Two stories (plus one more) by Williamses you ought to read

Heaven knows why, but Williamses seem to rise to the top. Serena Williams is the greatest women’s tennis player of all time. Tennesee Williams was a fair scratch as a playwright, though bested by Williams Hakespeare, of course. John Williams wrote the best music about sharks I know. And the Williamses in flash fiction are no exception.

Joy Williams, Aubade

Read here, via Tin House. They’re all good, but scroll down to the third of Joy Williams’ 99 Stories of God. If you don’t trust me, just read this paragraph:

The humanist, who was also a noted scholar, argued that nothing could be discovered that could write a symphony, as so many of our brilliant composers had done, or be capable of appreciating the symphony. The ability to appreciate the symphony seemed to him quite as important as the actual composition of it.

My goodness, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Diane Williams, Bang Bang on the Stair

There’s another story by Diane Williams, the editor of Noon, called Beauty, Love, and Vanity Itself, where three women walk into a pool and reach the rope and keep walking, and as they drown the lifeguard says, “They don’t what the rope is…I mean everyone knows what a rope means.” It’s nice to carry that interpretation of rope into this story, Bang Bang on the Stair, printed here in Literary Hub.

So much to love in this story, but I especially enjoy this:

“Don’t leave!” Mother screamed at me, and she had not arrived to help me.
She tripped and fell over a floor lamp’s coiled electrical cord.
There’s just a basic rule of conduct that applies here—also known as a maxim—so I held out my hand.

Mother is falling, and urgent action is required, and Williams slows down – she takes the time to explain what a maxim is. And I love it, beautiful!

As a bonus, I’m also including William Carlos Williams’ The Knife of the Times

William Carlos Williams wasn’t only a well-regarded poet and the world’s foremost creator of plum memes, he also wrote short fiction occasionally. In this short story here, the title story in one of his books of short prose, he explored his belief that lesbianism was contagious. I’m just adding this for novelty value. Lesbianism is not, so far as I know, sadly, catching. He also thought lesbianism was killing women and castrating men. William Carlos Williams – shoulda stuck to wheelbarrows.

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