WELCOME TO DECEMBER PROJECT!
this explanation/intro will be posted before each day’s short story. scroll down to get to the story-review.
this is the FOURTH year of me doing a short story advent calendar as my december project. for those of you new to me or this endeavor, here’s the skinny: every day in december, i will be reading a short story that is 1) available free somewhere on internet, and 2) listed on goodreads as its own discrete entity. there will be links provided for those of you who like to read (or listen to) short stories for free, and also for those of you who have wildly overestimated how many books you can read in a year and are freaking out about not meeting your 2019 reading-challenge goals. i have been gathering links all year when tasty little tales have popped into my feed, but i will also accept additional suggestions, as long as they meet my aforementioned 1), 2) standards.
if you scroll to the end of the reviews linked here, you will find links to all the previous years’ stories, which means NINETY-THREE FREEBIES FOR YOU!
reviews of these will vary in length/quality depending on my available time/brain power.
so, let’s begin
I bled from the palms stealing a shard of factory window for my room, and in that sacred space where no one else was allowed—or no one else dared to go—I spent hours with Mirror Boy. I would sit by the cold glass in the afternoons, in between rehearsals and the start of the night’s performances, and I would let spill all the petty grievances of the day. Who had looked at me the wrong way, who had wounded me with cutting words. Mirror Boy never said much. He listened and told me I was right, or that he agreed with me. And I needed that. As time went on I started talking about my hopes for the future, about how I wanted to leave the circus and leave Darlingfort before it broke me like it broke everyone else. And he would just smile and nod and say he believed I could do it.
so i guess i’m going to stick to the tor shorts for this project, since—as far as i know—gr has never deleted any of them. i do want to bitch a little about how arbitrary it is, though. i understand not allowing fanfic on here—that’s a whole crazy unregulated world of borrowed characters and there are probably some legal headaches that no one really wants to take on. but short stories published in literary journals and magazines and online wherevers where authors have likely been paid and readers would surely like to know they can access—deleting those seems nonsensical. i was going to read a colson whitehead story for this, that was published in the new yorker, but now it is gone from goodreads. all of the future tense fiction stories i discovered on slate are now gone from goodreads. if this is supposed to be a community for readers, what is a better surprise for a booknerd than discovering that an author they love has a story they’ve never read? i have loved sharing these links with other readers, so they could get as excited as i have been to find new stories by beloved authors and now this is just one more thing that is sad in the world and why can’t we just have nice things for once?
anyway, this story.
i don’t want to let my grumpy mood get all over my response to this story, because it is a lovely and poignant one—a little magic, a little horror, a little romance, by an author new to me. and THAT is why knowing that free short stories are out there is so great. because now i have sampled an author’s work and will likely go out and try more by them and i didn’t have to commit to a full-length novel by a stranger-danger in my limited time when i am more likely to reach for someone i already love and have expectations around. booknerds need to know what’s out there and what suits them and little snacks whet bigger appetites.
so thanks a lot, gr, and maybe don’t delete our OPPORTUNITIES anymore.
read it for yourself here: