Sunday, September 21, 2008

Writerly Opinions: The Influence of Anxiety?

Whoever edits the Op-Ed section of the New York Times must have a lot of short story writers in his or her Rolodex. Today's "Week in Review" section features dispatches from swing states, including two from authors of recently published short story collections. Karen Brown, who wrote last year's Pins and Needles (Univ. of Massachusetts Press) reports from Florida. And Eileen Pollack, author of the recently published In the Mouth (Four Way Books) reports from Michigan. I'm a little electioned out myself and have long ago decided, but I hope this exposure sells a few copies of their books.

In the same section, Jonathan Lethem (Men and Cartoons), who has published a few story collections himself, has a column that links Batman movie The Dark Knight to recent events. During the primaries, short story writers Dave Eggers (How We Are Hungry) reported from California and Donald Ray Pollack (Knockemstiff) reported from Ohio. And in the past, Charles Baxter (Believers), Dan Chaon (Among the Missing), and Lorrie Moore (Birds of America) have also contributed op-ed pieces. I'm sure there are more examples I haven't dug up, and that's in The New York Times alone. Who says short story writers don't have influence?