Waiting for Love is a collection of brief short stories by 16 year-old Alexandra Maria Proca. All told, there are eleven short stories, most about two pages, that cover topics ranging from war to Alzheimer’s disease. No matter the subject matter, Proca’s varied stories told from creative perspectives and are very original. The central theme for the collection is that the stories follow a similar pattern and end with a series of rhetorical, thought-provoking questions.
A standout story is The Rules, a tale of a man with amnesia in a dangerous wilderness and the lengths he must go to in order to survive. There is some nice writing throughout, particularly description, as when Proca describes, “His innocent voice melts into my heart like as the soft bread rolls would sizzle with butter during our Sunday family gatherings.” Proca’s one longer story, the collection-ending The Fight, introduces more dialogue and delves into character with greater depth.
Proca tackles these subjects with the fervor, but the brevity of her stories does not allow for much depth. Several of the stories have real potential and could be served well by a deeper exploration of their themes at greater length. The subjects she tackles are ones of such complexity that they cannot possibly be addressed satisfactorily in only a few pages. Perhaps these short stories are studies for longer works? Let us hope so. In particular, Forgotten, already heartfelt, feels ripe for a longer story. “Arms,” a very original story told from the perspective of the bars in a prison, demonstrates Proca’s ability to write from varying and creative perspectives. A longer piece from a similarly offbeat perspective could be incredibly interesting.
Proca has an innate sensitivity that will serve her well in the future. Her stories demonstrate a keen observational awareness of the world around her. Perhaps Proca’s developing writing voice would be better served writing about subject matter more familiar to her—a day in the life of a teenager can be just as powerful as an insight into world issues if it is told with authenticity and heart. Introspective insights into the minds of today’s young people could make for a formidable collection–one that would be appreciated by teens and adults alike. Her empathy and awareness would make for a powerful voice.
Overall, Proca’s effort displays heart and a passion for the written word. While the stories are clearly those of a 16 year-old, they are well written and show a passion for writing craft. Proca’s determination and follow through necessary to finish and publish a polished collection of short stories indicates that this is only the beginning for the young writer.