For Thursday (9/29) and Tuesday (10/4)

Your first reflection essay is due today (Thursday, September 29) by midnight!  Be sure to proofread (comma guidance offered free-of-charge here).

Since you’ll be busy working and re-working your reflection essay, your reading journal entry for this week will be due by noon, Sunday, October 2.

And, finally, for Tuesday, be sure to read Julia Elliott’s fine short story – – “Feral.”  (Available as usual in our course textbook.)

For Thursday (9/15)

Thursday is reading journal day!  Try to get your journal entry completed by midnight on Thursday.  Sidenote: keep up the good work – – I’ve really been enjoying your journal entries.

For Tuesday (9/20) – – we’ll talk about Raymond Carver’s fine short story – – “Viewfinder.” (Available as always in your course textbook.)

For Thursday (9/8)

Thursday is Reading Journal day!  Try to finish your latest journal entry by midnight on Thursday.

For Tuesday in class, we’ll talk about John Cheever’s short story, “The Swimmer.”  (Available as usual in our class textbook.). Cheever is often heralded as the greatest American short story writer of the 1950s and 60s.

The 1968 movie version is kind of interesting – – especially as a kind of retelling of the original 1964 story for a late 60s movie audience.  I like Illeana Douglas’s appreciation of the movie (see below).

For Thursday (9/1)

For Thursday (9/1), you’ll get to work on your first reading journal entry. Here are the nuts and bolts. (If you’ve already created and shared your reading journal with me – – no need to create a new doc or re-share.). You should finish your reading journal entry by Thursday at midnight.

Preview: On Tuesday, we’ll talk about Steinbeck’s story – – “Chrysanthemums” (available as always in our course textbook).

For Tuesday (8/30)

For Tuesday, read Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “Cat in the Rain.”  This story can be found in our class textbook.

As you read the story, think about those moments where you’re confused or where you ask yourself why something is happening.  Make a note of these moments so we can discuss them in class.

For Thursday (8/25)

Remember: we won’t be meeting in the classroom on Thursday.  Instead, you’ll be doing some online work.  Keep reading for more info on the task at hand.

The opening of any narrative plays a critical role in orienting us, creating expectations, and opening up paths for our reading.  All of this work is really a result of our literary, cultural, and personal experience interacting with the words on the page.  To explore this process and to appreciate both our work and the work of the text, let’s undertake a little exercise.

Here’s what you’ll want to do:

First, set up the google doc that will become your reading journal. (See my guidelines here.) For now, don’t worry about copying and pasting the reading journal rubric.  But, do make sure you share your google doc/reading journal with me.

Next, paste the first paragraph of the story “Taylor Swift” into your google doc and title this entry – – “My Taylor Swift Story.”  Here’s the first paragraph you’ll want to copy:

You’re in love; it’s great, you swipe on your phone and order: the next day a Taylor Swift clone shows up at your house. It’s not awkward, it’s everything you want. She knows all her songs, and she sings them just for you. When you put your Taylor Swift to bed (early, you got a big day tomorrow) you peek over the fence into the Rosenblatt’s yard, and the lights are blazing. Your best friend Tina has three Taylor Swifts swimming in her pool. She has a miniature Taylor Swift she keeps on a perch, a Taylor Swift with wings. You’re so jealous. She’s not even paying attention to them, she’s too busy having sex with her other Taylor Swifts, they’re so fucking loud it’s disgusting. You hate Taylor Swift. [Paragraph 1]

Now, stop and read that paragraph a couple of times.  The actual, original story – – which was written by a real author and has already been published (and garnered a couple of awards) is only six (6) paragraphs and 500 words long. (Avoid at all costs any googling activity before writing your version of the story.)

After you’ve reflected on the first paragraph, finish the story in no more than five (5) paragraphs and no more than 370 words.  There is no correct way to finish the story.  Just use the first paragraph to guide your sense of the rest of the narrative.  All possible versions are permissible, so long as they stick to the basic premise and conditions set out in the first paragraph.

When you’ve finished your version of the story, proofread for clarity and correctness.  Then share your version of “Taylor Swift” by sending me the google doc share link.

Let me know if you have any questions, issues, etc. I’m really looking forward to reading your stories!

Due: Thursday, August 25, midnight.




Welcome to Contemporary American Short Story (Fall 2022)!  This is our class motherblog.  Here, you’ll find our syllabus, updates, info, assignments, our class textbook (click on the link to the left), and other critical information.  Bookmark this site and check in frequently.