We invited Literally Stories author and friend, Dave Louden, to be Editor for a day and choose his three favourite stories from the site. Here is what Dave had to say about the three stories he chose and why he felt they were special…
If there was ever a task that was as enjoyable as it was difficult it’s this one. On the one hand I got to re-read some of my favourite stories this site has offered up but on the other I had to narrow down months of great reading to three stories. Three titles across a cornucopia of genres. How do you compare a Noir to a light-hearted comic fable? A piece of science fiction to a poignant piece of personal history? In the end I had to simply say “F*ck it! Which stories made me wish to Christ I wrote them?”
First up is Reminiscing by Hugh Cron. It’s a real hilarious heart-breaker of a story across generations that deals with identity in so many ways. Hugh’s writing quite often leaves me shaking. He has a real sharp use of language that cuts through all the B.S. and refuses to sentimentalise some of the most harrowing traits of humanity. He also has an incredibly well-tuned sense of humour that makes even the most shocking narrative so sugar sweet.
My second choice was actually the first story on to my list… clearly these are not in any kind of order. Tobias Haglund’s Mr. Peta came along when I was just leaving the Noir mind-set. I had been working on a commission for the Arts Council, a Noir-Comedy set in Belfast, so for the longest time I was “all about Noir.” Finally, after months of writing I handed it in and was able to leave Noir behind me. Then Mr. Peta came along. Not only did it blow me away but it really made me wonder how I hadn’t thought of some of the playful turn of phrases, the humour and entertaining plays on Noir conventions that seemed to ooze from Tobias’ brilliant story.
Had I been asked to do this one week earlier my third choice would have been something completely different. Catfish McDaris is a writer who has worked with Charles Bukowski, an author with an extra special place in my heart (and head). A Geronimo Moon has that similar signature of Hank’s idol – John Fante, and in particular Fante’s Wait Until Spring, Bandini. As father and son cross country in search of work it echoes the frontier spirit of the first wave of white America, only the opportunities have narrowed. The hope almost all but gone. The prose Catfish uses is beautifully harsh. When I got to the end of the story I went back and read it again.