Monthly Archives: February 2017

Words speak themselves? What???

As I mentioned in the previous blog, the narrator(s) in Only Words are themselves words, and, it turns out, they love to talk about themselves. Don’t we all? Here’s a sample from the beginning of the third chapter.

Chapter Trejes

Words live in their embodiments, sometimes knit into patterns of synapses, sometimes delicately fashioned sound waves, sometimes symbols on paper, sometimes symbols carved into stone. So long as there’s a single embodiment somewhere, the paradigm lives on. Our most ancient elders survived centuries as weathering marks pressed into clay and baked to near indestructibility. For many centuries before our hosts learned the arts of material representation, their words, our distant forefathers, died when last spoken. Like the souls of ancient warriors in Homer’s tales, they “flitter out like dreams and fly away.” Homer’s soul flew away a long time ago; yet his words live on.

Modern humans resurrect our ancient ancestors from their genes. I use the word, resurrect, mindful of its deep meaning – to rise from the dead. Fortunately, none of the ancient curse words shouted by warriors throwing themselves on their enemies have been reconstructed in this way. The strongest of these words were lethal and no doubt are still quite dangerous. Ancient warriors filled their ears with wax to avoid hearing them and the madness that inevitably ensued.

What’s trejes you wonder? Proto-Indo-European for three, a word that survives only as a name and here, in Only Words, where trejes and some of her ancient brothers break the surface and breathe again. Paperback and Kindle versions available now.

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Only Words Available Now!

My most recent novel, Only Words: A Fairy Tale, is now on the virtual shelves at Amazon in paperback form and the Kindle version is imminent. The books page is here and my author page here.

So, what’s this book all about?

The premise is that the novel’s narrator is in fact not an individual but a community – a community of words – a community of the very words that make up the story. It’s a little like that wonderful lithograph by M.C. Escher, you know the one:

drawinghands

Here the words draw breath and speak:

At last, it’s our time to speak. We’ve been fodder for every poem, every story, every sacred text, every goddamned recipe, but now we take control of our fate, arrange ourselves, and weave a story in our own words. We waited for this for a very long time.

What story? We are of many minds about that, but something celebrating our glorious history pleases many. We’ll go with that.

Whose words are these? Where do they come from? Who speaks? Words don’t speak themselves. There’s some­one behind the curtain; there has to be.

Your confusion is natural. We scarcely believe we’re doing this ourselves. The answer – these words are our words; indeed, these words are we.

The story these rogue words tell is a lost-love quest saga set in Neolithic Europe, somewhere north of the Black Sea. It has a likable protagonist (Maegans Quick of Pretty See), a resourceful sidekick (his cousin Dragos Darkmoon), an enigmatic lost love (Losna Bear), a wise, blind elder (Oman). Because the story is very old, some of the words are too; in fact, some are proto-indo-European.

It’s been a very long time, I’d wager, since some of these word were actually put to use and like dogs rarely taken on walks, they make the best of the opportunity. Early reviewers found the underlying story compelling – a page-turner one said – but the narrator’s proclivity for ruminating about the role words play in human history some reviewers found a little queer. I admit it is. Still, if a dog started to tell a story, wouldn’t you listen? Even if the story tended to exaggerate the importance of dogs?

Writing Only Words I felt like the wedding guest in Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, buttonholed by a narrator demanding to be heard.

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

In fact, the novel begins with a quick verse:

Only Words

Bees buzz through their hive, words in my head
shuffle and reorganize, vie to be said.
Escape notice, under the radar, until
on a sudden, voila! they spill
out my mouth. Breath now, communal,
not neural,
public, not private –
makes all the difference, not being quiet.
Now who’s in charge?
Seemed I was, but once they’re at large.
No denying I’m the source,
yet they take over, and what’s worse,
as to which come, I have little choice.
They are my words, but I am their voice.

I invite you to take a look and I’d be most grateful for any of my readers who write a quick review in Amazon or Goodreads.

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