Mick Sheldon grew up during the '50s and '60s in Nevada. As a child, his father—a ventriloquist with a yellow monkey—ran a local kiddy television show. Sheldon was apparently scarred for life when his mother made him dress up as a blue rabbit for the show.
For better or worse, excellent art is often born out of disaster. Matthew Lutz' grandfather died following a brutal battle with lung and brain cancer, and observing this struggle had a deep effect on Lutz. Later, when he entered the MFA program at UNM to study visual art, he taught an undergraduate who fought a similar battle against metastasized breast cancer. Her fight inspired Lutz to complete his master's degree even after he personally suffered a life-altering spinal cord injury.
Most of us believe that childhood should be a time for innocence—cartwheels, pigtails, lollipops and cheap movies ... your basic Saturday Evening Post covers. Yet despite the overwhelming consensus that our most vulnerable years should be shrouded by giggles and glee, there are some of us who don't always get the long end of the pogo stick, so to speak. Julie Orringer happened to be one of those people.
Therapists would have a diagnostic field day with the cast of Holiday Reinhorn's debut short story collection, Big Cats. Some of the characters conjured here have anger management issues. Others are too sizzled by grief to see straight. All of them have substance abuse lurking in their backgrounds.