As Levithan points out in his foreword, anthologies or short story collections are rarely treated with as much regard as full length novels: as if writing them is somehow less imaginative, less creative, less time-consuming. And certainly, I’m speaking for myself here – I’ve never made the time for short stories.
But I made an exception for Levithan’s How They Met, and I’m glad I did. The stories – there’s maybe fifteen or so of them – vary in length. Some are thirty, forty pages long; others are just across two or three. Some were written years ago; others, perhaps, more recently. The connection? They’re all stories about love; love lost or love found, love long or love short. Sometimes not even about love but about unrequited love; is that still love? In any case, stories like this are what Levithan is known for.
What really convinced me to read How They Met, though, is that I knew Levithan was going to write the love stories about people of different romantic persuasions. Particularly gay couples, which I guess is what he relates to. But it’s also what I relate to, and it’s nice to read those every once in a while.
There’s the story of Jon and Graham, which is really the story of Jon and Miles. There’s the one about flirting with waiters – and adoration and adulation. The airplane-matchmaking story. The story in which one boy realises he is in love with another but knows he can never share music with him, and feels wobbly for a moment before feeling loved again. There’s long poems, short poems, first-person stories, second person stories, third person stories. Stories about love for everyone, of any persuasion. So give it a go. And enjoy the ride.