Vignettes which blur the distinction between what is most definitely fiction and what is less convincingly false.
Aug 3, 2008: Laura Jones writes a mean vignette.
As a reader, I always discover (or get to know better) a vivid, living person on the other end of her words—so vivid, in fact, that I can seldom tell how much is truth and how much is fiction. Her first person narrators leap off the page, bare their souls, and tell you more in a page than you might think possible. Their conversations are always so rich with detail and subtle subtext. Anger, longing, self-doubt, introspection, and eccentricity—these are Laura’s recurring themes, and she paints them with breathtaking realism.
As a writer, I don’t think I have ever finished one of her vignettes without learning something about this craft. And that is a rare gift.
These vignettes will not be for everyone. They don’t always have much of a story arc, and the sense of person can often be very intense. But if you like beautiful, personal, honest writing—or if you are a writer yourself, and want to learn more about your craft—check them out. You won’t be sorry.
Aug 31, 2008: Laura Jones ability to write short stories and vignettes fills me with not a little bit of envy! Mostly I admire the skill and I love scrolling through my LiveJournal Friends’ list to find a snapshot of story. I’m never sure when I’m reading pure story and when I’m getting a cleverly disguised blog entry. Are her characters just characters? What inspired this latest scene? But you can never just assume that everything is a scene from real life, names changed to protect the not-so-innocent—much like the WFG tagline says, [more . . .]
Jul 26, 2008: It’s hard to write a long descent review about a collection of vignettes (each different in their own way), so let me just say this:
Ljones writes short stories which may be true or false, but it doesn’t really matter. Every word, every action, encapsulates a certain emotion or feeling that is real and beautiful, no matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction or a little bit of both.
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Sep 14, 2011: The writing reflects the characters. Most of them are common, everyday people who are not writers, and it shows in the prose. But this doesn’t mean there’s not beautiful paragraph here and there that is astounding. No, the prose never gives way to being writerly. It is mostly written in the character’s voices and at their skill level, yet the beauty comes purely from people experiencing their lives and describing it honestly and truthfully. It made me reflect on how perhaps people who are not trained as writers (and I’m talking about the first person narrators here, not the author themself) can show more honesty without being restrained by writing conventions. Sometimes it makes for something interesting, and these pieces made me reflect on the fact that the act of writing unto itself is a near magical and ancient medium of communication, restrained not by technology but by mere language and the skill of the writer. The language of this piece is unadorned but not simple. It says everything it needs to say in all the words it needs to say it.
I read the 9/11 story, and it is one of the few pieces of this kind that truly reflected the hurt and anguish of the tragedy without resorting to melodrama. There is honesty and truth, and because of that the piece works and is beautiful. There are no false machinations of the writer forcing the event into pretty words. It’s simply a character living her experience, and the reader experiencing it with her. There are many excerpts I could pull out to prove my point, but I don’t want to spoil it. The best part of these shorts is finding the beauty in what seems to be average experiences.
Overall: I liked it, and I think other people will like it. It made me feel and experience moments in the characters’ lives with concise prose.