the stories

Memory is a hazy thing, but my first written story may have been the one about “Oink” the pig, completed in roughly 1967, and weighing in at around 30 words. While nothing else I attempt may ever live up to the early promise of Oink, in 1999 a switch flipped in my brain which has, ever since, remained in an upright and locked position. The switch is marked “writer.” It will simply not unflip.

Thus, I wrote The Legend of Logjam, setting myself no parameters apart from the rule that the zany batch of free-associative notions I allowed into the story would somehow all (or at least most of them) find their loose ends neatly knotted by the end.

In retrospect, it is easy to conclude that parameters are not an entirely bad thing, as Logjam spills over with sporadic over-description, a confusing cast of motley characters in need of a good trimming, and a preposterous premise. Or several.

The inexplicable sense of destiny which kicked off Logjam notwithstanding, I concluded early that I’d best not waste much time seeking legitimate publication with such silliness on offer, and I self-published Logjam via XLibris in 2001. No oeuvre, no matter how kooky, wants to live in a drawer after all, and I have great fondness for my Logjam characters, excessively and awkwardly packaged though they may be.

Breakfast of Scallywags set out to be the un-Logjam. It would be light and fluffy, not stuffy, and too simple to confuse. I may have exceeded my goals as Scallywags, while a madcap romp, remains so untethered by meaningful conflict that it would float away were I not to wedge it snugly between Logjam and Hunting the Rose. So here it is.

I began work on Hunting the Rose with two requirements: 1) Fun. 2) A legitimate conflict. Then I scared off the two real, name-brand publishers who’d traded letters with me re Scallywags (before ultimately declining) by giving Rose a confoundingly chaotic opening. Or so they both said. Maybe they just had headaches.

But, whatever the case, there remains that dang switch. The one marked “writer,” which won’t unflip. I’ve tried to ignore it, but it can’t be done.* Some aspect of my psyche is convinced the Cosmos has given it this imperative: Write. Bizarre conceit, no doubt. But I’ve found this to be inescapably true: Keep the writer aspect of my spirit happy, and the rest tags along.

*(thus, I offer Bea and the Smart Kids, plus any ensuing works, with no excuses, just a shrug.)