Six Degrees of Separation – #6degrees
I remember having a go at this some time ago and I enjoyed the randomness of it all, so here I go again. Currently hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this month’s featured book is Stieg Larsson’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ which I read and loved.
As my chief reading pleasure comes from short stories, I’ll go slightly outside the lane and look at shorts. Let’s see where six steps take me . . .
When I think of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I think of a strong, fearless woman. Immediately, I thought of a passage from a short story written by Jennifer Mills. I had to search and search to find it “We think we are strong in my family. We think we are stoic. . . . We are only loyal to our own endurance.” The lines come from ‘The Capital of Missing Persons’ in Mills’ collection The Rest is Weight. The story is a beautifully crafted, poignant story about family.
Ah, families. Or “transistorised circuits” as the narrator Martha in ‘Blood Relations’ refers to them. Marion Halligan’s short story in The Hanged Man in the Garden is a piercing character study, memorable on a number of fronts but I have always remembered the families as transistorised circuits.
Martha. The name rings a bell and I rush off in search of something about spiders. What is that story? Oh, I’ve found it. ‘Martha and the Lesters’ is a short by Glen Hunting which made the cut in the 2014 Margaret River short story competition and was included in the anthology The Trouble with Flying. Hunting is a master of the short story and his writing can make me laugh out loud.
In a bizarre twist, ‘Martha and the Lesters’ leads me back to an author via moniker. Natasha Lester wrote ‘Wonder Tale’ which I read in the Sunscreen and Lipstick anthology. [actually, ‘Wonder Tale’ is taken from Lester’s novel What is Left Over but, as I read it as a short story, my theme still has legs]. It is memorable to me for the phrase ‘scratchy voice carving the words into my dreams’. ‘Wonder Tale’ is, as I read it, a story about telling a story and it is – perhaps – about truth and motherhood.
No-one writes motherhood quite like Susan Midalia (one of my all-time favourite shorts is Midalia’s ‘A Blast of a Poem’). ‘An Unknown Sky’, the title story of her 2012 Anthology, has a mother adjusting to her son’s leaving, her “beautiful, ironic, unknowable son”. As the mother of just one child – a son – I related deeply to Midalia’s story.
Mothers. I think of ‘Perhaps the Bird was Wise’, Carmel Bird’s story of a girl sitting at her mother’s deathbed as time ticks quickly. I read it in her collection My Hearts are Your Hearts. The book was borrowed from the library and I can’t check it now but I am pretty sure I am recalling the right one. It is fitting to finish this Six Degrees jaunt with Bird, a strong fearless woman (if her writing is any indication) who (like me) grew up in Tasmania.
So there, I managed to twist my love of short stories into this fun meme.