Often little more than a paragraph in length, these stories by contemporary women writers range from the very good to writing of a confessional kind found more usually in mass-circulation magazines. The preoccupations are understandably female and feminist, and relationships with mothers, lovers--both male and female--and other women predominate. Writers like Celia Gilbert (""That Changes Everything""), Jane Meredith Adams (""Beauty Tips""), and Kris Vervaecke (""Barbara and Marsha"") describe aptly the way mothers can exasperate and wound (""don't be so nervous; you were always so highly strung"") or can share an incomparable closeness (""Barbara knows that she is waiting for her mother to begin cutting the pattern of her grief; Barbara will know its parameters; their hearts are the same muscle""). Laura Chester's ""The Answer"" and Susan Volchok's ""Up All Night"" are wry and deftly written accounts of love affairs with men; while Nancy Slonim Aronie's ""Forever Hold Your Peace"" and ReneÃ‰ Hansen's ""The Ingrid Bergman Plan to Suicide"" are two notable pieces with lesbian themes. Other accomplished stories are: LeslÃ‰a Newman's ""Every Woman's Dream,"" in which the narrator tries to outwit a man in the street who's making obnoxious comments; and Rosalind Warren's fablelike ""Tunafish,"" in which all the sorrows and fears troubling the teenage protagonist are miraculously vanquished. The overwhelming, obsessive self-absorption makes for a claustrophobic read, relieved fortunately by those writers whose women connect to wider themes and experiences.