Cameron Yow is a 1968 graduate of Wake Forest University.
When he was a younger man, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. described his critique of Vonnegut’s as then published work as "a work of art."
His flash fiction “Dawn, Again” appeared in the Vestal Review in February, 2014. His misanthropic parody “The Workplace” appeared in the December, 2014 issue of Maudlin House. His humor essay “Class Reunion Rules” was named a semi-finalist by the Mark Twain House and Museum. Cameron’s short story “Twenty Second Intervals” has appeared in Epifiction as a model of creative writing for high school students.
To honor his fiancèe who passed away unexpectedly in December, 2014, he wrote Just One More Day, A Memoir Of A Life Interrupted, A Love Unrequited.
Cameron can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Against All Odds* - The Indomitable Spirit of Wake Forest
by Cameron Yow
Too few know Wake Forest was the first major college in what had been the Confederate States of America to integrate college football. Within Against All Odds -The Indomitable Spirit of Wake Forest, you will learn the full story - the tribulations and the triumphs, the courage that drives Wake Forest to lead, to upset the "experts" year after year, sport after sport.
Cameron Yow's tag cloud
Smashwords book reviews by Cameron Yow
Down In Andong
on July 08, 2014
First, the disclaimers:
I know the author. Critiquing his heartfelt expressions is challenging, an exercise in valor over discretion.
I’ve never written a memoir, so what do I know to presume to judge how someone else tells his life story? What little I know of writing I’ve largely assimilated on my own. Minimal formal training – just a lot of reading. What little I know of interpersonal relations, I largely picked up from tv, where those oh so simple black and white resolutions proved woefully inadequate as foils to the full color, high definition complexities of real life where things rarely turned out happily ever after. By contrast, Steve never hid behind a tv screen. That’s the story of his life: Though flayed and scarred, he played through, keeping his skin in the game.
While Steve’s story can be read in a single sitting, it is not an Evelyn Woods read. Like a life, it’s meant to be savored, assimilated, sorted, agonized.
Now, my review:
Steve describes his memoir as “my book about Korea.” Well - Korea is the setting. Bitterly conflicted, arbitrarily divided, tenuously united – precarious peace at the edge of imminent conflict - the Korean landscape does provide the perfect setting for Steve’s story, underscoring like a mirror the conflicts he encounters as an expatriated expatriate seeking refuge in a country as conflicted as he.
Narrative, the cover story, may attract you to open the book, to turn the first page, but it’s the story beneath the story, especially when it’s so well entangled in the pretextual tale that stays with you forever. So it is with Steve Lehman’s Down in Andora.
Symmetry is what holds a story together, ensures it makes perfect sense. Imagine the converse, an assymetrical plot line in which circumstances and events beyond the protagonist’s control continuously, relentlessly pull him/her this way, then that, a purpose driven life all akimbo. The search, his search for symmetry is Steve’s narrative: a talented baseball player who has to give up the game, an American whose country betrays his values, a Canadian whose adopted home is unwelcoming, a husband who loses his best friend when his wife turns away, a father forever bonded to but separated from his daughter.
So our protagonist escapes to Korea searching to renew himself watching The World Series in a bar, modeling his perfect batting swing for a friend in a Korean batting cage, finding rejection in different, predictable, universal (even where culturally distinctive) forms: an insolent, indifferent landlord, a rebellious adolescent challenging a displaced English Literature professor to find the creative way to manage his behavior.
Narrative, the cover story, is the distraction, a caul to conceal, a mask often designed to be as impenetrable as the most obscure metaphor. (And in that very way parallels the lives we lead, the lies we tell ourselves even before we share them with others.)
Writers are encouraged to sum their stories, however epic, into single sentences. The following two images captures what Steve finds most memorable about his life: (1) The first time his radiant, infant daughter Wendy wrapping her fingers around his extended finger just as he might have wrapped his own hands around the handle of a bat. (2) The moment his adult daughter Wendy extended her hand to, once again, hold her father’s.
I once wrote that Kurt Vonnegut invented Trafalmadore so the kids would always have someplace to return to find love lost. For Steve Lehman, it’s Korea.
When symmetry and subtext converge, you find Down in Andora. When you read Steve Lehman’s story of his life, you find a magnum opus.