I completed my PGDip coursework at the end of June. (phew) And earned a more-than-satisfactory grade on my final assessment. (giant phew) Which means I’ll probably graduate from my two-year creative writing program with distinction. (giant yay!)
Now that I’m free of assigned texts or genres, my tastes have morphed to creative nonfiction — at least for short-form pieces, I’m devouring not-too-serious novels, too.*
So this series of recommended reading is transforming from short stories to all genres and styles, which, honestly, is how it should be. I kept throwing in poetry and non fic stuff anyway! (Starting with Adrienne Rich in volume 3.)
I’ll mark fiction with unicorns 🦄 and personal essays and other creative non-fiction with horses 🐴, just in case there’s a particular attraction or revulsion for either.
And without further ado, here are three short pieces I’ve enjoyed recently.
‘The Stars at Night‘ by Regina McKay 🐴
Part of The Good Trade‘s Summer Essay Series, McKay’s roughly 1,000-words are a touching account of family, marriage, adaptation, and accepting what is. And who couldn’t use a reminder that we all “have a 100 percent success rate in dealing with tough days,” just by our continued existence?
Heart-warming with none of the Hallmark movie sappiness. Given my own experience with surgical recovery going sideways, I really connected with McKay’s story and loved the reassurance that it’s all okay.
‘Pages from Before‘ by Molia Dumbleton 🦄
Is it a romance? Maybe. A confessional? Perhaps. However you wanna classify this short story, it’s a deliciously quick read (a little over 1,000 words) about a journalist and a country music star.
A lovely bit of sadness and desire and hope. Recommended, especially while listening to Cowboy Romance by Natalie Merchant.
‘I Can Feel Him Breathing‘ by Tara McGuire 🐴
An honourable mention for Room Magazine‘s 2021 Creative Non-Fiction Contest, this 3,500-word personal essay about attempting to make peace with a heroin overdose is serious stuff. McGuire’s visit to a safe injection site (Lower Mainland dwellers will recognise the Vancouver references) may not provide answers, but it does strip some of the demonisation from drug addiction.
Haunting, human, and heavy. Highly recommended.
* If you’re into historical romance with a feminist edge (no simpering misses here!), might I suggest Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore. Suffragists, scholars, and the requisite scandal of Regency-ish romance.
Other selected short reading
- Selected short-story reading (vol. 1)
- Selected short-story reading (vol. 2)
- Selected short-story reading (vol.3)
- Selected short-story reading (vol. 4)
- Selected short-story reading (vol. 5)
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