All the Little Moving Parts

James Black, The College at Brockport

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This collection of stories concerns itself primarily with the experience of human isolation and the curious psychological and emotional mindsets which result from long-standing feelings of loneliness. The protagonists often make seemingly bizarre choices which are largely prompted by the distorted sense of logic that tends to develop in anyone who feels a perpetual sense of psychological or emotional desolation, and which themselves often prompt a progression of unusual or unfortunate events. In many cases, the characters presented in this collection find themselves isolated due to physical or mental handicap ; in some cases, it is merely the perception of some handicap or malady which causes or amplifies such isolation. The prose itself prose is wrought with the guiding idea that there is no reason fiction cannot be as mellifluous as poetry, and the sentences these stories comprise have been constructed in such ways that assonance, consonance, and rhythm are virtually as important as content. The prose also works to establish an extreme sort of realism which tends to replicate real life's propensity to lack dramatically appropriate moments, or typical rising action-climax-denouement structure. As such, the stories usually break a cardinal rule of dramatic structure : by the close the reader will find that the protagonists, have not significantly changed. The end result, hopefully, is a collection concerning men and women, all somewhat damaged, so to speak, whose bleak, excruciatingly human, futile existences are nevertheless beautiful and, at the very least, rendered in such a way as to make their suffering seem somehow lovely for its familiarity, its universality.