May is National Short Story Month, and this week, it comes to an end.
At Atticus Review, we read and publish some remarkable shorts and flashes (not to mention poetry, but National Poetry Month already bogarted April—the cruelest month), so short fiction is already in our awareness hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.
Still, May holds special meaning because it validates what we do. It says, “Look here, everyone: short stories are important. They have their own month and everything.” It reminds non-writers and non-readers, assuming they stumble upon This Very Special Month, that there are still writers writing short fiction, that stories have evolved since Poe, and that they still live, footnote-free, in places not named “Norton.” May is a yearly wellness visit, a chance to renew your vows, an opportunity to re-sign the lease (and a great time to mix metaphors).
So let us be part of your annual renewal ritual, your commitment ceremony to reading and writing short stories. Decide to live here another year, put a ring on it, get a clean bill of literary health. As luck would have it, May is also Get Caught Reading Month, Creative Beginnings Month, and National Smile Month, which pretty much qualifies May as a ticket from the universe to read now, read everything short, even the poetry—especially the poetry, which tends to be the shortest of all stories—before June rolls in. Because June—known also as Celibacy Awareness Month, National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, Potty-Training Awareness Month, Dairy Alternative Month, and National Steakhouse Month—will all too soon yield celebrations of its own.
Allan Shapiro’s “Has and Have” is an existential comic recasting of Frankenstein, with a disembodied head reanimated and told stories, to be shown love once the switch has been turned back on. This week’s flash, Timothy L. Marsh’s “Dispatch From a Residency Bender (No Reply)” and Ben Clark’s poem, “The Spell To Remove His Spell,” take the form of angsty letters from lovelorn speakers, separated by time and distance, the poem authoritative in its address, the flash apologetic, the pendulum swing from self-doubt to confidence of writers who have loved.
Photo by Ben O’Bryan on Flickr