Posts Tagged ‘literary theory’

After Death, Everything Is In Focus

March 15, 2009

The classic short story, publishable in innumerable journals: death arrives, preferably unexpectedly and preferably to someone young and undeserving, and the bereaved experience a moment of epiphany. This story will, if written tolerably well, get published just about anywhere.

The death can be imagined, or there could be a metaphorical reference of the passing away of something beloved, like the death of one’s ambitions, or the permanent separation of one’s loved ones.

No matter what dies, the important thing in the short story is to focus on who is the loser, and what happens to him or her when the loss is noticed and then reflected upon. Nothing justifies a complete change in personality or a massive onslaught of conflicting emotions as recognizing that death has come into one’s life and brought with it the heartlessness of cold uncertainties. If death can happen so sudden and unbidden, the soul is forced to inquire, What else can befall me? And the answer to this question becomes as large as the universe, and, because of its magnitude, has space enough to house every emotion and every story.

Nothing can attract the typical short story editor or contest director more strongly.

Let the games begin!