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THE MAGIC WORD And OTHER STORIES FROM BEFORE THE MILLENNIUM About The Way Things Are Today by J.J. Stein

THE MAGIC WORD And OTHER STORIES FROM BEFORE THE MILLENNIUM About The Way Things Are Today

by J.J. Stein

142 pages
Humorous tales about what it takes to save the world

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About the Book
While I was working on a new novel, my college-age daughter asked whether I had ever written a children’s story. It occurred to me that in the distant past, I actually had. So I dug through all my old floppy discs and then back to paper manuscripts and found THE MAGIC WORD that I drafted in 1989 and copyrighted in 1990. Reading it over, I realized it was not really a children’s story, but a fable about saving the planet by practicing what most of us learned as children. On revisiting it after 23 years (as if it was written by some other entity), I was amazed by how sharply it reflected the political, economic and environmental circumstances that have manifested so blatantly today.

I wondered whether I had written other stories that I had also forgotten and that were topically related. In digging deeper into dusty old boxes I had the rarefied experience of visiting more of my past as if written by another. It was like discovering a buried treasure just as hoped for: a treasure of never-published stories from the last century that would nicely complement THE MAGIC WORD. So here they are just as they were written. Nothing has been updated – no issues, no characters, no concerns, no structure. Presenting them this way offers a kick in the pants about how the same problems persist over time despite the fact that we’ve always known what it takes to solve them individually and collectively.

Though the stories have a common thread, they come in a variety of styles, personas, and tones. THE MAGIC WORD (1990), as I said, is a fable that so evidently presaged present environmental and economic circumstances including the “occupying” reactions to them. OREH'S GREAT FALL (1999), too, is a fable that personalizes the message about a character trying to avoid taking responsibility for the world’s problems. ALICE IN WASTELAND (1992) is harder-edged and as real as any street theater that satirically demonstrates the opposite by “dramatically” confronting the powers that perpetuate environmental madness. TO BE A HERO (1999), EARNING A LIVING (1994), and DISEMPOWERING MADNESS (1999) take the issues in different ways to a therapist with characters seeking courage and effectiveness in responding to the various destructive activities of humankind. Finally, BONES WANTED (1994) is about an exasperating septuagenarian who models panache and personal power while offering an antithetical view. I like to think of the stories as delivering thesis and antithesis through wormholes of humor to any reader struggling with the way things are.

Anthony O. Tyler, editor of BLUELINE ANTHOLOGY, has called the book, “Delightful, witty, funny, and wise. The contemporary environmental fables and reflective tales in THE MAGIC WORD make us laugh while also causing us to think about our own ways of responding to challenges in the world as it is.”

For added spice, thematic illustrations by artist Jammie Williams accompany each story.

 

 

About the Author
J.J. Stein Author of LIFE, MYTH AND THE AMERICAN FAMILY UNREELING and GENTLEMEN OF DECISION, Stein was a motion picture production executive in Hollywood before he became a founding faculty member of the Watkins College Film School. He has also taught at Vanderbilt, TSU and Governor’s School for the Arts at MTSU.

 

 

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