Daniel (Shark) Sharkovitz taught English and literature at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School for 38 years. He retired two years ago, and then became a student of writing himself. While rumbling around in his retirement he received a call from Cynthia Riggs, who curates writing groups out of her home in West Tisbury.

Would he like to join one, she asked. Shark jumped at the chance and now, just 18 months later, he has produced a book of short stories called A World of Good.

The stories are quite short, some only a page, the longest one four pages. Call them prose poems, short fiction, meditations — the label doesn’t matter. What matters is that each one carries the full freight of human feeling, from lightness to darkness, whimsy to contemplation. The depth of feeling runs deep and so does the craft. In the story Finally There, he writes:

“I could just push through like Katy and the Big Snow, the book I had read almost every night to my son, who by age six had been opened three times by Dr. Lang who always found something that needed to be done in a heart that never would be made right.”

Shark said he had always wanted to write but never had the time. “You teach something you love but I never took as much time as I should have to write what I love. There was always reading, teaching and grading papers,” he said.

One of the pleasures of writing he has discovered is not knowing where the story will take him but embracing the twists and turns of the mind.

“I’m surprised every time I sit down at the computer. I have my coffee and breakfast, the cat jumps up onto my lap and there will be a sentence staring at me from the previous session. And I was stuck but now suddenly it moves. I have never been able to predict where it’s going.”

This does not mean there is no purpose or philosophy to what he puts down on the page

“The world we live in is kind of sketchy. It’s hard to define it,” he said. “I like to write stories that capture that fuzziness of the reality in which we live. Virginia Wolf said she loved to explore the inner workings of human consciousness. I feel the same way. It’s

what I enjoy.”

Shark gets his inspiration from daily life and the myriad writers he introduced to students throughout his career. Before moving to the Island he taught inmates at a house of correction, led a poetry workshop for years at the Stone Soup Gallery in Boston, and then saw an advertisement for an English teacher position on the Vineyard. And in all those years of reading and teaching he can point to one writer and even one particular work from that writer that he would teach above all others: Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Raymond Carver and Samuel Becket are also inspirations. Becket’s work, in particular, gave him permission to explore the art of writing short.

“When I started writing, my stories were longer, but the energy I wanted the stories to have, little moments in time, it was difficult for these to exist in longer pages,” he said.

Indeed, there is energy and life in not just every story but every sentence, often traversing the fine line of humor and tragedy as the narrative flows to unexpected places like in this opening to Mona and Dave and Me: “It isn’t every day some doctor says you got cancer, lounge cancer. So I says damn, lounge cancer. What’s lounge cancer? Lung, he says. Lung, in here, he says, slapping his suit like he was trying to fly or something.”

Daniel Sharkovitz will do a book talk at the West Tisbury Library on Nov. 20, at 4:30 p.m. A World of Good is available at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore and Edgartown Books.