June 9th, 2016
So I have something for you. I’m holding it out to you like a kid holds out a painted clay lump: This is for you, this novel, Midnight Bowling.
One night almost twenty years ago, a friend of a friend was telling me about his teenage years in his small hometown that has since been swallowed up by a sprawling southern city.
Friday nights at the local lanes it was midnight bowling — house lights down, music up, disco ball throwing stars. Jukebox, popcorn, beer. He snuck joints in the bathroom, beer from car trunks.
Stoned, dreaming between rolls, he looked at the spinning lights and pretended he was someplace else. Did that again and again. And then figured out that he had to leave.
And when he talked how he’d wanted to leave, well, somehow I felt a connection with him, this person I barely knew. Who hasn’t wanted to leave?
His story got in my head and heart. And so arrived Tess Wycheski, a teenage star bowler from Sandusky, Ohio, coming of age in the seventies. And the boy she loves. And her father Joe, who wants her to love the art of the sport. And her father’s former coach Leo Florida, who has a plan to make Tess a pro — and a secret that involves them all.
All the best stories are love stories. I really don’t care to argue about it. Here’s mine.
Quinn Dalton is the author of a novel, High Strung, and two story collections, Bulletproof Girl and Stories from the Afterlife. Midnight Bowling, a novel forthcoming from Carolina Wren Press on March 1, 2016.