In my inbox this week: Matthew Sharpe announces “a little experiment in self-publishing on the Internet”: a series of 12 weekly micro-fictions, under the name “Very short stories r us,” that showcase his idiosyncratic blend of the acutely observed and the fantastic.
Sharpe is the author of a collection of stories and four novels, including the brilliant “Jamestown,” which reimagines the early 17th century Virginia settlement through the filter of contemporary dystopia, blurring the lines between history, fantasy, science fiction and satire. His most recent novel, “You Were Wrong,” starts with a high school math teacher being beaten by a pair of students — a dynamic that reemerges, after a fashion, in this new effort, as well.
This week’s entry, appropriately titled “Story #1,” is refreshingly low-tech for a digital project: no links, no multimedia, just a single 600-word paragraph tracing the relationship of a high school history teacher to a kid who sits in the back of her classroom “wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood up.”
The antecedents, in a culture of alienation and school violence, are chilling: The teacher is frightened of what he might do if she asks him to lower the hood.