All human beings are in a state of flux and transition, whether it be with belief, faith, sex, sexual orientation, identity, memories, relationships, or a physical state. How we see ourselves and others isn’t always clear. Navigating the day-to-day vicissitudes of life is at the heart of the human condition. And on top of that, even more is unexpected than expected, dredging the soul through something out of the blue and demanding resolve, which is also part of the human condition.
“The Place Between” is a speculative piece about death and moving on. It follows an unnamed protagonist who, after a tragic accident, must make the choice between holding on to his old life with all its pain and pleasures or letting go, even if it means losing his memories. The story examines the fear of death and the unknown as well as the importance of memory. It also looks at the pain and complexities present in parent-child relationships. Most importantly, it is a story about what it means to be alive and what we must leave behind when we die.
The following short story focuses on how one learns to accept and heal from the hurt they felt from the most intimate of places — childhood. How do we forgive ourselves and, therefore, others?
“The Reason Cars Go Fast” relates to the absurdity and complexity of things that we think are important in the moment. A desire or fetish seems like the most pressing thing in the world until it has been satisfied.
The story, “A Merry Trencherman,” aims to explore a widely held idea about overweight people, which is that they are jolly and carefree, and they know how to enjoy life. Toward the end of the short story, the narrator learns that his obese friend is far from merry, far from happy, even far from contented with his lot. The narrator discovers his friend is deeply dissatisfied with his life because of his condition. It should be obvious to people that obesity cannot march hand in hand with true happiness, yet the stereotype of the merry trencherman endures among many.
Censorship is just another way to prevent free speech, a right that is clearly and proudly stated within the First Amendment. People claim that what political preferences call opinion is ‘hate speech’ or, in other words, offensive. This obviously does happen. People can and do use that right with the wrong idea in mind, but getting kicked off of Facebook over political opinion is completely and utterly wrong on a number of levels. Censorship, to most, seems like the responsible thing to do. “It’s to keep inappropriate images and comments off of children’s websites!” Which is fine. But that’s only where it begins. In the end, everyone is too caught up in sparing everyone else’s feelings to realize they’re handing away the precious gift that brave men and women died to uphold and protect. It’s a gift that countries like China do not have, and look where they are now. (If I were in China, I would be killed in a back alley for saying this.) It’s a gift that a few hundred years ago was worth getting publicly executed for. It’s a gift that we have begun to take for granted, and that needs to end. Censorship is a shortcut to destroying our constitutional rights, and we’re letting it slip through our fingers. So, in summary, censorship is ill-advised, unjust, and dangerous to the people of America.
I came up with the Pythagoras argument during one of those tiresome “How can you separate the art from the artist” conversations, and successfully demonstrated how easy it was for us to separate the Math from the mathematician. That prompt, “Would you ask that question about Pythagoras?” turned into this story. In that sense it is definitely the most unrealistic piece I have ever written, but relates to the smothering frustration of Twitter and cancel culture.
How are stereotypes helpful? What can we do to curtail unhelpful assumptions? “Two Chicken Platters” explores how the presumptions we make are so often superficial and ignore the nuances of human suffering.
“The Bully” deals with the rational human fear of mortality and suggests that anger is born from that fear. There is also an implication that bullying behavior often comes from a lack of consciousness rather than simply an aggressive posture, and that a lack of consciousness — being inattentive to the suffering of others or numb to the world — is a poor coping strategy implemented by so-called bullies to try to stave off the reality of mortality. It also offers that a shared human connection in terms of acknowledgement regarding the tyranny of mortality can lessen suffering and, therefore, reduce fear and anger. **Based on a true story.**
Can we ever truly understand anything beyond our own mind? If not, do assumptions form the backdrop of all human behavior? What assumptions do we make about others, and how does this affect our interactions? “The Solipsist” is a story about a clash of cultures, where either side is perhaps a little too certain of its understanding of the way things are and should be.