Short Mean Fiction

$ 19.95

William Dunlap

Artists keep sketchbooks. Mine, more than four decades' worth, are filled with visual shorthand. There are drawings and ideas for paintings, sculptures, installations - along with phone numbers, grocery lists, things to do, and of course, mindless doodles. I find critiques of my work, sometimes harsh, alongside welcome fragments of dialogue next to drafts and outlines for fiction. These hybrid sketchbooks/journals have recently, as if of their own volition, come down from a high shelf in my studio to a table within easy reach. From time to time, out of curiosity, I open one. The working drawings are viable, the rants at times amusing, but it's the vein of narrative that rushes up from the page like charged found objects that interests me most. When asked, I call what I do Hypothetical Realism. The places and things I paint are not real, but they could be. The same holds true for Short, Mean Fiction. None of what I have written really happened, but it could have. Like tales from the Old Testament, these stories are mean, rampant with sex, violence, and death. All are figments of an active, if not fertile, imagination and brevity may be their greatest charm. They are fictions through and through, and should a disclaimer be needed, consider it made. The drawings scattered throughout this volume are not illustrations, but live in the same place-the sketchbooks-where I first wrote the stories, forgot them, then found them again. To my mind, that's what can be trusted. As with painting, I feel little pride of authorship and make no literary claims for Short, Mean Fiction. For what it's worth, for better or worse, and to my utter surprise, there are many more where these came from. William Dunlap