Because I have been a lousy typist for 50 of my more than 70 years, but have managed to put thousands of words on paper, I like to imagine I’m a writer by default. If not, I’ve just been wasting a lot of time and stationery. Still, it’s kept me entertained. And playing God on paper has convinced me of the range of interactions and situational ironies humans are capable of putting themselves in. For the most part, though, when writing (or typing fiction), “exploring the human condition” is seldom a priority, as I’m pretty sure it can muddle along just fine without my intervention. Mostly, I’m just out for a good time. And if mine makes your better, too, we’ve both won.
Chaos cluttered the streets of New York City back then, which in the 1960s was all about Burn, Baby, Burn, especially in the ghetto neighborhoods where buildings were being incinerated. The cops were pigs. Revolutionaries were stirring up trouble on the Lower East Side. Squatters moved in everywhere. Lots of heroin was going down. And the French Connection was strong. The city was a place where nobody gave a rat’s ass about anybody but themselves.
…So begins the story of “A Collection of Bummer Summers.”
“The mostly true stories in the first section of this book are reasonably accurate, although in several cases the truth has been rubber-banded. Interspersed are short stories composed entirely of lies. Plus, I’ve sprinkled in a few poems because poetry slows us down, forcing us to take time to ponder. Pondering seems to be in short supply these days.”
“Captured Reflections” is a collection of true and fictional short stories, a one-act play, a fairy tale, and poetry. The true stories recount memories of the devastating 1964 Alaskan Earthquake, Christmas traditions, the mystical side effects of macular degeneration, and old dogs. Fictional characters tackle miscommunication, misperceptions, and the unintended consequences of withholding information. Joan’s poetry explores haiku, limerick, pantoum, sestina, sonnet, rhyme, and free verse.
“Hankering For The Way It Was is about me trying to grow up on a large farm during the 1940s and 1950s. It is about the dangers, the losses, and some of the fun, too. I loved my dogs, my 1949 Red Ryder BB gun, my genuine four-strand lariat, Saturday’s double-feature movies, and the joy of trying to keep my hardworking dad awake in church. ” — Roger G. Ritchey
The Unnatural Aging of Cheese is a collection of absolutely true humorous short stories that recount the painfully slow maturation process of one New Jersey slacker (nicknamed “Cheese”) as he transitions from wild party animal to mild-mannered parent and bumbling homeowner.