Visit Acorn, Texas, for the German festival, a high school football game, homemade apple pie from the Turner Street Café, and the cool shade of a hundred-year-old oak tree. Meet dedicated teachers, shrewd business owners, closeted gays, and concerned neighbors. See how lives become intertwined in moments of humor or tragedy. Just be careful, because in Acorn, the sky is always falling.
From romantic comedy to razor-sharp satire to moments of quiet reflection, these tales explore the humor, drama, secrets, and scandals of a small town.
“A lush tangle of small-town life branches out in this engrossing collection of short stories.” –Kirkus Reviews
>>>The Individual Stories:
“Acorn”: When we arrive at the fictional West Texas town of Acorn, the narrative keeps shifting between Regina and Dirk, who both seek control over their relationship.
“Flip, Turn”: A different scene from the narrator's amusing but unproductive life comes to him every time he turns to swim in the opposite direction.
“Keeping A Secret”: A little boy wants to shield his mother and his little brother from a dangerous situation.
“Survival”: A young high school teacher (both deaf and gay) clashes with a popular football coach.
“Paying The Rent”: In this politically incorrect tale, an inarticulate young man hopes to marry a rich woman so he can pay the rent, but he finds her repulsive.
“Morgana Le Fay”: A widow finds her new romance disrupted by her Siamese cat's strange behavior.
“Your Daughter”: Gretchen's approach to raising a daughter and maintaining a marriage requires ignoring problems and carefully orchestrating conversations.
“Knock”: A father sees his daughter abandon her Mexican heritage, and he now fears other types of abandonment.
“Come With Me”: The conflicting influence of her overbearing sister and her supportive husband forces Becky to re-evaluate her ambitions.
“Dead Enough”: Farcical look at English departments, tabloid TV, the publishing industry, and America's superstar culture.
“Mae”: Standing by her husband's grave, an elderly woman looks back at the joys and challenges of marriage and motherhood.
“Timothy Fast”: In this satirical retelling of the Faustian myth, a Jewish businessman finds himself pulled into small-town politics.
“Mirrors: A Blackmail Letter”: The owner of an art gallery becomes the target of a “family values” witch-hunt, spear-headed by Acorn's closeted (and supposedly “ex-gay”) mayor.
“Echoes”: A time of unexpected changes for Becky and her husband.
“Oak”: Julie Briggs can only talk to her mother by leaving messages on her answering machine, but she refuses to give up her voice.
“Acorn Pie”: An unusual weekend in the life of an unusual town.
Like Simolke’s books Degranon and Holding Me Together, The Acorn Stories received a StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts Award.
>>>Welcome to Acorn, Texas!
Acorn is a smaller, fictional version of Lubbock, Texas, a city in the Texas Panhandle. Simolke moved there while writing this collection and used it as an inspiration for the setting, also including the actual Lubbock in one of the stories.
The Acorn Stories first appeared as an eBook in 1998. It now appears in paperback and hardcover as well.
Simolke returned to Acorn by editing and contributing to the spinoff The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer.