Tag Archives: A Little Chatter

01Jun/20

A Little Chatter by Terry Connell

To find out more about Terry and his work, check out Episode 264 – There Are No Shoulds!

I was a little hesitant about reading this book at first. The cover doesn’t invite one in, with a barrage of repeated words that made my eyes go funny. It had a bit of a “try hard” feel about it, and the title seemed to suggest something frivolous, a trifling matter to pass the time if one had nothing else to do. It was an inauspicious start, and a shame because the stories themselves are startling, poignant, sometimes desperately sad, but always entertaining and well-written.

A frivolous read, this certainly is not. It is a truly diverse collection of vignettes than actual stories; snapshots of people’s lives and experiences, each one very different from the last. The author uses dialogue, prose, sections as if taken from official reports, and weaves all those things in to a highly readable package with some intriguing characters.

These stories feel more personal than ones written with fictional characters. These tales read like people who have really existed, people from the author’s past, or echoes of people he has encountered, however briefly. There are exquisite observations of everyday life, perfectly preserved. I can imagine the author sitting in a diner with his notepad, quietly taking in all the tiny dramas around him, then weaving them with words drawn from his imagination. It is a true piece of literary work, crafted with skill and a keen eye.

Standouts for me are the first story, Goodbye, Willow Grove, where two people have very different memories of the same, sun-drenched day. The Tire Swing, where an elderly man reminisces over his life. It is written from a second person aspect, which isn’t for everyone, but there was a poetic rhythm about it that I loved. Finally, Thursday Night at Niko’s Italian Restaurant, which sounds like a Billy Joel song and is a slice of life from the underbelly of old-school Americana.

There’s a theme of savagery running through a lot of the stories, a cynicism as well as rose-tinted sentimentality. Just like any good conversation, there is something for everyone. The book isn’t always a comfortable read. I didn’t warm to some of the stories, but that’s like any collection, as well as being human. And everyone in this book is achingly human; flawed, honourable, selfish, angry, loving. This is definitely a short story collection to check out if you want human stories to make you think.

BLURB

The characters moving through Connell’s wondrous, hypnotic stories are vivid, unique, and somehow familiar. With insight and humor, they challenge the status quo, wrestle with shadows from their past, and make innocent mistakes – not always with the best results.

17Apr/20

Terry Connell

April 17, 2020


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Terry Connell as the guest on Episode 264 – There Are No Shoulds!

Terry Connell discusses his new collection of short stories entitled, A Little Chatter, and then shares some wellness ideas for the safe-at-home era.

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Bio:

Terry has a degree in Elementary Education from Penn State University, and after a year of teaching he earned his Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Temple University. He worked as a therapist for a few years, until his partner Stephan died from AIDS complications. With his life at this turning point, he heard about an acupuncture clinic in Boston called AIDS Care Project (ACP). He moved to Boston in the middle of a blizzard, enrolled in the New England School of Acupuncture, and knew he’d found his path. A month after graduation, he started working at ACP. After ten years, he opened a private office where he treats a variety of conditions. He first published in 2011, his memoir titled Slaves to the Rhythm.

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