is my first foray into publishing my writing, and I believe the
title encompasses the scope of the work included within these pages.
Perhaps my critics will squeal with glee, when offered the words
'impaired,' 'demented' and 'untidy' with which
to describe my efforts and, to me, the words suit the arrangement
of stories and the diversity of the subject matter.
is the favored arrow in my quiver and you will find it in many of
the stories I write. Some are stories about gay experiences and,
although not overtly sexual in tone, the label of 'homosexual',
which is so often used to describe our difference, hardly allows
us to remove all sexual content from the concept. If you seek lust
and perversion you will find disappointment in this book. However,
if you seek a perspective on love and grace, then you will not be
disappointed - provided that I have actually done my job properly.
Only you can determine that for yourself.
you would like a preview of the stories in this book, I invite you
to read the excerpts available below and, if you like the snippets
offered on this website, I invite you to order my book.
by Blake Fraina, author of "King of Cats":
not obvious at first blush, the repeated theme connecting the stories
in this charming debut collection is the symbiotic relationship
between callow youth and older, sometimes wiser, father figures.
On offer here is deceptively lighthearted fare often underscored
by a more serious message, for those who care to dig a little deeper.
And the author, who only identifies himself as KJ, commands a seemingly
limitless breadth of literary styles.
Certainly the highlight of the book has to be
the delicately humorous "A Mischief of
Monumental Proportions," in which the author creates
an atmosphere that might be described as "Jane Austen-lite."
But for my money, the prickly, gossipy denizens of the hamlet of
Bradbury (with surnames like Blessing-Derby, Mumford and the Reverend
Picklenose) seem to hearken straight out of Elizabeth Gaskells
quirky tales of Cranford. "Oasis,"
which takes place over the course of one lonely evening in a roadside
honky-tonk in some dusty desert backwater, is a complete 180 in
terms of tone and atmosphere. The grizzled barkeep, sage farmer
Emmett and the silent, exotic young man known only as Crystal cast
their drowsy, sensuous spell over the reader as much as they do
the narrator, a world weary traveling salesman. While I found aspects
of this one a bit too pat to be believable, overall the mood outweighed
any plot contrivances. Taken together, these two stories represent
the ends of KJs impressive stylistic spectrum. In between,
there is a humorous short piece (from which the book gets its title),
a contemporary tale of upper-crusty British noblesse oblige ("Horsehair,
Mettle and Would") and a deeply romantic story about
a first childhood crush captured for the ages by the hand of a perceptive
painter. Throughout, the author exhibits a knowledge of music and
art that enriches the stories without, for the most part, overwhelming
All in all, this is a delightful and rich collection.
I will be eager to see what the writer has up his sleeve in the
by David Paris:
gave me great pleasure to be asked to give a review of KJs
"untidy compilation of short stories and essays" and not
just because I feature as a cover boy for the book! The word "untidy"
is quite incorrect, though. In fact, this collection is a refreshing
breath of fresh air from start to finish! Each tale is around 10-20
pages in length, making for ideal on-the-go reading. However, you
may unwittingly find yourself caught up with KJs multi-dimensional
characters, who consist of jocks, boys-next-door and an assortment
of androgynous, and often mysterious pretty boys.
Perhaps the greatest commendation
for those tired of the almost-Mills-and-Boon-style novels which
permeate throughout gay literature is that author KJ weaves us through
the stories with sizzling erotic undertones, yet without the sleaze
which is often a feature of this genre of writing. We get to know
and relate to the cast of characters through their thoughts, hopes,
fears and flaws on their journey of self-discovery, rather than
a quick shag in the bushes!
One complaint however: one is almost
disappointed when each story comes to an end. One becomes so absorbed
that you, too, may wish to stay with the characters, as I did, and
continue with them on their journey. My personal favourite was the
second of this collection, entitled Oasis,
set in a dusty, Texas public bar. A young salesman relegated to
this God-forsaken job in the middle of nowhere spies "a
boy of questionable gender, with shoulder-length, wavy blond hair
and a face I would have wanted to get close to, if instead he had
been his sister." What
transpires after this observation is... well, I can't give away
the story, can I?
I cannot commend this collection more.
Treat yourself to this literary feast, and you have my personal
guarantee that you will not regret it!
by Patty Hose:
does not need to suffer from any sort of impaired sense to enjoy
Impaired Ocular Acuity and Other Demented
Synapses, by author K.J., although being a bit
demented, and bent, does help immensely. It also helps to have
an appreciation for the obvious theme: Beautiful young
K.J. bounces us back and forth across
The Pond in his collection of seven short stories that celebrate
male youth, beauty, and love. This collection begins in the States,
always rural, but takes one mischievous journey through time to
early twentieth century Great Britain, all the while K.J. shifting
his writing effortlessly from American teen-speak to Texas drawl
and even a style of English today only attributed tongue-in-cheek
to the British Royals. Were transported to these places
and relate to the characters because we imagine them speaking
the way K.J. weaves their dialog.
Once the reader is swept up in each
story the end becomes clear, almost predictable, but Impaired
Ocular Acuity and Other Demented Synapses is not about
the destination; its about each journey and what can be
learned along the way. We know the characters; theyre young,
male, beautiful in various ways, whether they be pretty or handsome,
and on a journey of discovery the author invites us to join. To
the youthful reader they might long for a similar journey of their
own. And for those who have already aged gracefully into the comfort
of their own sexualities, they will be reminded of the eureka
moments of their lives when they first took a fancy to a lovely
face or a rhythmic sway of a tight bottom and wondered what they
were looking at and what the strange warm feeling that came over
them really meant.
The entire collection is a quick
read that keeps us engaged in the discovery process. The first,
Impaired Ocular Acuity, is a satisfying
gotcha, but the longest, The
Aroma of Coffee, is much more about erotic discovery and
the love that may spring from it. And the reader must be prepared
for an unsuspected surprise at the end of Sotto
Voce, which, like some of the other stories, has an underlying
theme that celebrates the love of music.
Author K.J. wraps his collection
up with nine short essays; thoughts he calls The
Preponderance of Evidence. Although not necessarily on
theme with the short stories, they are thought provoking nevertheless,
so in that sense the entire enterprise is meant to make us think.
K.J. helps us ponder our youth, the beauty of young men, discovery,
loss, music and how we best enjoy the use of our senses.