An Interview with Author Jack C. Buck and an Excerpt from His Forthcoming Book, “Deer Michigan”




Prose


 


Photo by Dylan Osborne
Jack C. Buck (photo by Dylan Osborne)

 

The Great Flood



There’s a great flood happening so the prostitutes and drug dealers have come to seek shelter in the bookstore. Meanwhile as this is all going down it’s the last Tuesday night of the month, so we are reading. You can see all the employees running throughout strategically placing buckets on the carpet floor to catch the rain that’s coming in through the roof. They respect our time, our sharing. This is a safe place.

There’s a gray old lady in a wheelchair with one of her boobs hanging out reading about rain and death, so we don’t really care about what’s going on outside. Flood you say? That’s nice. We are here, that’s out there. 

Now the rain is really picking up, but even so, we care even less than before. We have other things to be concerned about, like things the lady is talking about in her poem; and for once everyone is listening one-hundred-percent sincerely.

The rain can’t be stopped and admittedly most of us are thinking we probably only have a 40% chance of making it out here alive.

No, you know what, we are going to be fine, that’s what someone in the crowd has just said. So, we say okay, and stick around, we believe him, we trust one another.

A second later the roof collapses. We won’t be stopped. Someone grabs the lady’s wheelchair and we continue out in the parking garage to the top of the roof in order to seek higher ground. We keep reading.

 

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OE: Your debut book of 60 flash fictions, Deer Michigan, is coming out in November from Truth Serum Press. What inspired this work? Are you still in MI?

No, I no longer reside in Michigan. I now live in Denver, Colorado. I have been fortunate to live in Michigan, Chicago, and Colorado – all wonderful places that have shaped who I am. I moved out this way almost 6 years ago. I always knew I would write about Michigan, though. Michigan, sure, but just as much that northern area of the country and what it represents. Every part of the country has its qualities, beauties, and identity; yet it wasn’t until I was 1,200 miles away that I had time to reflect and notice the upper-Midwest’s unique identity within America. If I had never went away from home nothing would’ve ever been written.

What inspired this work was my transition from writing poetry to micro fiction. I always wrote poetry in prose form, and naively didn’t know the flash fiction genre even existed until recently when in 2012 I came across Richard Brautigan’s 1960’s/1970’s books. There are many other great writers of the “flash fiction” genre (or whatever you want to call it), however, he was my first introduction to the traditional storyline being openly and purposefully disregarded. It hit home for me. Some of my writing isn’t very coherent, and at times it’s purposefully read as one, giant, long run-on sentence – which I would never be able to get away with in the standard short story form. I remember walking to the library and checking out all of this books in a fever, thinking in my own tiny world that I had uncovered some sort of lost bizarre artifact.

Coming across those initial writers of short-fiction I have since then brought that preference of brevity to my writing; and with this, I think I go about my everyday life in a manner of seeking out those small, ordinary, yet beautiful moments.

 

Anything else you want to rant/rave about regarding writing? 

I’m not sure if I will ever write anything else than micro-fiction. Perhaps later, but certainly not now. Admittedly, I quickly grow tired of myself talking, so the shorter writings make it easy on my lack of desire for attention from others, which of course lends itself to the irony in all of this bookmaking process. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked myself why in the world, given my painful shyness, am I putting out a book. I can’t give a final answer, but I believe when I have those good days, when all is well with the world, I will be thankful I decided to go through with it in the end.

 

-Interview by Amy Fusselman