The first collection of short fiction from Dan Buri, Pieces Like Pottery is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. In this distinct selection of stories marked by struggle and compassion, Pieces Like Pottery is a powerful examination of the sorrows of life, the strength of character, the steadfast of courage, and the resiliency of love requisite to find redemption.
Filled with graceful insight into the human condition, each linked story presents a tale of loss and love. In Expect Dragons, James Hinri learns that his old high school teacher is dying. Wanting to tell Mr. Smith one last time how much his teaching impacted him, James drives across the country revisiting past encounters with his father’s rejection and the pain of his youth. Disillusioned and losing hope, little did James know that Mr. Smith had one final lesson for him.
In The Gravesite, Lisa and Mike’s marriage hangs in the balance after the disappearance of their only son while backpacking in Thailand. Mike thinks the authorities are right—that Chris fell to his death in a hiking accident—but Lisa has her doubts. Her son was too strong to die this young, and no one can explain to her why new posts continue to appear on her son’s blog.
Twenty-Two looks in on the lives of a dock worker suffering from the guilt of a life not lived and a bartender making the best of each day, even though he can see clearly how his life should have been different. The two find their worlds collide when a past tragedy shockingly connects them.
A collection of nine stories, each exquisitely written and charged with merciful insight into the trials of life, Pieces Like Pottery reminds us of the sorrows we all encounter in life and the kindness we receive, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.
Review: Wow, this collection of stories is amazing. The author has captured the human spirit in some of the most challenging situations brilliantly. There is something in there for everyone, you will always find something to relate to. Long after I’d finished reading the book, the stories were on my mind. I’m sure everyone will have a different opinion on their favourite story, personally mine was The Ballad Of Love And Hate 🙂 Highly recommended!
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your work?
I would like to first of all say thank you, Samie, for hosting me on your site. You have a wonderful site! This is a great place for us all to indulge in our shared love of reading and writing, isn’t it? Thank you for your excellent content and book suggestions. I am grateful to be here.
I grew up in the Midwest in the States with four brothers and one sister. I moved out to the beautiful Pacific Northwest a little over ten years ago. I am a patent attorney with an engineering background, which is what I spend my days doing when I am not writing. I have a beautiful wife and amazing two-year-old daughter who cracks me up daily.
This is my first published venture into fiction, although I have written fiction works for quite awhile. My non-fiction writing have been distributed online and in print at a variety of venues.
Can you tell me about your book Pieces Like Pottery?
Of course! Pieces Like Pottery is an examination of the sorrows of life, the strength of character, the steadfast of courage, and the resiliency of love requisite to find redemption. Offering graceful insight into the human condition, each linked story presents a tale of loss and love. Charged with characters mercifully experiencing trials in life, the book reminds us of the sorrows we all encounter and the kindness we receive, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.
What inspired this collection?
Great question. I am moved and inspired by people’s real life stories of overcoming tragedy. Every person has trials in life. Life always presents obstacles and disappointments. I wanted to examine how individuals overcome these obstacles in a variety of characters. I toyed with the idea of each of these stories being its own novel, and I still may expand a couple of them into full length novels, but I settled in on a collection of linked short stories because it presented the opportunity to have a range of characters and display that, despite how different our life experiences are, we are all connected as human beings. We all suffer and laugh just the same. My hope is that readers recognize that and are inspired or moved to compassion through the book.
Which story is your personal favourite?
Wow, that’s a tough question. If forced to choose one, I think I would have to say Expect Dragons. I really enjoy Mr. Smith. I think many of us have had inspirational teachers and mentors in our lives. It is so important to have these people during key moments in our development as young people. I have had some amazing teachers and mentors in my lifetime. Both of my parents are teachers, as well as my sister and my sister-in-law. Teachers give us so much of themselves and as a society, at least here in the States, we tend to give them so little back. It’s really sad. Mr. Smith is an inspirational character and I enjoy hearing his thoughts on life.
Do you ever base any of the characters or situations on real people?
I think every character an author creates is based on a real person or an amalgamation of real people. I also think an author will drop a little piece of himself or herself into every character they create. It is just too difficult to not let experiences and biases seep into one’s writing. There is certainly a piece of me and people I know in each character throughout Pieces Like Pottery. This made it particularly difficult to finish the book at times. I had to tap into both a sorrowful and a hopeful part of myself for these stories, which took an emotional toll at times. That being said, I didn’t create any of the characters in Pieces Like Pottery to represent me or to be a caricature of myself.
Can you describe your writing style in three words?
Passionate. Purposeful. Poetic.
What are you currently working on?
It depends on what you mean by “working on.” I am not actively writing my next book, but the wheels are constantly turning in my head. There are a couple of ideas underway.
Where can people find out more about you?
I don’t presently have a website for a few reasons, but I would love to hear from your readers. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions about the book. You can reach me via email at danburi777 [at] gmail [dot] com, on twitter @DanBuri777, or on Goodreads.
I really do hope you and some of your readers will check out my book. I need the support of thoughtful and intelligent readers like your audience. The life of an indie author is not easy and every little bit counts!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Over the years I have been lucky enough to be offered abundant feedback and to hear excellent commentary from a few creative people that I admire greatly. There are three comments/ideas that have stuck with me throughout all my writing endeavors and I’d like to pass them along to anyone that explores (and struggles with) creative undertakings like writing. (Each of these is summarized in my own words.)
- When asked about the fears and doubts that she had with her writing, Elizabeth Gilbert (best selling author of Eat, Pray, Love) said she finally had an epiphany that her “writing muse” was telling her that this isn’t her story. If she doesn’t tell it, she said, then the muse would move on to someone else who will. Ms. Gilbert discussed how freeing this was for her. She was no longer declaring to the reader: “Listen to me. I have something to say.” It was almost as if she had no other choice but to write. This opened her up to write every day without fear of the result.
- Ira Glass is an American public radio personality and the host and producer of the radio and television show This American Life. He has a great quote for young creatives. In short, he encourages that your work is not going to be good when you’re first starting out. You may have an excitement for your craft and a killer taste for what’s good, but your execution is poor. The only way to improve your work, the only way to close the gap so that your work is as good as your ambitions, is to do a lot of work. Write. Every day. Every week put yourself on a deadline to write something new. It’s going to take awhile, but that’s normal. Good writing doesn’t come the first time you sit down.
- Louis C.K. is one of the most thoughtful and innovative comics alive right now. I once heard him speak about his HBO show, Lucky Louie, which was cancelled after one season in 2006. He was asked if he was disappointed and if he looked back at it as a failure. His answer was unequivocally: “No.” For him it was just another experience that taught him how to hone his craft, which was invaluable.
So those would be my three pieces of (long-winded) advice for young writers. One, don’t worry about whether you have anything important to say. If you are inspired, say it. Two, write constantly. You won’t become a good writer unless you’re writing all the time. Three, take every writing experience and use it to hone your craft. Something is not a failure simply because the public doesn’t receive it the way you would like.
Finally, give us a random fact about you.
Since the new Star Wars is coming out, I’ll share this random story. When I was younger, I used to play Star Wars with my three older brothers. My oldest brother would be Luke Skywalker. My second oldest brother would be Han Solo. My brother just older than me would be Chewbacca. They would make me be Princess Leia. I have no idea why I couldn’t have been C-3PO or R2-D2 or Lando Calrissian even. They always made me be Princess Leia. (shaking my head)
Thank you again, Samie, for the opportunity to spend some time with you and your readers. I loved it! I really do hope you and some of your readers will check out my book and I would enjoy interacting with them. Thanks!
Dan Buri’s first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. His writing is uniquely heartfelt and explores the depths of the human struggle and the human search for meaning in life.
Mr. Buri’s non-fiction works have been distributed online and in print, including publications in Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. The defunct and very well regarded Buris On The Couch, was a He-Says/She-Says blog musing on the ups and downs of marriage with his wife.
Mr. Buri is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest and has been recognized by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the World’s Top 300 Intellectual Property Strategists every year since 2010. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two-year-old daughter.
Pieces Like Pottery Links
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