Winter 1969 • Vol. XXXI No. 1 The International Symposium on the Short Story, Part Two |

United States

The less a writer of short stories knows about short stories the more likely he is to write them. The more anybody knows about short stories the more likely he is to talk about them—which is something, but not a short story. Talking about short stories is all right, and writing about them is all right, but dropping a rock on an egg isn't hatching one. And having a rock to drop isn't the equivalent of having an egg. But it is something, and one is always eager to accept an obligation to be respectful of whatever is there at the time asking to be respected. Here's a little more talk about the short story in its traditional form—a very grand order of thing which each of us rejoices in and is everlastingly annoyed by, because it is so readily available for that order of falsity which is all the more troublesome in that it appears to be truth. Who, writing, can avoid the folly of over-earnestness, slipping from that into one or another of the orders of pomposity? Yet, if you

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