Review of Eric Beeny's SNOWING FIREFLIES
Eric Beeny. Folded Word Press, $12 signature edition chapbook, $6 green edition chapbook (22p) ISBN 978-1-61019-980-3
“We made snow angels, like in wet cement, laughing, sinking slowly, our whole bodies waving goodbye.”
That. Yes, that. That line comes from the title story of Eric Beeny’s gorgeous collection of 18 micro-fictions, Snowing Fireflies. It’s just one line among many that made my heart grin. Big. Real big. Like, from valve to valve.
Here’s another from Picnic Lid, Lifting:
“A small dark basket in which the sky disappears, the night’s black wicker braided like hair and woven through her fingers.”
Wah wah we wah.
Eric Beeny is one of the most consistent independent authors you’ll ever come across. He’s also, in my opinion, one of the best. And one of the humblest. You won’t find him shouting in the hallways of places like Facebook or Twitter. He’s more comfortable keeping it low key. And that’s cool. He does, however, quietly dwell at Dead End On Progressive Ave., his personal blog. One glance at his list of publications and you’ll know that, despite his humility, this man is one of the hardest working, prolific writers around.
Beeny’s imagination is priceless. His wordplay is amazing. He creates phrases that throw big punches from deceptively small hands, phrases that’ll knock your head on its ass. And the reason for this power is Beeny’s meticulous, brilliant construction that precedes these explosions. It’s like he creates a perfect egg and then smashes it on your brain. It’s clever wordplay, but more than that—it’s… just…awesome. Each micro-fiction completes a seamless cycle and then rolls right off the page and into your lap. And then beyond. Forever.
And some of the fictions in this collection are not without a hint of welcome mystery. Take, for example Invisible Fog, here in its entirety:
“Waiting for you, my hands are against the window, finger-painting with my breath—touching something I can’t see.”
Or Shovel, a somewhat eerie tale of a boy going door to door after a snowstorm:
“A dark grey car was parked on the wrong side of the street.
It was running, the windows all foggy.
I thought it might’ve been the boy’s mom, waiting.
He did a real good job.”
Concision, I think, is synonymous with directness, and Beeny is an adept when it comes to keeping things tight. There’s not one wasted word in this collection. It’s a perfect animal. It wants you to pet it. It really does. And it wants to pet you too. Petting is nice.
The chapbook itself is a little miracle, painstakingly crafted and hand sewn with Irish linen by the dedicated folks at Folded Word Press. Beeny’s collection also comes hot on the heels of Folded’s first book-length release, Jessie Carty’s Paper House, which was released this spring.
Snowing Fireflies is an amazing addition to Folded’s Signature Chapbook Series, and a definite must get. Due to the handcrafted construction, production is limited to 75 copies. (2010)
Purchase Snowing Fireflies HERE.
Reviewer bio: Mel Bosworth is the author of the novel FREIGHT. Visit his website at melbosworth.com