Theme of Life and Death Explored in a Collection of Short Stories by Author Mike Proko

Theme of Life and Death Explored in a Collection of Short Stories by Author Mike Proko, Meet “The McFuddles” and Other Memorable Characters.
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March 28, 2012 - PRLog -- The cleverly titled A Box of Shorts is a collection of seven short stories by author Mike Proko that introduce readers to an unlikely mix of characters in a series of detailed vignettes.  From a young boy who discovers the first stirrings of passion for the opposite sex, to a golfer with long lost dreams, to a fictional President of the United States, A Box of Shorts explores a variety of personalities, subject matter, and styles.

Author Mike Proko is a fan of short stories, as he said, “It’s about pace.  In a short story like A Song for Lena you knew all you needed to know about Chester by the end of the 2nd page.” He continued, “Because of a novel’s length, there is no rush to flesh out the character, you can do it over a chapter or two or more.”  This style lends itself to a quickly moving series of stories.  

“The first story was A Song for Lena. I found it funny that my first short story was a love story,” quoted Mike Proko.  “The 2nd one I did was A Father’s Gift, that being a fictionalized story between my wife and her father who passed away when she was 16. I had the idea of The Only Practical Solution in the back of my mind for years.”  As an inspiration for his work, he said, “Characters, story-lines, current or past events; all of these pique a writer’s imagination. Some of the stories were very dark by nature but the one that was the most fun was The McFuddles”  Written with a Texan accent, he said, “It took me forever and a day to write in that dialect. I have a number of friends who have autism in their families so Okum McFuddle was a homage to them; this sweet simple young man is the hero of the story. You’d think it was Grandy? Nope, it was Okum all along.”

Perhaps life and death are a firsthand issue with Mike Proko, as he is a survivor of two major strokes. “Both of my strokes were in my sleep so for the longest time, I equated sleeping with dying. From my own experiences, I can tell you that there is a very thin line between life and death. Life is precious and should always be perceived as such.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Born and raised just outside Chicago, Mike Proko grew up in an atmosphere that would make any seasoned writer jealous. What a list of characters: Priests, politicians, mobsters, union leaders, actors, poets, drunks --the high-lifes and the low-lifers.  Strangers who would give you the shirt off their backs and relatives that would take your last 5 cents.  He would find out at a very young age that the people you were supposed to look up to were the ones that you should look out for and that sometimes the bad guys were the good guys.

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