by C. G. Wayne
A collection of short stories about the struggle of Gulf Coast expatriates and residents to maintain cultural identities in a realm of change. There are 13 related pieces in this collection of stories about M. Vicknair, Marlene Englade, Winston, and two brothers - JB and Ricky Goings.
A 2nd Edition is in work and will be published in the Spring of 2021.
- M. Vicknair Reads Tonight At 6
- Somewhere Nobody Usually Goes
- Oak Man Dog
- Mr. Thompson and the Curse of Magic House
- The Insanity of Winston
- Sex Life of Ghosts
- Funeral Supper
- Author’s Notes
Sex Life of Ghosts was an odd piece that included contents based on stories my great grandmother told me about my Cherokee great-great-grandparents and how they came to live in Louisiana. People forget that there are Indians still living in Louisiana. The characters in the story are fictional, however. The stories told by the great-great-grandmother are presented as stories of the Cherokee people.
The original title of Barista was Girl With Dragon Tattoo. It was a story that developed after seeing a photo of one of my wife's relatives who had recently gotten a large tattoo of a dragon. She was quite proud of it. I was in a phase at the time where I was naming stories in a similar style as that used for naming paintings. I used a minimalist descriptive subject title, Girl With Dragon Tattoo, and I considered the story name unique and quite beautiful. A year or two after writing that piece, I discovered a display table in Page and Palette (my favorite local bookstore and the reason I moved to Fairhope, Al) populated with books titled The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I was devastated – almost ill. It was a long time before I was able to re-title that story. I protest my loss. Still, in my mind, I use the original. I have not yet read the novel by Stieg Larsson. Perhaps I should. In Sweden, it’s real title is Men Who Hate Women. Sigh
When I wrote Disk2, it was titled Tape2. Technology has changed considerably since that time - and still does. My current camera doesn't use a disk for storage, but I gave up trying to shift the title to match current technology. Hopefully, that isn't a problem for readers who have no memory of cameras that use removable storage media. I submitted this piece to a short story publication one time, and the editor was kind enough to reply that the grandfather was stereotypical. While he recognized it as a frame narrative, he didn't like the twist in narration at the end. I considered changing that for a time but never did. The entire point of the piece is that it is a story about a story, and while it is a form of frame narrative, it's really more metafiction, so the twist was not a twist at all. That was the point of the piece. I decided not to send it out for publication again.
About that time, I became tired of/bored with revising pieces to fit the word count constraints of journals. That was such an artificial reason for a revision. And I didn't want to write that way. I like complexity and layering, which often become lost or compromised when "tightening up" a piece for a small journal. None of my pieces fit within the format requirements for journals anyway, so I ended that effort as being noncreative and counterproductive to the craft of writing. I've always been uncomfortable with statements I've made in workshops that someone else's piece was too unfocused or complicated. Perhaps we just didn't get the meaning of their work – instead of cutting images and dialog; perhaps it needed more in-depth exploration, more layers, and more complexity—my sincere late apologies to Jane. I'm still troubled by our critiques of her work. We undervalue complexity and obscurity for the sake of comfortable concise definitions.
C. G. Wayne