One Damned Thing After the Other

These stories look deceptively flat and unadventurous, but the deep and wondrous beauty they hold resides in Brick Blair’s simple and assured prose: “Mom wanted to talk to me and I didn’t so I changed into the old construction clothes I had brought and went out to see my brother-in-law at the grain bins…” Or listen to this: “We took a break from pitching hay and my uncle pointed out that the sky was clear. There were no lights around, so you could see everything. He stretched out his arm and said look there, that is the Little Dipper. It took me a bit, having to move closer to him so I could see what he was pointing at, and him explaining the shape til I could see it.” Nothing much seems to happen, but there’s a resonance to Blair’s voice. When, in the final story, the narrator’s father is diagnosed with cancer, Blair relates the information in the same flat, heart- breaking prose he uses to tell about the narrator getting a tit twister from his brother. Interspersed among the stories in One Damned Thing are some song lyrics. I’d be willing to allow that hearing Blair sing these songs might be an exceptional experience, but reading song lyrics has always seemed a pretty lame pastime to me. Next time, Brick, skip the songs and fill those pages with more of your powerful prose. (KS)

chapbook, 16 pages / main creator: brick blair / publisher: smoking lung press / $5 / 103-1014 Homer St., Vancouver, BC, V6B 2W9, [email protected]

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