Why is Charles Bukowski a major literary influence on your new collection of critically acclaimed short stories?
There are a lot of reasons. The humor, the honesty, the accessibility. When you find a writer that speaks to you– like music – you just really appreciate it. Bukowski deserves all the love he gets. His writing delivers. Post Office, Women, Love is a Dog From Hell, Ham on Rye, Hollywood and pretty much every book he ever wrote– I’ve read them all and will keep re-reading them. The prose, the poetry – so good.
Same thing. Hemingway knew how to write beautiful prose and he delivered. I love his Iceberg theory and his other theories on writing. Old Man & The Sea is a classic but so too are most of his short stories like The Killers and The Three Day Blow. I also really enjoy his Green Hills of Africa. An important writer.
Catcher in The Rye. Masterpiece. Franny & Zooey also praise-worthy. And his Nine Stories. Salinger was a good short story writer. A Perfect Day for Bananafish was powerful and memorable.
F. Scott Fitzgerald?
Love Fitzgerald. So good. So talented. Gatsby was brilliant but his short stories are also worthy of notice from Bernice Bobs Her Hair to A Diamond as Big as the Ritz to the hilarious Pat Hobby Stories. To become the voice of a generation means you’re pretty good.
What is Guy Lit?
A label. People come up with labels. Who knows why? The truth of the matter is that Desperate Times is simply a collection of flash fiction and short stories about male protagonists who find themselves facing various conflicts. These stories do owe quite a bit to the rich American short story traditions that these previously mentioned literary giants (Bukowski, Hemingway) have already set forth. It’s hard not to be inspired by their books and advice on writing. One contemporary writer I love just for his understanding of dialogue is David Mamet. Glengarry Glen Ross–wow! Doesn’t matter if you are writing for the stage or a short story. Great dialogue is great dialogue.
What do you hope readers will take away from Desperate Times: Short Stories?
I hope the reader is entertained. I hope they find value or resonance in some of the stories and characters. I tried to order the 45 stories so that the collection would feel a little bit like an emotional roller coaster.
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