"Well, when you've lived long enough, you get the chance to meet all types of people and get exposed to all types of patterns and events," quoted author Derald Hamilton during a recent interview. He has selected a few characters for this collection of short stories. "The Astonishing Elmo Piggens" plays off the frequent stereotypical southern preacher’s kid as the story details Elmo's childhood and adolescence growing up as a pastor's son. His father, Rev. Elwood Piggins is a man obsessed by a discipline standard determined by the expectations of the church members and the men on the board of deacons and elders. Elmo fits this model outwardly as he observes the wild rebellious antics of his older sister and the resultant punishment that triggered her decision to leave home. After graduation from high school, Elmo joins the Navy. While at sea, Elmo experiences a spiritual awakening similar to the Apostle Paul's on the Road to Damascus; a new beginning for Elmo, that leads him to follow in his father's footsteps and more. It is a biting morality play with an interesting twist. In "The Rebirth of Reginald Dexter," Hamilton takes us into the transitional period of Reginald Dexter, as he retires before he feels it is his time. When men are away at war the world does not stop. Add to that the fact that soldiers often come back changed, and you have the heart grabbing story of "The War Comes Home." "A Litter Bit of Wisdom" is a quirky and short story that follows the life of a napkin. Through this wayward piece of material, the author explores the course of our actions and the fact that everything has purpose and reason for being. And finally, there's "Taken Up Before The General," a tour de force depiction of institutional brutality and rigidity played out in a setting where an individual is assumed guilty until proven innocent, and even when innocence is established, the individual is still denied the benefit of exoneration. Hapless protagonist Daryl Mcgregor one day sets out to test the boundaries of this system and is thrust into the thoes of a nightmare in which there is no awakening and tastes a reality he dare not deny.
With true candid honesty, Derald Hamilton has a unique way about portraying his characters. "My goal chiefly is to tell a story. Whether my reader sympathizes or empathizes with my characters for me is of secondary importance, although I might ask the question, Okay, this is my character. Is he a likeable sort or not?" He continued, "What's your take?"
What the reader comes away with is a well written interpretation of life, people and circumstances which enable one to reflect upon events in their own lives, and that is when enjoyment in reading is best.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Derald Hamilton was born in Santa Cruz, California on July 22, 1950 and seven days later adopted by Derald and Naomi Hamilton, two products of rural Iowa. Being part of a military family, Derald lived in numerous places throughout the United States and experienced oone tour overseas. Graduating from U.C. Davis, he found himself without the funding necessary to pursue seminary studies. With no scholastic help available, Derald worked at a few temporary jobs and finally secured a clerical job with the State of California. After working for about a year-and-a-half, he had saved enough to continue his studies, and enrolled in Phillips Graduate Theological Seminary in pursuit of a Masters of Divinity Degree. Derald then pursued a Masters Degree in Library Science. Unable to find a job as a librarian, Derald took on an administrative support job with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority where he worked for thirty some years. Now retired, Derald lives in the Bay Area of northern California and enjoys playing his banjo in bluegrass and old time jam sessions.
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