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Story # 18

Cultivation by Shannon Cain, from Tin House, volume 9 issue 2.

I saw the premise of this and thought, "great -- it's 'Weeds, the novelization.'"  Not that I've seen the show, but the premise is the same:  single suburban mom grows pot in the basement to pay the bills.  Frances, the Mom in this story, has a teenage daughter and two pre-teen sons and gets an offer for prime money from an old friend if she'll bring him her whole inventory immediately.  The catch is, she has to drive to Memphis to deliver it to him.  So they go on a road trip.  The story never has any really funny / uplifting moments, but it never really gets dark and depressing either.  There are mother/daughter and mother/ex-husband conflicts, and the story flows pretty well with frequent changes of scenery (necessary for a road-trip story).

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
caughtshort
Jan. 24th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
That sounds like an interesting story. BTW - What's a Tin House?
talekyn
Jan. 24th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
In this case, it's a quarterly short story magazine: http://www.tinhouse.com/
caughtshort
Jan. 26th, 2008 10:15 am (UTC)
Ooh fun. Maybe one day I'll subscribe when I have the funds for such frivolous things. :-)
talekyn
Jan. 26th, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC)
I pick up maybe one issue a year when I feel like I can afford the $10 cover price. It probably would be cheaper to subscribe.
caffyolay
Jan. 24th, 2008 09:22 am (UTC)
Is that from a magazine? I wish there were more 'story' type magazines available to buy. I was reading recently about the wealth of fiction magazines that were around in Victorian and Edwardian times. You could buy a magazine off the news-stand and find it contained brand new fiction by Dickens, Kipling, Oscar Wilde, Conan Doyle, whoever. Can you imagine that? What a shame that's gone forever.
talekyn
Jan. 24th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the market for those magazines has definitely shrunk.

Still, as Stephen King pointed out in his introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2007, there are a few magazines of that ilk still lurking about, although in American bookstores you typically have to look for them down on a bottom shelf somewhere below the automotive magazines or the sports mags. Tin House is one such, and I'd also recommend Glimmer Train Stories and Zoetrope: All-Story.

Tin House and Glimmer train are usually around 75% fiction rounded out by essays about writers and some poetry; Zoetrope (which is published by Francis Ford Coppola) is all story, as the title suggests.

But man, to be able to read a new Dickens, Wilde or Doyle in a magazine .... cool.
caughtshort
Jan. 26th, 2008 10:25 am (UTC)
Do they still have the Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock magazines that featured short fiction?

As for the ones in Dickens' time, I think that was probably the one of the only ways authors could get published without coming out of pocket. The person who wrote the introduction to Gide's "The Immoralist" described a time, just at the turn of the last century, when authors like Proust had to shell out bucks to get their own work published. There were no large publishing houses then, so it was all on a very small scale. Gide, when publishing "The Immoralist," opted to only have 300 copies printed. That way sales would only seem a bit poor compared to a previous book that he'd had 1200 copies made of and only sold around 200 after a few years.
talekyn
Jan. 26th, 2008 08:23 pm (UTC)
The Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock magazines are still around, as are the the magazine of Sciene Fiction and Fantasy, and Analog. So genre fiction seems still well represented on the newstand -- it's the more varied / non-genre stuff that doesn't have as many outlets.

Interesting point about authors having to pay to get published -- that still happens today!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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