For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

Week n° 50: November 18, 2013

Celebrating Philippines

You give up your country's history by choosing to live in another

— from Paulino Lim's “Homecoming”

Some of our favorite stories by Filipino writers.

Per Peterson on research in writing from an interview with Gin Enguehard:

I really hate research. If you want to write about the Germans in Norway you have to check when they really were there, the color of their uniforms, and so on, so you don't get it wrong. You should do your research after you finish the book. I have this friend who wrote this love story, more or less about himself, set in 1968. He was in love with this woman and the Beatles' record Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band had come out. And then he checked and found out the record came out in 1967. So he stopped writing the story. Don't check a good story.

Our recommendations this week


He wouldn't mind it so much if he stood any chance of actually cheering the poor kid up. But no matter how their parents tried to prepare them, warned them again and again that the films had been made fifty years before, children were always disappointed not to see another child. Sometimes the younger ones didn't understand. They asked him where the real Geordie was, was he Geordie's grandpa. But the older ones could scarcely conceal their dismay. He would never forget the afternoon several years before when a little girl–grandchild of a colleague at the production company–had been brought to him him. Gamely, he had pulled out the old red tam-o'-shanter; gamely, he had answered the door, bending low to greet the little girl and booming: “Aye, then! And who's this wee lassie?” He would never forget the look on the little girl's face. It was a look of shocked recognition, then of dawning horror: as if it were her own death she saw, leaning down so close to greet her; as if she could see the ruin of the boy he had been–destroyed now, lost forever–buried deep beneath sagging cheeks.

The Great Baro

Baro was thunderstruck; he was already opening his mouth to object. His visitor didn't give him time. In a soothing voice, he said, “We have to give you a nice clown name. Yes, right this minute. You will be called Baro, the great Baro, the One and Only Baro, he who knocks them dead with laughter...”

“Or with sobbing,” replied Baro. “It isn't an objection, but I'm afraid that my clowning around will smack of funerals...”

“Don't look at it that way, not at all,” the boss protested warmly. “Don't forget that people go to the circus with the intention of laughing. Anything that takes place there, however dramatic it might be, turns into guffaws.”