Saturday, August 23, 2008

Leo Tolstoy

I'm out of town this weekend, and trips that involve airplanes are always a good time to start a new book. I've just dug into Leo Tolstoy's Collected Shorter Fiction Vol. 2. It was recommended to help get me adjusted to Tolstoy before going further in War & Peace. But the thing I really love about short stories is the relatively limited amount of time the author has to create his or her desired effect. It's not that different from playing music. Writing a song, or improvising a solo, requires an acute compositional sense to know where you are and where you are going, and how you plan on wrapping things up, and all in a very short time. You're essentially creating a moment in time, conveying a feeling or mood that is experienced in one sitting. It can be experienced repeatedly if one chooses. This is exactly how you read short stories.

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