We invited Literally Stories author and friend, June Griffin, to be Editor for a day and choose three great short stories from the site. Here is what June had to say about the three stories she chose and why she felt they were special.
The forces of nature, human and otherwise, are at work in my three top picks, which I heartily recommend to every LS reader and writer, past and future.
Without a shade of murkiness, each story reveals these forces in their own distinctive way and pays tribute to the human comedy with clarity and precision. Each of the writers has perfected a beautiful writing style, and their intriguing plots and characters keep us engrossed from start to finish.
My first pick is Irene Allison’s It Happens Every Other Sunday. The story is rich with meaning on many levels as Allison handles the dynamics of her story brilliantly in dialogue, quiet reflections, and descriptive passages.
The vivid banner picture of swirling masses of angry clouds matches Allison’s portrayal: “The sky and the earth become one and it becomes impossible to tell which is falling into which … a chamber of hell.”
These words illustrate the churning emotions of a bitter and self-centered divorced couple who meet at an isolated and neglected park in the Pacific Northwest every other Sunday in a trade-off of their five-year-old daughter. What follows is a story that ascended straight to the top of my list.
My second pick is Michael Henson’s realistic human drama, Stand-By. Set in Chicago’s O’Hare airport, seven stand-by passengers are weary and bored as the hours pass with one delay after another, but Hansen effortlessly captures us with his cool, fluid, and understated narrative style. The stressed-out passengers are nameless but Hansen tells us all we need to know about them. The elements of compassion and morality that Hansen brings to his moving story has made it a top pick.
My third pick is Friday by Jane Dougherty. The story begins with François, a lonely retired butcher, taking an afternoon walk in the crowded French neighborhood where he was born. It is Friday on a late spring afternoon, and he is anticipating the weekly treat he gives himself – spending the evening at Les Bons Copains bistrot. Dougherty became a potential top pick candidate with her superb depiction of the sights, sounds, smells and colors of François’s vibrant, multi-cultured neighborhood. When François ends up at the park, resting in an old rickety chair, Dougherty nailed the third spot by concluding her story with one of the most poignant, uplifting and exquisitely written scenes I have ever read.
I hope to see more stories from these exceptional artists.
Header photograph: By Xpolj42 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons