Cary Smith, the nom de plume of Greg Hawkins, lives in San Jose, CA. He became interested in books and writing because of a teacher. His favorite book is "Hocus Pocus," by Kurt Vonnegut or “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He is currently either going to finish his collection of short stories next or turn one of his short stories into a novel, which would be a new take on the ghost genre.
His latest book is Four Corners, Or a Book That Will Tickle Your Intellectual Nipple.
About the Book:
High school. Those two words, for some, instill fear and loathing and vivid memories of sadistic teachers, bullies, and bad lunches. For some happy few, however, high school remains a misty paradise, where a student's buddingdreams and aspirations were nurtured by brilliant, sympathetic teachers, guidance counselors and peers.
Cary Smith, the nom de plume of Greg Hawkins, clearly falls into the first group, as he describes in his hilarious new book, FOUR CORNERS, OR A BOOK THAT WILL TICKLE YOUR INTELLECTUAL NIPPLE. With a keen sense of the absurd, Smith thrusts his satirical sword straight at the jugular vein of all things pretentious and pedantic that haunt the halls of the educational world. Nothing is spared as Smith takes on the institution of secondary education. Readers will wince in recognition at the cast of characters Smith has created – the brains, jocks, bullies, cliques, incompetent teachers and pompous administrators – who all take a good drubbing from the flat side of Smith's sword.
“I don't know why I thought that when middle school was over that high school would be a brand new place, a fresh start,” Smith writes. “Maybe it was because all my teachers in middle school were implanting their lectures about how in high school the teachers wouldn't let you get away with this and that and that it would be a very different place. Well, as usual, the teachers of the system lied to me ...”
For good measure, Smith creates another archetypal character – Brad Cruise, a symbol of the pseudo-intellectual critics and pedagogues who inhabit academia. If you spotted Cruise's name as a mash-up of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, that's what the author intended.
Hawkins also points out that, while Cary Smith is the “satirical narrator” of FOUR CORNERS, “what we come to find out is that not only does he have a humorous side, he has a serious side, and he does, in fact, care, despite what he may say.”
Although much of Smith's writing is clearly based in personal experience, Hawkins says the book is satirical fiction. The book's style is steeped in hyperbolic language and literary hi-jinx that hark back to the 18th-century comic classic TRISTRAM SHANDY.
“I wrote FOUR CORNERS to entertain people,” Hawkins says, “not only to help people get through the turbulent time that is high school in America, but to make people feel OK about the time they spent during those years.” He adds: “There is no one, to my knowledge, writing with this type of narrator, about this subject matter, in such a style and manner, and writing humorously. It is very hard to find a good book with a blend of the serious and comedic.”
My insurrection against the educational system of America failed, and all I wanted was some compensation for my age group, not a complete destructive revolution where the people of the new end up being exactly like the people of the old. It was an insurrection of which I was able to gain no followers, fellow leaders (I wasn’t offering that really), and pretty much no momentum whatsoever. I’m not to blame for that, and I don’t care what my ghostwriter thinks or tells me otherwise. The ghost just takes one thing from my life, a little moment, one sexual mistake which involved a hairy nipple, a mistake of which I really wish I could ask my ghost writer, “Could we never, ever bring this up again?” This one mistake supposedly ruined my whole insurrection. It ruined me, my ideals, my plan, my thoughts, just as they (ideals, plan, thoughts) and I were about to collide, but I don’t believe that. I believe my only mistake was in hiring this ghostwriter who now has an obsession with my hairy nipple incident that I told him about.
I had a justifiable insurrection going on before I fled the idea all together, and my insurrection inspiration got its starting blocks early in my life. Ever since I could remember in my educational career, either right when I got to the school, or was just about to leave and go to another school, construction was started on the school to improve it. Construction that would be completed right when I left or a year after. It was like “they” were shoving it in my face, saying, “Na-na-na-na, this school is going to be nice, clean and new, but just not while you’re here.” It had been that way for my age group since elementary school, and continued into middle school, high school, and even some in college. It was as if I were in some guinea pig age bracket, the last group to be fashioned in the environment of the old schools, and as soon as my friends (my age group) and I left, “they” could start fashioning the new modern ages, in the new modern schools.
Who “they” is? I’ve got no idea, and I think that was a big problem in losing credibility in my insurrection.
I don’t know what “they” expected to happen, other than an insurrection. Just leaving my age group out there like a floating fart in the wind. Making us the new Lost Generation (or Lost Generation Redux), with a fart in the wind war that didn’t seem like it was going to end, even in twenty-ten.