Tony Rauch speaks to the soul with new book

Molly Maugeri, Staff Reporter

Tony Rauch, a writer and architectural and urban designer, published his fourth book titled, “what if i got down on my knees?,” a collection of short stories depicting the wonderment of adolescence, young adulthood and the sad truths we all fear learning as we grow up.

Rauch’s collection could be classified under contemporary literature with experimental elements in form and structure. Some of his stories end abruptly, do not have capital letters or have bizarre and unusual subject matter. Most of the stories are about the encounters, uncertainties and observations of kids and young adults growing up in small towns. In an interview with Rauch, the author describes the suburb in which he grew up and the field behind his house as a source of inspiration for his creative thought process.

“Maybe I’m still trying to answer that riddle: what could be in those miniature forests, behind those rolling grassy hills,” Rauch said.

Like every good writer, Rauch draws inspiration from all facets of the world around him: images he might pass by or a piece of artwork that catches his eye.

“Most stories just pop into my head. Usually I’ll get an interesting last line, then try to work backwards,” Rauch said. “Sometimes an interesting line or scene will occur to me, […] I’ll think of an image and try to build a story around that, or several interesting images, like a collage.” 

what if i got down on my knees cover

The characters, settings and situations vary from story to story, but Rauch contested that most of them have grounds in his natural world and in his past. Some of the stories are imagined scenarios of the multiple lives his estranged father led outside of his own nuclear family, while other, light-hearted pieces like “In the Dust” (his favorite story in the collection) were strictly embellished dreams or real-life occurrences.

“Part of that [In the Dust] came from running with my dog, thinking it would be funny if I had, like, fifty dogs with me,” Rauch said.

Rauch seemed to have also gained a new perspective on the world around him and the way people think and feel. His stories dig at deep-rooted emotions that humans are sometimes too afraid to acknowledge wholeheartedly.

The author defined the place where he writes from and the truths he learned about coping and maturing and the nuances in these psychological processes between people. 

“That became an interesting vibe to me: people not realizing they are feeling something,” Rauch said. “Or people going through challenging changes, but then trying to see the opportunities in them. So a struggle for progression.” 

Rauch’s stories are easily relatable to the adults who want to relive their wilder nights, the kids who never truly grew up and to the aspiring college students today who always thrive for the late-night adventure or are struggling with figuring out what they want to do and who they want to be.

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