Saturday, October 5, 2019

What is Supernatural? And Why Should You Care?

This past week I ordered several copies of my collection of short stories titled Unremembered Histories to have available during the upcoming Catalyst Content Festival. A couple of the stories could make great short films, and one of these--the title story "An Unremembered History of the World"--could easily be a multi-year television series like Homeland or Mad Men.

(O.K., the story starts slow, so if they do it for television I'm sure they'll skip the esoteric intro.)

The subtitle of my book is Six Stories with a Supernatural Twist. I mention this only to say that I decided to utilize a "Headline Maker" from one of the sites on the Internet and after punching in "keywords" the algorithm spit out 15 suggested titles for this blog post. The one above was listed as numero uno.

Needless to say, the boring headline I chose was "Preface to Unremembered Histories" because that's actually what I wanted to share. Having written this preface eight years ago, I hadn't read it since. I've re-read my stories, and believe some are quite exceptional, but this week I read this preface and it made me want to share it. 

In the first part of the 20th century, when the short story form was in its prime, F. Scott Fitzgerald sometimes received three times more for a single story than the average American earned in a year. A good storyteller had real value in our culture. In the days before movie theaters and television, magazines like The Saturday Evening Post offered some of the best entertainment around. And they paid well to get those marquis writers on their covers.

Early selfies used to look like this.
Even though times have changed, I’m still a believer in the short story form. In the late 1970’s one writer whose stories made a profound impact on me was Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway’s In Our Time hit me like a fist when I first encountered it. The forcefulness of his prose influenced the whole direction of literature, even if the man himself has gone out of favor in some circles.

The stories in my own first volume of short stories, Unremembered Histories, owe a debt to another writer who was himself a master of the short story form, Jorge Luis Borges. Each of the stories here incorporate elements of the paranormal and the supra-natural. “The Nonsense Room” and “Duel of the Poets,” which was translated into Croatian as the centerpiece for a poetry site, were both directly influenced by this Argentine author of what some have called Magical Realism, though it’s my own opinion that his stories defy such easy categorization.

Perhaps one day the same will be said of my own. For now, it’s my hope that you will find them entertaining, engaging and thought-provoking... and worth sharing with your very best friends so you can talk about them over a good bottle of wine.

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It's a dreary day here in the Northland. Maybe a good day to curl up in bed with a good book.

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