Tony Rauch has three books of short stories published. The first two are more adult related, though young adults may enjoy them depending on if they understand the themes - “I’m right here” (spout press) and “Laredo” (Eraserhead Press). The third story collection is geared to Young Adults - “Eyeballs growing all over me . . . again” (Eraserhead Press). An additional Young Adult title is forthcoming in the next few weeks – “As I floated in the jar.” Samples can be found at – http://trauch.wordpress.com/
He has been interviewed by the Prague Post, the Oxford Univ student paper in England, and Rain Taxi, and has been reviewed by the MIT paper and the Savanna College of Art and Design paper, among many others.
These stories are imaginative, whimsical, dreamy, absurd, surreal, fantasy, sci fi, and fairy tale adventures. The underlying themes relate to fragility, uncertainty, impermanence, the mysteries hidden in everyday life, a sense of discovery, escape, concealment, ennui, regret, loneliness, technology run amok, eerie vibes, irresponsible behavior, confusion, absurd situations, surrealism, modern fairy tales, story starters, etc.
Where did you grow up?
In St. Cloud, Minnesota, which is in central Minnesota. The interesting thing is I grew up in a suburb, but right on the edge of town, so near rolling grass fields, creeks, a junk yard, sand dune, swamps, and groups of trees (not really forests, but some pretty thick). So a great landscape to explore and wonder about – What’s in those trees? Where does that creek lead to? So a great place to get your imagination going.
When did you begin writing?
I began writing in grade school. My friends and I wrote stories, skits, and drew drawings which were basically stories in pictographic form. It was more for art or writing classes, more about assignments, but we also did it as a social, fun thing too. That gave me a good start – that fun aspect and started building my conceptual, investigation, and curiosity skills.
In college I took courses in creative writing for elective credits and enjoyed them. I was published in the school literary journal several years in a row, then some friends started their own lit journal, which continued to publish my stories, then a few years later they contacted me about doing a collection of my work, which became my first book, I’m right here (Spout Press).
What is this book about?
"eyeballs growing all over me . . . again" is a 140 page short story collection of imaginative, whimsical, dreamy, absurd, surreal fantasy, sci fi, and fairy tale adventures. These fables will make great story starters for young adults and reluctant readers. Some of the pieces are absurdist or surreal adventures that hearken back to imaginative absurdism, sci-fi, and fantasy of the 1950s.
With themes of longing, discovery, secrets, escape, eeriness, surprises, and strange happenings in everyday life, readers will delight in these brief but wondrous adventures -
- a man comes home to discover a Bigfoot-like creature watching his TV.
- a giant robot pays a visit to a couple.
- the new kid at school has some unusual toys to share.
- an inventor creates an attractive robot in order to meet women.
- a girl becomes so ill she has her head replaced with a goat head.
- someone wakes to discover little eyes growing all over his body.
- small, hairy creatures come looking to retrieve an object they had misplaced.
- a boy finds an unusual pair of sunglasses in a field.
These short stories will give a reluctant reader a sense of accomplishment after reading.
In general, I really like short adventures. They create entire situations in such a brief flash. They can get your mind thinking about possibilities, inventions, and adventures. They have the power to take you anywhere. Growing up I really liked short sci-fi and absurdist stories, and Richard Brautigan’s “Revenge of the lawn”, Roald Dahl’s books, and “a man jumps out of an airplane” and “wearing dad’s head” by Barry Yourgrau. These books showed me that stories can be anything – a brief list or just a beginning. So they opened my mind. I just like creating and being imaginative, so writing was a good forum for that as paper and pens at school were free, whereas a musical instrument or sporting equipment were expensive and available only on a limited basis.
Also art and music inspires me to create. When walking my dog or at the supermarket something will just pop into my head, almost like a day dream, and my mind will start to knit it into a story with a resolution. Though I also like open ended “story starters” as they get you thinking. You have to provide your own conclusions, so the endings may be ambiguous, they are not always prescribed to you.
“Eyeballs” and “As I floated” were inspired by story starters and trying to get young adults away from video games and “reality” TV, and getting them to think, opening their minds to other possibilities.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Amazon would probably be the easiest place to get my last 2 books, and the new one coming in a few weeks.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Probably the same advice any other writer would give as it is tried and true – Just be yourself. Write what you want, what you like, what you want to see. Don’t copy what has already been done. Bring what you want to the story, what you’re looking for. Put your own ideas in there. The other points would be to write every day, read a lot, send your work out to journals, just have fun with your writing, and don’t follow the so-called rules too strictly as they may only narrow your possibilities.
What is up next for you?
A new short story collection will be coming out in a few weeks. It is similar to my last book “eyeballs growing all over me . . again.” Here is the description -
“as i floated in the jar “ is a short story collection of imaginative, whimsical, dreamy, absurd, surreal fantasy, sci fi, and fairy tale adventures. These fables will make great story starters for young adults and reluctant readers. Some of the pieces are absurdist or surreal adventures that hearken back to imaginative absurdism, sci-fi, and fantasy of the 1950s.
With themes of longing, discovery, secrets, escape, eeriness, surprises, and strange happenings in everyday life, readers will delight in these brief but wondrous adventures –
- a lonely girl finds a small spaceship in the woods.
- a stranger extracts a baby from a man waiting for the bus.
- a farmer invents gadgets to fight off infiltrators leaking in from another dimension.
- a jar falls from a passing wagon, spilling a strange liquid that turns a mud puddle into something else.
- a gang travels into the past to escape a regression plague that slowly turns people back into primates.
- strange creatures abduct a man and try to sell him to a different set of strange creatures.
- a man gets a verbally abusive amorphous blob as a roommate.
These and other adventures await the adventurous reader.