I am also reading Tabloid Dreams by Robert Olen Butler. Rarely am I blown away by short stories. In fact, I'd guess that my response to at least 80% of the short stories I read (which are already selected in some way or another to be "good") is "I'm not sure whether that's good or not." I suppose this is partly due to how stories are written these days, or what we value (inventive! unique! brilliant structual finesse!). It's rare to find a story that just hits you in the gut.
I've been reading Butler's From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction -- a transcription of his writing lectures, and I was curious to read some of his stories. I've read a lot of writing books: is he any good? Is there really value added here?
Each story in the book (yes, every single darned one) has so far made me say "Holy shit, I wish I'd written that." Especially Titanic Victim Speaks From Waterbed. How many people can pull of a story of an aqueously embodied ghost voicing its regrets from within a waterbed?
For James Vance, and his family
4 months ago