So, Astral Imperium And Other Stories is out, and available on Amazon. It was a great relief to get that published, and now I can focus my energy on getting the memoir ready for print. But, of course, my family is reading the collection and quoting the whole thing back to me on a daily basis at this point. Which is... disturbing. Not that I don't like my own work -- I think it's great and I'm certainly proud of it. But sometimes you need to distance yourself from something you've worked so hard on, in order to regain perspective.
My mother asked me today why none of my stories had happy endings. I'd honestly never thought about it, until now. "Do any of your stories have happy endings?" she asked.
"Uh..." I was stumped. I tried to run through the checklist in my head... "No... no... well, umm... not quite? Then, umm... maybe? Probably not though... And I guess not. Hmm... definitely no, there... Oh man." So it's a dark collection, even in its lighter moments. But that was sort of the point, I feel -- getting the darkness out of my head and onto the page. Writing involves at least a partial transmutation of the psyche, and I think I've definitely accomplished that with this collection. It represents the period of darkness in which I wrote it. All of this is entirely possible. It's also possible that I am a sick, sick individual who will never ever write a story with a happy ending.
But why should endings need to be happy? Life isn't happy, exactly. We go through it drearily, for the most part, grasping at moments. These moments could be perceived happiness, or they could be fairy tale certainties, but in general we stumble around in pursuit of them, while ignoring where our pursuits are actually leading us. More often than not, the greatest things in life are the ones we stumble onto while pursuing something else. And it takes guts to reach out and grab the thing before it leaves you, stumbling toward the next great thing you might miss. The stories that I like the best, and the ones I like to write, mirror that pursuit, and amplify the flaws in the collective character of the human race. That innate search for something powerful that distracts us from what's actually important.
If that sort of thing interests you, you just might enjoy the stories I've written -- the ones that apparently don't have happy endings. That isn't true exactly... I think some of the endings, although they can't be called "happy" exactly, are possibly hopeful, or reflective, or maybe even refreshing. But some of them are indeed -- simply not happy.
You can find a description of the book on the Find My Books tab of my website, and follow the "Buy It" button to purchase it on Amazon. Or, follow the link on the sidebar of this blog.
And if you think one of the endings is actually more happy than not, please let me know, and I will throw it in my mother's face. I'm kidding, I'd never do that (Yes I would, but she reads this blog so let's pretend).