In the preface, Steve Ramey mentions that several of the stories collected in Glass Animals started at Show Me Your Lits. This reminds me how lucky we are at SMYL to read raw, fresh fiction every single week from a slew of gifted writers, none moreso than Steve. (It also reminds me how much we owe to Errid Farland and the others who started the site, and to Errid again for being the one constant presence and guide for the first three-plus years of its existence.)
So, having read many of these stories when the ink was wet, reading this book is an insight into the revision process at work. Or maybe I should say (using a Conversations-with-God-like hyphenism), re-vision. It strikes me that more has gone on than a coat of varnish, a patch here or there. No once-over edit to fix grammar or untangle tense. While I may not be able to tell exactly how much has changed in any particular story, each one resonates deeper, clearer than I recall the original. It is as if the author has played each piece like a guitar maker, listened to the sound, then returned to the workbench with it, to shave and reshape the sound board until the tone produced matches the sound he hears in his head.
Read the full review.
In his collection Glass Animals, Stephen Ramey delivers a collection of short fiction that at once engages, bewilders, and elevates the form to a new space. Ramey gets under the skin of his characters to present the reader with a spectacular journey through the four quartets that make up the collection: Reflect, Refract, Reveal, Distort. Each story is the equivalent of looking at the world through a kaleidoscope and the shattered, glittering stories that make up this collection are exceptional. St. Peter’s Penis, has stayed with me since I first read it last year, and along with Sacred in this Light is one of the stand-out pieces of flash fiction I’ve had the pleasure to read. Ramey weaves his stories with assuredness and assiduity, and is a voice to be reckoned with.
“Gravity was another rule on another sign he could not read,” Malcolm, the protagonist in the title story from Steve Ramey’s wonderful collection thinks. In this gravity-defying display of mostly flash pieces, Ramey leaps and dances over the domestic and the surreal, the mundane and the magical. He seamlessly weaves a crazy-quilt of characters who – despite being a little lost and befuddled by the world – have moments of chandelier insight into their own human hearts. Reminiscent of Raymond Carver’s Little Things and Kim Chinquee’s Oh Baby, Glass Animals is a work of sparkling vision and compressed and surprising language – all put to work to reveal a world where everything’s at stake.
Lori Jakiela, author of Miss New York Has Everything and Spot the Terrorist
Stephen V. Ramey captivates and mesmerizes his readers, taking us by the hand into the hidden worlds of people not unknown to us. His instincts are visceral, perceived, radiating a power and compassion that guides us inside each of his characters. Ramey’s collection explores the human condition. Ramey is the real thing. Read him!
Meg Tuite, author of Domestic Apparition
Stephen V. Ramey’s Glass Animals offers an intimate look at a matador’s passion and pain, a bus driver’s brush with mortality, a jilted lover’s dilemma, a disfigured boy who “inhales” his salvation, and a young man hounded by glass animals in a pool. Ramey takes on the richness of his characters’ emotional and physical torment and delivers something morbidly fascinating and keen. A great first collection!
Kristine Ong Muslim, author of We Bury the Landscape and Grim Series.
I had a wonderful time reading from Glass Animals in Greensburg this week. A large, attentive audience heard me read “Sacred in This Light”, “Lactose Intolerant”, “Gold Standard”, “The Years of Feast and Famine”, “Coffee”and “Christmas in Nicaragua”. Afterward, some really great discussions with motivated students, lotsa books signed, and an interview by student journalists, who also video-recorded the event. They’d even read my first published story “It Takes a Town” in prep for the grilling. Thanks to Lori Continue reading
Thanks so much to the Youngstown State University Student Literary Arts Association for hosting my reading at the Greyland Gallery. We had a great time, and what an eclectic collection of art, music, fashion and retro. And that was just the audience… No, seriously, you owe it to yourself to visit this gallery. It’s great.
Another project well worth your support is Jenny Magazine, which Continue reading
My New Castle reading/signing for Glass Animals went very well. We had about a dozen locals in the audience, most of them my good friends, and enough cupcakes and coffee to go around. I read several flash stories, and a couple of micros. They were very well received, and folks went out of their way to encourage me afterward. I felt very nervous throughout the reading, but Sue reports that I did kept my voice loud enough, and did not read too fast, so I guess that’s progress. She has the ham gene in our family. I have the quail gene. Anyway, a hearty thanks to the New Castle Public Library and Susan Morgan for hosting the event (and coming Continue reading
It was difficult as could be today, but I finally managed 1007 new words. I didn’t quite make the 60 minute goal (Write or Die was not pleased with that part), but the word count is in place and some of them aren’t half bad.
Jitters over tomorrow’s Glass Animals reading made it very difficult to focus all day. It’s just going to be a few friends and some cupcakes. What’s to worry? I hope I can do these stories justice. I have a tendency to mumble when I’m nervous. Wish me luck!
I’m pleased that Apocrypha and Abstractions (one of my favorite places for offbeat prose) chose “Virgin Christmas” for their Valentine Day story. I’m rather fond of this “love” story told short.
On the daily goal front, I was able to pound out 1034 words today on a scene for chapter 2 in my serial, The Golden Heart of the World. It’s a little rough, but moves the plot, which is what I was going for.