I’m not a poet, and I know it. Other than a few story fragments, all I have left of my legacy writings are poems from the same period in my life. My sources of inspiration, then as now, would be the poetry of Langston Hughes, and 30’s era popular song standards such as Paper Moon and On The Sunny Side Of The Street.
Upon searching for the lyrics to Paper Moon to refresh my memory, I realized just how much the sentiment was echoed in my own verse from Is That Real?
It’s a barnum and bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn’t be make-believe if you believed in me
Evidently, these songs resonate somewhere deep inside me. Maybe they are lasting impressions from all of the old 78’s from my mother’s and grandfather’s collection that I listened to as a child. Whatever their source, this music informs my writing and voice.
**As a warning to younger readers, such as my daughter, I would give this story a rating of at least PG-13, with some R-rated language.
I sorted through a couple of old stories and a few poems. The story that follows, Pops , was originally entitled, LISTEN, A VOICE, which was a bit clumsy, so I have changed it to the name of the main character. It shares elements of my two previous stories, dialogue similar to THE BALL, and imagery, music, and coming of age theme from TO DAWN.
Overall, I’m satisfied with my effort and the end result. While not perfect, and again a bit simplistic, I think some of the metaphors and images ring true, and reading as objectively as possible, I care about the characters.
I wish I could say the same about my other story, a poorly developed cross-cultural study of two heavyweight fighters. In the end, there is a sense of sameness that runs through the entire story and the main character remains essentially unchanged by his experiences. Some of the dialogue made me cringe upon review, so sadly, it is destined for the scrap heap.
I once told a friend, “I write because I have an overwhelming need to do so.” Now, only thirty plus years later, I’m here to share a handful of short stories and open myself up to criticism. Over time I guess I’ve learned to support myself largely through my writing, which to date consists of several hundred thousand business emails, thousands of personal emails and letters, a few thousand message board posts, and whatever you find here. Quite prolific. Why dust off these stories after all these years? They were typewritten pages stored away in the closet. Being an average hunt-n-peck typist, I was not motivated to re-type these pages which would have subjected them to analysis, questioning of my choices, and revision. Discovering the wonders of Acrobat’s OCR capabilities, it was simple to scan and convert to pdf, then copy and paste to MS Word for minor corrections and formatting. What was more frustrating was trying to choose a blog theme to suit my minimalist taste, and discovering that Word is not web-friendly. After much well appreciated assistance from my daughter—Thanks Kate!—and some trial and error using Google Docs, I am able to finally offer something presentable that is basically an electronic representation of those old typewritten papers. Reading them again after many years, I’m a bit embarrassed by my naiveté and simplistic view of the universe. No matter; it’s who I was. I only hope that I was able to express some genuine emotions and capture a little music in the language. I’ve already found this experience far more pleasant than receiving rejection notices in the mail, from front line junior editors, at ill-suited publications, who likely never read my work. I have a few more short stories and poems to share, and hopefully this effort will reignite the fire.