2022 favorites

2022 Favorites

Happy new year to you!

Time for the annual rundown of the SSMT stories. In 2022, we traveled to a different state (plus D.C. and Puerto Rico) each week. It was fun if a little more difficult than I expected. The toughest state to find stories for was Delaware. California and New York, predictably, could have filled the entire calendar.

Anyway, for 2023, SSMT is done with the concepts. No more organizing principles. The plan simply is to post a new magic trick every single day – 365 days, 365 stories. Easy.

First, the annual list ranking the stories highlighted this year on the site, sorted in order of my own enjoyment.


  1. ‘Roses, Rhododendron’ by Alice Adams
  2. ‘Foaling Season’ by Aryn Kyle
  3. ‘Children On Their Birthdays’ by Truman Capote
  4. ‘The Last Thing We Need’ by Claire Vaye Watkins
  5. ‘Read This And Tell Me What It Says’ by A. Manette Ansay
  6. ‘The Happiest I’ve Been’ by John Updike
  7. ‘Indianapolis (Highway 74)’ by Sam Shepard
  8. ‘Ghosts, Cowboys’ by Claire Vaye Watkins
  9. ‘What Have You Done?’ by Ben Marcus
  10. ‘Reunion’ by Julie Schumacher
  11. ‘End Of The World’ by Dean Doner
  12. ‘A Jury Of Her Peers’ by Susan Glaspell
  13. ‘The Murder’ by John Steinbeck
  14. ‘San Francisco’ by Amy Hempel
  15. ‘Are You All Right?’ by Wendell Berry
  16. ‘Iona Moon’ by Melanie Rae Thon
  17. ‘Caveat Emptor’ by Joan Hess
  18. ‘The Mud Below’ by Annie Proulx
  19. ‘Three-Ten To Yuma’ by Elmore Leonard
  20. ‘A Father-To-Be’ by Saul Bellow
  21. ‘Snow Blind’ by Elizabeth Strout
  22. ‘Something That Needs Nothing’ by Miranda July
  23. ‘The Family Meadow’ by John Updike
  24. ‘The Mountain Day’ by Jean Stafford
  25. ‘The Night Rhonda Ferguson Was Killed’ by Edward P. Jones
  26. ‘Home’ by Jayne Anne Phillips
  27. ‘The Man Who Knew Belle Starr’ by Richard Bausch
  28. ‘A Vermont Tale’ by Mark Helprin
  29. ‘The Paper Menagerie’ by Ken Liu
  30. ‘The Whole World Knows’ by Eudora Welty
  31. ‘Warm River’ by Erskine Caldwell
  32. ‘The Ant Of The Self’ by ZZ Packer
  33. ‘A Story In Almost Classical Mode’ by Harold Brodkey
  34. ‘Indian Burial’ by Dean Doner
  35. ‘God Writes A Bad Hand’ by J.F. Powers
  36. ‘A View Of The Woods’ by Flannery O’Connor
  37. ‘Complicities’ by Alice Adams
  38. ‘Willing’ by Lorrie Moore
  39. ‘The Years Of My Birth’ by Louise Erdrich
  40. ‘Nemecia’ by Kirstin Valdez Quade
  41. ‘Where The Mountains Are’ by Bill Barich
  42. ‘Seeing Clear’ by Cara Blue Adams
  43. ‘The Five Wounds’ by Kirstin Valdez Quade
  44. ‘The Canoeists’ by Rick Bass
  45. ‘Tiny In The Wilderness’ by Tom Drury
  46. ‘Blackie’ by Elizabeth Spencer
  47. ‘Talkin Bout Sonny’ by Toni Cade Bambara
  48. ‘Birdland’ by Michael Knight
  49. ‘Back Then’ by Mary Grimm
  50. ‘Naked Ladies’ by Antonya Nelson
  51. ‘The Champ’ by Pedro Juan Soto
  52. ‘Sybil’ by A. Manette Ansay
  53. ‘This Is Paradise’ by Kristiana Kahakauwila
  54. ‘Georgetown Nights’ by Nancy Hale
  55. ‘In My Next Life’ by Pam Houston
  56. ‘The Face’ by Virginia Sorensen
  57. ‘Buck Boy’ by James McBride
  58. ‘Friends From Philadelphia’ by John Updike
  59. ‘Clytie’ by Eudora Welty
  60. ‘Travis, B.’ by Maile Meloy
  61. ‘The Half-Skinned Steer’ by Annie Proulx
  62. ‘Rock Springs’ by Richard Ford
  63. ‘Hollow’ by Breece D’J Pancake
  64. ‘Close Enough’ by Nora Shalaway Carpenter
  65. ‘Before Crowned Heads’ by Dean Doner
  66. ‘Jacklighting’ by Ann Beattie
  67. ‘My Kinsman, Major Molineaux’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  68. ‘Ava Wrestles The Alligator’ by Karen Russell
  69. ‘Ashes’ by Cristina Henríquez
  70. ‘The Wellman Twins’ by Mary Robison
  71. ‘Chasing Birds’ by Cristina Henríquez
  72. ‘Too Much To Bare’ by Joan Hess
  73. ‘Grandma’s Wake’ by Emilio Díaz Valcárcel
  74. ‘Detroit Skyline 1947’ by Bobbie Ann Mason
  75. ‘Dalyrimple Goes Wrong’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  76. ‘The Prospectors’ by Karen Russell
  77. ‘Community Life’ by Lorrie Moore
  78. ‘Désirée’s Baby’ by Kate Chopin
  79. ‘River Of Names’ by Dorothy Allison
  80. ‘Hellion’ by Julia Elliott
  81. ‘Sugar Babies’ by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
  82. ‘The Beautiful Mountains’ by John Cheever
  83. ‘Small Avalanches’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  84. ‘The Walk’ by Elizabeth Strout
  85. ‘Nebraska’ by Ron Hansen
  86. ‘Drive’ by Cristina Henríquez
  87. ‘Changes In Louise’ by Tom Drury
  88. ‘The Sculptor’s Funeral’ by Willa Cather
  89. ‘Waugh’ by Bryan Washington
  90. ‘Car Crash While Hitchhiking’ by Denis Johnson
  91. ‘Thrift Store Coats’ by Brooks Rexroat
  92. ‘The Bride Comes To Yellow Sky’ by Stephen Crane
  93. ‘Consolation’ by Richard Bausch
  94. ‘Strange Moonlight’ by Conrad Aiken
  95. ‘A Wagner Matinée’ by Willa Cather
  96. ‘Nest Egg’ by Jesse Stuart
  97. ‘The Tin Butterfly’ by Mary McCarthy
  98. ‘The Train’ by Flannery O’Connor
  99. ‘Who Am I This Time?’ by Kurt Vonnegut
  100. ‘May Queen’ by Mary Robison
  101. ‘The Mappist’ by Barry Lopez
  102. ‘Agnes Of Iowa’ by Lorrie Moore
  103. ‘Kansas’ by Antonya Nelson
  104. ‘Camping Out’ by James Wilcox
  105. ‘That Thing Around Your Neck’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  106. ‘Beautiful Grade’ by Lorrie Moore
  107. ‘Job History’ by Annie Proulx
  108. ‘Polaroid’ by Sally Wells
  109. ‘Something Nice’ by Mary Gaitskill
  110. ‘The Terrapin’ by Patricia Highsmith
  111. ‘Displaced’ by Richard Ford
  112. ‘The Quest For “Blank Claveringi”’ by Patricia Highsmith
  113. ‘Sucker’ by Carson McCullers
  114. ‘To Hell With Dying’ by Alice Walker
  115. ‘The Devil And Daniel Webster’ by Stephen Vincent Benét
  116. ‘The Local Production Of Cinderella’ by Allegra Goodman
  117. ‘Greyhound People’ by Alice Adams
  118. ‘Elk’ by Rick Bass
  119. ‘The Story Of Keesh’ by Jack London
  120. ‘Four Lean Hounds, ca. 1976’ by Maile Meloy
  121. ‘A Visit’ by Steven Millhauser
  122. ‘Sun City’ by Caitlin Horrocks
  123. ‘Mrs. Box’ by Michael Chabon
  124. ‘Fish And Fences’ by Veeda Bybee
  125. ‘The Boys’ by Ethan Coen
  126. ‘The State’ by Tommy Orange
  127. ‘Purification On Cristo Street’ by René Marqués
  128. ‘Road’s End’ by Alexis Smith
  129. ‘Afternoon In Linen’ by Shirley Jackson
  130. ‘The Weave’ by Charles Johnson
  131. ‘Maggie Of The Green Bottles’ by Toni Cade Bambara
  132. ‘The Landlord’ by Wells Tower
  133. ‘Why I Like Country Music’ by James Alan McPherson
  134. ‘Uncle High Lonesome’ by Barry Hannah
  135. ‘Alaska’ by Alice Adams
  136. ‘Riddle’ by Thomas McGuane
  137. ‘Flower Hunters’ by Lauren Groff
  138. ‘Do With Me What You Will’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  139. ‘A Figure Of Speech’ by Tess Gallagher
  140. ‘A Respectable Woman’ by Kate Chopin
  141. ‘Sauerkraut Soup’ by Stuart Dybek
  142. ‘Our Lady Of Peace’ by ZZ Packer
  143. ‘Impulse’ by Conrad Aiken
  144. ‘Residents And Transients’ by Bobbie Ann Mason
  145. ‘Giving Blood’ by John Updike
  146. ‘Where Nothing Is Long Ago’ by Virginia Sorensen
  147. ‘Death Of A Favorite’ by J.F. Powers
  148. ‘Son In The Afternoon’ by John A. Williams
  149. ‘The Old Halvorson Place’ by Larry Woiwode
  150. ‘Naked Woman Playing Chopin’ by Louise Erdrich
  151. ‘Sunday Lunch’ by Nancy Hale
  152. ‘Beatrice Trueblood’s Story’ by Jean Stafford
  153. ‘Heathen’ by Mike Wilson
  154. ‘Donna’ by Michaella Thornton
  155. ‘Happy Hour’ by Denis Johnson
  156. ‘An Orange Line Train To Ballston’ by Edward P. Jones
  157. ‘The Nevada School Of Acting’ by Judy Troy
  158. ‘Haircut’ by Ring Lardner
  159. ‘Ghost Patrol’ by Sinclair Lewis
  160. ‘Island Rodeo Queen’ by Yamile Saied Méndez
  161. ‘White Girl, Fine Girl’ by Shirley Ann Grau
  162. ‘Benediction’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  163. ‘Peyo Mercé: English Teacher’ by Abelardo Díaz Alfaro
  164. ‘Dundun’ by Denis Johnson
  165. ‘I Walk Between The Raindrops’ by T. Coraghessan Boyle
  166. ‘On The Oregon Trail’ by Caitlin Horrocks
  167. ‘Strays’ by Mark Richard
  168. ‘Spit In The Governor’s Tea’ by Shay Youngblood
  169. ‘A Death In The Desert’ by Willa Cather
  170. ‘Monroe’s Wedding’ by John Holman
  171. ‘With Reference To An Incident At A Bridge’ by William Maxwell
  172. ‘The Appropriation Of Cultures’ by Percival Everett
  173. ‘The Day The Dam Broke’ by James Thurber
  174. ‘Officer Friendly’ by Lewis Robinson
  175. ‘Going To Shrewsbury’ by Sarah Orne Jewett
  176. ‘Peter’ by Willa Cather
  177. ‘Correspondence’ by Carson McCullers
  178. ‘Treasure State’ by Smith Henderson
  179. ‘Magnolia Flower’ by Zora Neale Hurston
  180. ‘The Sentimentality Of William Tavener’ by Willa Cather
  181. ‘Snakebite’ by Arthur Bradford
  182. ‘Rain On Tanyard Hollow’ by Jesse Stuart
  183. ‘Young Francis Whitehead’ by William Maxwell
  184. ‘Song On Royal Street’ by Richard Blessing
  185. ‘Playing Before Royalty’ by Ian MacMillan
  186. ‘The Princess And The Puma’ by O. Henry
  187. ‘The Way Of The World’ by Willa Cather
  188. ‘One Christmas’ by Truman Capote
  189. ‘Happy’ by Jayne Anne Phillips
  190. ‘Happy’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  191. ‘Without Inspection’ by Edwidge Danticat
  192. ‘FAQs’ by Allegra Goodman
  193. ‘Boys’ by Rick Moody
  194. ‘Murder At Fork Junction’ by Alston Anderson
  195. ‘I Get By’ by Mary Robison
  196. ‘Bad Latch’ by Curtis Sittenfeld
  197. ‘Through The Safety Net’ by Charles Baxter
  198. ‘The Go-Getter’ by P.G. Wodehouse
  199. ‘The Naked Lady’ by Madison Smartt Bell
  200. ‘The Walled Garden’ by Peter Taylor
  201. ‘Soldier’s Home’ by Ernest Hemingway
  202. ‘The Haunter Of The Dark’ by H.P. Lovecraft
  203. ‘Different Shorelines’ by S.E. Hinton
  204. ‘Magnificent Desolation’ by Jess Walter
  205. ‘The Alaska Of Giants And Gods’ by Dave Eggers
  206. ‘Along The Frontage Road’ by Michael Chabon
  207. ‘What I Hear’ by Mary Robison
  208. ‘This Is My Living Room’ by Tom McAfee
  209. ‘How To Cure A Cold’ by Mark Twain
  210. ‘The Artichoke’ by Marilyn Krysl
  211. ‘The Child Screams And Looks Back At You’ by Russell Banks
  212. ‘The Intermediate Class’ by Sam Allingham
  213. ‘The Texas Principessa’ by William Goyen
  214. ‘From 100 Elvis Stories’ by Lisa Walker

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