|As noted here, I’m commenting daily on the WMG Holiday Spectacular—which is a great project that releases a story every day. These might be reviews. Or not. They might be interesting. Or … um … not. They will be fun, though. For me, at least.
Here’s the next story.
“The Perfect Christmas”
There is something possible in a short story that just isn’t achievable in longer works. The short story writer gets only a few brush strokes rather than the whole canvas, after all. Longer work—a good novella or novel is meaty, but it can meander a bit. That meandering is a charm of its own, too. A novel explores. When you’re finished absorbing the full context of it, assuming it’s done well enough, it can resonate and reverberate for hours and even days later.
That resonation sits in the low frequency ranges, though. A great novel clings to me with the sensation of a sublime bass line.
A short story can stick to you, too, but they are more like respites than influencers—well-done and entertaining, you know. A good, workaday short story—even if not perfectly constructed, is useful in its way.
(Note that word ‘perfectly’ sitting here quietly, minding its own dangerous business.)
A story costs very little in time, and pays back a lot in comfort or humor or whatever. A short story gives you joy that is often similar to a longer work, but maybe not quite as deep. Call it the guitar riff of the written word.
But every now and again you come across a short story that rings in that way that a longer work cannot. There’s a pristine clearness to its essence that slides into the spaces of your mind until it hits bone. Its few strokes are elegantly formed. Its flow runs quietly under the surface to carry you places it wants you to go, be it that place one of joy or one of discomfort. When you finish one of these stories, it leaves behind this pristine wave of crystalline ringing that seems like it will go on forever.
For my money, “The Perfect Christmas” is one of those stories.
I’ll not say more for fear of destroying it.