The Austin Chronicle

'Losers in Bars'?

RECEIVED Mon., March 3, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Congratulations for another successful short story contest [“Mad Men,” Arts, Feb. 28]. Having now read the top three selections, I agree wholeheartedly with the judges’ choices. Mr. Garza’s submission was completely compelling, and both of the runners-up meritorious, as well. One quibble (full disclosure: I had a dog in the hunt, and my friends will attest that I am no stranger to alcohol): I read all three stories in short consecutive order and came away with the feeling that they could be bundled and subtitled “Losers in Bars.” Anxiety, angst, and anger muddled with booze have been a tried and true cocktail for a host of admirable literary efforts across time (authors too, by all accounts), but three in a row left me uncharacteristically ready for closing time. Whether this redundancy was the penchant of the authors or the judges I cannot guess, but my hope is that next year we might lift a glass to greater diversity.
Terry Conlan

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