Ohara house 1I wish I did, but I rarely write short stories. It’s never been a form that I’ve been comfortable with, and I bet I haven’t written more than ten of them during my career; half of those, however, I’ve written during the past five or six years, and of those, “Bonner’s Best Friend” is the only one that either hasn’t been published or accepted for publication. It was solicited two, three years ago for an anthology of original fiction dealing with the fallout from the Great Recession. But I withdrew it after the editor chopped out about a quarter of the story and then insisted that I change the names of the characters, to make them, he insisted, sound more “ethnic.” He didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading a story about Irish-American characters named Bonner and Natwin. Go figure. Anyhow, I’m glad I pulled it, and while I don’t think it’s the best story in the world, I like it, and reading it again recently I realized that I was unconsciously writing a story in the mode of John O’Hara, one of my favorite American writers. Irish-American, come to think of it. Two lines of phonetic dialog in the story are total swipes from (but I’ll call them homages to) O’Hara: “My still welcome to crash?” and “For cry sake.” So I mise well (another O’Hara-ism) dedicate the story to his memory.

Continue reading