What Moves Me

While reading submissions the other evening, I lamented that I was reading well-written stories but few were truly moving me. @KateCollings asked a great question about what kind of story does move me so I thought I would attempt an answer in a roundabout sort of way.

I don’t have a type. I never have. A retrospective of my dating life would reveal a bizarre cross section of humanity with only one thing in common–the ability to sustain my interest. Ultimately that’s also what I’m looking for when I read.

That said, I thought I might show rather than tell what kind of writing moves me.

–Deeply personal writing that makes me uncomfortable.

— Gritty or dirty realism and stories that cut deep into human flaws.

–Stories that look traditional on the surface but experiment in really subtle ways.

–Fabulist stories that walk that fine line between what we know and what we will allow ourselves to believe.

–Anything that traffics in pop culture in smart ways will instantly win my heart.

–Hell, pretty much everything they put out moves me.

–Even though I like hardcore writing, I also like poignant work.

–Loss is a hard thing to write about but I really appreciate when I read a story filled with sorrow that defies the expected.

–When high concept work is perfectly executed, I give mad props.

–I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and oh hell, ON.

To celebrate all the moving writing in the world, a giveaway: Kim Parko’s Cure All from Caketrain, a book that is sure to move you. Leave the title of a piece of writing that moves you, from anywhere, and we’ll draw a winner at random at 5 pm.

ETA: The winner is Troy Urquhart. Congrats, Troy!

  • Great post Roxane.

    Joanna Ruocco’s “Unicorns” at Fanzine

  • Brandi

    you’re the most ballingest

  • Jason Lee Norman

    Buenos Dias
    “First Snow” by Ben Spivey on For Every Year moved me. I like reading it again and again.

  • Hi, Roxane,

    The list would be long, but I recently re-read Mark Doty’s “Apparition (Favorite Poem).” It really gets me.

  • ravi

    “Rituals” by Lauren Becker @ Annalemma

  • Thank you for remembering my question. I think it all depends on personal taste as to what can ‘move’ someone in one way, shape or form.

    I personally find stories that are written from the heart with truth and passion tend to mean more to me than say a quick holiday in the sun read.

    That said I think I may have a piece of writing you may like.

    Feel free to mail me at: katemary1000@yahoo.com

  • Excellent post, Roxane.

    I’d nominate Ravis story at LITnIMAGE, which still hurts.


  • Brandi
    • Nice! Loved that story the first time I read it and just as much this time.

  • Liz Weber

    “Web” by Mary Oliver

    • That’s a lovely story, Thomas. I actually saw it in the submission queue and quite enjoyed it.