12/29/08

mary miller's less shiny

i feel like i liked mary miller's book LESS SHINY more than any other book i have read recently. it is a collection of eleven stories. the stories are very short, usually less than a page or less than two pages. the stories feel like a mixture of what i like about rebecca curtis (twenty grand) and kim chinquee (oh baby). i think that they are very similar to some short-short things i have read by rebecca curtis and to many of the short-short things published in NOON. mary miller is the next new writer i expect to appear in NOON, i think. somehow her writing is what i like about rebecca curtis and kim chinquee and NOON but combined and increased into something new that i like maybe even more than the other things.

i first read mary miller when noo published this boy i loved a rock, which is the last story in LESS SHINY. i really liked the story and thought about how i liked it in the same way i liked mazie montgomery's home says which was in the same issue of noo. the second thing i read by mary miller was her story in the mississippi review which i also liked a lot.

a lot of the time when i am reading i think about things i would change about the writing. a lot of times i will edit the last sentence or paragraph out of a story i am reading because i would like it better if the last sentence or paragraph were not there. for example, i would edit out the last scene in the movie nights and weekends and instead have the greta gerwig-character walk to the bathroom and then the joe swanberg-character move from the bed to somewhere else in the hotel room and then have the last shot be of the bed with the sheets all moved around. i like the movie a lot but that was maybe the first thing i thought about when the movie was over. i think i do this sort of thing a lot with short stories. or i will 'delete' sentences or parts as i am reading if they are not what i want to be in the story. i don't know. i have actually written new versions of short-shorts because i liked them but i wanted them to be a little different. i think probably lots of people do this and that it is not uncommon.

i don't feel like i had any of these feelings at any point in LESS SHINY. every moment i kept thinking 'yes' and 'i like it' and when i finished reading it this made me have the feeling that the book was 'perfect' in a way. i felt very happy reading the book and i think it is one of my favorite story collections even though it is very short and only a chapbook. i didn't get to the end of any story and wish that the last sentence or paragraph had been deleted. instead i felt impressed and calm and also defeated that i didn't write things that i liked as much as i liked these stories.

mary miller has a full-length collection coming out soon called BIG WORLD and i am looking forward to it a lot. i like mary miller as a writer and feel happy to support her and to buy and read anything that she publishes.