Modern writers have been corrupted by the desire to be published in The New Yorker. Similarly, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and similar venues have destroyed the short story. Today, modern short story writers are technically infallible; they follow an impeccable template of “How a Short Story Should be Written” — but the gimmicks, the registered competence, the learned cadence and skillfully crafted creativity — fail to produce the brilliance of the art. We are killing the short story by pure, unadulterated competence.
Read one short story by William Trevor. Question: Did he learn how to write by attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop? Did Hemingway produce The Old Man and the Sea by taking a class on “How to Write?” The technical competence, the educated writer, the factory production of good writing — it all fails to tell the story told simply. Perhaps the fault lies not only owing to the plenitude of college courses, all somewhat entitled, “Creative Writing”, but to the fact that religion has lost its hold upon the culture.
Let me explain: No, this is not to argue that “religion”, per se, directly contributed to good writing. Rather, it is to argue: A close inspection of every good story always involves the struggle between good and evil; of a tension of hubris following upon self-destruction; of the pull between one’s conscience and the struggle to avoid sin. Yet, how can there be any tension left, when nothing is shameful, everything is permitted (Dostoevsky’s shadow?), and there is nothing left but shame’s skeletal outlines?
All that would be left is merely a story told simply, but without a soul to its name?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who struggle with a medical condition such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional requirements with the Federal Government, a story told simply is crucial to the successful filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application. Too much information; overemphasis upon one’s history; failure to capture the soul of the “story” — these are all errors which can defeat a FERS Disability Retirement application with the Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill,
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.