HomeBooksOddball Collection of Scarred Characters Navigating Life’s Pains & Pleasures

Oddball Collection of Scarred Characters Navigating Life’s Pains & Pleasures

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Scar Songs: Stories by W. Royce Adams

What’s it About?

A collection of stories dealing with male protagonists at various life stages who experience events that leave either a psychological or physical memory scar, revealing the ways people deal with their hurt.

“You will soon discover that in matters of the heart, memories are much kinder than reality.”

— Judith McNaught

Every so often, the website that keeps me loosely connected to my high school graduating class sends me an email with the subject line, “In Memory.” Someone in my class has passed away. I stare at their picture frozen in time in my class yearbook as if they had never moved a muscle since then – and now a life is over. I think about them, perhaps a fleeting memory or a lovable exchange in a time when relationships predated Google search or mobile phone messaging.

I was reminded of my occasional trips down memory lane when reading  Scar Songs: Stories, a collection of nine short stories so real and well-written and hard to believe they came solely from author W. Royce Adams’ creative mind — and maybe or maybe not some part of his past.

Odd Situations & Oddballs

The stories feature the narrator (or narrators)  looking back at events and life episodes that left an indelible mark, from either the action described, the character involved, or the emotional blemish never quite erased. The stories are told at different life stages — all far-ranging and intriguing.

We are introduced to odd situations and oddballs. Everything from catching a thief while employed in a menial position at a grocery store to smuggling tequila over the border, interviewing a jazz legend to discovering a numbing secret from his wife about to give birth, feeling lied to when hearing the stark truth to a touching reunion at a brother’s deathbed.

One of the characters, “Todd the Odd,” provides somewhat of a framework for the author and his journey. “Why did he have to act so bizarre?” the narrator asks about Todd. “Among my friends, not hanging out with him was a given. Yet his lack of ordinariness made him interesting to someone like me, a very ordinary teenager. Now I credit him for opening up my mind to ideas and actions I never would have encountered on my own.”

Readers will enjoy truly getting into the head of the author, whose voice is very articulate and revealing of his feelings and emotions.

Reflecting on Life

All in all, Scar Songs: Stories is a work highly worthy of your consideration. The stories will make you think, make you wonder, make you reminisce and help remind you of your own experiences and what made you feel the way you did at the time — a time long gone by but with lasting consequences for sure.

In letting readers in on what’s to come, Adams uses this quote from bell hooks as a way to offer hope for those living in a scar-crossed universe: “Contrary to what we may have been taught, unnecessary and unchosen suffering wounds us but need not scar us for life. It does mark. What we allow the mark to become is in our own hands.”

Many of the poignant moments Adams writes about are sparked by death, or someone close to it. It is at these moments that people tend to look back at their actions, their feelings, their lives. Reflection. Guilt. Confusion. Sentimentality. Uncertainty. Love. Pain. Scars. Adams’s work covers them all.

The comedian Stephen Wright tells a joke of two men who as babies are born in the same hospital ward in adjacent cribs. They have nothing to do with each other, live separate lives and have no contact or knowledge of the other. Some 90 years later, they find themselves at the same hospital, lying next to each other on their deathbeds. One turns to the other and says, “So what’d you think?”

Scar Songs: Stories will help you remember.


About W. Royce Adams:

W. Royce Adams, professor emeritus of English from Santa Barbara City College in California, received his BA in Liberal Arts from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters in English from California State University, Long Beach. He is past president of the College Reading and Learning Association. During his teaching career, he wrote over 20 textbooks dealing with reading, composition and study skills. After retirement, he began writing middle-grade and juvenile novels for young readers who find reading difficult. As of late, he had turned his attention to publishing short stories for adults. His works have appeared in The Rockford Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Catamaran, In the Depths, Coe Review, Chaffey Review, Adelaide and bosque. Among his recent work is an auto-fiction novel entitled As Time Goes By.

Scar Songs: Stories by W. Royce Adams

Publish Date: 2/1/2023

Genre: Fiction

Author: W. Royce Adams

Page Count: 138 pages

Publisher: Rjk Books

ISBN: 9798986488523

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