Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Writer's Dilemma

A writer's worst dread is to be unread.

However gratifying the praise of crickets may be, only the publisher's check, if accepted by his, oh so clever (just ask him), banker, puts beans and such on his table.

Every one can write.

Just because you are good, does not mean you are good for that market.

Craftsman enough to be published, the duration of a reader's notice is short.

Few trouble to spend much time reading.

The only thing more petrifying than reading last month's issue is the medical appointment that usually follows.

How to cope with the half life of short fiction is every writer's knotty dilemma.

Along comes Rob Hunter to whack it in two like Alexander did the Gordian Knot. He collects a bouquet of his published short fiction, including one novella, into a handsome paper back. This removes the stigma of 'past issue' while opening the tales to broader audiences who may not be readers of a particular magazine. Is the candle worth the game? Yes. Emphatically yes. If you had a character cellar to pepper your stories with saps, clowns and God's fools in the manner of a Damon Runyon, a William Saroyan, a Ring Lardner, Junior, all rolled into one, while keeping the tale original you might almost match Rob's efforts here. These works are as varied as the nine patch quilts he limns so evocatively while remaining the clear effusions of a single master story teller.

For examples:

A Pass on the Tabouli offers a slice of peripheral vision. The characters inhabit the world we only glimpse out of the corner of our eyes. That world vanishes if looked at full on, lost in a fog of conventional feelings we choose to call reality. One might call a spade a spade in either world, but only in that peripheral world are we not too polite to admit that when we do the reason we refuse to dig is that we are lazy. Even that only when the tabouli is off.

Boys Night Out: Lycanthropy offers a plausible diversion from a narrative of conversational mixed doubles that illuminates suburban gender roles.

I Want to Share Your Wheat. A passage de danse for fore and back brain, digits and a cool green monitor filling with ampersands. Only those who know the horror of a blank page will appreciate the depth of this fantasy.

A Perfect Homburg. Further adventures of Jim Everhardy, our proxy mystery player: Everywriter. Who knew that a “38 Dodge chrome hubcap beats a gent’s best felt in the muse's duckpin league?

An Unwarmed Fish Artemis' Friday stand in nymph, Bambi, teaches Everywriter the value of not appearing with only a soundbite at a satire fight. Especially if it is a Friday duello in a modern day Duffy's Tavern caught in a Thursday time loop and well larded with spoonerisms. Wellerisms! Can't get enough of them.

Klein, the Clone Explores with nostalgic eyes the joys and perils of growing up twin and cloned in a blue rinse world of flags of all nations, noodle kugel, Mah-jong parties and an absent father – his body, not his head-- lost in Willipaq. Mistakes do happen.

The Nine Patch Variations. Libby Pease contemplates the infinite finitude of memory as she discovers the true, and only, existential question: Now, where did I put... what was it I'm looking for? Meantime William, call me Bill, Powell, detached from the silver screen, kibitz's on Libby's quilting, while the scallop casserole simmers seductively.

The Runaway Bungalo. Santa Expidito choreographs Mama Coca's tainted clams into a pas de trois for waitress, gentil hombre, and machine pistols. Not only the butterflies die. Oh, yes. Pirates!.

In all, there are seventeen entries to odd corners of Manhattan, Massapequa and Maine, and points South, North, East and West. Views of paranoid borders with Canada and the id abound. At just over a buck a tale this is the perfect bound perfect gift for the quirky and normal on the list. Go see Rob’s site: onetinleg.com for ordering details.

Not convinced? Rob, it turns out, is incredibly generous as well as marvelously gifted. Besides containing lanolin he is a voice artist of dexterity with timing to die for. Many of his stories are available as Mp3 files.

Hear him tell it.

Own and give your own copies.


Let me close with a poor song of my own but inspired by the The Song of the Rice Barge Coolie

In the interstices angst may provide
Glimpses of ids or sills inside.
Inevitable suicide?
Or wonted homicide?
You decide.


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