Thursday, April 7, 2011

Short Stories to Feed Your Soul

The hardcover first edition of the Short Story America Anthology will be available for purchase very soon. According to writer and publisher Tim Johnston, the anthology will have “nearly 600 pages of excellent short stories.” My story, Fallout Shelter, will be among them. While I think my story is damn good, I can promise that many of the others are better. I will post the link to purchase the anthology when it is available, or you can sign up for the Short Story America Newsletter here.

I don't know if my fellow authors would articulate their basis for writing this way, but I write, and I believe most people write, as a way to make sense of all the input the world throws our way. I think we also do it as a way to show love. Writing is both selfish and generous, like all art. I sincerely hope you feel cared for and understood when you read something you love.

(That's my new author photo taken by an incredibly talented artist who is also my firend, Stacey Evans. You can see more of her work here.)

Like a crack dealer offering free samples to kids on the corner, I offer you this passage FREE from Fallout Shelter:

“I put the gun and its ammunition back into their box and onto the top shelf of the hall closet next to the study. The ammunition is probably bad anyway. Because Mary likes the gun hidden, it lives under the old beaver fur hat I got in Russia on a student trip decades ago and Mary’s father’s navy coat. Mary used to wear the coat when we were camping or working in the yard or when she was trying to look particularly bohemian during a phase she went through in the late 1980s. I loved her in it. I’ve never worn the hat; it doesn’t get cold enough where we live. But I won’t get rid of it even though a big hat like that on a man as slight as I am would probably look a little funny. Not only am I short, I’m thin. I don’t take up much space.

Thirty years and three houses ago, she might have been on my side. Hell, ten years even. But things have changed. Now we spend our time apart even when we are in the same room. Somewhere along the way it went from occasionally not liking something the other person did to actually not liking the other person. Was it a piling up of little differences or a lightning bolt we managed not to notice? Was it more me than her, or her than me? I don’t know. Not that the answer really matters, I guess. I would say I have changed by shedding the non-essential parts of me. The parts you pick up to function in a society you no longer believe in, the experimental parts and the parts you craft to please others. She, I guess, would say that those parts of me were essential to her. Mary likes civilization and its rules.”

I hope you enjoy whatever you are reading. Without fiction, how can we find truth?