It’s tough to write and tough to get others to read my short stories.
I recently set out to challenge myself to write three short stories based upon the music of a composer whom I admire, the late Billy Strayhorn.
Somehow the songs from “Billy Strayhorn: Piano Passion” entered my sub-conscious and inspired me to write. I listened to the music and let my imagination breathe.
In “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” a peaceful gardener is taunted by a neighborhood thug, a small tale that involves the Armenian genocide and a young man’s death on the streets of Los Angeles.
“Something to Live For” takes us to Woodland Hills where a department store clerk, working in a dead end job, comes to idolize a rich, older, mysterious man with a tragic past.
“Lush Life” paints a story of a sour success, a Los Angeles decorator who seeks to ruin a rival by destroying and seducing the rival’s client, and, in the process degrading and demoralizing himself and others.
In my work, I again return to familiar themes of Western anomie and people adrift online and in life, searchers and artists and wanderers who yearn for approval and recognition but often end up shamed and despised.
There is a strong urge in America to build up and build out, but there is also a corollary force of self-destruction, manifested in our long working hours, obesity, and what Mencken called “our libido for the ugly”: the billboard, fast-food, freeway and condo wasteland.
I won’t be so arrogant as to proclaim my fiction true, only to modestly state that I hope some truth is present in my writing.
I try to entertain and create and write something of value and artistry. It is a small pin on the map.
But I would rather start with a small diamond circle of integrity than create a large circle of lies encompassing the globe.
The dehumanized environment of sprawl, the mania for fame, the race for riches, the destruction of nature and the cheapening of life, the debasement of entertainment and the loss of privacy, these are some of the themes stamped onto my work.