Pamela Painter (Wouldn’t You Like to Know) says of Adulterous Generation‘s characters: “[They] never shy away from ‘doing.’ They consign dishes and wineglasses to the trash, flood houses, break taboos, plunder lives for a comic strip, steal money with mace as a weapon, and navigate the mayhem of their own lives with humor, wisdom, and hope in their quirky and profoundly generous hearts.”
Today marks the release of Amy L. Clark’s collection of short stories, twenty in all; the book can be ordered directly through QFP and is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Ebook formats are also downloadable, though we feel the cover image especially sings on the paperback–something Amy is kind enough to talk about:
It is not an accident that the photograph featured on the cover of Adulterous Generation was taken in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven. And not just any 7-Eleven. The 7-Eleven. The 7-Eleven because it was the only 7-Eleven I knew of growing up. I grew up in a series of very small towns. By the time I was in high school, I spent a great deal of time in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven. I was there uncounted afternoons eating twenty-five cent Zebra Cakes and leaning against crappy cars. I was there on the way to the prom with my hair in ringlets done up by my best friend’s mom. I was there the night a giant luna moth flew in through the open door and so terrified the cashier that he hid in the back while a few of my more adventurous friends, those who were less cowed by the law or moral ambiguity, loaded candy bars and packs of Marlboro reds into their pockets and fled. I was at work in the Dunkin Donuts next door when I called the cops to report that an old dude dressed in a Civil War uniform (Union) was parading around the 7-Eleven parking lot with a real rifle over his shoulder. I was there the day this photograph was taken. I took it with my stepfather’s old Nikkormat 35 millimeter. Later, at the local art college where I was a student in the Saturday program for misfit high school students, I developed the film and printed the photograph on 8 x 10 matte paper.
The picture is of my best friend and her then-boyfriend. It was the summer of 1996, and we were sixteen, and he was probably eighteen. Somewhere just out of frame there would have been the car we were riding around in that day–his Duster or her father’s one-ton flatbed. Somewhere just out of frame would have been a bottle of Mountain Dew and a couple packs of Camel Lights.
My best friend then is still one of my best friends now. We’ve known each other for twenty-three years and have helped each other grow up. Her then-boyfriend, on the other hand, has disappeared from the picture for me, and for her. No idea what happened to him. That 7-Eleven is no longer a 7-Eleven either. That’s a bit like how I think of these stories–full of things many of us have experienced and some of us, and some of the characters, will grow out of. Others will simply lose the plot, or the plot will lose them. The bulk of these stories take place in locations similar to this parking lot, in or around that time period, which from here seems like a very long time ago. And thank god.