THE JAZZ BABY will always be a special piece of fiction to me. First, it was the first piece of fiction I wrote that was accepted for publication. And you never forget your first. This is also more experimental fiction, or prose-poetry, than a traditional short story per se, a type of writing I rarely tackle. The way it came about was out of decided experimentation.
It was still living at home at the time, early 1996, and on a Wednesday night I turned off all the lights in my room, except for my desk lamp, which was giving off blue light from the bulb I switched in. I lit a candle and had Miles Davis’s A KIND OF BLUE going on the CD player. So with the mood set, I just started writing. The JAZZ BABY is what came out not long after.
The subtext of this short piece is that a cat–an actual cat–is witness to a relationship that ends on a down note, with the two nameless characters longing for intimacy that can’t be recaptured. Without any plan to do so, I wound up channeling some feelings I had about another relationship–not mine, but of someone I knew–and I expressed it this way.
I wrote THE JAZZ BABY with this sort of 1960’s jazz club, pouser cool cat riff, although I have absolutely no idea why. I never wrote that way before; I don’t write that way now. I guess the jazz was just in me that night. What can I tell you?
Although this is more prose-poetry than traditional fiction, I don’t consider THE JAZZ BABY as poetry. I have never been much of a poet; in fact, I’m lousy at it. I mean, B-A-D bad. Roses are red, violets are blue bad. But I’ll always feel good about THE JAZZ BABY, because it said something that still speaks to me all these years later, and leaves me with memories that are for me only… (click the “Next” button below to read THE JAZZ BABY)
THE JAZZ BABY was first published:
Illya’s Honey – July 1997
Fast Food Blues – May 1998