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View Diary: * New Day * — What's your favorite short story? (313 comments)

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  •  Besides "The Gift of the Magi" ..... (14+ / 0-)

    .... I have a favorite short story. This was part of a Top Comments diary I wrote featuring 6 Poems & Short Stories I liked.

    I read in high school the famed San Francisco native author John Griffith (1876-1916) - known to the world as Jack London - whose life story itself is worth a read. A stretch of the waterfront in neighboring Oakland, California is named Jack London Square in his honor. The author of The Call of the Wild and White Fang - which (alternately) portrayed animals becoming wild and domesticated - also had a number of adventure short stories.

    And for me, I like best his 1908 To Build a Fire - about a man who is a newcomer to traveling on the Yukon Trail on a frigid day (-75°F, -60°C), accompanied only by a dog - ignoring the advice of an old-timer who had warned him against travel in the Klondike alone at those temperatures. And after he had finally managed to build a fire to warm himself after falling into icy water ...

    It happened. It was his own fault or, rather, his mistake. He should not have built the fire under the spruce tree. He should have built it in the open. But it had been easier to pull the twigs from the brush and drop them directly on the fire. Now the tree under which he had done this carried a weight of snow on its boughs. No wind had blown for weeks, and each bough was fully freighted. Each time he had pulled a twig he had communicated a slight agitation to the tree—an imperceptible agitation, so far as he was concerned, but an agitation sufficient to bring about the disaster. High up in the tree one bough capsized its load of snow. This fell on the boughs beneath, capsizing them. This process continued, spreading out and involving the whole tree. It grew like an avalanche, and it descended without warning upon the man and the fire, and the fire was blotted out!
    I felt frozen just reading the story, and often wondered how I might survive in an environment of extreme cold or extreme heat. Going on nearly forty years later, I'm glad I have not yet had to find out.

    Meanwhile .... I am back from my time offline (due to moving) with my Odds & Ends short news/humor wrap-up.

    It features a "Who Lost the Week?!?!" poll - featuring the likes of Mayor Bob Filner, army major Nidal Hasan, Ted Nugent's wife Shemane, Mega-church pastor Keith Copeland and Montana judge G. Todd Baugh - which I hope you'll cast a ballot in - and a quick look at the classic tune "So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star".

    It's all at this link - hope you can stop by.

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 08:51:15 AM PDT

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