My new collection of short stories--UNDENIABLE TRUTHS--will be released November 1, and I can't deny that beneath my calm exterior there is an ember of excitement. No one could ask for an easier, more fun publishing experience than working with Carter Monroe and Rank Stranger Press. I still cannot figure out why a post-avant poet (Carter) would spend time and energy publishing a Deep South and rather conventional short story collection. Carter's own signature poetic persona is Billy Putrid: think Berryman's DREAM SONG narrator with a punk rock slant. I think of my own narrators--dog killers, forgetful ghosts, wistful country music musicians--and scratch my head. One thing is for sure: Carter can't walk a straight conversational line. If he calls to talk "business", before he is two sentences into the conversation, he will be telling me about the local North Carolina sausage he ate for breakfast. Or singing the lyrics to some obscure blues song. Carter has a great singing voice and is not shy about using it.
Carter attracts friends like a lost puppy. People would do anything for him, eager to jump on the bandwagon of his projects. This has worked to great advantage for me personally since his good friend Kristin Fouquet is not only a fine flash fiction writer but superb photographer. Kristin's photograph of a street musician is on the cover of UNDENIABLE TRUTHS. I could not have dreamt a better photo for the cover. If you are not familiar with Kristin's work, go to her website www.kristin.fouquet.cc and look at a few samples.
I keep waiting for the first shoe to drop, not the second. I keep waiting for Carter to freak out, for the galleys to come back in some hierglyphic-looking font, the spacing suddenly wrong on every line. I keep waiting for something to be DIFFICULT. But with Carter as weatherman, directing the fronts, I don't think that's going to be the case. I think a hurricane could shoot on-shore in North Carolina, drop 50 inches of rain, float Main Street Rag's press out into the Atlantic, and Carter would think about it, laugh about it, and forget about it.
Carter Monroe has nothing to prove and no one to impress.
And maybe that's what I like about the South.