American Ashes: By Keith Wagner

I edited and wrote the introduction to a book called American Ashes. Here’s the introduction I wrote and a link to the book:

American Ashes is a collection of short stories written by a bastard named Keith Wagner who will probably be dead by the time you read this. He hasn’t been diagnosed with cancer or anything like that, but he’s addicted to half the poisons humans can get addicted to, and his life is a train wreck… and it’s going to stay a train wreck, not because he can’t see what he’s doing to himself, but because he’s consciously driving his life over a cliff. I’m not saying this to try to shock you or sucker you for sympathy. I just believe it’s important for the reader to understand where these stories are coming from and where they’re going. It also explains why you can expect his stories to read like Charles Bukowski meets Hunter S. Thompson.

While Keith won’t apologize for his degeneracy and accepts full responsibility for it, I feel some credit is due to his environment. Keith Wagner is a one of a kind individual who could have only come from America, but Keith’s life wasn’t apple pie. America didn’t treat Keith like family. America burnt Keith pretty bad, but on the upside, he burned bright for a moment. If anyone enjoys “American Ashes” at all, at least that much good will have come from Keith’s savage existence. On the other hand, if his work truly disgusts you then you should be at least a little disgusted in America for playing any role in creating the likes of him.

On a technical note, you should also know that the first ten stories are all stand-alone stories. The last ten take place in the same narrative universe, revolving around the semi-fictional freelance journalist, Nick Fit. Most of the Nick Fit stories were originally posted on the indie humor blog, Hey Stupid ( And no, Keith doesn’t write for Hey Stupid anymore since he quit to pursue a career in intoxication. Keith co-authored “The Lump” with E.J. Croyle.

Keith also has an aesthetically displeasing blog that he’ll probably never post anything else to. It’s called Wisdom From a Bar Stool (

Travis Haan 

2 responses to “American Ashes: By Keith Wagner

  • arihanta

    Personally, I’d say that there is another way to retaliate against the fucked-up-ness of America and its people. Their moral hypocrisy, their willingness to not treat another American as family, their willingness to piss and shit and someone and call it rain, and still call their nation a holy nation built on good values. But he is entitled to his choices, however much how another would think of it.


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