Thursday, September 22, 2011

2008 Carve anthology, and getting back to stories

Just out from Carve magazine, the publisher of 'honest fiction': an anthology of 2008 Carve stories, which includes my story 'Used to Be', placed third in the 2008 Raymond Carver Story Competition, a story in which, as a woman is driven too dangerously fast along a motorway, her life passes before her, and memory, character and story are all thrown into question.
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See more about the anthology here.

This news comes like an endorsement the morning I wake up remembering that, before I stopped off to work on a substantial novel, I was writing a collection of stories. Not that I'd actually forgotten that in the simplest sense, but I'd stopped thinking in short-story mode and had lost emotional touch with the underlying creative thrust behind the story project. On occasion I had even started to tinker with one or two of the stories without that goal properly in sight, sometimes wondering what had moved me to write them and so not really knowing in what direction to take them, and then wondering if I should abandon them. What was the inspiration - the real, fundamental inspiration? What, in the wider analysis, were they really about? Weren't they just odd little quirks that didn't fit into anything holistic? (Me being stuck in holistic novel mode).

Yesterday afternoon I finished my clear-out. I had a tidy study, a full vacuum bin and a stuffed paper recycling bin. And I felt depressed, the way you do when you're not writing. Would I ever write again, even? Then yesterday evening it all came back to me: the point of those stories, and the point of the whole project along with new ideas as to how I could develop it. 'Used to Be' was the first story I wrote in the series, and feels like the central story - so far, anyway. And here it is, this morning, in this lovely new anthology alongside fifteen other great stories, with an endorsement, in Carve's mission statement to offer 'honest fiction', of my very own remembered goal.


Group 8 said...

Congrats, E. Always nice to see your work in a good anthology.

I too am back to stories after the long haul of the novel. It is both exciting and challenging. A different process for sure. Maybe I didn't realise that before. Part of me longs for the immersion of the novel, part of me is relieved to be dipping in and out of different worlds.

Elizabeth Baines said...

Yes, definitely a different process. Pros and cons with both...!

Tania Hershman said...

Oh wonderful, I love your prize-winning story - and of course am absolutely delighted that you're coming back to stories...!

Elizabeth Baines said...

Thanks, Tania!