“Special” - A Short Story by Brian Kirk - from festivedream.com - August 13, 2017
A post for Irish Short Story Month Year Ten
My Prior Six Posts on Brian Kirk
Brian Kirk’s very informative and insightful Q and A Session
In March 2013 for Irish Short Story Month Three I posted on a very well done story by Brian Kirk, “The Shawl” that goes deeply into a romantic relationship and made me reflect on my self image.
“The Shawl" by Brian Kirk has a great deal to tell us about how money permeates our relationships and can be too important in determining self esteem if we have no anchor in life. It is a story to which anyone who was once riding high on what they thought was an endless wave of prosperity can directly relate. Women may wonder what they would do if the same thing happened in their relationship and men will wonder what their partner might do.
Some time ago I read in a Japanese novel (I cannot recall the name of it) showing that when a man loses his money, often his relationship with the woman in his life takes a down turn or ends. The man will quickly think, "OK I am broke so she left me". In fact it is often the man does not have the strength or the inner resources to live with out his money propping up his ego and he behaves in a way calculated to drive the woman away so he can then tell himself that this shows she never loved him. Of course then the woman who leaves will also wonder about her own values
It is wonderful stories like this that have kept me following Kirk’s work for seven years.
“Special” is a story for all of us who never quite felt at home in our birth families, I think many deeply into the reading life will know what I mean.
The speaker is a young man living outside of Dublin. He is the youngest child in a large farm family.
“There were times when I wished I was an only child. Sometimes I thought that if my parents were to die suddenly, in a freak accident or by some mysterious but swift illness, I would not grieve too sorely for them. I loved them both, of course, but at the same time I yearned for the certain changes, the endless possibilities, their deaths would surely bring.”
There is something different about him, he is a poet. Kirk does just a marvelous job letting us see how he feels. After high school there is no money for college. He has died his hair orange and has multiple facial piercings so he can find work only as a potato picker.
“But then school ended and college was way beyond my parents’ means. I would like to get a job, any job at all, in Dublin, but so far I’d had no luck. My mother blamed the way I looked. Not so much my clothes but the way I wear them, so carelessly that even in a suit and tie I can look slovenly. Those dreadful nose rings I’d acquired, and my hair – she begged me to let it grow, let it return to its original light brown shade. How would any employer consider taking on a young lad with shaved peroxide hair and insolent piercings?”
He is mentored by an English teacher who fancies him sexually. He comes to love taking the train into Dublin and wishes he could live and work there.
It was so much fun to go along in Kirk’s presentstion, when he reads his poem at a big Dublin event along with famous writers, with lots of important people there.
He is given a vision of a new life. I found this a very poigant and moving depiction of a Young “Special” man.
Brian Kirk is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist from Dublin, Ireland. His work has appeared in the Sunday Tribune, Crannog, The Stony Thursday Book, Revival, Boyne Berries, Wordlegs and various anthologies.
His website has a longer bio detailing his numerous awards and publications. There are also Links to four of his stories and several of his poems.
I hope to post on at least one more Short Story by Brian Kirk this month. If you have not yet read his work, you are in for a very good experience. He is deeply insightful and is one of the writers I hope to follow for a long time.