July 27, 2009


I love short stories. I used to read novels before bed, and I still do, but come college, I knew I couldn't go on reading "Anna Karenina" and taking the entire semester to finish it. If reading a novel in bits and pieces is like having a snack (unsatisfying) before going to bed, then short stories are meals, a real second dinner.

I recently started reading McSweeney's-- it's a quarterly publication of short stories and letters and whatnot that make up a motley bunch. But a very vivid, life-rollicking, AHA! kind of motley.

The bell rings. Lunch. You push and shove your way into the cluster of the Girls' Room, and there's no privacy and you try to peer into the tagged-up piece of dull-shine metal that's bolted to the wall where everyone wants a mirror, but there are girls applying mascara and girls with lip-liner and the only air is a fine wet mist of aerosol AquaNet and it's too hard to breathe and you can't see if it's still pinned straight, because that last snatch was like an afterthought and it didn't evven tug all the way off... Hey girl, why you crying? You want me to kick some motherfucker's ass for you, girl? 'Cause I'll do it, bitch, I'm crazy like that. You just show me who, right, I'll do it homegirl. And through your tears you want to throw your arms around the giant mountainous chola and her big-hearted kindness and you want to kiss her Adidas and say Taylor ryans' name and you want to point him out and you want his ass kicked hard, but you stop yourself.

- Saint Chola, by K Kvasahy-Boyle. From "The Better of McSweeney's."

Plus, the covers of the McSweeny's are pretty awesome. I mean come on. What beats a liver on the cover of a book?