Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: BEFORE THE RIPCORD BROKE by Charlie Close

"A very short story works the way a photograph does, or a one panel cartoon, or a moment in a movie trailer. It shows just enough to spark our imagination and invites us to do the rest. Ready? Let’s begin."

In "Silent Pie," a waitress is captivated by the same, quiet diner and wonders what a conversation would be like with him.

"Before the Ripcord Broke" just had an appealing quote: "He held his arms out wide to the approaching earth. To live life – not with a period, but an exclamation point!" (27)

These stories were generated from a fascinating concept. Like a painting or sculpture, they give you a shot, a glimpse of a picture from the story. Never revealing the whole story, they provoke questions and inspire the reader to kind of come up with the story in a series of "what ifs." What if you talked to this guy, what would he say? What if you cheated, how would you feel? What if you wandered into the woods, what would happen? 

The author states at the beginning that most of them are "very short stories"--in fact, they're sentences. I'm sorry, but one sentence is not a story. How can it be? A photograph or a cartoon can actually show a lot more of a story, and I guess a sentence can too, but not so much. Example: "I wrote a scripture, now lost." Sure, you might wonder how this person lost the scripture, but other than that, there's really nothing more there. There is no plot or characters, and it certainly didn't do anything for me. I guess I'm used to being more involved with a story. That's the way it's been, and that's the way I like it.

I've never read short stories like these. Typically, I'm used to stories (even short ones) having a beginning, a middle, and an end, which these stories had none of, but it was kind of fun experimenting with the open-ended questions.  Of course, not every story was great, but they certainly opened up my views on the traditional structure, how there are many forms and styles to it. Basically, writing is an art, and there is no right or wrong. That's what I love about art!

My rating: 3 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment