Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns – Pooboogle by Adam Kluger

Adam Kluger’s Pooboogle is a first class example of the ray of light finding a down and outer kind of story. A form probably first thought up by one of the girls on the Ark. Yet Adam has not only updated the shape to fit the times, he still manages to find something new to say. I can’t locate specific examples (maybe the six fingered guy) as much as I got a refreshing vibe from the story. Maybe it is because of all the sour tales out there which attempt relevance by conveying steady rain and suicidal tendencies.

Who’s to say. So let’s ask the author:

Q: At any time during the construction of the piece, was Horace doomed until you decided to cut him a break? If so, or if not, was it gratifying to write the hopeful conclusion?

Q: You do your own art (brilliantly, at that). How do you go about selecting the visual accompaniment to your pieces?




Q: At any time during the construction of the piece, was Horace doomed until you decided to cut him a break? If so, or if not, was it gratifying to write the hopeful conclusion?

In Pooboogle, the main character, Horace, has fallen pretty low. I think a lot of people know this feeling when life conspires to bring us rock bottom. It’s usually a confluence of factors and when the darkness envelops us it is hard to pull ourselves out of that dark hole.

Horace is beaten down by circumstance and life and he doesn’t see a way to crawl out of that hole. He crawls up in the fetal position on a cold wet sidewalk, completely defeated. It’s hard to go through this life without ever experiencing similar moments of existential angst and defeat.

While the forces we all battle each day can sometimes feel overwhelming, having faith or some form of hope that things will get better can be just enough to help us endure such black thoughts.

What I like about the ending is the twist. Instead of Horace being shamed and humiliated by his chance encounter with a former love finding him looking like a homeless man on the street, he is redeemed by her.

The only thing more powerful than the truth is love and when you truly love someone they always hold a place your heart.

Rufus the dog intuitively senses the intrinsic decency of Horace as well. Being understood and appreciated for one’s true character instead of one’s material possessions is what Horace is really searching for.

A moment of kindness is something that can cut through despair like a light in the dark.

Q: You do your own art (brilliantly, at that). How do you go about selecting the visual accompaniment to your pieces?

Q2. The short answer is that I usually will send a couple of random selections of art and flash  to editors and let them choose what they would like to pair together —whenever I am submitting to literary outlets. My artwork or “Dreck” as one artist friend sarcastically dubbed it, was initially a way to fight my own sadness over some personal losses. I started painting with my young son Robbie, and it became one of my favorite things to do —along with throwing a football or baseball with him in Central Park. The sketching and painting, strangely enough,  was a new way to counteract and express my sadness in much the same way my flash fiction and short stories provide a creative outlet to address hidden feelings. Great misery can sometimes lead to interesting art. Art and writing can also provide a ladder out of that misery. Most of my art revolves around random people I come across on the street. I work off of photographs that I shoot in and around NYC and then create charcoal line drawings that I add colors to. Mostly watercolors, acrylics and pastels. The charcoal can be smeared to create interesting shadows and grittiness,  and then I will photograph the paintings and experiment further with additional filters and colors until the final rendered mixed media image looks cool or feels resonant. The writing and the paintings are similar in that they are meant to convey emotion and resonance, imperfection and humor. I don’t take the Dreck that seriously although I’m very glad people seem to enjoy it. The writing is not complete either until the story evokes some sort of emotional payoff. When you allow yourself to grapple with hard truths it can be very painful but also cathartic/therapeutic. It can’t be forced. Sometimes I go back and forth painting and not writing, writing and not painting. The photos I take usually have an interesting subject taken from a unusual angle. When it is turned into Dreck, it becomes a kitschy take on reality, just as the flash fiction is presented in an experimental way as well. One can mix dialogue, character sketches, flow in an organic, visceral way that feels right, after it is edited down and honed to a sharp edge. Less is more. To bore a reader is the worse thing you can do (like I’m doing right now, haha). Lately, I’ve been out of the writing groove for about 6 months – just living. Or better yet, just surviving. Bukowski thought it was best when writing is not forced. When it flows from your fingertips effortlessly. Hemingway had his own method of holding back so that he always had something in reserve, while Fitzgerald used notebooks as did Kerouac. It’s helpful to have a method to assist the process. My method is to read the great writers and reread them. It helps keep the pencil sharp and it keeps inspiring me to try to be better. I’ve been rereading Dostoyevsky lately. Notes from Underground. His character, like Horace from Pooboogle, is questioning the meaning of his life and presents an ongoing a philosophical argument with himself that questions the meaninglessness of life. I’m also rewatching Game of Thrones on HBO, which was wonderfully written/adapted for TV, and presents a world constantly at war, where characters face a constant existential challenge. In a way, the recent 2+plus years living through a global pandemic, has been our existential crisis. In turn, America has become extremely polarized, and the media now presents the world in divergent, subjective prisms. The truth has been sadly devalued and our entire world seems to be more dangerous and unpredictable. But no matter how dark it gets, there is always hope that intelligence/truth and love will win the day —and rescue us from ourselves. Just like Adelaide rescues Horace.

Drek – Self Portrait by the author.

2 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – Pooboogle by Adam Kluger”

  1. Leila – You excelled at bringing out a cracking response from Adam.
    Andy – Not just a very interesting Q&A, some honest revelation there that was a pleasure to read!


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