Every year I look forward to when the new Best American Short Stories comes into the library, and this year’s volume, edited by novelist Geraldine Brooks, did not disappoint. One story in particular, Allegra Goodman’s “La Vita Nuova,” first published in The New Yorker (and available online), has stayed with me, mostly because of the strength of the voice, which Goodman writes is “spare” and “wry.”

I’ve always believed that consciously mimicking the style of other writers is one of the best ways to find our own voice, to try on new literary wardrobes, to see what fits, what looks good in a certain light, what we could never pull off in a million years. It’s a practice I hope never to outgrow.

[Note: Read the Flash Narrative inspired by “La Vita Nuova”: “Feathers and Horses“.]