If you and your significant other are looking for something literary to do this Saturday, the first issue of The Blueshift Journal is a beautiful and good thing. In the case that you’ve already exhausted our resources, here are five short stories available online for your reading pleasure. They will make you think about love. They will make you think about the way you think about love. Have at it! Alternatively, feel free to spend your night watching Netflix over a bottle of Merlot. No judgment here.
“In the scented summer night, in the damp, vegetative kingdom of Henry’s garden,
Cathy waits...In the moon-drenched blaze of rhododendron, Iceland poppies,
Persian buttercups, small ovals of shadow cascade over the spectral hills of
her blue-white bottom.”
Every story has been told before. There are six basic plots: man versus man, man versus God, man versus the supernatural, man versus machine, man versus nature, man versus self. In Kurt Vonnegut’s master thesis he graphed the taxonomies of stories on Cartesian planes (source). If love is merely another pawn in the eternally repeating theater of life, is there still a point to telling its story? Too often in our quest for originality we forget the charm that lies in the universal storylines of humanity.
“All birds fight for the best nesting site. If I see you I have a heart like an egg.”
I remember one of my first as strongly as if it were yesterday. Time proved that he held no promise for me, but there was perpetually a small longing, a small hope which lingered in my chest like a flame. No one forgets the people they once loved.
“Spring was a fleeting moment, and it blew past like the breeze on the brig.
Then summer rolled in, hot and oppressive as car exhaust, and she couldn’t
take another summer in the city. It was followed by another single moment,
the instant the leaves changed color, and then it was winter again, the
interminable winter, one after another endured and misspent until they came
to an end with a final hour that she would never be prepared for.”
The first line of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
We’re presented with a series of choices every day, each of which could lead to a different time, a different place, a different life. That’s free will, isn’t it? I sometimes wonder if all paths which diverge lead eventually to the same end. The only destination is the one where you are. What is a home without you? What is the heart when the veins run dry?
Edge Habitat by Helen Hooper (American Short Fiction)
“She knows the awful face in the window and that tonight, like every night,
it will disappear, the bright light dimmed to a watery gleam meaning it’s safe...
A muffled blast, not quite real, but it gets her running anyway, back to darker
We are always the passengers on a train with no direction. A scalar quantity. We think to ourselves, that one thing, that one person can crystallize our unease. Like the green light on Daisy’s dock, we turn our gaze towards a fantasy which we can never dream of reaching. Odocoileus hemionus alone knows what it looks for.
“My girlfriend has a third eye. It’s in the middle of her forehead. It was hidden
underneath her bangs.”
How easy it is to be critical of love. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Theorizing has become exhausting. No one claims that love has an altruistic purpose beyond evolution. I could not tell you why people hold hands. Who would not give anything, some nights, to know for certain that there is someone else, a collection of biological molecules thrown together by chance only to make it this far, breathing and living in the same space as you?