SST Presents Saki

Hello, readers.

The day is looking remarkably drab, almost fashionably so. It’s making a statement by wearing understated gray clouds. It’s trendy as fuck.

Laura

by Saki

This is how today’s story begins:

“You are not really dying, are you?” asked Amanda.

“I have the doctor’s permission to live till Tuesday,” said Laura.

“But to-day is Saturday; this is serious!” gasped Amanda.

“I don’t know about it being serious; it is certainly Saturday,” said Laura.

This Laura character is amusing as hell. Faced with her imminent she’s contemplating her reincarnation as an otter with “an elegant svelte figure”. Apparently she hasn’t always been a good or even decent human being so, of course, she’s getting demoted to an animal. This chick is over life, the universe, and everything. Especially Amanda’s husband Egbert, who just sounds annoying as hell. Anyway, Laura dies, but she comes back to get her revenge on fussy, whiny Egbert. It’s great. One of those things where you’re reading and chuckling quietly to yourself.

Now, Laura’s a bit of a dick. I know that. You’ll know it if you read the story. But, when life gives you shitty people sometimes all you can do is destroy their flowerbeds and kill their prized hens. We get so caught up in playing nice with people and end up surrounded by assholes. One day you wake up and your friends are people you kinda hate.  Maybe all that being nice is getting us nowhere. Maybe we need to start removing toxic, unnecessary people from our lives and exacting a little payment along the way. Maybe it’s time to murder these people’s chickens, so to speak. #DIYKarma

All I’m saying is sometimes we should delete people from our lives the way we delete them from Facebook. And with just as much relish. 

Have a good one, readers. Until next time!

SST Presents Crane

Short Story Thursdays is a weekly dispatch. Every week you get little known stories in PDF format, accompanied by a short intro and commentary by the guy who runs the whole thing.I started this series called “SST Presents”, so named because that’s the subject title on the emails, to share those stories with you. If you’d like to subscribe, send an email to shutyourlazymouthandread@shortstorythursdays.com

You guys.

This week has been a shit show. Seriously. I’m waiting to hear whether I’ve been admitted into grad school. Casually watching the mailman’s every move. Checking the mailbox multiple times a day. They say a watched mailbox never gets any mail, but what do people know anyway? I’m sure if I stare at it long enough shit will happen. Mail will magically appear. Only to tell me I have actually not been accepted, but thanks for trying. Kloveyoubai.

A Mystery of Heroism

by Stephen Crane

This week’s dispatch of SST is all about death and war and something about being thirstily irrational or getting the fuck out of the garrison. It fits in perfectly with this disaster of a week. And the rain. And the humidity. And my generalized dislike of everything.

The story is about a guy, let’s call him Fred Collins because that’s his name, who realizes he’s thirsty and decides to get some water. The problem is they’re in the middle of a war. And the well is in this meadow which has become a battle field. But whatever, he’s thirsty, people are jeering and mocking, and all peer-pressured he gets moving towards the well.

When Collins faced the meadow and walked away from the regiment, he was vaguely conscious that a chasm, the deep valley of all prides, was suddenly between him and his comrades. It was provisional, but the provision was that he return as a victor. He had blindly been led by quaint emotions, and laid himself under an obligation to walk squarely up to the face of death. But he was not sure that he wished to make a retraction, even if he could do so without shame. As a matter of truth, he was sure of very little. He was mainly surprised.

I totally get this guy. Haven’t you ever suddenly found yourselves in a situation without quite knowing how you got there? Except, everyone seems to know what they’re doing and they seem to expect you to know too. You’re just there, making shit up as you go because what else can you do, really? That’s life. I think. Stumbling around blindly and kind of getting things right until someone comes around and knocks your damned bucket over.

Don’t spill other people’s buckets, guys. It’s not cool.

Until next time, readers.

SST Presents Coppee

Short Story Thursdays is a weekly dispatch. Every week you get little known stories in PDF format, accompanied by a short intro and commentary by the guy who runs the whole thing.I started this series called “SST Presents”, so named because that’s the subject title on the emails, to share those stories with you. If you’d like to subscribe, send an email to shutyourlazymouthandread@shortstorythursdays.com

Good evening, readers.

Thursday has come at a weird angle for me. Nothing inherently wrong or bad has happened, but nothing has quite gone right either. It was a series of mildly unfortunate events. It’s left me in a weird mood where I’m not upset in any way, but I’m not happy or at ease. Today has been like being out of synch with the world, like watching a bad video where people’s mouths move before the audio comes through.

An Accident

by Françoise Coppee

Today’s SST dispatch came with undertones of sadness and maybe a sort of angst that I can readily identify with today. After reading the email, I was ready to be heartbroken by this story and I wasn’t disappointed. I was nearly in tears after reading today’s story, maybe just a single tear fueled by a kind of ache for this man who just wanted to love someone else. A man who knew he wasn’t pretty and was willing to wait for a woman to love him in time. Who sought pardon for his mistakes, but only with minor regret knowing she would be happier.

This story is a confession within a confession. This priest who presides over a lonely, little frequented parish finally finds himself with a penitent. After only hearing “the uninteresting confessions of some good women”, he’s surprised to find a man waiting to confess his sins. Let me tell you, this is not an uninteresting confession, although I think he was a good man.

I feel so sad for his lot in life, I can’t even bring myself to condemn him for his actions. There’s a certain beauty in his pain, devoted as he was to a woman who left him for someone else. A woman he stayed close to, whose child he loved, who he helped throughout the years with the little money he had.

For some reason the image I have in my head is of a human version of Eeyore. I picture this guy humble, eyes sad with old pain, but not weighed down by it, a kind of peaceful acceptance of what his life was. And maybe I’m projecting, maybe I’m remaking this fictional man in my sadness’ image. I’m okay with that.

The guy who writes the emails was asking himself why hurting could feel good, that ability to find comfort in pain. I think feeling and accepting someone else’s pain helps ease our own. Those knots in our soul that we can’t quite figure out or give voice to, come undone when we let ourselves ache. Even if it’s for a fictional character. The pain is still there, but it becomes more bearable, maybe easier to work through. I don’t know. But I do feel a bit better now, so maybe there’s something to it after all.

Gentle reminder to subscribe to SST. The stories are solid, the dispatches are usually funny, sometimes serious like the one for today, but always a pleasure to read. I’m not getting paid for this. There’s no affiliation to SST. I just really like the concept and I think the stories they send are worth reading and sharing. So, subscribe. It’s free. Do it. Ok, maybe not so gentle.

Have a good one, readers. Until next time.

SST Presents A. E. Coppard

Hello, readers!

This is the first official post in the “SST Presents” series, so named because that’s the tittle of the weekly Short Story Thursdays dispatch. If you want to know about SST or how this series came to be, check out the introductory post I wrote last week.

Broadsheet Ballad

by A. E. Coppard

This week’s story revolves around two men who go into a tavern for dinner, but it starts raining while they eat and they decide to wait it out with beer. As the room dims and cools they get to talking about this guy who’s about to get hanged. Did he do it? Did he not? One of them pipes up with a story about murder and pregnancy and general thrills in a small town. And I can’t help, but think of small towns here, of gossip in general.

That characteristic “did you hear what happened to….?”. The small gasp, the sudden lighting of the eyes, the do tell and please, go on as people gather tidbits of other’s lives. And sometimes it doesn’t even matter whether you know the person or not, you trust it to be true because it happened to someone in their family or to a friend or perhaps a friend’s family member. Even through the degrees of separation there’s still that small bit of titillation at being privy to someone else’s secrets.

Reading this story is a bit like that. The surprise at finding out what he did, the shocked gasp when you realize what she did. And in the end you lean back and think, “man, people do some crazy shit”.

Have a good one, readers.

If you’re interested in subscribing to Short Story Thursdays, send an email to Jacob Tomsky at shutyourlazymouthandread@shortstorythursdays.com

Introducing Short Story Thursdays

Hello, readers!

I realized that most of what I talked about on here were novels, with one or two short story collections thrown in. And I wanted to remedy that.

I’ve been subscribed to the Short Story Thursdays emails for about 2 years now. Every week you receive little known stories in PDF format, accompanied by a short intro and commentary by the guy who runs the whole thing. Here’s a video describing the organization a bit more.

My experience with it has been pretty great, because you get access to stories that you otherwise never would’ve read. So, I decided to share those stories with you, or at least my thoughts on them. With that in mind I’m starting a new series called “SST Presents”, so named because that’s the subject title on the weekly dispatches.

The plan was to start in on the stories today, but I decided to give you a little info on the whole thing before hand and give you guys the chance to subscribe. That way you have the story by the time I’ve posted something. You can read both, maybe. If you’re into that. And you should be, because how hot is that? This all took a weird turn.

This is all in the video, but I’m going to go ahead and repeat it. If you’d like to subscribe (and you really should), all you have to do is send an email to shutyourlazymouthandread@shortstorythursdays.com. It’s simple. It’s painless. You get story deliveries. Really, there’s no reason not to.

Subscribe, be merry, and I’ll see you tomorrow for (another new series!) Friday Night Movies!

New Things Are New

Hello, hello readers!

I’ve pulled another disappearing act on you guys, proclaim me Houdini and call it a day. I’m sorry though. Life, you know? Anyway, I return to you bearing tidings and good news! Or just news in general. I’m going to share them in a handy little list, because who doesn’t like lists? A lot of people actually.

1. The students at my university have declared a 72 hour strike following a general assembly today. Aside from al the things that might mean politically and how it might affect the semester, right now it means that I have 2 weeks free. We have spring break scheduled for next week. In light of these events, I’ve decided to have myself a little reading marathon this weekend. Maybe another 24 in 48 type of marathon or perhaps just a 24 hour reading binge. Maybe I’ll just pick a set amount of books for the weekend. The possibilities are endless! Still, that’s happening this weekend, so stay tuned!

2. I mentioned Short Story Thursdays in my last post, while sharing a music video. Essentially, SST sends out an email every Thursday with a short story about a forgotten author, accompanied with some colorful commentary by the guy who runs the organization. He’s the drummer in the music video, it all comes around. Circle of life, baby. Anyway…. I’m thinking of writing a a post about each story as it comes out. This means a post will be coming out on Thursdays with my take on that week’s story. If you want to subscribe to the emails (and you really should!), just send a message to shutyourlazymouthandread@shortstorythursdays.com. It’s that simple.

3. Speaking of new additions, I’m also coming up with something for Fridays. As of two weeks ago we ended the Alphabet Soup series, so I figured something new was in order for Fridays. I’ve been (re)watching Gilmore Girls for the millionth time and remembering how much I’ve always loved the concept of their Friday Night Movies – an indecent amount of snacks, take out, and a bunch of movies. With that in mind, I’ve decided to start a Friday Night Movie series! I’m still working out a few things with it or with how I want to organize it rather. So, the first post might go up this week or at the very latest the next.

4. I’ve FINALLY picked a book for Arkansas! Which means sometime next week I’ll be returning to my running reading challenge – Around the World in 250 Books. #Excitement

5. This isn’t news, but I think you guys are awesome. You’re probably fun and funny and all sorts of other adjectives. I’m happy you come around and read the stuff I write.

Those are all the updates I have for you guys today. I’m excited with all these new things, hope you are too! Or if not excited, at least mildly interested. (Humor me.)

Until next time, readers!

Rangent: YouTube Binge

Hello, hello readers!

Monday comes again like the promise of death and almost as cheerful. It’s been a weird, funk ridden weekend. I was meant to spend it with friends, but I had to work so I ended up spending it pretty much alone. I making it sound more depressing than it was, I promise.

I worked, which is always good when you’re as broke as I am. I got some reading done, the fourth book in The Hollows series is down and I’ve moved on to the fifth. Some studying was done. Most importantly, I’ve YouTubed. And having done so, I’ve decided to share my three favorite videos with you!

1. Affection – Cigarettes After Sex

I found out about this band because one of its members is the guy behind Short Story Thursdays. Now, if you don’t know what that is, SST is a weekly dispatch where you receive a short story from an often forgotten writer in history. Pretty cool stuff, if you ask me! I might start writing about them, so something to (possibly) look forward to. Anyway, they do cool ambient rock. Have a listen.

2. Unravel Gameplay Trailer

I’ve talked about video games before, most notably Firewatch. Which, by the way, came out last month! This is another game that came out recently and I’m really excited about it. You play as Yarny, a character made from a single thread that unravels as you move along. According to the website, the story unfolds entirely without words and the environment is inspired by Northern Scandinavia. It’s beautiful and somehow sad.

 

3. Joseph Speaks to Mary – Gage Wallace

This is an old favorite of mine. I really like slam poetry and there are certain poems I always return to like Accents by Denise Frohman and The Period Poem by Dominique Christina. And this one. This poem where Joseph speaks to Mary and promises all he is and all he has. Definitely worth a watch.

 

That’s it for today, readers. Hope you’re having a good day!