DEFINITIONS OF BUG USED IN THIS BLOG -
1. Slang verb or noun: concern or annoy (most common use of the word in this blog),
2. Proper noun: best dog I know,
3. Proper noun: name of dog in COMING FLU and MURDER: A NEW WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT,
4. Noun: computer error or flaw, and
5. Noun: an insect
Do you like to thumb through
books when you’re deciding what to read next?
Amazon is great when I know
what I want, BUT sometimes I like to peruse lots of books, especially when I'm looking for something different. Then I go to one of my two favorite bookstores.
Under Charlie’s Covers (primarily a used book store) 505-404-2097
160 S. Camino Del Pueblo
Bernalillo, NM 87004
Treasure House (features New Mexico authors) 505-242-7204
2012 S Plaza St. NW (on the
square in Old Town Albuquerque)
Albuquerque, NM 87104
If you live in the
Albuquerque area, I recommend these two. If you live elsewhere, take time to
visit bookstores in your area and develop favorites. Sometimes, used bookstores
are the best choice; other times bookstores, which focus on local authors, are
Novels and short stories by definition are fiction, but that
doesn’t mean they shouldn’t contain bits of reality. Sometimes an author can introduce reality into her fiction by using her
memories—personal, and probably slightly biased, facts. I guess a purist
would say memories and facts are often distinctly different. I don’t want to
argue the point today.
I combined several of my memories with facts and
lots of fiction. The University of Wisconsin-Madison was awash with Iranian
students protesting the Shah in the late 1970s. I was a professor there and the
graduate advisor of one of these students. Conversations with her and her
friends served the basis of creating the fiery character Farideh in I Saw
You in Beirut.
For example, in an early scene in I Saw You in Beirut, Farideh takes a
knife, which she was using to slice a cake, and threatens an annoying fellow
grad student. Unfortunately, the incident really happened in my lab, but I
changed the names to protect the guilty. I thought this incident was a #way to show not tell about
memories for a short story collection?
Before I wroteThe Good Old Days? A Collection of Stories,
I talked to dozens of people about their memories, especially of their
childhoods and adolescences. Thus each of my stories has a different
perspective, but they all address historical or social problems in the 1940s,
1950s, and 1960, a time that many refer to as the good old days. I think these vignettes
demonstrate past events are often funny, but many would rather remember than
relive the events.
Here are two examples of the memories that triggered
stories: Do you remember your first bra? (Sorry guys, you missed that
experience.) Did it look a bit like Madonna’s costume with two cones of foam
strung together with straps? Enjoy the humorous memories in I
Look Like Papa.
Many towns in the Midwest and New England are awash with
grand Victorian ladies (large houses with endless brightly-painted
decorations). As an old man remembers his glory days as a high school athlete
Dave, he also reveals secrets about domestic violence in these
so-called grand homes.
all have memories usable in fiction. Perhaps, you can remember with
horror a car accident or the death of a love one. You could use your painful
memories of you raw emotions to make a scene in a novel memorable to others.
don’t you search you memory for ideas for your next novel or short story?
I Saw You in Beirut Blurb:
Sara Almquist’s past, as a student at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison and as a globetrotting epidemiologist, provides clues for the
extraction of a nuclear scientist from Iran.
The Good Old Days? A Collection of StoriesBlurb: Are many
nostalgic accounts of the good old days examples of selective forgetfulness?
Before you argue the point, read these fourteen short stories.