Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors shed light on their recently released books by comparing them to weird things. This week J.T. Bushnell writes about his debut novel, The Step Back, out now from Ooligan Press.
If The Step Back were a basketball move, it would be one you teach your kid brother, thinking it’s for his sake.
If The Step Back were a brother, it would be one who quits basketball, preferring drugs and delinquency instead.
If The Step Back were a father, it would be one who asks frustrating questions about the inner lives of the people who make fun of your teeth.
If The Step Back were a mother, it would be one who shows you how to insult such people effectively, and then, when that doesn’t work, takes an extra job to pay for your orthodontia.
If The Step Back were a dog, it would be one your mother finally adopts for you, fulfilling your childhood dream, just before you leave for college and she leaves for a woman.
If The Step Back were a college, it would be one with a terrible basketball team, which you give up everything to join, only to discover you’re not good enough, not even for that.
If The Step Back were a lover, it would be a Humane Society volunteer you break up with for saying that happiness is a choice we make.
If The Step Back were a lover, it would be a cold photographer with a bleak view of the world, which you accidentally confirm.
If The Step Back were a lover, it would be a landlord who casually sums up all your deepest mysteries and then leaves your possessions scattered on the lawn.
If The Step Back were a day, it would be the end of daylight savings, and you would have no choice but to fall back.
If The Step Back were a tree, it would be an ancient Sequoia, its trunk shaped like a horseshoe, the center hollowed out and scorched black, inspiring whole families to stand inside it, palming the black charcoal, trying to sense the life behind it.
J.T. Bushnell teaches writing and literature at Oregon State University. His fiction has been published in twenty literary journals, and his essays about writing appear in Poets & Writers, The Writer, and Fiction Writers Review, where he is a contributing editor. The Step Back is his first novel. Follow him on Twitter at @jtbushnell1.