Thursday, July 16, 2009


Please...I'm warning you. Don't read my 2005 novel – Séance in B Minor. I wrote it, for the most part, in something like a hypnagogic trance, and I might very well have crossed the line into questionable spiritual territory. Shelling out $16 could turn out to be a Faustian bargain for you, causing irreparable psychological harm.

One chapter contains a dissertation, of all things! Who in their right mind would subject themselves to such a thing? Especially as conjured up by someone – me – who never even went to college? And especially given by a character who, during the presentation, hears voices? Who soldiers ahead, even in the face of an academic panel's arrogant, preening incomprehension?

Who would sit still for my ex machina device: a piece of non-existent technology for blending the brain-waves of two sleeping dreamers? Surely such a thing and its description would be too facile for a proper suspension of disbelief.

And of all things! Several times in the book, I try to turn pieces of music into words. Music is music; prose is prose. Attempts at transmuting them must, of course, be an unholy alchemy. Here, see for yourself why it's best that you DON'T READ MY BOOK:

Allison unlocked her hotel room, entering its quiet ambience. She slipped off her shoes and sat down at the table, propping her feet on the bed. Remembering the unlistened-to-CD of Chopin's Preludes, she inserted the disc and adjusted her headphones.

These short pieces were preluding, foreshadowing no larger musical structure. Each one led nowhere, except to the next prelude. They were self-contained reflections by an inward-looking artist. But Allison discerned a continuum as each piece added its own texture to a poetic whole. This whole was an augury, an anticipation of death.

Some of these pieces were the casual renderings of evanescent moods. Others exuded happiness. But even those melodic paths were strewn with the withering blooms of melancholy – an understated sadness spoiling human joy. Still others plunged into darker places and expressed, with reined-in hysteria, that taboo thing of the psyche: Death. It is where everyone is headed, and Chopin was giving Allison a guided tour of the terrain. Every word, every action, every human breath is laden with the autumn chill of our ending. This music, this sometimes acquiescent, sometimes feverish music was acknowledging death's paradoxical enhancement of life. Before the horizon of mortality, every moment adds a new layer of poignant meaning.

Eventually, she emerged from that world of aural poetry. A conversion had occurred. She had crossed the threshold from one state of consciousness into another. This new dimension contained a fulgent, yet disturbing art. more thing. My novel was rejected by major and minor publishers. I had to put it out myself. That must mean it's not any good. Right?

1 comment:

  1. By the time I read your novel, I had already traipsed further down paths odder than Allison's.

    Your novel contains many prose poems, and could be likened to a series of musical preludes.