"Short stories assigned in high school:· Came from heavy textbooks with bodies of water on the cover.
· Were often simple translations of fables and always had a definite moral.
· Provided good examples of metaphor.
· Provided characters that served the larger moral and did little else.
· Were unobtrusive and politely agreed with my Catholic school.
· Came with a lot of response questions.
I was not a reader.
Then, Ms. McPherson assigned “Parker’s Back.” At sixteen, I couldn’t articulate why I loved it, why I then chose to read the entire book, even the unassigned stories.
I’ll try now:· The good guy wasn’t a good guy, and I was rooting for him.
· Characters were spiteful, proud, wrong, and hungry.
· This hunger had nothing to do with a quest to kill a monster. I understood this hunger.
· Love was possibly not love and not easily won, even after a quest.
· There was metaphor, religious moral, but these were as complicated as the characters, complicated like my religion teachers were pretending Christianity wasn’t.
· It was difficult.
· At sixteen, my description of O’Connor’s language was: “Wow. Yes.”
This is still my description." — Christy Crutchfield, associate editor of Keyhole