You may (or may not) recall that last year Dan Wickett of Emerging Writers Network and Dzanc Books declared the month of May to be Short Story Month, along the lines of April's Poetry Month. Dan commented on lots of short stories that month and several bloggers joined in. My contribution was to read and comment on as many short story collections as I could, and I think I got through about fifteen. I don't have time to do quite that much this year, but I would like to spend the month highlighting some stories from literary magazines, and we'll see what else happens along the way.
First, let me mention again T.J. Forrester's new website/blog, Five Star Literary Stories, which will focus on one story at a time from an online literary journal. Today T.J. posted a commentary by me about a fine story from Night Train. Be sure to check it out.
The first journal I'll discuss here is Lunch Hour Stories which, after the One Story model, prints a bound copy of a single story and sends them out every three weeks or so. Very handy, very portable. I have a new subscription to the journal and my first issue is #20: "The Guitarist" by K.T. Nelson.
The story is described by the author as a "mild fantasy" and that's a good description. It is set in a village in the mountains that might be of the sort that Star Trek explorers might stumble upon: timeless, civilized, untouched by the outside. Except then a stranger comes to town and turns things upside down. It is a classic set up for a story, of course, and it is handled wonderfully. The stranger is a guitarist who sings, among other things, "life songs," that have some kind of mystical power to them that is not really explained. A young girl in the village encounters the guitarist and has ideas about why he has come, but she seems to be wrong. And I'm with the story up to that point, but then its ending, which I won't spoil, seems too fast and unfocused. I'd be happy to read more of this author's work, though, so I wouldn't say the story is wholly unsuccessful.
More stories tomorrow!