Jim Shorts is a humorous collection of 50 stories (most of them very short), poems and specialty forms (playlets, letter, advice column, (wo)man-on-the-street commentary, magazine article, etc.) with line drawing illustrations. Some poems are written in normal English, but all the stories, specialty forms and other poems are written with intricate wordplay—puns, malapropisms, spoonerisms, portmanteaus, onomatopoeias—the whole nine yuks.
Drawing from a tradition of nonsense writing, surrealism and absurdism, and inspired by the wordplayful styles of Lewis Carroll, James Joyce, Edward Lear and John Lennon, the pieces feature eccentric characters and bizarre plots. For instance, “Blue Spaghetti” is about a floundering restaurateur who tries to spice up business by serving up a gimmicky, colorful dish called Pasta Azul. A disaffected young man with bad skin finds solace when he runs away to join other like-faced comrades in the “The Fresh Foreign Lesion.” A bandleader with a strict dress code faces a mutiny from players who want to wear shorts onstage in “The Litre of the Band.” “The Cardsharks” are a roving trio who goes door-to-door, forcing their hosts into playing card games for money that the intruders invariably win. In “Orville’s Raccoon Problem,” the protagonist faces a murder charge for axing his mother-in-law while claiming that in the dark garage he mistook her for a large raccoon. “The Wearwool of London” is a man who walks the streets clad in a heavy wool coat whenever there is a full moon, regardless of the season. A little boy is shocked to discover his uncle is the new Tooth Fairy in “A Surprise or Two For Blade.”
The humor is dark, satirical, parodic and wacky. While there is no profanity, one story includes some sexually explicit material, albeit translated into my own distorted language.
Taking a poke, a jab or a good Jonathan Swift kick at human flaws (greed, obsession, alienation, prejudice, classism, hypochondria, ruthless ambition, etc.) and such institutions as organized religion, the justice system and the medical profession, Jim Shorts uses nonsense to make newsense (a term coined by Dr. James Sauceda, thank you).
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Jim George is a writer-artist-singer-songwriter-musician from Reading, PA. Working as a freelancer in the ’80s and ’90s, he interviewed a host of celebrities from many of the arts for his hometown newspaper and such (inter)national publications as Guitar World, Starlog, Guitar and Prevue. His subjects have included such legends as Gore Vidal, Muddy Waters, Steve Allen, Carl Perkins, Willie Dixon, Nicolas Roeg, Bo Diddley, Steve Cropper, Dick Cavett, Richie Havens and Tony Bennett.
In his musical life, he has written and recorded songs that were used on a number of television shows including Burn Notice, Fresh Off the Boat, My Name is Earl, The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Vanished, as well as in the independent feature film Neo Ned (starring Jeremy Renner and Gabrielle Union).
As a performer, he has been a supporting act for such artists as Ian McLagan, Sonny Landreth, Joe Louis Walker, Simon Kirke, Walter Wolfman Washington, Savoy Brown, Eddie Money, Johnny A, The Holmes Brothers, Trampled Under Foot, Starz and Gary Hoey, among others.
To date he has written three books–two collections of stories, poems and drawings, and a children’s book. The first of these, Jim Shorts, is now available as a PDF.