The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 7th Edition (2006) ~ Part One

“And it may be that in this continuity, this utter indifference to the life and death of each of us lies hidden the pledge of our eternal salvation, of the continuous movement of life on earth, of the continuous movement toward perfection.” ~ Anton Chekhov

The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 7th Edition (2006), edited by Richard Bausch and R.V. Cassill has a collection of 140 short stories from 1835 to 2005.

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The Anthology also includes reviews, brief interviews, commentaries, a glossary of critical terms, and several short essays by writers discussing their views on writing fiction.  

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Some of the short stories included are written by James Baldwin, Willa Cather, John Cheever, Jorge Luis Borges, Sherwood Anderson, Raymond Carver, Ray Bradbury, Anton Chekhov, Joseph Conrad, Stephen Crane, Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), Edwidge Danticat, Andre Dubus, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Gabriel García Márquez, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Nadine Gordimer, Kate Chopin, among others.

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Short Fiction

Ann Beattie’s “Snow” (pgs 114-115) was first published in 1983 and is an extremely short story (about two brief pages) that is intensely vivid and opens with the memorable line:

“I remember the cold night you brought in a pile of logs and a chipmunk jumped off as you lowered your arms” (p 114).

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Ann Beattie, American novelist & short story writer (born 1947), photo taken in 1980

Ann moves the reader further into the memory of two lovers one winter with her casual tone, her omissions (what is read between the lines), and the romanticism with the rising and falling of syllables as she circles back to the title of her story.

“This is a story, told the way you say stories should be told: Somebody grew up, fell in love, and spent a winter with her lover in the country. This, of course, is the barest outline, and futile to discuss. It’s as pointless as throwing birdseed on the ground while snow still falls fast. Who expects small things to survive when even the largest get lost? People forget years and remember moments. Seconds and symbols are left to sum things up: the black shroud over the pool. Love, in its shortest form, becomes a word. What I remember about all that time is one winter. The snow. Even now, saying ‘snow,’ my lips move so that they kiss the air” (p 115).

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Published in 1996, Gina Berriault’s “Who Is It Can Tell Me Who I Am?” (pgs 128-139) focuses on a librarian named Alberto Perera who has an interaction with a homeless man who seeks refuge from the harsh winter in the warm library.

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Gina Berriault, American novelist and short story writer (1926-1999)

The “intruder” reads a poem about a spider and other animals by the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío to Alberto the Librarian and asks, “What do you figure this guy’s saying? Wake up every day feeling great you’re you?” (p 129)

This brief interaction sets off a chain of events between Alberto the Librarian and the nameless stranger (referred to as “visitor” & “guest”), and how they interpret the meaning of the poem and one another. Alberto is concerned for his own safety and the safety of the library, while the “visitor” asks, “You suppose I could spend the night in here?” (p 136) but Alberto rebuffs the stranger — “All I’m saying is you cannot spend the night in this library” (p 137) — and Alberto eventually forces the stranger outside at closing time.

Before the stranger departs for the last time out into the cold, he tells Alberto, “You want me to tell you what that poem is saying? Same thing you’re saying. If you can’t halloo the sun, if you can’t go chirpity-chirp to the moon, what’re you doing around here anyway… To hell with you is what I’m saying” (p 137).

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The ending of the story confronts Alberto the Librarian with a hopelessness he isn’t really ready for, a sense of nihilism that shakes him to the core — the things he cherishes and has guarded for decades (books & knowledge) don’t mean as much as he thinks they do:

“The young man was now no one, as he’d feared he already was when alive. The absolute unwanted, that’s who the dead become… It would take many months, he knew, before he’d be able to speak without holding back. Humans speaking were unbearable to hear and abominable to see, himself among the rest. Worse, was all that was written down instead, the never-ending outpouring, given print and given covers, given shelves up and down and everywhere in this warehouse of fathomless darkness” (p 139).

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Raymond Carver’s “The Student’s Wife” (pgs 201-206) and “Cathedral” (pgs 206-216) take the reader into the ordinary in order to reveal the extraordinary — birthing from the mundane the profound.

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Raymond Clevie Carver Jr., American short story writer & poet (1938-1988)

In “The Student’s Wife” (published in 1976), the children are asleep in bed late at night while the parents lie in their bed. The “Student” is reading poems from the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke to his wife as she dozes next to him. She briefly falls asleep and has a dream which she soon relates to her husband. Later, the husband falls asleep while the wife, conflicted and worried, remains awake roaming throughout the apartment.

What Carver does well is to use vivid descriptions to show the beauty all around the characters only for the inner emotions of the characters to distract from the beauty — to have the characters more concerned with their temporal problems rather than receiving and appreciating what is before them. Carver often focuses on a single intense moment which usually shifts in meaning with a single word or phrase.

“When it began to be light outside she go up. She walked to the window. The cloudless sky over the hills was beginning to turn white. The trees and the row of two-story apartment houses across the street were beginning to take shape as she watched. The sky grew whiter, the light expanding rapidly up from behind the hills. Except for the times she had been up with one or another of the children (which she did not count because she had never looked outside, only hurried back to bed or to the kitchen), she had seen few sunrises in her life and those when she was little. She knew that none of them had been like this. Not in pictures she had seen nor in any book she had read had she learned a sunrise was so terrible as this” (p 206).

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“Cathedral” (published in 1983) is by far one of Carver’s most famous short stories and tells of a man describing to a blind man named Robert the image of a cathedral which is showing on the television set late one night. After smoking some marijuana, the man ultimately fails at describing the cathedral to Robert, whose wife also recently died (hence one reason for the visit).

The blind man then asks his host, “Let me ask you a simple question, yes or no. I’m just curious and there’s no offense. You’re my host. But let me ask if you are in any way religious? You don’t mind my asking?”

“I shook my head. He couldn’t see that, though. A wink is the same as a nod to a blind man. ‘I guess I don’t believe in it. In anything. Sometimes it’s hard. You know what I’m saying” (p 215).

The story emerges its themes here of faith and believing something without seeing, without having definitive proof — especially relating to the religious and spiritual. The blind man asks his host to then close his eyes and draw the cathedral showing on the TV.

“So we kept on with it. His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper. It was like nothing else in my life up to now… ‘I think you got it,’ he said. ‘Take a look. What do you think?’

“But I had my eyes closed. I thought I’d keep them that way for a little longer. I thought it was something I ought to do.

“‘Well?’ he said. ‘Are you looking?’”

“My eyes were still closed. I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside something” (p 216).

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Published in 1960, John Cheever’s “The Death of Justina” (pgs 258-265) is one of his lesser-known short stories but one that is tremendous in its ability to meander through present thought and history as a seamless construction bound by the rising and falling of mood and tone.

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John William Cheever, American novelist & short story writer (1912-1982)

The narrator describes himself thus: “Now, my journey is a digression and has no real connection to Justina’s death but what followed could only have happened in my country and in my time and since I was an American traveling across an American landscape the trip may be part of the sum. There are some Americans who, although their fathers emigrated from the Old World three centuries ago, never seem to have quite completed the voyage and I am one of these” (p 260).

As the narrator leaves his dull job as a commercial writer in the city by train to return home to deal with Justina’s dead body which was “still sitting on the sofa” (p 261), his thoughts and memories float back to his childhood and through his ancestry — ever sinking into depth and meaning with Cheever’s classic specificity and long-winded sentences — with hints of Joseph Campbell and Thomas Wolfe.

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“At Proxmire Manor I was the only passenger to get off the random, meandering, and profitless local that carried its shabby lights off into the dusk like some game-legged watchman or beadle making his appointed rounds. I went around to the front of the station to wait for my wife and to enjoy the traveler’s fine sense of crisis. Above me on the hill were my home and the homes of my friends, all lighted and smelling of fragrant wood smoke like the temples in a sacred grove, dedicated to monogamy, feckless childhood, and domestic bliss but so like a dream that I felt the lack of viscera with much more than poignance — the absence of that inner dynamism we respond to in some European landscapes. In short, I was disappointed. It was my country, my beloved country, and there have been mornings when I could have kissed the earth that covers its many provinces and states. There was a hint of bliss; romantic and domestic bliss. I seemed to hear the jinglebells of the sleigh that would carry me to Grandmother’s house although in fact Grandmother spent the last years of her life working as a hostess on an ocean liner and was lost in the tragic sinking of the S.S. Lorelei and I was responding to a memory that I had not experienced. But the hill of light rose like an answer to some primitive dream of homecoming. On one of the highest lawns I saw the remains of a snowman who still smoked a pipe and wore a scarf and a cap but whose form was wasting away and whose anthracite eyes stared out at the view with terrifying bitterness. I sensed some disappointing greenness of spirit in the scene although I knew in my bones, no less, how like yesterday it was that my father left the Old World to found a new; and I thought of the forces that had brought stamina to the image: the cruel towns of Calabria and their cruel princes, the badlands northwest of Dublin, ghettos, despots, whorehouses, bread lines, the graves of children, intolerable hunger, corruption, persecution, and despair had generated these faint and mellow lights and wasn’t it all a part of the great migration that is the life of man” (p 261).

As he so often cleverly does, Cheever is able to conjoin the “Proxmire Manor Reflections” with the death of Justina by the story’s end:

“We buried Justina in the rain the next afternoon. The dead are not, God knows, a minority, but in Proxmire Manor their unexalted kingdom is on the outskirts, rather like a dump, where they are transported furtively as knaves and scoundrels and where they lie in an atmosphere of perfect neglect. Justina’s life had been exemplary, but by ending it she seemed to have disgraced us all” (p 264).

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Some of the best short stories out of the entire Anthology are Anton Chekhov’s “Gusev” (p 266), “Anna on the Neck” (p 276), and “The Lady with the Dog” (p 284).

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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Russian playwright & short-story writer (1860-1904)

Published in 1890, “Gusev” (pgs 266-275) opens with the stark and memorable line: “It is already dark, it will soon be night” (p 266) in section one, and continues with the opening line in section two: “A blue circle is the first thing to become visible in the darkness — it is the porthole; then, little by little, Gusev makes out the man in the next bunk, Ivan Pavel Ivanych” (pgs 267-268). These opening lines set the tone and theme between Gusev and Ivan, and of a death soon approaching:

“And are you afraid to die?” a wounded soldier asks Gusev.

“I am,” Gusev replies (p 274).

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Published in 1895, “Anna on the Neck” (pgs 276-284) follows the circumstances of a miserly father wanting to marry his young daughter off as the winter ball in the Hall of Nobility on December 29th approaches.

The story follows Anna, who is as relevant today as back then in the 1800s:

“When Anna was escorted home it was daylight and the cooks were going to market. Joyful, intoxicated, full of new sensations, exhausted, she undressed, dropped into bed, and at once fell asleep” (p 283).  

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Published in 1899, “The Lady with the Dog” (pgs 284-296) takes place in Yalta where Dmitry Dmitrich Gurov befriends Anna Sergeyevna, who is alone visiting the Russian city on the Black Sea.

Anna, who is married but conflicted with her marriage situation, soon becomes lovers with Gurov, who is often bored with her:

“Anna Sergeyevna, ‘the lady with the dog,’ seemed to regard the affair as something very special, very serious, as if she had become a fallen woman, an attitude he found odd and disconcerting. Her features lengthened and drooped, and her long hair hung mournfully on either side of her face. She assumed a pose of dismal meditation, like a repentant sinner in some classical painting…

“How can I justify myself? I’m a wicked, fallen woman, I despise myself and have not the least thought of self-justification. It isn’t my husband I have deceived, it’s myself. And not only now, I have been deceiving myself for ever so long” (p 288).

Anton, nevertheless, doesn’t disappoint as he allows the reader to patiently follow these two lovers through their own personal journey of self-discovery — perfectly blending the locale with the emotional struggles between Anna and Gurov as they are seated between a “church” (marriage, spiritual life, etc.) and the “roaring sea” (time, death, etc.):

“When they got out of the carriage at Oreanda they sat down on a bench not far from the church, and looked down at the sea, without talking. Yalta could be dimly discerned through the morning mist, and white clouds rested motionless on the summits of the mountains. Not a leaf stirred, the grasshoppers chirruped, and the monotonous hollow roar of the sea came up to them, speaking of peace, of the eternal sleep lying in wait for us all. The sea had roared like this long before there was any Yalta or Oreanda, it was roaring now, and it would go on roaring, just as indifferently and hollowly, when we had passed away. And it may be that in this continuity, this utter indifference to the life and death of each of us lies hidden the pledge of our eternal salvation, of the continuous movement of life on earth, of the continuous movement toward perfection” (p 289).

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Edwidge Danticat’s “A Wall of Fire Rising” (pgs 417-428) was published in 1991 and focuses on a father (Guy), mother (Lili), and young son (Little Guy) in Haiti who live in abject poverty near a sugar mill.

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Edwidge Danticat, Haitian-American novelist & short story writer (born 1969)

As Guy seeks work and Lili takes care of their modest shack-home, Little Guy practices for a school play by reciting his lines. Little Guy’s lines include, “I see the bones of my people,” and heavily reference a mass slave revolt in 1791, when a “wall of fire” destroyed many French plantations in the region.  

Guy becomes obsessed with a hot air balloon belonging to the owner of the sugar mill. Guy tells his wife, “Listen to this, Lili. I want to tell you a secret. Sometimes, I just want to take that big balloon and ride it up in the air. I’d like to sail off somewhere and keep floating until I got to a really nice place with a nice plot of land where I could be something new. I’d build my own house, keep my own garden. Just be something new” (p 425).

Later, Guy tells his wife, “I remember my father, who was a very poor struggling man all his life. I remember him as a man that I would never want to be” (p 426).

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One beautiful side to the story is the closeness of the family, the warmth they share in their bound unity — albeit poor and struggling — but the story turns to face harsh reality through tragedy as Guy steals the hot air balloon.

“The boy covered his face as his mother looked up at the sky. A rainbow-colored balloon was floating aimlessly above their heads… She wanted to look down at her son and tell him that it wasn’t his father, but she immediately recognized the spindly arms, in a bright flowered shirt that she had made, gripping the cables” (p 427).

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Isak Dinesen’s real name is Karen Blixen and her short story “Sorrow-Acre” (pgs 429-451) published in 1940 merges memory with present through deep sentiment and sentences that hold a pleasing sound to the ear.

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Baroness Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke, Danish author (1885-1962)

“Sorrow-Acre” focuses on a young man named Adam (Biblical reference) returning from England back to his distinguished family home in Denmark after a long time abroad.

Blixen (a female writing about a male’s point-of-view) is able to hold the reader’s attention by capturing the moving environment set against a distinct history which also sets the reflective mood of the story.

“The lime trees were in bloom. But in the early morning only a faint fragrance drifted through the garden, an airy message, an aromatic echo of the dreams during the short summer night…

“He had not seen his ancestral home for nine years. It made him laugh to find, now, everything so much smaller than he remembered it, and at the same time he was strangely moved by meeting it again. Dead people came towards him and smiled at him; a small boy in a ruff ran past him with his hoop and kite, in passing gave him a clear glance and laughingly asked: ‘Do you mean to tell me that you are I?’ He tried to catch him in the flight, and to answer him: ‘Yes, I assure you that I am you,’ but the light figure did not wait for a reply” (p 431).

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“Sorrow-Acre” is a story about a moral dilemma, and Blixen doesn’t shy away from explaining-discussing-analyzing the meaning of “tragedy” (as in a sad-suffering state of human affairs by one’s fate) and the Crucifixion of Jesus through a dialogue between the young Adam (modern and educated in England) and his Uncle (referred to as the “old lord,” representative of the traditional) — here the themes are overt and clear, Adam is representing the New Testament (God exhibiting Love & Mercy for humanity through Jesus Christ) and the Uncle is representing the Old Testament (the angry and vengeful God) — the other applicable theme (present during the story’s time period) is Nietzsche’s “death of God” in 1884 when Nietzsche expressed his idea of how the Enlightenment eliminated the possibility of God’s existence.

“And in England, too, he [Adam] had come in touch with the great new ideas of the age: of nature, of the right and freedom of man, of justice and beauty. The universe, through them, had become infinitely wider to him; he wanted to find out still more about it and was planning to travel to America, to the new world” (p 432).

The discussion takes place as the Uncle and Adam look down upon their family fields where an old woman named Anne-Marie is slaving away at harvesting the rye all alone in order to save her son from being imprisoned by the Uncle, the Old Lord, for burning down a barn:

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The Uncle says, “‘Tragedy is the privilege of man, his highest privilege. The God of the Christian Church Himself, when He wished to experience tragedy, had to assume human form. And even at that,’ he added thoughtfully, ‘the tragedy was not wholly valid, as it would have become had the hero of it been, in very truth, a man. The divinity of Christ conveyed to it a divine note, the moment of comedy. The real tragic part, by the nature of things, fell to the executors, not to the victim. Nay, my nephew, we should not adulterate the pure elements of the cosmos. Tragedy should remain the right of human beings, subject, in their conditions or in their own nature, to the dire law of necessity. To them it is salvation and beatification. But the gods, whom we must believe to be unacquainted with and incomprehensive of necessity, can have no knowledge of the tragic. When they are brought face to face with it they will, according to my experience, have the good taste and decorum to keep still, and not interfere.’”

Adam replies in contrast, “‘No,’ he said after a pause, ‘the true art of the gods is the comic. The comic is a condescension of the divine to the world of man; it is the sublime vision, which cannot be studied, but must ever be celestially granted. In the comic the gods see their own being reflected as in a mirror, and while the tragic poet is bound by strict laws, they will allow the comic artist a freedom as unlimited as their own… As long as your mockery is in true godly taste you may mock at the gods and still remain a sound devotee. But in pitying, or condoling with your god, you deny and annihilate him, and such is the most horrible of atheisms’” (p 442).

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Babylon Revisited” (pgs 548-563) was published in 1935 and is broken up into five short sections beginning and ending at the Ritz bar. “Babylon” in the title references the ancient city most famous for orgiastic decadence.

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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, American novelist, essayist, short story writer & screenwriter (1896-1940)

The short story follows Charlie in Paris in the early 1930s after the stock market crash of 1929. Charlie is “thirty-five, and good to look at” (p 550) — roughly the same age as the author at the time of the story, which could be approximately 1931 — and he has come to Paris in an attempt to regain custody of his young daughter named Honoria, “a lovely little girl of nine” (p 550). “Honoria” comes from the Latin meaning “honor,” which is one relevant theme of the story — Charlie attempting to regain some sense of honor with his life and daughter.  

Charlie reflects on his time in Paris in the 1920s — which is indicative of the “Lost Generation” when the author spent time in France with great writers such as Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, E.E. Cummings, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Archibald MacLeish —  “I didn’t realize it, but the days came along one after another, and then two years were gone, and everything was gone, and I was gone” (p 550).

The backstory emerges with the emotional conflict as Charlie must confront his past which involves the death of Honoria’s mother, who is named Helen. In the crux of the story, Charlie reflects on his late wife and his dilemma with Honoria:

“Going over it again brought Helen nearer, and in the white, soft light that steals upon half sleep near morning he found himself talking to her again. She said that he was perfectly right about Honoria and that she wanted Honoria to be with him. She said she was glad he was being good and doing better. She said a lot of other things — very friendly things — but she was in a swing in a white dress, and swinging faster and faster all the time, so that at the end he could not hear clearly all the she said” (p 558).

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Writers on Writing

Margaret Atwood’s “Why Do You Write?” (p 1620) — taken from The Writer on Her Work, Vol. II (1991) — offers some blunt but essential advice for writers — which still holds true especially now in recent times when the angry Left (mostly arrogant and closed-minded Democrats in America) seek to censor and silence voices of all kinds across all platforms:

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Margaret Eleanor Atwood, Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, & inventor (born 1939)

“There will be many at hand, both for and against, to tell you to shut up, or to say what they want you to say, or to say it a different way. Or to save them. The billboard awaits you, but if you succumb to its temptations you’ll end up two-dimensional…

“Tell what is yours to tell. Let others tell what is theirs” (p 1620).

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Richard Bausch in “Letter to a Young Writer” (pgs 1621-1624) provides 10 points to help improve one’s writing, what he jokingly refers to as the “Ten Commandments” which originate from his “own struggles with this blessed occupation” (p 1621):

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Richard Bausch, American novelist & short story writer, & Professor in the Writing Program at Chapman University (born 1945)

10. Be wary of all general advice

9. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, and learn to keep from building expectations

8. Do not think, dream

7. Eschew politics

6. Be willing

5. Be patient

4. Train yourself to be able to work anywhere

3. “Be regular and ordinary in your habits, like a Petit Bourgeois, so you may be violent and original in your work” (this comes from Flaubert)

2. Imitate

1. Read

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“My best advice has nothing to do with technique, or aesthetics or the craft itself, really. It is more to do with training oneself to be shrewd. To live intelligently where the work is concerned: as I have said many times in classes, writing is not an indulgence; the indulgences are what you give up to write. You don’t go to as many parties, you don’t watch as much television, you don’t listen to as much music. You make decisions in light of what you have to do in a given day. How much you get done depends in large part not on your talent — which is whatever it is, and is mostly constant — but on your own attitude about what you are doing” (p 1621).

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Taken from Raymond Carver’s “On Writing” (pgs 1624-1627), Carver states, “That’s all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones, with the punctuation in the right places so that they can best say what they are meant to say” (p 1626).

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Raymond Carver & Tess Gallagher

Later, Carver is candid as he goes into specifics mentioning certain key concerns that he notices with his friends who are also writers, and his honest (yet harsh) suggestions regarding those concerns:

“I have friends who’ve told me they had to hurry a book because they needed the money, their editor or their wife was leaning on them or leaving them — something, some apology for the writing not being very good. ‘It would have been better if I’d taken the time.’ I was dumbfounded when I heard a novelist friend say this. I still am, if I think about it, which I don’t. It’s none of my business. But if the writing can’t be made as good as it is within us to make it, then why do it? In the end, the satisfaction of having done our best, and the proof of that labor is the one thing we can take into the grave. I wanted to say to my friend, for heaven’s sake go do something else. There have to be easier and maybe more honest ways to try and earn a living. Or else just do it to the best of your abilities, your talents, and then don’t justify or make excuses. Don’t complain, don’t explain” (p 1626).

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cg fewston

The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s a been member of the Hemingway Society, Americans for the Arts, PEN America, Club Med, & the Royal Society of Literature. He’s also a been Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London. He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Fathers Son (2005), The New America: A Collection (2007), The Mystics Smile ~ A Play in 3 Acts (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), Little Hometown, America (2020); A Time to Forget in East Berlin (2022), and Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being (2023).

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He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.

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cg fewston

Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being is a captivating new dystopian science fiction novel by CG Fewston, an author already making a name for himself with his thought-provoking work. Set in the year 2183, Conquergood is set in a world where one company, Korporation, reigns supreme and has obtained world peace, through oppression... The world-building in the novel is remarkable. Fewston has created a believable and authentic post-apocalyptic society with technological wonders and thought-provoking societal issues. The relevance of the themes to the state of the world today adds an extra wrinkle and makes the story even more compelling.”

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cg fewston

“A spellbinding tale of love and espionage set under the looming shadow of the Berlin Wall in 1975… A mesmerising read full of charged eroticism.”

Ian Skewis, Associate Editor for Bloodhound Books, & author of best-selling novel A Murder of Crows (2017)  

“An engrossing story of clandestine espionage… a testament to the lifestyle encountered in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War.”

“There is no better way for readers interested in Germany’s history and the dilemma and cultures of the two Berlins to absorb this information than in a novel such as this, which captures the microcosm of two individuals’ love, relationship, and options and expands them against the blossoming dilemmas of a nation divided.”

~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

A Time to Forget in East Berlin is a dream-like interlude of love and passion in the paranoid and violent life of a Cold War spy. The meticulous research is evident on every page, and Fewston’s elegant prose, reminiscent of novels from a bygone era, enhances the sensation that this is a book firmly rooted in another time.”

~ Matthew Harffy, prolific writer & best-selling historical fiction author of the “Bernicia Chronicles” series

“Vivid, nuanced, and poetic…” “Fewston avoids familiar plot elements of espionage fiction, and he is excellent when it comes to emotional precision and form while crafting his varied cast of characters.” “There’s a lot to absorb in this book of hefty psychological and philosophical observations and insights, but the reader who stays committed will be greatly rewarded.”

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GOLD Winner in the 2020 Human Relations Indie Book Awards for Contemporary Realistic Fiction

FINALIST in the SOUTHWEST REGIONAL FICTION category of the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence 2020 Awards (NIEA)

“Readers of The Catcher in the Rye and similar stories will relish the astute, critical inspection of life that makes Little Hometown, America a compelling snapshot of contemporary American life and culture.”

“Fewston employs a literary device called a ‘frame narrative’ which may be less familiar to some, but allows for a picture-in-picture result (to use a photographic term). Snapshots of stories appear as parts of other stories, with the introductory story serving as a backdrop for a series of shorter stories that lead readers into each, dovetailing and connecting in intricate ways.”

~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“The American novelist CG FEWSTON tells a satisfying tale, bolstered by psychology and far-ranging philosophy, calling upon Joseph Campbell, J. D. Salinger, the King James Bible, and Othello.”

“In this way, the author lends intellectual heft to a family story, exploring the ‘purity’ of art, the ‘corrupting’ influences of publishing, the solitary artist, and the messy interconnectedness of human relationships.”

“Fewston’s lyrical, nostalgia-steeped story is told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man gazing back on events from his 1980s Texas childhood…. the narrator movingly conveys and interprets the greater meanings behind childhood memories.”

“The novel’s focus on formative childhood moments is familiar… the narrator’s lived experiences come across as wholly personal, deeply felt, and visceral.”

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cg fewston

American Novelist CG FEWSTON


cg fewston

This is my good friend, Nicolasa (Nico) Murillo, CRC, who is a professional chef & a wellness mentor. I’ve known her since childhood & I’m honored to share her story with you. In life, we all have ups & downs, some far more extreme than others. Much like in Canada, in America, the legalization of marijuana has become a national movement, which includes safe & legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use & research for all.

“This is a wellness movement,” Nico explains. The wellness movement is focused on three specific areas: information, encouragement, & accountability.

In these stressful & unprecedented times, it makes good sense to promote & encourage the state or condition of being in good physical & mental health.

To learn more you can visit: Americans For Safe Access & Texans for Safe Access, ASA (if you are in Texas).

The mission of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research.


TEXANS FOR SAFE ACCESS ~ share the mission of their national organization, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research, for all Texans.


Stay safe & stay happy. God bless.


Nico Murillo Bio ~ Americans & Texans for Safe Access ~ Medical Cannabis



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