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I Am Currently Working on a Novel Paperback – June 1, 2014
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"The stories are laugh-out-loud funny and when you're done laughing you realize your heart hurts a little." - Heavy Feather Review
"Energy crackles from every frenetic piece. Great collection." - Josh Plattner, managing editor, Scarletta Press.
"Rolli's eccentric, whimsical stories exhibit a style and a brand of comedy all his own." - PANK Magazine.
"Rolli's descriptions are crisp and strike with a thud of reality that is as disconcerting as it is eloquent." - Flash Fiction Chronicles
"As dazzling as they are brilliant, these stories are bursting with life. They sing. And they're very funny too." - Nik Perring, author of Freaks!
"Because this is a magic book, as you absorb its people you begin to realize that the real people around you are and have always been impossible." - Brian Conn, editor of Birkensnake
About the Author
Rolli is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist hailing from Canada. He's the author of two short story collections (I Am Currently Working On a Novel and God's Autobio), two books of poems (Mavor's Bones and Plum Stuff), the middle grade story collection Dr. Franklin's Staticy Cat and two forthcoming novels - Kabungo (Groundwood, 2016) and The Sea-Wave (Guernica Editions, 2016). His cartoons appear regularly in Reader's Digest, Harvard Business Review, Adbusters, The Chronicle of Higher Education and other popular outlets. Visit Rolli's website - rollistuff.com - and follow him on Twitter @rolliwrites.
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Am I magician? I hope! If I am, then I’m pleased. If I’m not, then I must get back to work. Whether I am one of the few or not, I did read this book from Rolli and since I have a laptop and access to the Internet, I’ll share my thoughts.
The obvious - Rolli is an excellent, skillful, madcap, witty, thoughtful writer.
And this new collection of his is radically diverse. It’s challenging. Even disturbing, at times. Not often....only occasionally. It makes you think, ponder, reflect and wonder. And that’s what I like the most. Good or bad, there are reactions to all of the entries. Upon finishing each piece I either liked, disliked, paused for contemplation, re-read, or shuddered and quickly moved on.
Here are specific examples from the stories I enjoyed most:
Early in the book, “The Citizen” made me shudder. It’s a pretty creepy story - in just a page and a half. At the end, the narrator of the story screams “Face taker!” over and over. That’s all I’ll say. Shudder, indeed.
“Hugs, Peggy” is a phenomenal takedown of celebrity - from the side of the superfan. “My God, I love L.A. I love, love, love LA. All this amazing, amazing stuff happening all around you. It’s like you’re a part of it. Even if you’re a total nobody, you’re a part of it. I wear my sunglasses every day.” Does anyone in LA really think like that? I probably would. Either way, this piece is full of awesome writing.
“Cherries” entertained the hell out of me and made me smile. A couple, in an outdoor cafe, the boy, tries to profess his love, but there are cherries. Everywhere. A storm of them, in fact. Where does Rolli think of this wonderful madness? I’m not sure I want to know.
“Thumbs” made me ponder - are we all like this guy? I don’t want these thumbs, he says. I don’t need them. Oh, they’re gone now. I do need them! What do I do? Are we all like this....with everything? Is this story about the Earth? Or just about thumbs?
“Candy Island” - I didn’t like it, but I liked it too. AND I shuddered. “This was our last Coke bottle. I hope somebody finds this. Bye.” That’s how the story ends. The Coke bottle he’s speaking of contains a melancholy message from kids lost on Candy Island. Yikes.
“The Nightingale” also made me inwardly ponder. “But there is always the chance ... I may not be a nightingale, after all.” This piece finishes like that. SHEESH Rolli - is this story about me?! Or a bird?! Well-done art can certainly be personally challenging, no matter what form it takes.
“The Sweet Stripener” is terrifying, thoughtful and awful. But pretty great too. Try doing that in a page and a half. Rolli did it.
OK, I must stop now. Because the nice part of a collection such as this - is that there’s something for everyone. Actually, in this case, there are multiple somethings for multiple someones. I won’t mention the stories I didn’t care for, because I don’t do that. Anyways, they’re possibly the ones you’ll love. And you may hate the stories I highlighted. That’s all fine, just as long as you read them.
When you do read them, do it over many short sittings. Preferably accompanied by coffee. Don’t blaze through this collection. Read only a few pieces at a time and then move to something else. Take too many trips into Rolli’s brain in a row and you’ll surely grow weary.
In conclusion, “I Am Currently Working On a Novel” (great title, by the way) is full of imaginative, intriguing, incredible, irrational, interesting bits of writing. As I mentioned before, be prepared to be challenged (and probably disgusted a few times). Also know that there are several dark, uncomfortable bits so this one is certainly for a mature audience only.
Thanks, Rolli, for creating this unique, artistical* book. Happy reading everyone!
*Read it, then you’ll get this. I know it’s not a word. Jeez.