More Information on Irish Short Story Week-3/14 to 3/20
I have started doing a bit of research to get ready for Irish Short Story Week (3/14 to 3/20 to coincide with St. Patrick's Day on 3/17) which I hope will become an annual Reading Life Event. I am excited by the interest shown in the idea. My research so far tells me you could easily hold an Irish Short Story year and still have a lot to read and learn at the end of the year. And if you love a good story you for sure are in the right place. How wrong can you go when one of your short story writers is James Joyce or when your writer of Gothic stories, Bram Stoker, created the vampire genre with his Dracula? I am doing this for fun, to learn and maybe to get a few other people to overcome their dislike of short stories (I used to never read them as somehow I felt I "needed more"). I hope you will consider joining in. There are no big rules, no being rigid on who is Irish and who is not (no politics). If you wish to post, for example, on first generation Irish writers in Australia or the USA that would be great. (In my Australian Bush Stories Project, I found many of the early Australian short story writers were the children of Irish immigrants.) I will try to come up with some reading ideas later but if you need suggestions or ideas just Google "Irish Short Stories" or "Irish Literature" you will find many ideas. You do not have to go to the library or buy a book to join in. There are lots and lots of stories on line, and not just old ones either. I plan to post on one or two works from 2011 that you can read online. For example, I think all of the stories of Joyce and Wilde can be read online for free. I am hoping a lot of female short story writers will be spotlighted as historically it is a largely male set of writers. There are lots of ghost stories and plenty of stories for the lovers of Victorian era literature (I count myself as one) and lots of romance and history as well.
To be a participant all I ask is that you post on a story during the week and send me a comment with a link to your story and I will link it up in a master post and include it in my summery post at the end.
I am working on prizes from publishers and authors of books that go with the week but nothing firm yet.
I admit I did not know Bram Stoker (1847-1912-Dublin) wrote a lot of short stories, most all Gothic tales, before he wrote Dracula in 1897. Happily, most of them are available online at BramStoker.
"Dracula's Guest" was published in 1914, by his widow. It is a stand alone short story that was originally to be published as part of Dracula but was left out as the publisher felt the book was too long. As the story begins I admit I could not help but think of the countless movies where a stranger to the village is taken in a carriage through the night by a terrified driver in fear of an unknown but very felt evil. The story seemed like a standard plot line then I realized Stoker created this scene and made it part of our culture. The stranger is here on an investigation of something he has heard that sophisticated "scientific" big city people scoff at but he knows might be true.
As our hero goes further into the night, the story is set out side of Munich, his driver gets more and more afraid. This is not just any night, it is "Walpurgis Nacht" (night). This the night when the dead come back to life and all evil things of the world walk the night. Of course in a scene right out of the plot of True Blood our hero somehow enters into a tomb through its open door to see the body of a long dead woman. The woman is still very beautiful with rosy red cheeks and bright red lips. Before he makes it back to town he suffers a terrible attack. His throat was almost ripped out. He tries to tell himself it was a dog attack but the country people know better.
I really liked Stoker's style. I did not find it to have an antiquated feel at all. He did a great job of keeping me interested and building up a suspenseful fear filled atmosphere. From reading this story, I now can safely say I will like Dracula.
One easy way to participate in Irish Short Story Week would just be to read and post on one of Stoker's stories. None of them are real long.
I will be posting more on Irish Short Story Week soon. Please let me know if you might join in or have any suggestions, comments or ideas