"Secrets involving death and shame have a way of rising up in your throat, and for a moment I felt like I might throw up. I fought it, though, and began to feel better when I saw the round barn looming on my right, growing larger as we approached. ... The way it tugged at me felt even stronger than before, and I knew the time would sooner or later come when me and Shane would go inside." - from Make It Right, the novella by Ron Yates.
The characters in these stories are defined by bad choices that reverberate, resulting in multigenerational damage. Realistic landscapes are strewn with wreckage. Each story - through people, places, and conflicts we recognize - asks, how can this mess be fixed? Readers will want to dig for answers, and those who look for rays of hope will find them. They are the ones who can eventually Make It Right.
|Publisher:||The Ardent Writer Press, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.43(d)|
About the Author
Although encouraged by his English teachers to pursue higher education, Yates, after graduating high school in lackluster fashion, spent time languishing in factory jobs. An aching back and a caring girlfriend prompted him to explore other options.
His enduring love of reading and nascent knack for writing guided him to a degree in English and a career teaching high school. Years later he earned an MFA in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte.
Yates, who lives near Mt. Cheaha on the shore of beautiful Lake Wedowee, has published stories in a variety of journals including Hemingway Shorts, KYSO Flash, Still: the Journal, The Oddville Press,and Prime Number Magazine. He has a son and daughter and is married to his sweetheart, Carol Yates.
Ron Yates writes about writing and other subjects at ronyates.net.
Table of Contents
• Make It Right, the novella—Colleen Gaines doesn’t know what happened to her cousin’s mama when they were kids, but she suspects a dark deed. Shane has become increasingly withdrawn, nearly mute. His wellbeing is always on her mind, especially during the night of their high school graduation. A party at the home of a classmate brings out the worst in everyone, awakening the Gaines family’s tendency toward violence. How will Colleen and Shane survive within the “the broken shards of reality”? The reader is challenged to answer this and questions that involve secrets, shame, and the cousins’ ill-fated struggle to be “as good as anybody.”
• “Inertia”—Ty Ragsdale, a surly young factory worker and philanderer, has been fortunate enough to escape the draft and Viet Nam, but not fortunate enough to escape the consequences. As violence compounds his problems, a voice inside him whispers of grace and redemption. Changing course will be difficult for Ty but necessary to his survival.
• “I Sank the Mandolin”—The narrator, unable to meet real and imagined expectations, has committed an act of violence that part of him tries to deny, resulting in the wafting together of subconscious and conscious realities. A drab patina from his putrefied core, covers all, and he, “hollow now,” is locked inside a cold, dark space, alienated from “the brotherhood of man.”
• “Operating Expenses”—Randy, an orphan on the verge of manhood, hitchhikes southward from Pittsburgh to find employment with gruff Ben Stempton, who cuts and hauls pulpwood. After the old man dies in a freak accident, Randy must dig deep to find inner strength in the face of horrors, the courage to do the right thing.
• “Barbecue”—Two young men, happy over their high lottery numbers during the Viet Nam era draft, are cruising into what they hope will be a pleasant evening of good food and maybe a few beers. On their way to The Hickory Hut a grisly car wreck brings them face-to-face with their apathy and reluctance to acknowledge sacrificial suffering.
• “Spooky House”—A college student’s desire for acceptance forces him into a psychologically and physically painful situation when he and his new roommate decide to visit a house where gruesome murders were committed.
• “The Boiler Room”—A lonely high school teacher becomes infatuated with his former student Brett, an injured athlete who has returned from a brief stint as a college football recruit to the janitorial department of Whitefield High. Mr. Stiles, having suffered cruelty because of his demeanor and lifestyle choices, prefers to fly under the radar, but his desire to protect Brett from evil influences forces him to make a stand.
• “Syncretism”—A college student’s desire for recognition as a writer leads to an unlikely bond with his uncle Bart, a man with a sordid past who is dying from cancer. In his younger years Bart also aspired to write, and he kept journals throughout his life. The narrator discovers many connections with his reprobate uncle, and through the journals is drawn into a life he never imagined and may later regret.
• “Shadow of Death”—Celeste, a psychologist who practices family counseling, loses her emotional footing through her efforts to reach a troubled teenager. The girl, sullen and obviously harboring secrets, has been cutting herself. Her mother was abused, and now the father is dead. Discovering who is to blame and what the girl knows leaves Celeste in a professionally and spiritually untenable position.