San Francisco Book Review:
Romance and Other Stories
Engaging short stories are the better of two worlds. They are gold-foiled invitations that greet their readers and show them a fine time, then kindly show them the door where they can move on. They don’t rob so much time, allowing the reader the courtesy of making more plans, and the want of just a little more at the close. They leave you wondering about the characters, lingering on the details and wishing that you could stay overnight in a guest room and see what continues after the click of the light goes off, the last page shows up.
Samantha Prust’s collection, Romance and Other Stories, is a fine time, indeed. Her stories’ rhythms and seemingly ordinary lives of her characters are relatable and intriguing. She opens with a coming-of-age spun story titled Recipes where a budding girl is going through the inevitable changes of adolescence over the spread of a summer. She wrestles with the purchase of her new bra and the realization that just knowing what lies under the sheer of her T-shirt has changed her. And with the beauty of a short story, we see this significance in an afternoon. From Recipes to Angles, two “beautiful, but broke” waitresses wager the ho-hum life they are living by selling more than the day’s specials. There is a slight conflict between the two and a deeper, internal struggle with one that lends a multifaceted meaning to the superficial.
Each story carries its own weight, true to short story development, cuts to the chase and leaves the reader to ponder. I did want to see a further dive into struggle. External conflict is not as prevalent as internal, which, if explored deeper, could lend to a tighter tale. All in all, Prust creates prevailing, multidimensional characters that make for an afternoon of instant immersion.
Here’s an addictive game that’s also good vocabulary practice! http://www.merriam-webster.com/namethatthing/index.htm
I’ve always preferred journal writing over blogging because in my journal I can make mistakes and say whatever I want. I don’t write because I’m eloquent; I write because it’s always been my number one obsession, a kind of tortuous self-therapy on automatic pilot. Even before I knew what I was doing was called writing, I did it. I find solace in it, but it’s also horribly painful. The psychological hold and emotional aspect of the work can be too much at times.
So for my blog, I decided to give myself permission to take a break from my writing obsession and focus on some of my other obsessions—hence, the name “Little Wayward Typewriter.” I have a lot of things I want to write about that don’t relate to writing, editing, or publishing. Some are things that I never imagined I’d find interesting and some are things that have always been my obsessions whether I knew it or not. I like the idea of being able to blog about anything and everything.
And away we go…
Check out my membership announcement at The Colorado Authors’ League! CAL is a great organization that supports Colorado writers.
From The Write Deal website: “Two young women decide to become prostitutes. A wife can no longer hide a secret from her husband. A daughter confronts her father’s manic depression. A pregnant teenager struggles to leave her reservation. An aspiring romance novelist meets a handsome stranger. In Samantha Prust’s ballsy, finely-crafted collection, characters often feel as if they have “dropped out of the clear blue sky and onto the flat prairie.” The worlds Prust creates are, like the northern hinterlands in which they are set, deceptively empty. Here, vulnerable young women on the edge of maturity walk a razor’s edge. We walk with them, drawn in by Prust’s sensuous and simple language, and by a mysterious, unresolved tension usually the purview of dreams. Samantha Prust was raised in South Dakota. She has an MFA in creative writing from Colorado State University. For over 15 years she has worked as an editor and writer in book and magazine publishing. She is the author of A Sentence a Day: Short, Playful Proofreading Exercises (Prufrock Press, 2007). She lives with her husband in Colorado, where she works as a freelance editor and writer.”
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Association on American Indian Affairs Native Language Program, http://www.aaialanguageprogram.org/ (From their website: “AAIA’s Dakota Language Preservation project takes place on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation. The reservation is located in Northeast South Dakota and a portion of Southeast North Dakota and is home of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (‘the tribe’).”)