Desperate Living is about ordinary people living extraordinarily desperate lives. Ever lived in a small town where you knew almost everyone? Potterville is such a town, and everyone carries their own personal baggage.
Remember the garbage man who fell for the doctor's wife and learned oil and water don't mix? What about the minister that feels he's wasted thirty years serving God, and still pines for his high school sweetheart? Then there's the Kmart manager who loves baseball so much he tries to force his son to love it too. That homeless guy you've seen wandering around town use to teach high school English. How'd he end up collecting cans and living on the river?
Desperate Living is a gritty, honest look at modern American society, and how dysfunctional we've become. The lessons lived are the lesson learned, and the classroom (Desperate Living) is open.
Excerpts from Desperate Living:
Small towns, where desperate dreams are engineered but seldom built. The angel understood this now. According to a California map, Potterville is hardly anywhere, a tiny blip midway along a wide gash known as the San Joaquin Valley. Closer scrutiny reveals an alfalfa field of sprouting ambition. It's a small town like any other, populated with dreamers. Some reach for stars, yet most are content to gaze at them from the safety of a lawn chair.
Grant picked up the bike, and they returned to the house. He went directly to Bob's room. A poem lay on his pillow: I am a hollow tree there's nothing left of me the axe will set me free
At a preordained moment the organist played melancholy music intended to prepare believers' hearts. Instead it provoked listeners to contemplate death, taxes and Sunday football. Morose vibrations from the organ pipes sent shivers down the spine of Jim's Bible. Wondered what inspired lyricists to pen such depressing swill. Perhaps they'd had wives like Mildred, he speculated.
The organist was a heavy, dyed blond woman in her mid-fifties. She rocked and smiled as she banged out tunes you might hear in a documentary about 9-11.
"What's your father really do for a living?" he whispered.
"Nothing," she answered, "Mother won the Texas lottery ten years ago."
"Amazing," he enthused.
"Yeah well, she didn't live to enjoy it."
"Money...just suffocated her."
Look Oz, hate to burst your bubble, but face it; smokin' ain't the Marlboro man, fightin' ain't Bruce Lee, fu**in' ain't Sharon Stone, and there's no goin' back to Kansas.
...it's clear that imagination, idealism and passion slip past skin to lubricate the heart. Ancient Earth civilizations studied poetry as seriously as economics. Music and theater were an important commerce. Today, the humanities are deemed an unprofitable annoyance by the world's freshmen class because you can't spend it.
The vagrant lay twitching, one leg kicking spastically. Gradually it slowed to a stop. A wet spot formed at front of his pants as a piece of firewood settled, sending fireflies into the sky. "He dead?" asked bleeding twin.
"Playin' opposum," snapped the other, giving a final kick.
"Don't think so," bending to shake him by the shoulder. "Hey man...hey."
Other twin tapped David with his foot.
"Get up, man." David fought to sit up. "Old man screwed the pooch."
His forehead crinkled, hoping the words were part of some surrealistic dream. Chin tucked in as his mouth tightened and curved downward.
"We was just havin' some fun."
Other works by Ty Spencer Vossler: Infidelities (short erotic fiction and poetry) Strange Relations (Short story collection)
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Ty Spencer Vossler has taught literature and creative writing for twenty-three years. He attended a labor-camp school (Woodville Elementary) as a youth, and still attributes his creativity to the wonderful teachers and friends he had there. His work is heavily influenced by the Mexican culture. He spent five years teaching in central Mexico, and still spends three months every year in Tlaxcala with his Mexican family and friends. Ty Spencer Vossler is the ex-man...ex farmer, ex-trucker, ex-cop, ex-expatriate. Currently lives in Pacific Grove, California with his BMW (beautiful Mexican wife) and precocious six-year-old daughter. Rich (ex)perience has shaped Desperate Living into a mirror of American society. Vossler's best advice to aspiring writers: Shoot your television, put down your cell-phone, and read a book (preferably one by Vossler).
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