Why short stories?
1.) I am plot-impaired (Nilo Cruz, playwright, endeared himself to me recently when he claimed “Plot! It’s so vulgar.”)
2.) I have a tiny little attention span.
3.) I multi-task.
4.) Stories are about individuals, and novels are about communities. I can’t even fill in a blank USA map, let alone a world one. But I can tell you all about my kitchen.
5.) The short story is a literary art form still very much under construction. It feels as if I’m participating in something vaguely innovative.
Eudora Welty. Carson McCullers. E.M. Forster. William Trevor. Richard Stark (didn’t see that coming, did you?).
In the off hours?
Cooking. Detective novels. Hiking with dogs. Driving long distances in the car. Listening to stand-up comedy. Sitting in nice bars with friends telling stories.
Back to stories after the forthcoming novel. The novel is based on the true story of the serial killer who terrorized my hometown at the exact same time that I was terrorizing my parents: the years 1974-1979. Adolescence (mine) and binding, torturing, and killing (BTK). The novel picks up during the months when the serial killer resurfaced (and was caught), and during my middle age (ongoing).