If everyone’s attention span is shortening – hello, Twitter! – shouldn’t short stories be skyrocketing in popularity? Answer: NOBODY READS.


  1. notrelatedtoted says

    Wait, what?

  2. j. christian says


    I read this *entire* post, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how you came to that conclusion.

  3. Matthew Lickona says

    Oh, suddenly I’m not allowed to be bitter, self-loathing, and insane ON MY OWN BLOG?

  4. Cubeland Mystic says

    Indeed, you are allowed to feel this way on your blog. But lets look at the name Lickona, as a source for these feelings. Are you sure you’re not Italian? First of all your last name is spelled phonetically hence impossible to be French. Second, you look Italian, your bro more so. Maybe someone stopped in France for 50 years before heading over to the US?

    Here’s my hypothesis on your state of mind. If you assume the “self-loathing” is the Irish part, and remove it from the equation. The remainder accurately describes the psychological state of the vast majority of Italians.

    Here’s a quick test.

    Do you ever feel an unexplained guilt having put cream into a perfectly good sauce?

    Do you often feel the urge to beat your enemies’ heads in with a baseball bat?

    Do you have secret desire to wear a “guinea tee”?

    Are you always thinking about or discussing sex?

    Do you always feel the need to consolidate power?

    Once you feel you’ve consolidated power do naturally look for traitors (i.e. rats) in your ranks?

    Could any or all of your children be described as “cunning”?

  5. “Sigh” a short story by Matthew Lickona

    Reviewed by JOB



    *If this is a short story, then the author may need to catch up with the times. As has been made clear by many a more astute ficitonalist, the short story is way shorter than the encyclopedic narrative with which the author, Lickona, batters his readers’ wits. Weighing in at a hefty 18 words, the work lacks a certain brevity which, as the form implies, most short stories these days must obtain to be even considered a half-hearted, let alone truly serious effort.

    The story opens with a real dragging of the feet. “If everyone’s attention span…” The character development goes on way too long and there’s no real sense that the author has a grip on the art form. Should he have written, as Luvya’s had in his/her groundbreaking “!” Lickona would have realized that a simpler route to the heart of the action would have been a more sure route to the reader’s interest. Compare, for instance, the opening to Luvya’s “!” (itself a sequel to his/her better known “^”):

    “BTW LOL OMG!”

    The action and dialogue are tight and economic. It moves along at a steady clip, stirring in the reader a sense of inevitiablity which the compassionate rendering of the characters plays well against, holding out a hope that all is not lost right up to the startling conclusion.l There’s no doubt that when reading Luvya, we’re in the presence of a true master/mistress of fiction.

    But it is the conclusion of “Sigh” that really breaks the heart – for this reader had great, not to mention grandiose hopes, that Lickona’s story would in the end be redeemed by at least a modicum of irony:

    “Answer: NOBODY READS.”

    Again, we turn to another master/mistress of the form to compare what Lickona has done to what he could have done.

    Another shining star in the short story firmament is “bitchgal” whose “@” ends with a resolute dashing of all expectations while at the same time allowing the reader to reimagine life through a wider lens, as it were, one which leaves room for both irony and tenderness:

    “FU grlfrend!”

    The words are steeped in a profound grasp of humanity – but not so deeply that bitchgal forgets his/her own, managing the whole time to keep the reader’s feet on the terra firma of a flowing narrative.

    In conclusion, in the humble opinion of this reviewer, Lickona should probably go back to emoticon basics, at the very least, to rediscover the grammar, not to mention the puncutation, of emotions. The world is no better off for having read “Sigh,” – and, I might add, not because of but DESPITE the story’s one brilliant flash of insight:

    “Twitter! – shouldn’t…”

    Of course, by changing the expected m-dash to the clever and I have to admit even hilarious n-dash, Lickona at least gives the reader a jolt, mild as it is, which reminds us of what could have been true exhilaration in an otherwise miserably dull short story. Indeed, I’m sorry to say but that dash might be the entire story – the rest, to my own regret, mere dross.

    I know that after reading “Sigh,” I cannot reclaim the ten seconds it took from my life. They are gone, gone like the winds of war and time. But I hope that others might learn from my own wasted moments spent reading this ill-advised – and now for others – cautionary tale.

    It is to be hoped that the author might at some point in his career republish “Sigh” as “-” and leave it at that, namely, a cenotaph to a talent who immolated himself on the foolish stuff of clear syntax and fallacious nonsense of logical development.

  6. Matthew Lickona says



  7. m



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