Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trying to Care: A Story Collection

Trying to Care, a collection of six short stories about love, family, confusion, parenting and mid-life romance, has just been published at's Kindle Book Store. These stories are not intended to provide answers to the reader. They are intended to give perspective and strange insight into love in these post-modern times.

"I Could Pity You" starts the collection off with a wife trying to get her husband to quit smoking when she tells him it makes her want to pity him. In "Millie Floating," a husband waking up one snowy morning is convinced his wife has murdered the family dog. 

"Jenna's Mother"finds a daughter troubled by her mother's late life situation living in Section 8 senior housing. Jenna Tambore feels uncomfortable in the building and confused about how to help her mom. 

In "House Sitting," a husband struggles to understand why it is he and his wife are always fighting. He gets his answer taking care of the neighbors' house while they're away on vacation dealing with a rodent problem. "Guda and His Son" is the shortest story in the collection. It is about a Pakistani father and son behind the counter at their service station on 9/11. 

And, finally, the title story, "Trying to Care," finds a successful entrepreneur admitting to his new girl friend that he has placed a closed-circuit camera in his mother's apartment so that he can watch her whenever he wants. This is because he never visits her. He must also deal with a promise he made to her years ago. 

Please go to my Amazon page at Authors Central to learn more about this book and others I have on Amazon:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Birthday David Foster Wallace

Today, February 21, 2012, would have been David Foster Wallace's 50th birthday. We could have started thinking of him as a gray beard in the American literary canon. Instead, he will be forever young (see my 2008 farewell to him here).

Wallace is kind of the Dostoevsky of the modern American era. While old Fyodor was consumed by the idea of suffering as the means to human redemption, Wallace was consumed by the poetry of loneliness that our consumer culture tries valiantly to defeat. 

Both men came at their worlds with full-throttle intellects, but the voices they chose often tended to be strangely childish or buffoonish, and either heroically unselfconscious or tragically confused and far too self-conscious.  Dostoevsky's world was always one of transitional ideas and moral questioning. Wallace's was one of transitional consumerism and the drunken hype of media think. 

I think of the two in the same basket most because more than any other writers I know of, as a reader you want to take them in the other room during their stories and just say, "Dude, lighten up!" Even Wallace's funniest moments are so filled with the echo of modern anomie (they're based on it). And Dostoevsky's thick and heavy conversations -- twisted precursors to the existential writers of the first half of the 20th century -- are all so muddled by the breaking down of religion going on at the time and the consequent question of how the individual builds morality up as a buffer for facing life's inevitable pain. 

I've written this after coming back from the baseball field with my youngest son, Conor. We were working on field grounders from deep in the hole at short. I probably hit him 150 balls. The key was staying down and trusting his eye-hand coordination. He did well. He looked great out there. I hit one very hard in the gap near second base. Conor lay out for the ball perfectly, flying horizontal to the ground, skidding on his chest, snagging the white pill in his glove like a pro. It was very impressive and seemed to me as good a reason as any to love life and know that magic can be real. 

As a treat to yourself (if you like wild thinking guys who believe in the magic of stories) check out The David Foster Wallace Audio Project

Happy Birthday, Dave.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Swimming Through the Sparkles

I've published two stories to the Kindle site at in the past week. They can both be found at the following Kindle links:

What Goes Inside

Her Miniature

What Goes Inside is currently listed as #57 on the list of free literary fiction offerings. Her Miniature is listed as #77. I'm hoping folks will download both as much as possible today and tomorrow while they're free. However, if you really want to make my day, wait until Monday and download them for the Amazon price of $2.99.

Let me know if they're worth it, too.

I admit that these stories are quite provocative and a bit nasty and even nihilistic. They are part of a larger manuscript, all dealing with the love thing as it affects those of us heading into middle age. Julia Davenport is an amplification of a lot of stuff I'm reading and hearing about these days. Many women are as full of wanderlust as men.

Some of the stories I've heard over the past 6-8 years are quite interesting--and heartbreaking. They inform some of Julia Davenport's life. If anything, she seems to me to represent a very deep and very strong aspect of women that I notice here in the 2000s. I am so amazed by the strength and character of the women I know and see everyday. There is a fearless, strong, warrior queen in these women. They may be moms and wives, ex-wives, girl friends, even grandmoms, but they have that thing in them.

I think of that thing as a piece of Diana. Diana is the Goddess of the Hunt, the Moon, and Birth. If they were to fully tap into their inner Diana, men wouldn't stand a chance (in many different ways). At the same time, though, the profoundly noble spirit of Diana is right there at the edge of the cliff. The same kind of spirit is in some men (Apollo). Note I say "some" men. The book that best points to that spirit is Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Need I say more?

The book cover you see in this post is something just finished yesterday. My third story in what I think of as "The Julia Cycle" is ready to post to Kindle. However, I'm waiting, wondering if anyone might want to read it. Let me know if it's time to post it.

This will likely be the last post of these in this format. I am shooting to have the full cycle of eight (8) stories compiled into novel format and posted to Amazon sometime in the spring. Keep a look out. Let me know your thoughts on everything Julia Davenport. She's kind of a mess, but aren't we all?

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Happy Reading.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Her Miniature: A Short Story

A creepy, rather sordid, somewhat kinky story, HER MINIATURE, will be posted at Kindle Select by tomorrow morning. Julia Davenport has a pretty strong effect on people -- especially men. 

These stories have been influenced by the struggles so many of us in our 40s and 50s have with love, sex, romance, fidelity and adultery. It's almost as if heading into our middle age years we can't help ourselves and just jump right at the most intense and personal aspects of who we are. Is enlightenment possible if you're fantasizing about an affair or spending your time going crazy in one? Possibly. Maybe the enlightenment you achieve comes from learning your lesson one way or another...

I worry most about all of us Boomers as we head towards our final twenty years, but I worry as well about the next generations coming up. No one talks enough about how crazy (and adolescent) the 40s and 50s can be. The intensely personal is still the most interesting aspect of life. And the least understood.

Me? I've learned too much for one life in the past 3 years. The most vital thing is that Love is still the most important thing in life. The second most important thing is that Love is a very, very slippery proposition. 

Read the Julia Davenport stories. You'll see.

What Goes Inside is already posted and free to download through Saturday, February 18. 


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What Goes Inside

I just published my first offering at Amazon's Kindle site. It's just a short story, but it's a start. If you're interested, go check it out here. The cover I posted last night sucked. Sorry. I posted a new one today (see image to left) and hopefully Amazon will have that up by tomorrow morning.

Yes, it's one short story and the price is $2.99. I know you can get free stories and I know you can get stuff as low as $0.99, however, this is a good story. It's about a guy who is happily married, just going about his life, when one day he becomes completely smitten by a woman named Julia Davenport. This is the first in a series of interconnected stories about Ms. Davenport and how in our middle age we all get confused. 

Until people tell me I'm full of it and they're not getting their money's worth, $2.99 is the price. I promise you, right now I'm not getting rich on this. For what it's worth, I've asked to run a promotional offering of a free download for the next 5 days, so if you go to the site before Sunday you can get it for free. Tell your friends who like to read stuff about love and the meaning of life (which reminds me, Happy Valentine's Day!). 

More to come. Stay tuned. Happy reading.