Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Dreamin' Dreams" by Eddie Stack

"Dreamin Dreams" by Eddie Stack (2011, 16 pages)

Irish Short Story Week Year II
March 12 to March 31

Drinking Stories Day

Resources and Ideas for Irish Short Story Week

Please consider joining us for Irish Short Story Week Year Two, March 12 to March 31.   All you need do is post on one short story by an Irish author and send me a comment or an email and I will include it in the master post at the end of the challenge. 

"Dreamin' Dreams" by Eddie Stack (County Clare Ireland, living in USA since 1986) is about blue collar Irish Immigrants living in San Francisco.   The people in this story are not web designers and they do not own a boutique that imports antique art from Tibet.    I suspect they do not march in Pride parades or live in lovingly restored  19th century town houses.   They  can afford imported Irish beer only on paydays, if they are lucky enough to have a job.  

A quick Google search found that Ireland is second, behind the Czech Republic in beer consumption, coming in at 131.2 liters or 35 gallons of beer person per person.    If you remove nondrinkers, the underage and such form the factors the amount consumer per actual drinker must go way up.   This explains all of the drinking stories to be found by Irish Writers.   

One very popular Irish drinking story is "A Beer Run to LLandundno" by Kevin Barry is about a group of mates who bar hop so they can quality tastes lots of different kind of beers and rate them. (Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat  has done a very good post on this story).   They have wives or girl friends, kids, jobs, but their real pleasure in life seems to be hanging out with their buddies drinking beer.  They have decent houses, cars, etc.    For sure they are all in the 131 liter + club.   Maybe they never noticed them but over in a dark corner of one the cheapest to drink in pubs, there are a few men in a dark corner,  drinking alone.  Our beer buddies know enough not to disturb these  kind of dangerous looking men.   It is these people that "Dreamin' Dreams" is about.

Our lead character, MJ, has just celebrated his 13th year in America and was just laid off from his construction job.  This paragraph pretty much tells his story.

"MJ is fifty something, a small stock bachelor with blue eyes and a red porter face.  America had not made much of an impression on him, fortune-wise or other and he is the same today as he day he left Ballysollock.   Years of work trying to get somewhere and now he realizes there is nowhere to go to.   Digging, digging, digging.  Day and night.  Seven days a week, digging through life in the hope of going back to Ireland with a bundle of money.   Now there is no digging and no money.  Just time;  years of it fell into his lap and he wasn't ready for it".

MJ is not used to having free time and does not know what to do with himself.   He walks the streets saying hello to other Irish immigrants.  He has one mate, Red Carty from Galway, who has not worked for years and lives from Social Security.  Red "sleeps late and drinks early".  All of their conversations are about the good old days back in Ireland.   Everyday is the same for MJ, drinking a couple of pints with Red, all he can afford, going back to his two room flat, fixing a meal of beans, bread, eggs, and potatoes and  falling asleep watching wrestling.  

Nothing much happens in the story once MJ loses his job and it does not look like a lot is going to happen but more of the same.  

You can read this story for free by downloading a sample of Out of the Blue from Amazon.   There are two stories in the collection and Stack has another Kindle book for sale on Amazon with two stories in the sample edition.   You can read four of his short stories for free on his webpage.

Stack has won numerous awards for his fiction, has published four works of fiction.   In 2010, he integrated spoken word and printed work with art, music and song to produce an iPhone app of The West; this was the first iPhone app of Irish fiction.

To me if a writer lists for reading several of her or his short stories on their webpage, it is a mark of self-confidence.   

"Dreamin' Dreams" is a very enjoyable to read story that seems very true to life.  

Mel u


Suko said...

This does sound like an interesting "slice of life" story (and interesting about the first iPhone app of Irish fiction).

I hope to read and post on a short story for this reading challenge SOON. said...

Hi Mel thanks for posting this. Lovely surprise to get with the morning coffee.

beir búa,

eddie stack