Monday, August 24, 2009

Idea 89 - Even Better American Short Stories, 2010 Edition

I'll often pick up those cool "Best American Short Stories" compilations, mostly so I can look smart without having to focus on anything for too long. I figure I can come up with a competitor, or at least force my way into the original, as long as I stick to the formula the editors seem to look for:
  • write like you couldn't be bothered to care about the subject, but that it somehow makes you sad
  • don't be funny
  • avoid action or a plot
  • it can't hurt to write about growing up ethnic
Bottom line: boring = talented. Some ideas:

"The Sitting Room"
Boston, 1935. An Irish immigrant family sits in mildly tense silence. They are in a sitting room. The youngest boy scratches his dirty fingernails across his patched short pants. The grandmother glares at him. Time passes.

"Life and Tea"
A middle-aged man changes a tire. He thinks about various types of tea, and the depth of his analysis subtly reveals the lack of purpose in his life. A crow squawks in the background, although the man ignores it.

"My Mother Is Asian"
A thirty-something Asian-American woman quietly chafes at the extended, nonsensical Maoist rants purveyed by her non-specifically ill mother. Several fluttering, tentative hints within the text seem to possibly indicate that the woman may or may not wish her mother dead.

You know what, I'm thinking about changing that last one -- the whole death wish thing might be too exciting. Maybe I'll just end it with a thing about how the woman's mother never approved of her choices in home decor.

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