This is the second of two posts concerning Bentley Little’s anthology of short stories, The Collection (2000).
- Those that make sense.
- Those that don’t make sense.
I wrote “Life with Father”. . . for an ecological horror anthology titled The Earth Strikes Back. . . . [It was] rejected. Judging by the title of the book, I figured that most if not all of the stories would deal with the negative effects of pollution, overpopulation, deforestation, etc.
So I thought I’d do something a little different.
My wife is a hard-core recycler. Cans, bottles, newspapers, grocery bags--she saves them all. Even on trips, she brings along plastic bags in which to collect our soda cans.
I exaggerated her compulsion for this story.
Anything can be taken to extremes (The Collection, p. 71).
I place the biodegradable bags next to the butcher block, and as I take the knife from the drawer, I plan out where and what I’m going to cut, what I’m going to do with his skin, his blood, his hair. I try to think of the best way to utilize his bones.
Old habits die hard (p. 79).
“The Woods Be Dark” was written in the mid-1980s for a creative writing class. At the time I was under the spell of William Faulkner and turning out a slew of interconnected Southern Gothic stories all set in the same rural county. I lived in California, had never been anywhere near the South, didn’t even know anyone from the South--but arrogant and self-important jerk that I was, I didn’t let that stop me (The Collection, p. 13).