Monday, October 7, 2013

Stories Told in Variegated Inks and Lurid Dyes

My new e-book is now available on smashwords as a FREE download. It contains three of my short stories:

"The Plumbline" chronicles the effects of a heat wave and an accidentally awakened Kundalini. As the temperature rises, an exhausted physics and geometry lose their hold on the city, and a chance combination of spoken words awakens a range of visions which include the vengeful ghost of S. Klein-on-the-Square roaming through a spectral Union Square Park, and the combined prayers of every soul in the square become audible and raise themselves into a great petition, as the narrator tries desperately to hold on to this rare and beatific vision as it begins to slip away from him.

"The Floods" describes a strange and unnatural tide that has risen up overnight to the very ledge of the narrator's bedroom window and seduces him out into a cove of preternatural stillness and great beauty, as he finds himself exploring the landscapes of his childhood—but seen through a lense of regret and missed opportunities.

"The Reprieve" is the story of a merciful act: a rare and beautiful creature's life is spared by the narrator, who then reveals his inner thoughts and his seemingly altruistic act is shown to be the result of mere chance and arbitrariness, as he explores his own motivations, weaknesses and character failings.


  1. Excellent, I enjoyed each in a different way. The Plumbline for its masterly telling and a sort of roseate glow which right from the start transcends the untoward states of physique and consciousness described and somehow adumbrates the apotheosis. Sorry for the long words. Simple language might take longer to write.

    The Reprieve for the simplicity of events and narrative. The determinism v. freewill question captured in an exquisite tale of not killing a fly. I almost feel that I should have prefaced that with *spoiler alert*.

    And as for The Floods, the description is so rich and multi-layered - hallucination, memory, dream, but anyway finely-detailed and vivid - that I find myself going back to read it again. Partly I confess it's because I'm looking for a plot, or at any rate a denouement. The Reprieve though short, and even fragmentary at the end, provides a satisfaction: innocent life is spared. The Plumbline provides a triumph per ardua ad alta, one might say, until the beatific vision slides away - one feels it can return whenever it wants.

    But The Flood lacks this shape. The catharsis is not complete. I sense that the story is not complete, though it has promise. It lacks some editing, though it's admirably clear, vivid and eloquent. A ridiculous analogy occurred to me that it was like a dish rich in flavours but lacking a staple ingredient: so that you read it and get stuffed with images and ideas, but find yourself still hungry. Perhaps it's because the story ends abruptly.

    I had the same kind of hot-water treatments as a child when tetanus threatened - fainted once from near-boiling water to draw out the pus from a whitlow. Lockjaw from soil-contaminated injuries. Ptomaine poisoning was also talked about.

    Thank you for the generosity of offering these free to the world.

    1. Thanks, Vincent—you sent me to the dictionary more than once with your comment! The points you make about "The Floods" are valid. I suppose I intended it as a kind of dream-travelogue that is loosely tied together by the succession of various bodies of water: small puddles, ponds, coves, and lastly, the soaking basin.