Category: fiction

Previously published short stories combined into one collection here: for the low, low price of $1.00. Seriously, skip the dollar menu at Micky D’s and buy my book.

It’s much less fattening.

If I include the names Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan in here, I figure I can include them in my post tags, and then I might get more hits… right???

Hunger Games

Is awesome. You should read it.

And you should try your own hand at The Hunger Games.

July 4th

* Is the date of my wedding.
* Is the name of a book that I just read by James Patterson. This was my first JP book, and I have to say that several of the scenes which Mr. Patterson described made me sick to my stomach. I don’t like blood and gore. Still, definitely a page turner. The plot was excellent. I see more of JP’s books in my near future.


Well that was interesting. If you’re going to show up in my dreams, please do so in a way that is slightly less subtle. Oh, and change your clothes. That’s all I’m saying.

I finished listening to Jesus’ Son today, and I was once again impressed with the language which Johnson utilizes. His strength is in creating pictures that readers can see while incorporating a poeticism throughout.

My earlier evaluation of “Emergency” is wrong in that the full collection of short stories is much more compassionate. The narrator actually traverses through experiences which lead him to face his drug and alcohol addiction. Whereas before, I assumed that Johnson was using the substance abuse as an excuse to create his “trippy” scenes, now I realize just how effective he really is both in language and character development. I was more willing to empathize with characters.

Thanks, Denis, for a great read!

I just finished reading Raymond Carver’s “Neighbors”, and I found myself drawn into minimalist fiction once again. Initially, I wasn’t sure what to do with the dialogue, as I don’t remember “The Swimmer” including that much. However, Carver establishes a nice rhythm with it, and it is not expositional.

The pattern of “Neighbors” and “The Swimmer” is similar. It starts with the protagonist completing an activity (i.e. feeding a cat or swimming in his neighbor’s pools) and progressively makes that activity more and more awkward. It makes me wonder if Carver’s other stories are similar or if ever he experiments in a style that is more difficult for him.

Also, I appreciate Carver’s (okay, I’m going to say it)… “handrails”… throughout his story. Actually, I enjoy that his said handrails sometimes lead to nowhere. For example, initially I assumed the cat moved the story forward for Bill. Then, I assumed it was the Stone’s apartment. Towards the end, the reader realizes that it is not just Bill who is changing but also Arlene.  Finally, the key becomes a hindrance for Bill and Arlene not being able to enter the apartment together. Is this because that neither of them were supposed to be in the apartment together? If Bill and Arlene were ever jointly in their neighbor’s apartment, would they have the same experiences as they have had separately? Also, it seems as if they are leaning into each other at the end–realizing that each other is all they have… or, is it that they are leaning into the door to force it open? What will happen on the other side of that door? Why do I care more about what happens on the other side of the door than I do about the main characters?

Overall, 4 gold stars for Carver. Not five because “The Swimmer” is a million times better, and I prefer swimming over apartments.

So, I just finished reading D.B.’s “The School”, and not only is it absolutely perfectly depressing, it’s also perfectly written, especially the ending when Barthelme starts playing with language. Here is a taste for you:

“One day, we had a discussion in class. They asked me, where did they go? The trees, the salamander, the tropical fish, Edgar, the poppas and mommas, Matthew and Tony, where did they go? And I said, I don’t know, I don’t know. And they said, who knows? and I said, nobody knows. And they said, is death that which gives meaning to life? And I said no, life is that which gives meaning to life. Then they said, but isn’t death, considered as a fundamental datum, the means by which the taken-for-granted mundanity of the everyday may be transcended in the direction of –
I said, yes, maybe.
They said, we don’t like it.
I said, that’s sound.
They said, it’s a bloody shame!
I said, it is.
They said, will you make love now with Helen (our teaching assistant) so that we can see how it is done? We know you like Helen.
I do like Helen but I said that I would not.
We’ve heard so much about it, they said, but we’ve never seen it.
I said I would be fired and that it was never, or almost never, done as a demonstration. Helen looked out the window.
They said, please, please make love with Helen, we require an assertion of value, we are frightened.”

Beautiful, right?

The writing, the words.

Because I am in love with Dan Wickett, I have been stalking his site for a while. I also read the following recommendations and you should, too!:

Brady Udall “A Story”

Matt Bell “An Index of How Our Family was Killed”

Elizabeth Ellen “Samuel L. Jackson is Not a Good Name for a Rabbit”

So, I have been checking out the short stories on Emerging Writer’s Network because Dan Wickett is featuring short stories. I just finished reading “The Duct Tape Brother” by Daniel Torday and found myself LOLing at his sheer awesome creativity. In short, a boy decides he wants to create a duct tape brother, so he does. They, of course, participate in several brotherly antics, until one day the duct tape brother gets bitten by a beagle and starts to unravel. The plot thickens, as they say, at this point, and the duct tape brother goes through several periods of sickness, including a hospital stay and some surgeries. All the while, the non-duct tape brother and non-duct tape brother’s parents remain vigilent. Essesntially, the story is structured similarly to any short story about a child who might have a fatal illness–same consequences, same thoughts/questions/emotions. The only difference is that said child is made of duct tape.

Oh, and he likes to pick his nose.

And just because of that… you should go read “The Duct Tape Brother”, compliments of Daniel Torday.

P.S. The link to his FB page is here:, though I have no idea whether or not he is the FB friendly type or not. So, add at your own risk.

An overview:

* Crying. Lots of crying.

* Patriotism should always be celebrated with large dinners.

* War=games to the younger generation.

* In the end, no matter what the experience, family is most important.

And, yet, I don’t think that’s quite it just yet.