Questions of the Day: What is your natural length of story? Why do you think that is?


Rusty Barnes said...

Thank you for mentioning me and BiD. It's three years old now. I can't believe it.

As for the question at hand, I don't know which kind of story is most natural for me. Whichever one I'm working on at the time someone asks me, I guess. :-)

Tamara said...

Such an amazing book, Rusty! Judging by these shorts, I can't wait to read your novel.

I want to be good at short shorts, but I haven't mastered that aspect of craft so far. I'm much more comfortable with regular-length short story and novel length.

Do you think we should keep pushing ourselves to continue to write different lengths? (Especially as an editor.)