We all knew it would happen sometime soon. But still it seemed sudden.
My grandfather also died during Easter weekend, many years ago. Good Friday, in fact. I was 10. We had to have the wake and funeral right away. The Church said they wouldn’t allow him to be buried on Easter Sunday.
My mother told us that Grandpa went straight to Heaven, because he died on Good Friday. That we would one day see him again.
Terry, you died on April 1st. But it was no Fool’s. It was Easter. You were sleeping, and did not wake. Continue Reading
Some people have asked me on FB for some previews of Notes from the Nineties. It’s difficult to prepare excerpts from short stories (which are already short). So while I’m thinking of what’s appropriate as a teaser, here’s another poem from the volume. It appears right after the story “Boys Will be Boys” together with the poem “Grandmother.”
Summers of my Upstate youth were spent
in the family station wagon, the six of us, or was it seven,
traveling to the great St. Lawrence
Seaway of a thousand islands.
The first time we stayed one night at Mosquito Heaven,
Today marks the first day of spring, as well as the start of the Easter Week. And while it is the end of Spring Break for some schools in North America, it’s still spring break for others…and it was, in fact, around this time of year back in 1996 that the seeds of “The Four Teeth of the Apocrypha” were planted. Like teeth.
That remark alone should let you know that this is not a typical story (if the title hadn’t already tipped you off by now). Continue Reading
From first to last: the final story in the collection, “Training the Mountain Warrior,” is based on two specific events that happened to me shortly after moving to Japan in 1999. The date thus places the story barely in the Nineties; the paired-poem (“Asian Dreams”) was written hastily—scrawled, really—in an old yellow lined notepad the night before I left the US (permanently, as it turned out). I still have the notepad, well used and abused.
The short story describes my attempted nighttime climb of Mt. Fuji (which ended short of the summit due to high winds) and my trek through the ancient mountains of the Kinai peninsula, whose hiking trails later became a World Heritage Site. There were a lot of details that I deliberately left out, and of course the dialogue is completely fictional. But I did, actually, dangle my friend over a cliff.
I’m putting the finishing touches on an anthology of short stories and poems, some of which date alllll the way back to 1992. Pre-SNS. Pre-email, even. Scary stuff.
A few come from my undergraduate Senior Project. A couple from my MFA thesis (the main part of which became Approaching Twi-Night). Another handful were used to apply to said MFA program. Aside from two that were published in university literary journals, the poems have basically never seen the light of day. A couple of the stories did appear in previous versions elsewhere.
The stories are meant to provoke, to inspire, to draw a contrast between aspects of life in Upstate, out of state, and overseas, to see the world through different eyes…to challenge perceptions. And naturally, to make you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. Readers should find something to interest them, no matter their reading preference. That, in my humble opinion, is one of the biggest benefits of daring varying writing styles.
This space will be updated from now until the book release with notes on the stories — some shorter, some longer — but the poems I leave to the reader’s interpretation.