So what does the title, Some Kinds of Love: Stories, mean? What’s it from?
Well, this collection of twelve short stories, all published in literary journals from 1992-2010, is dedicated to my wife, Tamara Gebhart Yates, also of Springfield, Missouri, for a lot of reasons. For a major inspirational reason in that she was the one who dared me to write a happy ending, just one ending that didn’t wind up with hopelessness, darkness, or abrupt obscurity. Why in undergraduate school at Missouri State and graduate school at University of Arkansas in the late 1980s, early 1990s were we writing all these stark stories with fatalistic, inconclusive endings? Tammy hated that vogue and dared me point blank to think outside of it. And it ended up, in answer to that dare, that each of these characters I invented found their struggle was with some aspect of love, how love did not work the way they demanded it to or the way venial desires led them to believe it did.
Lots of short story collections use the title of one of the stories as the title of the collection. For example, last year’s Juniper Prize winner, Andrew Malan Milward titled his collection The Agriculture Hall of Fame, which is also the title of one of the stories in the book.
To me none of the story titles in my collection, which won the 2012 Juniper Prize and will be published by University of Massachusetts Press in the coming weeks, none of them captured the essence of what was in the dozen stories, or what the sum whole of the dozen stories meant bound together.
Only a book geek would come up with a dream like this. As I conceived of the title, since again and again love seemed to be what I was writing about, I realized something in Dewey decimal destiny might happen. There is a great short story collection, which all of us in creative writing programs have read and learned from, a classic. Now that University of Massachusetts Press has published this, there exists the distinct Dewey-decimal-system possibility that in some library where fiction is shelved, the spines in a row will read Richard Yates: Eleven Kinds of Loneliness, and then a humble answer, Steve Yates: Some Kinds of Love.
Isn’t that what we do when we write? We love literature and love reading enough to go through all the rejection and late nights and early mornings and unmowed yards and unloved cats and neglected loved ones, go through all that to try and craft an answer back.
Look. As a kid I was left alone for hours and hours on end at the Brentwood Library. It had a pronounced effect on me.