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Both his language and his subject matter are rich in traditional material. A Southerner might well suspect that only a reader steeped in sympathetic knowledge of the traditional South could fully understand Faulkner. Faulkner may seem, at times, to be a Southerner speaking to and for Southerners. Whether or not one sees the modern short story as a fusion of sketch and tale, it is hardly disputable that today the short story is a distinct and autonomous , though still developing, genre.

The evolution of the short story first began before humans could write. To aid in constructing and memorizing tales, the early storyteller often relied on stock phrases, fixed rhythms, and rhyme.

Consequently, many of the oldest narratives in the world, such as the ancient Babylonian tale the Epic of Gilgamesh , are in verse. Indeed, most major stories from the ancient Middle East were in verse: Those tales were inscribed in cuneiform on clay during the 2nd millennium bce. The earliest tales extant from Egypt were composed on papyrus at a comparable date.

The ancient Egyptians seem to have written their narratives largely in prose, apparently reserving verse for their religious hymns and working songs. Of all the early Egyptian tales, most of which are baldly didactic , this story is perhaps the richest in folk motifs and the most intricate in plot. The earliest tales from India are not as old as those from Egypt and the Middle East. Perhaps more interesting as stories are the later tales in the Pali language , the Jataka s.

Although these tales have a religious frame that attempts to recast them as Buddhist ethical teachings, their actual concern is generally with secular behaviour and practical wisdom. Another, nearly contemporaneous collection of Indian tales, the Panchatantra c. Most of those tales come from much older material, and they vary from the fantastic story of a transformed swan to a more probable tale of a loyal but misunderstood servant.

During the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries bce , the sophisticated narratives that are now a part of the Hebrew Bible and the Apocrypha were first written down. The book of Tobit displays an unprecedented sense of ironic humour; Judith creates an unrelenting and suspenseful tension as it builds to its bloody climax; the story of Susanna , the most compact and least fantastic in the Apocrypha, develops a three-sided conflict involving the innocent beauty of Susanna, the lechery of the elders, and the triumphant wisdom of Daniel.

The books of Ruth , Esther , and Jonah hardly need mentioning to those familiar with biblical literature: Nearly all of the ancient tales, whether from Israel, India, Egypt, or the Middle East , were fundamentally didactic. Some of those ancient stories preached by presenting an ideal for readers to imitate.

The early Greeks contributed greatly to the scope and art of short fiction. Apollodorus of Athens compiled a handbook of epitomes , or abstracts, of those tales around the 2nd century bce , but the tales themselves are no longer extant in their original form. They appear, though somewhat transformed, in the longer poetical works of Hesiod , Homer , and the tragedians. The Cyropaedia also contains other narrative interpolations: Moreover, the Greeks are usually credited with originating the romance , a long form of prose fiction with stylized plots of love, catastrophe , and reunion.

The early Greek romances frequently took shape as a series of short tales. The Love Romances of Parthenius of Nicaea , who wrote during the reign of Augustus Caesar , is a collection of 36 prose stories of unhappy lovers. The Milesian Tales no longer extant was an extremely popular collection of erotic and ribald stories composed by Aristides of Miletus in the 2nd century bce and translated almost immediately into Latin.

As the variety of these short narratives suggests, the Greeks were less insistent than earlier cultures that short fiction be predominantly didactic. By comparison the contribution of the Romans to short narrative was small. The other major fictional narratives to come out of Rome are novel-length works by Gaius Petronius Arbiter Satyricon , 1st century ce and Lucius Apuleius The Golden Ass , 2nd century ce.

Like Ovid those men used potential short story material as episodes within a larger whole. The Roman love of rhetoric , it seems, encouraged the development of longer and more comprehensive forms of expression. Regardless, the trend away from didacticism inaugurated by the Greeks was not reversed. The Middle Ages in Europe was a time of the proliferation, though not necessarily the refinement, of short narratives.

The short tale became an important means of diversion and amusement. From the medieval era to the Renaissance, various cultures adopted short fiction for their own purposes. Even the aggressive, grim spirit of the invading Germanic barbarians was amenable to expression in short prose. The myths and sagas extant in Scandinavia and Iceland indicate the kinds of bleak and violent tales the invaders took with them into southern Europe. In contrast, the romantic imagination and high spirits of the Celts remained manifest in their tales.

Wherever they appeared—in Ireland, Wales, or Brittany—stories steeped in magic and splendour also appeared. This spirit, easily recognized in such Irish mythological tales as Longes mac n-Uislenn probably 9th-century , infused the chivalric romances that developed somewhat later on the Continent.

Many, but not all, of the romances are too long to be considered short stories. The latter was gifted as a creator of the short narrative poems known as the Breton lays. Only occasionally did a popular short romance like Aucassin and Nicolette 13th century fail to address any of the three Matters. Also widely respected was the exemplum , a short didactic tale usually intended to dramatize or otherwise inspire model behaviour.

Of all the exempla, the best known in the 11th and 12th centuries were the lives of the saints, some of which are extant. Among the common people of the late Middle Ages there appeared a literary movement counter to that of the romance and exemplum. All were important as short narratives, but perhaps the most intriguing of the three are the fabliaux.

First appearing around the middle of the 12th century, fabliaux remained popular for years, attracting the attention of Boccaccio and Chaucer. Some fabliaux are extant, all in verse. Often, the medieval storyteller—regardless of the kind of tale he preferred—relied on a framing circumstance that made possible the juxtaposition of several stories, each of them relatively autonomous.

Since there was little emphasis on organic unity, most storytellers preferred a flexible format, one that allowed tales to be added or removed at random with little change in effect. Such a format is found in The Seven Sages of Rome , a collection of stories so popular that nearly every European country had its own translation. The framing circumstance in The Seven Sages involves a prince condemned to death; his advocates the seven sages relate a new story each day, thereby delaying the execution until his innocence is made known.

This technique is clearly similar to that of The Thousand and One Nights , components of which can be dated to as early as the 8th century but which was not translated as a single collection in Europe until the 18th century. In both the Persian and Arabian versions of the frame, the clever Scheherazade avoids death by telling her king-husband a thousand stories. The versatility Chaucer displays in The Canterbury Tales — reflects the versatility of the age.

This short list hardly exhausts the catalogue of forms Chaucer experimented with. By relating tale to teller and by exploiting relationships among the various tellers, Chaucer endowed The Canterbury Tales with a unique, dramatic vitality. Where Chaucer reveals a character through actions and assertions, Boccaccio seems more interested in stories as pieces of action. With Boccaccio, the characters telling the stories, and usually the characters within, are of subordinate interest. Like Chaucer, Boccaccio frames his well-wrought tales in a metaphoric context.

The trip to the shrine at Canterbury provides a meaningful backdrop against which Chaucer juxtaposes his earthy and pious characters. Behind every story, in effect, is the inescapable presence of the Black Death. The Decameron , likely written between and , is fashioned out of a variety of sources, including fabliaux, exempla, and short romances. Immediately popular, the Decameron produced imitations nearly everywhere in western Europe. In Italy alone, there appeared at least 50 writers of novelle as short narratives were called after Boccaccio.

Learning from the success and artistry of Boccaccio and, to a lesser degree, his contemporary Franco Sacchetti , Italian writers for three centuries kept the Western world supplied with short narratives. This story brings Take Your Daughter to Work Day to a different level, but it all ends up down in the dumps. Read short stories on your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Get your stories featured on EotW and in our newsletter. End of the Line. There's a new gadget in town and Liza has to try it.

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100 Great Short Stories

But will the price be too high? A children's story set in the Iron Age. A girl, Morg, makes a wish to the goddess Yet, this young woman is drawn to spirituality, connection and love. She has been drawn to all three all her life. And the only thing that steered her off course into this unsustainable lifestyle was the careless belief that if she did certain things and acted in certain ways she would be worthy in the eyes of others. That her social status would procure lasting admiration from these people.

And that she would never feel alone. The young woman walks up a steep paved road on the outskirts of the city center. She feels the burn in her calf muscles as she marches higher and higher. The road is, at first, filled with quaint boutique shops and young couples and friends, but as it advances uphill they give way to small cottage homes and kids playing with flashlights in the street.

She keeps marching higher and higher until she reaches a clearing where there is a small public park. In this park, a group of teenagers are huddled around two guitarists who are strumming and singing an acoustic melody. She wants to join the group.


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She wants to tell the guitarists that their music is incredible. Instead, she sits on a park bench a few hundred feet away. The bench overlooks the cityscape below. She stares off into the distance and up into the night sky for several minutes, thinking and breathing. And she begins to smile, because she can see the spiritual sanctuary. She can see it clearly. She can feel its warmth surrounding her.

And although she knows the sanctuary has existed for an eternity, her heart tells her something that stretches a smile across her cheeks: Not in the sense that she owns it. But rather in the sense that it belongs to all of us as part of our heritage, exclusively tailored for every human being and our unique needs and beliefs. We can escape to it at any time. About a decade ago on his 37th birthday, after spending his entire adult life loosely dating different women, he finally decided he was ready to settle down. He wanted to find a real mate… a lover… a life partner—someone who could show him what it meant to be in a deep, monogamous, trusting relationship.

So, he searched far and wide. There were so many women to choose from, all with great qualities, but none with everything he was looking for. And then, finally, just when he thought he would never find her, he found her.

Short Story: Rose - Art & Culture - The Jakarta Post

And she was perfect. She had everything he ever wanted in a woman. And he rejoiced, for he knew how rare a find she was. But as the days and weeks turned into months and years, he started to realize that she was far from perfect. She had issues with trust and self-confidence, she liked to be silly when he wanted to be serious, and she was much messier than he was. And he started to have doubts … doubts about her, doubts about himself, doubts about everything. And to validate these doubts, he subconsciously tested her. He decided to go out alone to parties with his single guy friends just to prove that she had trust issues.

It went on like this for awhile. As the tests continued—and as she, clearly shaken and confused, failed more and more often—he became more and more convinced that she was not a perfect fit for him after all. Because he had dated women in the past who were more mature, more confident, and more willing to have serious conversations.


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  • Inevitably, he found himself at a crossroads. Should he continue to be in a relationship with a woman who he once thought was perfect, but now realizes is lacking the qualities that he already found in the other women that came before her? Or should he return to the lifestyle he had come from, drifting from one empty relationship to the next? After he enrolled in our Getting Back to Happy Course a few days ago, desperately looking for answers, this is the gist of what Angel and I told him:.

    One of the greatest lessons we learn in life is that we are often attracted to a bright light in another person. Initially, this light is all we see. But after a while, as our eyes adjust, we notice this light is accompanied by a shadow… and oftentimes a fairly large one.

    When we see this shadow, we have two choices: If we decide to run from the shadow, we must also run from the light that created it. And we soon find out that our light is the only light illuminating the space around us. Then, at some point, as we look closer at our own light, we notice something out of the ordinary. Our light is casting a shadow too. If, on the other hand, instead of running from the shadow, we decide to walk towards it, something amazing happens.

    We inadvertently cast our own light on the shadow, and likewise, the light that created this shadow casts its light on ours. Gradually, both shadows begin to disappear. And I need to know more. Yet, I do my best to avoid making eye contact. But only long enough for her to look the other way, so I can once again catch a glimpse of magnificence. I do this, not because she intimidates me, but because I think she may be the girl Chad met last night. Ya planning on going sometime tonight? But also because I spent the past twenty minutes thinking about the port wine, and the chocolate cake, and the sweaty bed sheets.

    Hours later, the party begins winding down. But the band is still playing, the two painters who have been painting a wall mural all evening are still painting, and Angel and I are still dancing. When I dance, I transcend myself and the doubts that sometimes prevent me from being me. This evening has been enchanting, just dancing with you and being me.

    Story #2: When Our Old Stories Hold Us Back

    So I twirl her around. And the drummer keeps drumming. The guitarist keeps strumming. The singer keeps singing. The painters keep painting. And not just you and me, but the drummer, the guitarist, the singer, and the painters too. Everyone left in this room is naked… naked and free. Because moments of passionate presence flow into each other like port wine flows into chocolate cake.

    Short story

    And if we let them, these moments can expose us completely, and continuously. Because a true climax has little to do with orgasm, and everything to do with the passion, love, and devotion we choose to invest in someone or something. I need to be reminded of the beauty and sweetness of passionately absorbing oneself into the present moment—into the people, the dialogs, and the priceless little events that exist there.

    So I tell a story about a night from my distant past that I can remember and recite in vivid detail simply because I was completely present at the time. Giving myself the space and time to take life in and step into it, is a life strategy…a healthy daily ritual for me now. Specifically, I wrote this down when I was on a coaching call with Angel:. Taking the next step is what builds your confidence and motivation, gradually. So, Marc, I really appreciated the indirect reminder that you mentioned in story 4: You are making progress each and every day. Angel and I are truly proud of you.

    Thank you for the positive feedback, too.