Some of my favourite pieces of writing are short stories. Everything by Connie Willis. Everything by Ursula le Guin and Kafka. Stories by Hermann Hesse, Theodora Goss, Melina Marchetta, LM Montgomery, Charles de Lint, O. Henry, Angela Carter, Oscar Wilde. All Seated On The Ground has won a place in my family's oeuvre of long-running jokes. Rudyard Kipling's tales shaped my childhood and were quoted when we visited the zoo. And recently I read Glenda & The Horsemen of the Apocalypse and my imagination will never be the same again.
I enjoy some of my own short stories too. (I've always believed that, if you don't love what you've written, if it doesn't catch your heart and stir your emotions, then why did you even write it?) I could sit all day long with Captured, just imagining every detail and spinning a sequel. And The Sorcerer, which I constantly bemoan not having written as a novel, but I think it's actually exactly the length it wants to be.
Short stories are not like snacks compared with the full meal of a novel. Many of them are far more nutritious and powerful than a novel. I actually don't believe the two forms should be compared at all. It's simply a matter of how many words it takes to tell a particular story.
Life is like that too, don't you think? Some experiences take a long time to play out. Some are brief yet no less important, influential, and enduring in our hearts, because of that. And then there are times when I think an experience is a short story of life, but it cycles around and around again, clearly having a new or deeper message with each pass - working a theme, or repeating a motif until I finally understand.
Do you have any short stories you especially love?