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National Short Story Month: Five Questions with Five Writers

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In celebration of National Short Story Month I asked several acclaimed short fiction writers to answer five questions for me. Fair is fair, I answered them myself. I will posting installments all month. Here is the first batch:



Alan Heathcock by Alan Heathcock

Alan Heathcock, author of Volt.

What is your favorite opening line of a short story?

"Mrs. May's bedroom window was low and faced on the east and the bull, silvered in the moonlight, stood under it, his head raised as if he listened--like some patient god come down to woo her--for a stir inside the room."--from "Greenleaf," by Flannery O'Connor.

Name one short story that inspired you to write short stories yourself?

Indian Camp by Ernest Hemingway

Who are your five favorite short story writers?


Sherwood Anderson, Anthony Doerr, Flannery O'Connor, Joyce Carol Oates, James Salter

What are five short stories that you would recommend everybody should read?

"Upon the Sweeping Flood" by Joyce Carol Oates
"The Caretaker" by Anthony Doerr
"Winter Chemistry" by Joy Williams
"The Inventor, 1972" by Bonnie Jo Campbell
"Field Dressing" by Jodi Angel

If you could fight any character in a short story who would that be?

Neddy Merrill in John Cheever's "The Swimmer". I'd punch him square in the mouth, then tell him to put down the cocktail, stop swimming in other folks' pools, and get his sh*t together. Then again, the story pretty much does that to him anyway. Still...Neddy's got a smack or two coming his way.



Lydia Millet by Lydia Millet

Lydia Millet, author of "Magnificence" and "Love In Infant Monkeys"

What is your favorite opening line of a short story?

  It's not a first line, but it's a line. In Margaret Atwood's "Rape Fantasies" from 1977. A phrase, actually, that's part of a longer sentence. "I'm sure he couldn't rape his way out of a paper bag, poor old thing."

  Name one short story that inspired you to write short stories yourself?

  Well, it was in college I first read and tried to write real short stories, so probably I'd have to say the famous "A Good Man Is Hard to Find."

Who are your five favorite short story writers?

  Lydia Davis, Italo Calvino, Anton Chekhov, Clarice Lispector, Joy Williams. 

What are five short stories that you would recommend everybody should read?

Any by those named above.

  If you could fight any character in a short story who would that be?  

I'm a lover, not a fighter.

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http://twitter.com/billthebutcher2

Bill Wetzel is Amskapi Pikuni aka Blackfeet from Montana. He's a former bull rider/wrestler turned writer and a coauthor of the short story collection "The Acorn Gathering." His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from the American Indian Culture (more...)
 

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More questions and authors to come throughout the ... by Bill Wetzel on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 7:03:44 AM
It is interesting how the preponderance of short s... by Susan Lee Schwartz on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 9:30:30 AM
I probably read more women now than men, both poet... by Bill Wetzel on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 10:06:11 AM