Sunday, April 1, 2018

Read the front page article in hometown, Dedham Transcript, this week.


     To read the article on-line go HERE or read below
     Ways to buy the book


      I believe this is the first time I've been outed in Dedham, Ma. outside of the writing community. When my very first book, the electronic, The Damned Middle, was published, I was in the Wellesley Townsman. After that, it there was, thanks to Doug Holder, many appearances in the Somerville Times. Anywho--Max Bowen did a nice job on this.
      After then interview was done we spoke about the declining newspaper business, and how local papers such as the ones mentioned above, are thriving. Locally, newspapers offer what cannot be offered or reported electronically or with alert notifications. They have a certain niche which can go further than articles on Aunt Mable's bake sale (even though I love Aunt Mable and baked goods). Newspapers need advertising and low overhead. Thumbing through the Dedham Townsman, Max's name is all over it. He may be the only writer on their staff, which makes it a full-time writing job, and not an easy one at that. Thanks Max, for determining my fitness to print.


Thrifty Writing by Max Bowen
Giving Timothy Gager a word limit isn’t a challenge, it’s how he spends each day at the keyboard.
The Dedham native has recently published his 14th book, “Every Day There is Something about Elephants,” a collection of 108 “flash fictions.” The term is somewhat new in the writing world, and pertains to pieces of fiction that can be as brief as 60 words or as long as 1,300. The author joked that it’s seemingly more relevant in the era of social media, when people’s attention spans can be harder to keep.
Despite a more recent popularity, the writing style has old roots, from the classic Aesop’s Fables, for example. Gager said the notion of flash fiction was popular many years ago in China, often referred to as “smokelong stories,” as they could be finished in the same time it took to smoke.
Gager said even the smallest detail can be used to pen a piece of flash fiction — tell him the paint on the outside of a house is faded, and he can write a tale of a family down on their luck.
“That’s enough for me,” he said of the writing prompt. “Every word is important.”
The subject matter of Gager’s book is a blend of magical realism and literary fiction, from talking animals or a spoof of “The Little Prince,” to a tribute to Tom Petty after the iconic singer passed away. Gager said the works span from ones he wrote in 2010 to stories finished two months ago. He said the stories are usually fast-paced, kicking off when the action does and wrapping up when it’s finished.
“One thing I do a lot is create an alternate reality,” he said.
Much of what is contained in the book has been available online already, but Gager said the impermanence of the internet has led to many a site on which his work was featured no longer being active. He added that the book gives fan a complete collection of his flash fictions, should they have read a few and want more.
“If they’ve read some, they may like the rest,” he said.
Flash fiction is far from the limit of Gager’s skill. He’s published novels — his last three releases have been in this format — as well as collections of poetry. In some cases, a bad piece of flash fiction can be transformed into a good poem, or even into a novel, as was the case with a prior publication, “The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan.” He likes to dive right into his work and tries to write each day, but limits himself to between 500 and 2,000 words. This is to avoid potentially wasting time on what could become weak content.
“I’m not writing to a point where I’m dry and not writing with any ideas,” he said.
Gager said he was introduced to the flash fiction writing style through an online group, through which they’d hold weekly writing sessions, called ‘flash and chat.’ They’d have an hour to write something, after which it would be reviewed and critiqued. He said that this and other workshops helped him to develop his voice as a writer, after which it became much easier for him. A few of the stories written in the flash and chat gatherings made it into his new book.
“I always like working with people that are better than me,” said Gager. “I learn a lot.”
Gager is the author of 14 books of short fiction and poetry, has hosted the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge since 2001 and was the co-founder of the Somerville News Writers Festival.
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