Monday, May 16, 2022

Hoosier Misfits and Perverts


Hoosier Misfits and Perverts
(14.99, Caledonia Publications) is my MFA thesis from nearly ten years ago. You'll see I've since pulled several items from the stories to use in novels and short stories written since then.

In the MFA program I endured, I was told not to write "lowly genre" fiction, that I had to write "literary" fiction, so these stories are the result. To me, literary fiction is fiction where nothing happens. It just so happens my favorite sitcom (and one of the only times the masses got it right) was/is Seinfeld, a show that declared itself "about nothing." I studied all nine seasons of Seinfeld religiously when I was enduring the MFA program and used the show's commitment to not being sentimental as a launching point for my "literary" fiction.

I also wanted to mix in some of my favorite subjects, mostly the sex industry and the men and women who produce and consume its products. This would be my way of sneaking some noir into the collection and my advisor not being able to disallow it.

To understand just how successful this endeavor was, let me briefly discuss the collection's centerpiece, a humorous story called "Trouble at the Renoir." This story is loosely based on an experience my Uncle Barrett had in a porno theater in the mid-1970s. He was a high school English teacher (the best in Indianapolis, to be honest about it), so he had to be careful to protect his reputation. He was actually trying to watch the movie while a woman cop dressed as a hooker attempted to entrap him. She kept asking if he wanted to party. He finally told her to shut the fuck up and she threatened to arrest him for harassing a police officer!

When I workshopped this story, one of the bigger idiots in the MFA program told me she didn't think the story was realistic because she had worked at a high school once and none of the men in the English department, she assured me, would ever go to a porno theater. Now, never mind that this dingbat would not have been teaching at a time when porno theaters even existed. The comment demonstrated she had no idea what fiction is and it further proved she, like many in the program, did not belong there.

Well, the story got picked up by a journal called Profane. The one critic who reviewed the journal said this about the story: "Nothing really happens."

Bingo! Mission accomplished!

No comments:

Post a Comment