I still remember the very first short story that ever made an impact on me. I was in third grade and our teacher gave us an assignment to write a short story involving the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. It wasn't the first writing assignment we had been given in her class. Mrs. King loved reading books to us and always encouraged us to use our imagination in our writing assignments. But it wasn't until this particular assignment that I realized just how gifted some individuals could be at story telling.
It was the final day before Thanksgiving break when Mrs. King stood up in front of the class and told us that she had a very special story to read to us in preparation for the holiday. The story was written by my good friend Sara and it chronicled the life a turkey family living on a ranch with hundreds of acres of roaming space. They were a happy family. A mother. A father. Three little ones. They lived a perfectly happy life until one day the father was dragged away by the ranch owner and sacrificed in front of his entire family for Thanksgiving dinner. For a third grader the writing was amazing. Mrs. King had to stop reading more than once in order to collect her emotions. By the time she was finished reading her face was stained with tears and all of us were whimpering at the thought of eating a turkey dinner the next day. In fact, as an adult, I still recall with perfect clarity the emotions from that experience while I'm stuffing my own prized bird each year. I also find myself silently praying that this turkey wasn't sacrificed in front of his family like the one Sara wrote about so long ago.
Flash forward many, many years and you'll find that I've developed a passion for reading short stories. My coworkers have heard me talking about them ever since I was introduced to short story collections in December. I love, love, love them! There is something amazing about reading a story for twenty minutes and walking away feeling no different than if you had just finished a 400 page novel. The characters are strong, the information is just as descriptive, and the emotions you develop while reading the stories are probably more intense since you are getting an incredible amount of info in a really small amount of time.
So, today I thought I'd introduce to you an option that I found that helps me quench my thirst for all things short story related. It's called Needle: A Magazine of Noir. Within its pages lies a collection of kick-ass short stories written by multiple authors that are all woven together by one common theme: crime fiction. Needle describes their magazine like this:Hardboiled. Lean and mean. No silly reviews. No poetry (that's for pussies). No advertising. Nothing but hard hitting stories. In your face and busting up yourkiss-maker. Kapow. They aren't lying about that description. I've said it before and I have no problem hitting the repeat button - short story writers are beyond brilliant. Their ability to engage a reader with so much emotion and information in just a few pages speaks volumes about their talent. I've read the stories in Needle...having this magazine on my shelf is just as important as my love for all things Reacher. Now that has got to mean something, right?
This is a magazine filled with nothing but stories and it isn't riddled with adds or perfume samples. You won't even find a review. Even better, this collection of short stories comes in packaging that isn't much bigger than a paperback book and fits easily in my purse. (uh...that last part is clearly to sell it to the females...for most of us women this is really, really important) This makes it perfect reading material for those on the go and is a great alternative for those who feel they don't have time to devote to an entire novel. And because I'm such a lover of the written word and all things short story related...I'm going to give away 3 copies of NEEDLE. Leave a comment on my blog between now and Wednesday, and I'll enter you in a drawing to win one of three issues from 2010. It's going to be a good day on My Friends Call Me Kate and I would hate for you to miss out.
If you would like to learn more about Needle: A Magazine of Noir and the people responsible for giving us such greatness, you can check out their website here.