Thursday, July 28, 2011

Short Stories that Help

Two points about short stories today. I wanted to draw your attention to an excellent comment on the previous post by Hayley who mentioned that when depression left her unable to focus for long enough to read novels, short stories were recommended to her by a counsellor (Alice Munro was the first) and she has read them ever since. Has anyone else had this experience?

The second is how short stories can help in another way - the wonderful Metazen online lit 'zine is having a short story & poetry contest which is raising money for Somalian Drought Relief Effort (via East Africa Drought Relief Fund).Here are the details:

We will accept submissions with an accompanying fee throughout the month of August. All submissions will be considered and a winner and 3 runners up will be selected by our judges. Winners and runners up will get prizes. Yes.
So…you get to write, you get to win stuff and you also get to help support a cause. There is really no downside. Even if you lose, your karma will increase.
Please submit either one piece of fiction (limit 2500 words) or poetry (limit 2 poems).
There is no theme, we’re looking for something you’re proud of. Nothing filthy, nothing milfy, nothing too pithy. A little pith is okay. Not too much. Pith-ish.
Timeline: All submissions sent between July 24th and August 31st with corresponding paypal entry fee will be considered.
And here's what you can win:
First Place:
Publication on with accompanying commentary on your piece
10% of entry fees from contest
1 Copy of Frank Hinton’s “I Don’t Respect Female Expression” print and digital
1 DVD “MDMA” by MDMA Films
Runner Up (3 winners):
Publication on
(1) of the following:
- Fog Gorgeous Stag by Sean Lovelace
- Grease Stains, Kistmet, And Maternal Wisdom by Mel Bosworth
- Download Helvetica For Free . Com by Steve Roggenbuck
Get to it! Full instructions here.


Tim Love said...

Re "reading and health": I've read that psychologists have looked into this, and that short stories have been shown to be of potential use under experimental conditions. Zunshine (2006), Mar, Oatley, Djikic, etc suggest that reading fiction is a kind of simulation of social interactions. "After being given either fiction or non-fiction from the New Yorker, those who read the fiction piece scored higher on a test of social reasoning" ("The Psychologist", V21 No12, p.1030-1). For details see psychology, psychiatry and writers

annie clarkson said...

short stories are great when I'm struggling with my concentration (often!), busy life, lots going on and find it hard sometimes to give a novel the attention it requires... but short stories are just perfect, bite size for all times of day, situations with less time, and tired or befuddled heads! X

Hayley N. Jones said...

I think most good short stories also have an intensity - a sense of life or spirit that's hard to define - and I found that helps my depression too. It's alchemy: I find a short story can often capture the expansiveness of the world and the richness of life more than novels, which tend to feel more 'enclosed' and 'encapsulated'.

It's difficult to explain, but it helps me to see the potential and possibilities of... well, everything! I find it rather therapeutic; perhaps it's something to do with the 'slice of life' nature of many short stories. They remind me that life is episodic, complicated and random, as opposed to a neat, linear narrative progression.

Sounds obvious, but it's often hard to gain perspective when you have a mental illness!

Group 8 said...

Love it - both - thanks for sharing Tania.
Don't think I have anything 'free' for Metazen but I will look. I may be pith-tastic :(

Tania Hershman said...

Tim - that is absolutely fascinating, wow, thanks for this!

Annie, they are, aren't they? just little bite-sized joys.

Hayley, it isn't obvious, you express it extremely well. I really like "They remind me that life is episodic, complicated and random, as opposed to a neat, linear narrative progression." That makes so much sense, thank you.

WRW, go for it... they don't actually say "no previously pubbed"...