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The Acorn Stories by @DuaneSimolke is a Beach Reads Event pick #beachread #shortstories #giveaway
Title: The Acorn Stories
Author: Duane Simolke
Genre: Short stories/fiction
Visit the West Texas town of Acorn! Enjoy the German festival, a high school football game, homemade apple pie from the Turner Street Café, and the cool shade of a hundred-year-old oak tree. Meet dedicated teachers, unusual artists, shrewd business owners, closeted gays, and concerned neighbors. See how lives become intertwined in moments of humor or tragedy. Just be careful, because in Acorn, the sky is always falling!
From romantic comedy to razor-sharp satire to moments of quiet reflection, Duane Simolke’s award-winning tales transform a fictional West Texas town into a tapestry of human experiences.
“A lush tangle of small-town life branches out in this engrossing collection of short stories.” –Kirkus Reviews
“The ability to depict such a wide cross section of humanity, including details of each character’s breadth of knowledge and experience, takes a talented, insightful author, and Duane Simolke is such a writer.” –E. Conley, Betty’s Books
People tell me a little more than they should. Well, a lot more than they should. Actually, people tell me way too much. Or they say too many things where I can hear them, which is just the same as telling me, as far as I’m concerned. Do they really think I won’t share what I heard with anybody? I mean, stories like these can’t just sit on a shelf in somebody’s brain.
The more I think about it, the more sure I am that my neighbors want someone to tell their Acorn stories, that they don’t want to be just a small part of a small town in a big state in a big country. People aspire to leave something behind other than babies, a mortgage, and a nasty rumor or two. And they certainly want someone reliable telling it, like what my grandmother did when she chronicled the early folks of Acorn.
So maybe I’ll serve you up a few slices of Acorn pie. There are enough words in my kitchens, enough stories in my cupboards—I’d like to work closets into this paragraph, but I certainly wouldn’t want to strain a metaphor so early in my narrative—that I could find ingredients for several pies. But I’ll be choosy and pick out some from one of my favorite weekends, during 1994, one of my favorite years.
My name is Aragon Carsons, and I’m just going to state some facts. I won’t even try to organize or interpret those facts. I’ll just stir them all together, put them in my oven, then feed you what comes out.
Just to tell you a little about myself first, I’ll start with my family. My father and his brothers inherited their father’s oil, but that played out during the eighties. They also inherited his cotton fields and sunflower fields, both of which rarely let us down. As eldest son, my father had been in charge of business and investments. He bought a lumber mill, some real estate, some Disney stock, a soybean farm, the Acorn Cattle Stockyards, and a certain computer software company that everyone’s tired of hearing about. He also set Uncle Sam up with a furniture store and Uncle Mikel up with a clothing store. Still, he worked behind the scenes on those enterprises as well.
Grandfather had always seen Daddy’s business sense, and had said that Daddy’s oldest child would take over next, even if that child were a daughter. Actually, my uncles had nothing but daughters. Daddy and Mama stopped after I was born, worried that any son they had would just resent me for taking a role that most people saw as a man’s; besides, they never had time for a big family.
Though she never ran for any political office, Mama served on about every board and committee in town, often bringing me along to see how things work in Acorn. She was a severe diabetic, and the diabetes killed her when I was in my early twenties. Daddy slowly lost his will to live after that, and didn’t last much longer.
Those are all very ordinary events: life, death, reproduction. You probably expect to hear about those, but not much else. Now there’s lots of things that you’d think only go on in big cities, but think again. Those things just happen more quietly here.
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The Acorn Stories is a fun, fast, and often comical read.
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Runs July 18 – July 26, 2022.
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Duane Simolke wrote The Acorn Stories, Degranon, Holding Me Together, Selected Poems, Sons of Taldra, and New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio. He also co-wrote The Return of Innocence and The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer. Three of his books received StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts Awards, and one received an AllBooks Reviewers Choice Award. His writing appeared in nightFire, Mesquite, Caprock Sun, Midwest Poetry Review, International Journal on World Peace, and many other publications.
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