I recently completed a collection of short stories. As the preface to the collection explains, “This collection began as half of a cold case murder mystery. After several attempts, and a good deal of research, I concluded I do not possess the tools required to write a credible murder investigation, even a fictional one. But I was unwilling to abandon more than a year’s worth of work. After considering my options, I settled on the idea of concentrating on the chapters of my incomplete draft that embody the narrator’s significant family memories. The result follows.
“The stories do not constitute a whole, comprehensive tale. Indeed, one is an essay rather than a story. Each entry can be read alone. Each can be read with reference to the others. And, except for second half of ‘Play Ball,’ they are all fiction, even the essay.
“Finally, like much fiction, the stories have some autobiographical roots. Those roots, in this instance, are almost entirely geographic and temporal. Suffice it to say that the men, women, boys, and girls who were part of my childhood are not depicted in these stories as I knew them.”
The stories are set primarily in the 1960s. They are about a boy, his brother, and his sister trying to survive in an environment soaked in alcohol, marked by a distant war, and tortured by the rarely suppressed demons of the adults around them. From idyllic summer moments of pure joy to a wrenching final encounter, the stories in A String of Beads portray the impact of life’s raw encounters with, I hope, blunt, precise, and haunting honesty.
I’m currently shopping the collection around, seeing if I can interest a publisher. Patience, not one of my personal virtues, is the key to navigating that process. I’ll provide updates here as appropriate.