Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Strange Valentines anthology released

This is slightly delayed, but as I mention I've been rather busy and altogether "elsewhere" as of late.  The Strange Valentines anthology from Whortleberry Press is available now, just in time to order a copy for all of your sweethearts.  Although, considering some of the stories in it, they might interpret your gift as a sign that they need to call the cops.

My story appears on Page 90 (not like I'm keeping track) and I was very, very pleased to see this particular story find a home.

"Jenny" tells the story of a narrator's doomed obsession with his childhood sweetheart and his desire to have her at any price.  The story idea came to me my junior year of college when I was listening to a song called "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" by The Killers.  That entire album is full of strange, off-kilter love songs that hint at some kind of deeply disturbing subtext, and the beginning of a story about love and obsession started to form in my head.

I finally sat down to write it for my first creative writing class in graduate school.  By that time it had percolated in my head enough that I understood some of the other things I wanted to say.  It's a story about futility and unrequited love, but it's also a story about immasculation and all of the twisted, disturbing things that romance movies and romantic comedies especially have done to our society.

The story wasn't received particularly well.  This is not the kind of story you introduce yourself with to a group of strangers.

In some ways, "Jenny" is a sister story to my previous story, "Flowers for Lily." Both tell the story of an obsessive lover who carries his affections too far; both rely in parts on a similar narrative device; and both feature protagonists who are almost, but not quite, sympathetic.

And that's the real crux of "Jenny," I think.  When you read a story like this, you can't help but sympathize with the narrator, even though you know he's a monster.  And what does that say about you, dear reader?  

Anyway.  I really like this story, and I really like this anthology.  It's a fun mix of lighthearted and creepy and weird, which are all things I really enjoy.

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