Collected Stories to be released March 21st
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (February 22, 2022) – This one, Collected Stories, is special. It may only be his latest of many books, but for Loveland author Don Tassone, this book carries some special meaning.
That’s not to say his previously released books don’t hold special meaning, or even a special place in his mind, memory or heart. At the very least, every author would tell you their first book published holds some very special meaning for them. It may not be their favorite, but it is special. (If they tell you otherwise, they’re lying.)
This book is Tassone’s eighth and his sixth “story collection” book. This collection of 50 short stories is dedicated to his granddaughter and Goddaughter Alice Dorothy Poirier who lives in Milford, Ohio. Alice was born with an extra chromosome and has the unique abilities of a Down syndrome child. The book has a special release date in March.
“It’s the 21st of March,” said Tassone. “The significance of that date is that it is World Down Syndrome Day.”
Tassone is donating proceeds from sales of the book to National Down Syndrome Society.
“A great group,” Tassone said. “They are the human rights organization for those who, like Alice, have been given an extra chromosome.”
The book is NOT about Down syndrome and is NOT the story of Alice. The book features a collection of 50 different stories – five themes with 10 stories in each section. The themes are: Blessing, Fantasy, Journey, Sorrow and Joy. Tassone says Alice did play a big role in his writing of this book.
“As I say in the preface, when I look at her, I am reminded of why I write,” he said. “I write as an invitation to appreciate life more deeply. She helps me appreciate life more deeply. She’s just the joy of our lives.”
The first story in the book is significantly titled Dorothy in the theme section called Blessing. The author’s mother was named Dorothy and Alice’s middle name is Dorothy in homage to her great grandmother. Tassone says his stories come from a combination of two things: real events happening in the world or from his own life and some larger idea or broader theme. The story comes from his own childhood memory of another child in his neighborhood he never came to know. The story is written in a very brief style. It feels like it could be an excerpt from a longer story.
“It’s one of those stories in the book that are considered flash fiction,” Tassone explained. “They’re kind of micro-fiction, very brief; a story you can read at a glance, you can read in a minute. It’s sprinkled in among stories that are much longer. It is very brief and leads us off in the first category which is Blessing.”
No other story in the book is devoted to an individual with Down syndrome. The 10 stories in each themed section are diverse. The second story is about a woman who is quite beautiful, but her looks and life are changed by an accident. Another very brief story is about a young boy who loses his mother, but feels her presence through a friend. In the same “Blessing” category Tassone shares one of only four non-fiction stories in the collection. Communion is a story about his father during his final days of life. The theme of blessing is common, but the stories are wide-ranging in diversity. The stories are equally distinct in each section.
“We all have influences in our young lives. As a boy, long before I became a writer, or did any writing, “Twilight Zone” and other TV shows helped shape my life.” – Don Tassone, author of eight books.
Tassone offered that as explanation for the story Everything Is Real in the Fantasy section. It is a one of his “rare” science fiction pieces. The story is a little rough around the edges with some “grit” to it. The influence of his youth watching television is revealed in this homage to Rod Serling and “Twilight Zone”.
“In this particular case with Rod Serling and his narration during ‘Twilight Zone’ I kind of learned to fall in love with words,” Tassone said. “His narrations were so beautiful, so lyrical and that left a real impression on me. I could almost hear Rod Serling whispering in my ear as I wrote that story.”
It is not his favorite story in the collection though. That honor belongs to Flashpoint in the “Journey” section. It is for good reason. A non-fiction story, it is another of the four in that category in this book. The story is based on an experience he had while in Alaska during 2007 with his friend Pete. He considers the experiences they had there to be extraordinary and shares how it impacted and expanded him.
“Hands down my favorite story in this book is called Flashpoint,” he explained. “It’s the first story I ever had published. It was first published in a literary magazine. The magazine is called Red Fez, an odd name, a great magazine, a little edgy, a little avant-garde. It was nominated for the ‘Push Cart Prize’. It holds a special place in my heart.”
Tassone’s choice for his most challenging story; that is the one he found to be toughest to write is also found in the “Journey” section of his Collected Stories book. It is called Who is Peter Caruso. He had to think about the question for a while before deciding that was the story which he found most challenging. Multiple layers and a lot of characters within the story presented a unique challenge for him.
“There is a lot of depth revealed over a long period of time,” Tassone said. “There are a lot of characters to develop. I would say that was the most challenging and complex story to write.”
It is impressive to consider the author, Don Tassone has written an expansive collection of stories worthy of publication in a book. Ten stories each in five different themed sections totaling 50 stories. There are other stories that did not make the cut, at least not for this book. Then there is the fact this is his eighth book overall and sixth book of collected short stories. He says a couple of the stories have a bit of an edge to them, but still would not consider them tough choices for inclusion. He likes them and he certainly hopes readers like them. At the end of the day and beginning of his writing, there remains one common theme for the author Don Tassone.
“What I’ve learned is there are broad themes that have emerged in my writing in part because they’ve tied to things that are happening in my life,” said Tassone. “I hope those themes will resonate with readers. Who of us hasn’t felt sorrow, and joy for that matter? Who of us doesn’t feel like we’re on a new journey of some sort? Who of us, even in this tough time, hasn’t felt blessed? My hope is these stories can heal.”
At the BMV
Spiritual, Not Religious
Everything is Real
Walk in the Grass
Rest Stop Ghosts
The Pin Insulator
The Moon and the Birds
Who I Found in Angle Inlet
The Essence of Friendship
Who is Peter Caruso?
They All Run Together
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Street Ball and Joe’s Red Bike
The Beauty in Things
One Floor Up
Doing the Dishes
The Red Wagon
Collected Stories by Don Tassone
- Official Release Date: March 21, 2022 (World Down Syndrome Day)
- Paperback edition available for pre-order on Barnes & Noble online ($15.00)
- Paperback copies will also be available on the shelf at Joseph Beth Booksellers March 21.
- Available now on Kindle ($3.99) CLICK HERE for the Amazon link
- NOTE: It will be the same link following release March 21, 2022
- Proceeds from book sales will be donated to National Down Syndrome Society
“I write as an invitation to think more deeply, to feel more deeply. That’s what great writing does for me. I hope this collection will do that for folks. In this case, I hope I sell enough books to advance the very important work of the National Down Syndrome Society. I hope to make a meaningful impact.” – Don Tassone, author Collected Stories