In many ways, living through the past two years has felt oftentimes like we have stepped into the pages of a fiction novel.
It’s no surprise then that to help make sense of our current reality, many writers have turned to storytelling as best we know how.
Finding symbolism in the state of the world, illuminating glimmers of hope and redemption.
One such writer, James A. Freeman, explores the interconnectedness of humanity and the foundation of survival in his recently published ‘Covid ’19 True Fictions: Stories Before; During and After – When Mostly Good Things Happened’.
True to its title, there are “mostly good things” detailed within these pages, a riveting style and character development that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
Long after reading, you’ll be left dreaming about these characters wandering stranded in the Mojave Desert, or even the more mundane task of detailing cars day-in and day-out, until one bumper sticker triggers an existential crisis.
Enter the minds of the characters brought to life by Freeman, who when not crafting tales, has taught Creative Writing for the past 40 years at Bucks County Community College.
The author of 21 books, James was born in Shasta County, California and has set roots down as a local living in Langhorne with his family.
He considers the mid-Atlantic his home but loves both coasts and the “heartland” in between.
James captures the essence of American life with his realistic characters who make home in your heart just as securely as a well-known friend.
“[The stories] provide answers to age-old questions about what matters most in life,” James says.
As the first story states from the point of view of lovesick car detailer Devon Schwartz from Doylestown, “tragedy knows no economic lines.”
This is something we have all witnessed firsthand in this recent pandemic.
Each character is brought to life in a new area of Bucks County and beyond, giving something for all readers to delight in.
A taste of home, though, still defines the line of fact from fiction.
James has a strong handle on stream of consciousness style writing, layered with existential quips and deeper meaning that will have you looking further into the meaning of what it is to be human, what it means to survive against all odds, who we hold dear to us in the moments when life feels most fragile.
A decal sticker becomes a lost love, a Marine abandoned accidentally in the Mojave Desert (based on a true story) reflects on his wife and daughter at home as he slips further away.
This collection of short stories begins the reader in a time some may barely remember, what feels nearly forgotten – before Covid-19 became common vocabulary.
It’s a lovely escape at first, but also grounds the reader in our current reality, offering a new outlook and perspective through fictional eyes. It’s true that the very best fiction offers us a reflection back to our own existence.
‘Covid-19 True Fictions’ does just this.
“I want readers to reflect on what matters in life and death and to reassert their own values. Art is directly connected to the Divine,” says James.
Prof. Freeman plans to donate first year royalties from the book in 2021-2022 to the Dr. Keri Barber Student Scholarship Fund, benefiting an ACT 101 community college students with demonstrated financial or disability accommodation need and who faced obstacles to college.
Find a copy of the book at Xlibris.com or on Amazon.
PHOTO CAP: James Freeman