One early morning, I wrote the two magical words THE END after finishing the last chapter of my novel, Dead Men Naked.
Then I learned that THE END was not there yet. Sure, the story was over, but I discovered pretty soon that something else just started: the endless quest for a definition. If you’ve written a story, a book, a poem, you know that eventually someone will ask you, What is it about? And if you’re half like me, you’ll mumble some incoherent words about all the things that your story is not, without being able to find what definition your story would actually fit.
This feeling stayed with me the entirety of my quest for an agent, and resurfaced when I had to write the blurb for my short story collection, Of Life, Death, Aliens and Zombies. Was it Fantasy? Urban Fantasy? Modern Mythology? Magical Realism? All of those tags seemed to only grasp the surface of what I wrote.
So I did the most sensible thing – I avoided labels wherever I could, which for a short story collection was easy, because Amazon has a category just for it (even though I had to pick a second category and forced myself into Science Fiction – for now). I thought, let’s leave the definition to my first readers and reviewers.
When the first reviews came in, I was incredibly happy – because they were very good, comparing my work to authors such as Vonnegut, Fante, Bukowski – but I was also lost, because those same authors struggled with finding a defining name for their genre. My own readers couldn’t define my genre.
And now that the collection has traveled a bit, and Dead Men Naked is about to be published, I face the same challenge again. What genre do I write in? Is it Speculative fiction? Transrealism? Mystical neo-renaissance? Zeitgeist-y fiction?
I know my stories are quirky. I know they’re whimsical, poetical, and yes, philosophical in nature. I know there is a fairy-tale like air to them, if fairy tales were written for adults. I know they exist because I had something to say, a story to follow and share. So I hope you’ll forgive my lack of a definition – and hope you’ll enjoy them nevertheless.