I'll read anything Anne Carson writes, anything J. M. Coetzee writes, and anything Cormac McCarthy writes. I'll drop whatever I'm doing to read a new Mary Ruefle essay.
Fiction writers have long turned to winter to advance bluer palettes, slicker surfaces, and sharper contrasts. The sky darkens, the wind picks up, and flakes start to fall. Horizons shrink. Couples bicker. Cars slide off roads. Obliteration tends to loiter between the sentences.
We live in a culture that venerates scores. We affix numbers to how much fat is in our mochachinos, how quickly our telephones suck information from the air, how much pain we're in. Reading, too, has become a skill to quantifiably assess.
Without always meaning to, I write really long short stories, 60-pagers, 90-pagers, pieces of fiction that are too long for all but the bravest magazines to print, and too short for all but the bravest book publishers to publish.
Short stories are wonderful and extremely challenging, and the joy of them, because it only takes me three or four months to write, I can take more risks with them. It's just less of your life invested.