I’d had a go at writing a few short stories, and there were also the few autobiographical musings that had made it into writing and out of my head; yet so far, those children of mine had no home to call their own.
Around the same time, I’d also started reading Charles Bukowski. Apparently as America’s leading contemporary poet of the time, he was labelled America’s most copied poet too. It was easy to see why. An accessible style of prose in short sharp stabs about things we all know and in a way we could all understand. Mostly I think his talent was in finishing each of them with a concluding observation of his subject matter delivering a soft blow of despairing humour. You’ll more than likely laugh at times, but I’m not sure if you’re laughing with Bukowski—and I’m not sure you’re laughing at him either.
Most copied poet in America? Challenge accepted. So I ran out a whole bunch of my own Bukowskis, yet where he had humour to play with, I didn’t for the most part. At the time I was playing with prose poetry, life wasn’t much fun. What came out were hard, dark, depressing lunges at why I didn’t human like the rest of the faces you’d bump into day-to-day. It wasn’t all so bleak; there were a few lighter offerings which were great fun. The short stories weren’t so depressing either, but as a collection it tends toward sad, dark and grim. It questions what happy might be and why it’s missing for so many.
That’s probably why this isn’t on any bookshelf right now. It’s not hard to read between the lines of my other projects into what was going on, and where my head might have been, but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable just throwing it out there for everyone to see; for anyone and everyone to judge me for being the broken human I was at the time. And these aren’t reading between the lines guesses. These are telling it exactly how it was. And it could be a long time before I’m ready for everyone to know my secrets.
For those few who have a copy of Shorts, you know why you do. You know what you did. And you’re the ones who get to know Mikey’s secret, what’s up with Clark, why the devil wants Zane’s soul and what the hell that painting is hiding.