ideasaboveourstationSitting opposite the mad and not so mad Muslims is a local MP woman. Skinny, tall, grey haired and more self righteous than a reformed smoker, she tells him off, rude motherfucker that he is.
‘She’s a right racist bitch, this one,’ says Tab. ‘Always moaning on about thick pakis and that.’

I never figured Tab for anything other than what he looks to be: young punk wallowing in the fact that he’s had little or no schooling to speak of. Should be doing something else – a proper job, maybe studying even – but not whiling the nights away as a pissant taxi operator. Only things I ever seen him express an interest in are his ten year-old Bimmer, his growing collection of bling and biatches. Seems I was wrong but that’s okay. Hell, wish I was wrong about all the other Tabs I see kicking around, too.

Although the short story can attempt to do the work of representation, a baseline utility is one where audiences can be engaged with themes, ideas as well as voices that are often operant outside mainstream literature. Minority populations are by definition marginal. What the short story can do is offer insights into those worlds and worldviews that are often obscured or simply not available as visible and extant options. Why is the short story form ideal? It is often a confined form, at least in terms of length and thus is a window into that world rather than a fully fledged exploration. It can evoke emotions and responses from our reader without developing longer, more in depth and richer relationships. Ultimately, in a world where the construction and representation of the other remains a one sided and self evidently political practice, even the fragments and moments that build a short story are a vital means through which the self is recited while the other is reimagined and, perhaps, redefined.

Bibliography

Alam, M. Y. (2006) ‘Taxi Driver’ in Daley, I. (ed.) Ideas Above Our Station. Pontefract: Route.

Davison, P. (1996) George Orwell: A Literary Life. Houndmills: Palgrave.
Lohafer, S. (2003) Reading for storyness: preclosure theory, empirical poetics, and culture in the short story. Baltimore, Ma.: The John Hopkins University Press.

Mills, P. (2006) The Creative Writing Coursebook. Abingdon: Routledge
Paton, A. (1996) Tales from a Troubled Land. London: Simon and Schuster.

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