Now Available: Cocoon Kids
Cocoon Kids frightened me when I patched it together. (Hi Joe, meet hyperbole.) I was working on a novel—still unpublished—and thought I had no room for short stories in my anxious, idle day. Thirty or forty tales in various stages of completion lurked around my hard drive, clinging to the back of my mind and asking when they’d get to see the light of day. Bullies.
“After the novel, after the novel,” I said. But sometimes in the middle of the night I’d edit a story I particularly liked, or hated, and feel a weird surge of joy. Maybe the tired novel would grow envious and hurry towards completion. Wishful thinking, of course, but at least I cleaned up some stories.
So what is Cocoon Kids? An effort to find love and safety in a world that can feel empty of both aspects. Some characters gain an understanding of how their perceptions of the world influence this, and they change, while others cannot crack the shell of their own isolation. Some intentionally choose not to.
The necessity of others to progress in life is a theme that runs through the collection, and it is this theme that each character must reconcile. Plus, there’s humor (at least my strange variation of it).
I can only hope that readers who struggle for love and safety will find some small enjoyment in these pages, and that they will forgive any errors or offenses. Authors like Carver, O’Connor, Barnes, Kawabata, and Tanizaki pushed me to give the short story its due, and I tried to dip a crooked toe into their shoes. There’s still a lot of room to grow, so I’ll count this as the first pencil-notch in the doorway. I know I’m much shorter than I think I am—but I’m pretty sure everybody falls prey to that.
Thank you for your time, patience, and open brains.
Joe Grammer, November 2013
If you like the snippets of things you’ve read here, you can buy Cocoon Kids on Amazon.com.
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What I'm working on: Keystone Trigger
In KEYSTONE TRIGGER, a completed 100,000-word literary thriller, modern-day Okinawans, Americans, and Japanese fight for control of their lives in a typhoon.
A suicidal ninety-one-year-old peace activist. A yakuza hitman enamored of otters and cats. An ex-Marine rapist with a Bronze Star for heroism. A grieving psychologist who would to kill to protect the family she has left. The paths of these people will cross and diverge across an island known for the longest-living people on Earth, pristine beaches, and a history of US-Japanese military oppression.