Before I wrote novels, before I could even envision writing something that long, I used to write short stories. In fact, I used to love short story writing so much that I swore to myself I would never see the need to write a novel (Are you getting the theme of how resistant I am to change here?). Then, about eight years ago, I wrote a novel, and I loved it so much that I swore to myself I would never feel the need to write a short story again. I haven't really thought about them much since.
Short stories are what originally made me want to be a writer. I read Lorrie Moore's "People Like That Are The Only People Here" when it was first published in 1997-ish. I loved the story so much that I re-read it, over and over and again. And I'm pretty sure that was one of the main reasons I really seriously started writing stories of my own.
But, back to yesterday. It's been a good seven or eight years since I've written, or even, read, a short story. I am fresh off finishing up two, rather lengthy, novel projects, and so yesterday, it occurred to me, that I could write a short story. Just for fun. It's been so long, I wondered, would I remember how? I opened up a file of stories I wrote back in 2002, and it felt strange to read these little pieces of my life from so many years ago, when I was such a different person and different writer. And then I remembered why I used to love short stories, because, in a way, they're like photographs, tiny snippets of life and time and the people living it. Just glimpses. I love novels for their expansiveness, for the way they consume you. But stories are good, too.
So now for my trying something new: I started working on a new short story yesterday, for the first time in over eight years.
What do you like better? Short stories or novels? Have you ever tried something for the first time in so long that it felt new again?