Today is the official release of the August 2014 issue of PANK, which features my short story “Tony’s Hat Lies Disused and Vulnerable.” PANK is one of my favorite literary journals. The content is always fresh and unexpected, from writers who span the range of novice to professional. The design of both the website and the print journal is subdued and striking. I am honored to be amongst such talented company.
“Tony’s Hat” began as a class writing exercise for which I had no ideas. I had a piece of paper on my desk with a list of vague one-phrase story ideas, some of them inspired by real life events, from which I occasionally pilfered whenever I hit a blank mental wall. I remembered being six years old, living in a trailer park in Indiana, and observing all the bizarre people who circulated its horseshoe shape. There was a little kid, malnourished and dirty, who always clamored for attention, and he bugged the hell out of me. I was not a bully or a selfish kid by any means, but this kid grated my nerves. One day, I snapped and threw his hat down the hill in the back of our yard. His temper tantrum and the controversy that ensued has always stuck out in my mind. It was only later, upon reflection, that I realized that I had treated him poorly and had not given him the compassion he deserved. I took this memory, dramatized it, veered wildly from the writing exercise, and created “Tony’s Hat.”