Gary McLouth, who grew up in a family of storytellers, has created an in-depth and thoughtful conversation between the voices of a father and son who serve as alternate narrators in his latest collection of stories titled "Do No Harm."
These nine fictional stories emerged from collaboration with McLouth's father, the late Dr. Sydney McLouth. Although collaborating on stories mostly meant they each had a devoted first listener to their stories, McLouth said the book is true to his father.
"I think he would appreciate the kindness in these stories," he said.
As storytellers, the pair came from different disciplines. His father, the doctor, was ever conscious of confidentiality as he pursued factual histories that led to a particular diagnosis. As a published poet first, McLouth admittedly explores the esoteric, dramatic and emotional aspects of human nature to craft stories for the public
Ironically, the tension between the two value systems led McLouth to develop as a fiction writer. "Because dad, the doctor, coded his provocative stories so that persons, places and often, things, had wisdom attached but very little in the ways of identification," said McLouth.
Biographer and journalist Paul Grondahl said McLouth's stories in Do No Harm are told in a totally original voice that "pays homage to the best of American realism." In his foreword, author Paul McComas references to Sherwood Anderson and John Steinbeck may be music to McLouth's ears but he vows to be un-flattered by the comparison.
"If you are tuned in to your characters, they're speaking for themselves and you can catch up with 'traditions' later," he said.
Do No Harm follows McLouth's "Natural Causes" and "Death and Other Frustrations," the winner of the President's Distinguished Dissertation Award at SUNY Albany in New York. In addition to his poetry, McLouth has published stories in magazines and journals, including Eureka Literary Magazine and the Minnetonka Review No. 4. He is the co-author with Arthur B. Shostak on "Men and Abortion: Lessons, Losses and Love."
As an association professor in the School of Arts and Humanities at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, McLouth taught magazine and TV production courses and interviewing for print and broadcast media at graduate and undergraduate levels. He now teaches at Edison State College and resides in Fort Myers with his wife Providence.
McLouth will be appearing at MacIntosh bookstore from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 13 to sign copies of his third collection of short fiction, "Do No Harm." He will also be at the Sanibel Public Library at 2 p.m. Feb. 27, where he will talk about where his stories come from and the writing process. He will make an appearance at Sanibel Island Bookshop in March.
"Do No Harm" lists at $15 online at www.amazon.com and www.tbmbooks.com or ask for it at MacIntosh bookstore. McLouth is available for readings, speaking engagements and personal writing consultation and coaching. Contact him at www.westmainpro.com.