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Double Dare Paperback – April 22, 2012
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Ten years later I would work with another young writer on an anthology I was editing. I would need one more spot to fill and I would put out the call to three names I had recently become acquainted with. Of those three, this particular writer, David Bain, would win that last spot and a decade-long friendship would be born.
Imagine my surprise, my awe, and my complete envy when I saw these two writers I admired with such a deep and lasting respect would be publishing a collection together. And then when I read it, well, again, it changed the way I looked at things, in this case collaborations.
The Bain/Sallee collection DOUBLE DARE isn't your typical book, or ebook. This thing has it all, autobiography, short fiction, poetry and interviews. And I dug it all. The fiction is short and powerful, both stories (Sallee's "Alan Stagg's Last Minute" and Bain's "Black Cab") packing quite a punch and then scramming before getting bogged down in needless exposition. I love stories like that, that come in, do their damage, and leave the reader reeling.
The autobiographical pieces were both fascinating to me, with Bain's piece, "The Better Man" hitting me where it counts on a deeply emotional level. And the interviews...this was like my porn, two writers chatting with each other about writing. I mean, what's better than that? They were very relatable and relaxed, like being a fly on the wall and just watching these two old friends pal around for a night of music, beer and books. I loved it.
DOUBLE DARE certainly lives up to its name, breaking the rules of what a collaborative collection is supposed to be, and the authors pull off the challenge with flying colors, providing a few hours of excellent reading while giving the reader a very personal glimpse into their lives, their methods and what makes them tick. If I weren't already a fan of both these men, DOUBLE DARE would have convinced me. As it is, it just further reiterates to me why I love reading their work.
The first part of the book is nonfiction and has two parts to it.
The first part by Wayne is journal entries. I was so intrigued reading these. He writes in a sort of poetic way about his past and that just made the whole thing seem so three dimensional to me. It was written in such a way that if I wasn't told that it was nonfiction, I'd have thought it was just a story. Sometimes, life can be weirder than fiction.
Then there's "The Better Man" by David in which he goes over an extended stay at a hospital in North Carolina. It was a nice read, the level of detail made me feel like I was there. Another tale that if I'd not been told it was nonfiction, I'd have thought it was just a story.
The second part of the book is poems. They were good. I don't have much to say about poems, myself. But they were enjoyable to read.
The third part of the book is fiction and it has two short stories.
The first short story is by Wayne, called "Allen Stagg's Last Minute" and I really enjoyed it. It's about a man who's gone out to take a train and meet up with friends. He always leaves early, because he wants to be on time and in this case, he wants to be a little early so he can talk to a waitress he seems to have a crush on. In the end, he ends up selflessly helping someone else when the train stops. I wonder if he made it in time?
Next is "Black Cab" by David about a man who seems to have had enough of his mundane life. There's these mysterious things called Black Cabs and five people have already taken them and disappeared. Or so the urban legend goes.
The last section of this book is interviews. First David interviews Wayne and then Wayne interviews David. They're both really interesting. A lot of the time, in books, I tend to skip over the "about the author" parts, because I'm in a hurry to get to the next book. Lately, I've tried to remedy that. I think these interviews are worth reading.
So in the end, this was a really good collection. Fans of both won't regret purchasing it, and newcomers won't be lost if they decide to pick it up.