I have a blog now. I can’t decide if that’s good, bad, or potentially catastrophic, but I’m going to run with it.
For this first blog post I’m writing about what I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit is a new venture of mine, reading short stories. I might be a writer, but I’m a terrible reader. I’ve been out of college for almost two years and I can probably count the number of books I’ve read to completion since then on one hand. Meanwhile, I would need an entire orchestra of hands to count the books I’ve started, enjoyed, yet put down because something got in the way. Reading for me is like travel; I love it and don’t do it anywhere near as much as I should. So, to try and mend this issue, I’m starting to read short stories. My theory is I can get back into reading with some smaller stories, that I can get the full experience of in one sitting, instead of beginning and stopping halfway through. Also, in the past I’ve only read a handful (there’s the hand metaphor again, sick of it yet?) of short stories for my own personal enjoyment, not for a grade in English class, so this is a welcome change of pace for more reasons than one.
First up on my short story reading list, “From a Table, Falling,” by E.H. Hahn, published in 2009 in, “The Saint Ann’s Review.” This is a story I’ve been told to read for years and should’ve read a long time ago. Not only did I get the chance to meet the author, my mom was close friends with E.H. Hahn and has remained friends with Hahn’s family since the author’s death in 2011. Opening up the book to this story I was a little nervous, it almost felt as if I was intruding on my mom and Hahn’s friendship. But I’m really glad I finally read this because, “From a Table, Falling,” is excellent.
At thirteen pages long, this story is shorter in its whole than a single chapter of most books, at least the ones I’ve read. That’s what exhilarates me about the story; it’s so brief yet so compelling and so comprehensive in the exploration of its subject matter. To talk about the plot is to give away the plot, so the most I’ll say on that is it follows the narrator, referred to only by her nickname, “Baby Doll,” and her loving supportive husband, “Freddy,” over the span of some twenty years. Hahn’s ability to pack twenty years into thirteen pages without making it feel crowded is extraordinary. Much of those twenty years are told in a sequence of conversations between the narrator and her husband, some of which feel so naturally random I don’t doubt they were based on real life, and metaphor-heavy narrative sections that I’m certain I only scratched the surface of. I’ll have to read this story again, and again after that. I highly recommend tracking down and reading, “From a Table, Falling,” by E.H. Hahn. It’s a trip worth taking.