‘Teenage Princess’ author to appear at Watermark

07/20/2012 5:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:11 AM

Wonder Woman is not usually mentioned in the same breath as a caveman or a tiny Kelly green plastic soldier, but in Luke Geddes’ freshly published book, “I Am a Magical Teenage Princess,” comic book characters are juxtaposed with astronauts, 50-year-old toys and 21st-century culture.

On Monday at Watermark Books and Cafe, Geddes will entertain, read from and maybe explain some of the short stories from his newly published work.

Wichita is befitting for Geddes’ book release party. Chomu Press published the book July 18. Most of the more than one dozen short stories in the book were written in the Air Capital.

“I got very interested in the antique mall scene in Wichita,” Geddes said. “You get the urge to accumulate things that have been discarded.”

Like the vintage Archie comics and monster figurines he purchased at the stores, Geddes holds on to his memories of Wichita.

“As I grow older, I identify more and more with the Midwest,” said Geddes, who recently finished a Master of Fine Arts at Wichita State University and is working toward his Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati. Although he grew up in Wisconsin, Geddes avoided setting all the stories in the Midwest.

“The stories are a combination of innocence and adult smut,” Geddes said. “The book has a lot to do with nostalgia. It’s like looking at all sides of nostalgia — including the unhealthy side.”

The humorous short stories also focus on pieces of pop culture and people that were overlooked.

“You appreciate the wit in it,” said Darren DeFrain, English department chairman at WSU. “What sets Luke’s work apart is how deep it goes. Typically his work is philosophically nuanced.”

DeFrain said that the stories were smartly written, exciting and original.

“He’s a good storyteller,” DeFrain said.

In one story, Geddes delves into the mind of an educational-hygiene-film actor and discusses the social structures of her celluloid world — with humor.

Geddes said his book examines finding comfort in the past — as well as the past that never existed.

“It’s literary but humorous; it’s not overly dark,” he said.

“I Am a Magical Teenage Princess” also delves into many of the characters’ psychological profiles and their inner relationships.

“It’s funny, but when you take it apart, you realize how well-constructed the language in it is,” said DeFrain, author of “The Salt Palace.” “The stories are very rich in popular culture, yet they’re just so smartly done. It’s rare to be able to do.”

DeFrain said Geddes is a talented writer.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what we are going to see from Luke Geddes,” DeFrain said. “He’s off to a really big career.”

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