A lot of people who want to see the short story have a renaissance of readership—they tend to think of short stories, and sometimes poems too, as being well-suited to the way we now live, with all of these broken-up bits of time. I hope they’re right, but my sense is that our fiction reading has become, if anything, more cherished as a kind of escape from fragmentation. So, short stories have an even harder time, because they tend to get read during the day, between other things. They’re interstitial. And yet the content of short stories tends to be very much ‘nighttime’ content. I mean, Chekhov’s stories are about the moment that a life goes off the rails and the price that will be paid—forever. That’s a typical Chekhov story for you. Something that you’re used to lying in bed worrying about at four in the morning, before you have the psychic defenses to kid yourself and tell yourself to get up and shower and go to the office. Right? Or short stories are about adulterous passions, or kids having terrible accidents. You know, all of this stuff is nighttime, nightmare, dream stuff. And I like the idea of trying to take a piece of the night and trying to plunk it down in the middle of the day. But that’s the kind of fun that isn’t for everybody.
An excerpt from The Rumpus’s interview with our editor Lorin Stein.