Writing short-stories or any story for that matter isn't easy. Most of us who write know how difficult eeking out 12 + pages can be, yet for those of us who do manage to sit down everyday and put words on the page (okay, well maybe not everyday like I should) we know that having something different and original as far as story ideas go can be daunting. Ander Monson is a 30 year old writer who has published a new collection of stories called, "Other Electricities." This collection does not follow the mold when it comes to short-stories. The beginning of the book has an entire directory with words that are defined by the author as well as a tree with how each person/character relates to one another and what story you find them in. These stories are incredibly smart, eccentric and even fall into what we consider to be experimental fiction. When I read stories like his, I become incredibly inspired. Not just because I've witnessed another writer writing well, but rather because he has created a style all his own.
Mainstream fiction is readily accepted by readers when it tends to follow a certain structure, a certain style. But I think experimental fiction (even with a small audience) stands a good chance of being noticed by publishing houses and even by readers when we read stories like Monson's (for full review see Bookslut.) In a day and age where actresses like Selma Blair can get their short stories published for no apparent reason (see Standby Bert), it makes you really appreciate the writers who work very hard to get their stories published and truly spend time doing what they do because they can't imagine doing anything different. It does pain me to think that Ander Monson is my same age and he has an "Other Works by Ander Monson" page already, but then I've never heard of a writer being washed up at any age (unless you're a romance novelist) . . . so there is still hope for me yet! (Those folks over at 3rd Bed gave me the best rejection I have yet to receive--I mean that in all honesty.)