There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Take this book, please

OK, let's put the important stuff upfront: Buy this book!

On a dark desert highway Keith Lowell Jensen panhandles, which is what he does when his sketchy life isn't trouping around with "I Can't Believe It's Not Comedy." All of this I learned from the back of his self-published collection of short stories, Oh Holy Day.

Cool wind in my hair I started reading this book on my way to work. It's only 50 pages, which turns out to be the absolutely ideal length for my commute.

The warm smell of colitas doesn't have anything to do with this review of Keith's collection of seven short stories. But a puff or two might help the appreciation.

Up ahead in the distance when I finished the book I realized that Keith put it together backward. Hence, you should start with the back cover and work story by story to the front.

I saw a shimmering light in Keith's "Footprints in the Sand," but as a fat guy I won't go into that. Read this inspirational poem and understand.

My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim reading "Yuppie Birth Scene." This takes a while to get going but it's a real scream by the end. Not recommended for compulsive shoppers or women of child-bearing age.

I had to stop for the night when I read "She." This is one of the shortest, but also one of the best written stories. Evil it is.

There she stood in the doorway, I imagined, as I read "The Video Tape." Since this is a family-safe blog, I won't discuss the nature of this story. Suffice it to quote the absolutely best lines from any of the stories:

"NO MEANS NO!" I felt like screaming. It wasn't easy being a porn-loving feminist teenager watching his friend's parents not respecting sexual boundaries.
I heard the mission bell while reading "Gin With Jenny." As with the evil "She," Keith shows that when he focuses and writes tightly his work sparkles like painted toenails.

And I was thinking to myself, "Jesus Loves Me, Pretty Girl Does Not" doesn't bode well for Keith's next book, "The Atheists Survival Guide." Keith might consider exploring how Mark Twain approached this topic.

This could be heaven or this could be hell, but in the end when Keith explores religion preachy is preachy and not very funny.

Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way in "Special Ed's Rocket To The Moon." Well, Keith's big brother did that in the story. Someday when Keith has a child of his own, he will appreciate why his mom was proud of him and didn't punish him. You have to experience the importance of poop in the first months of parenthood to really understand.

There were voices down the corridor, or at least a lot of rough spots in the title story "Oh Holy Day." This is by far the longest story at 18 pages, but all that number proves is that size doesn't matter.

I thought I heard them say that parts of this were two flimsy
as I plowed through the first pages, but parts work very well.

Welcome to the Hotel California, Keith. How can you not love the Eagles, man?!

Such a lovely place. Buy Keith's book. It's only $10. (But $90 for the Canadians. Go figure.)

Such a lovely face. If you are too cheap for the book, give a buck to the next panhandler you see along the freeway. It might be Keith.

Plenty of room at the Hotel California even if "I Can't Believe It's Not Comedy."

Any time of year, you can find it here. Or there in the book. And none of this will make any sense to you until you buy this book and read it.

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