More Fiction

I’m updating this blog with two short excerpts from  my novel, ALWAYS AT THE END WHERE THINGS BEGIN. All is well in snow-capped Davos. 

I.S.

What Sautin eventually confesses even Daria does not know.

MAUSOLEUM

Years after the relationship, the love, the suffering still floats gossamer, an inescapable web, unresolved, a sharp, addictive riddle, impossible to grasp without pricks to the fingers which bring blood. It is beyond mortal understanding.

Long before the meeting on Slawkowska Street, long before the meeting in the medieval-themed restaurant, the seer insisted it was the mother who proposed the reunion. Once the reunion was enacted, euphoria. Time re-shaped itself, as if to commemorate us. Cut loose from Him, I lost all moorings. The separation annihilated my reserves.

When I tell Sautin this, we are in the mausoleum where the body of Ho Chi Minh rests. Stunned, he turns to look at me and wraps his arms tight about me. He holds me close. I feel the rhythms of his body. He inhales deeply and then he exhales deeply. For a moment, I imagine the rushing of his blood through his veins. In my mind’s eye, there it is, a sea gushing crimson. After several moments, he pulls away. Sautin takes my face in his hands, he kisses me.

It is ironic that we should be here, in this place of the dead, this place where the dead surface to haunt the living. We turn our attentions to Ho Chi Minh. His form perfectly preserved, we observe the childlike fingers, the thin moustache, an embalmed body fixed in an eternal slumber amongst countless voyeurs. As for us, He and I, once upon a time I was our embalmer, once upon a time, we were my object of worship.

CONFESSION

What Sautin eventually professes even Daria does not know. It happens the summer of his twenty-first birthday. It happens in the afternoon. He returns home to find his mother slumped over her dressing table, nude. In a deathly act of seduction, he sees the dough white shapes of a woman’s body in a boudoir. Empty pill bottles spill across the dressing table amongst creams, powders, a note to the son beside them. It is her hope the son will discover her. She envisions a desperate act of revival. She envisions his tears of anger. She envisions him perching over her body, summoning her back to life. The son opens the door. He reaches out, places a hand on the still warm flesh of the mother’s neck. Kneeling, he listens to her labored breath. He turns. He walks across the room. He gently closes the bedroom door behind him.

 

 

 

Blue Five Notebook – (November 2014 / 14.21)

Originally posted on Blue Fifth Review: Blue Five Notebook Series:

Blue Five Notebook – (November 2014 / 14.21)

Martyn Ferry, Winter's Afternoon

Martyn Ferry, Winter’s Afternoon

Artist, Martyn Ferry, was born in London but grew up in the peaceful climes of Hertfordshire. After studying art and photography in Cambridge he moved back to London and spent a few years working as a commercial photographer, which put him off photography for a while, until he spent two and a half years travelling throughout Australasia and Asia where he well and truly got the bug again. Since then he has specialized in landscape and nature photography of all kinds, from traditional landscape views to experimental nature images. He lives and works in the the Cotswolds. More at his website, here
 

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Joan Mazza

Terroir

That special something in the taste of wine,
a sense of place, underscent of soil and weather,
more than variety of grape or rainfall. That
matchless geography in a…

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Naked with Strangers

Last night I was at a sauna in Bern. Naked in a steam room amongst strangers, there was a panorama of the river Aare from the window – and yet I didn’t feel I was there. Not in a sauna in Bern, not even in this time. Instead I felt as if I was in the midst of the neolithic period, right around 12,000 BC and in some mountainous European locale. There was something about sitting naked amongst strangers and sweating with them. I couldn’t help but ask myself, when was the last time I sweated profusely in the company of one I scarcely knew? It’s only happened twice. Each time during trips to a sauna.

Saunas. They’re my secret joy. It took me a great deal of time to shake-off my nervous American puritan conventions and get nude and enjoy them. Now I am addicted. They make the long Berlin winters bearable – and when my mind wanders I think rather continuously of where else I might want to go for these secret indulgences. Iceland amongst the volcanoes? Russia? Saunas in cold, foreign lands are now collected amongst my dearest longings.

I’m in Bern with a couple friend who’ve been together for twenty-five years. Cornelia is an anthropologist, Jean-Luc, a painter.* She’s the dominant one in their union. Jean-Luc describes Cornelia as a beast he can’t manage to get away from. And truth be told, she is a bit iron-fisted, while he is soft and yielding. “She’s socially dysfunctional,” he deadpans. But she’s nobody’s fool. I’ve tried it: relationships with beautiful women, simple women: fashion models and manicurists but it never worked out. There was never much to talk about. Cornelia’s a brute but there’s always something interesting she has to say. She keeps me active and creative in an intellectual way. She challenges me. Do you know what I mean?” I nod. I don’t but I indulge him. “She’s impossible but I stay.”

I missed my flight here and pissed everybody off. How did I miss my flight? Something I’ve only previously done once in my life. (I once missed a flight from Montreal to Port-au-Prince. At the time I was living in Vermont and driving up to Canada was cheaper than flying out of Burlington.) Anyway, I missed my flight here in part because a series of things have gone a bit wrong. My grandfather, who was already ill at the time of this last blog, had a serious stroke and now I must to return to the States to see him. My grandparents are in Florida, a place I don’t love, let alone like.

In addition to the above complications, I have a flatmate who has, as of late, become increasingly difficult. All of this combined with the fact that I was up all night before the flight writing thank-you-notes to friends in London for the previous time spent. Thank you notes take a lot of time. Writing by hand takes far more time. Writing by hand takes more thought, concentration and too greater reflection on the time spent with the person to whom you’re writing.

Last night between the steam of the sauna, I took nude dips in the freezing cold river. It was mad but brilliant. The sky was dusky. The sauna employees put lit candles along the walkway that lead to the river’s pier. I walked barefoot across the cold wooden planks and stepped into the river’s icy waters. As I did I had this sense that everything was somehow right in my world. Despite my grandfather’s illness, he’s had a long and full life. He has a warm and expansive family. And he is well-loved. Despite my occasional frustrations with my flatmate, I understand her. She’s frustrated because she wants to be a writer but has no idea what to say or how to say it. She’s blocked. I’m sympathetic of her but also very grateful for my own creative life condition which allows me to write quite freely without too much concern. I’m rarely stuck for ideas. The ideas may not always work but I have them.

I’m grateful for thank-you-notes and re-booked flights. I’m grateful for the flat in Hamburg. I had a meeting with Petra, the woman who lives there now. The owner will decide between myself and one other person, a woman who works in television whose work life (and monetary life) is no doubt far more stable than my own. In this respect, she has a distinct advantage over me. But I hope to have some more consulting work, some funding for a creative project. At the moment, I’m exercising patience. The flat won’t be available until later than anticipated but Petra and Eva have each highly recommended me. Eva rented the place for 18 years and Petra has rented it for nearly 10. I am hopeful.

Cornelia and Jean-Luc and I are now on our way to Davos.

I.S.

Not their real names. I almost never divulge the identities of friends and associates without their permission. In the descriptions I write, the majority of the characters are carefully disguised – like in an artful roman a clef.

Swiss Writing Retreat

I’m writing from a small cabin in the Swiss Alps. In the midst of a snowy valley with a small group of writer friends, I only have limited internet access. This is just one of the reasons I’ve been offline. I have, however, been writing blogs by hand which I will post once I’m back in Germany. This is just a very small update due to technical difficulties. Since I can’t say much, I’ll post a picture. The above was taken at a cafe in Zurich.

I.S.image

The Glass House, a Memoir

http://www.chaffey.edu/collegebook/images/JeannetteWalls.jpg

Jeannette Walls, author of ‘The Glass House’

It’s Saturday. I’m sitting in a Starbucks. Why? Because it has the closest available internet connection to my flat. My own wi-fi access has been down for the past week. The problem should be resolved soon. As for Starbucks, I’ve just done something for the first time in years: ordered a cafe latte with soy milk. I also asked for sahna, whipped cream. The guy behind the counter gave me a confused look but I just shrugged my shoulders and smiled. I’ve n­ot run since London. I’ll begin again on Monday. In the meantime, I’m drafting a new query letter to a New York City literary agent and contemplating drafting a few short stories. They will no doubt be focused on my family. Today I’m posting a book trailer for Jeannette Walls’ memoir ‘THE GLASS HOUSE.’ It was released more than ten years ago. Regular readers of this blog may think I’ve abandoned it. I haven’t. But I am winding down from my recent trip to London and gearing up for two more trips. The first to Davos, and then I’m off to the States for time spent with my grandparents.

I.S.

 

One is the Magic Number (There’s Just Me)

LYRICS

No hay nadie mas que yo, uno es el numero magico
En vida y en muerte, uno es todo comprende

If I multiply 2 times 2 is it really, really 4 me
And if I add 5 to get 9 minus 8 that just leaves me
So many times I define my pride through somebody else’s eyes
Then I looked inside and found my own stride, I found the lasting love for me

If I am searching for my spirituality passionately
I must begin with me

There’s just me, one is the magic number
There’s just me, one is the magic number

If I add myself unto myself multiplied times
You and yours and you again, there’s just me
And if I divide 8 billion, 48 trillion, 98 zillion
There is, there is just me

If I subtract one plus me to the 5th degree, use any theorem
There’s just me

There’s just me, one is the magic number
There’s just me, one is the magic number

Me, me, me
Me, me, me
Me, me, me

 

 

I Am in the Air Right Now

I’m back in Berlin after two glorious weeks in London. Spent my time on the outskirts of the city in a leafy green suburb guilt-free, eating sticky toffee puddings in pubs and reading Murakami novels. Despite my love of the time spent, I missed Germany. During my sabbatical, I thought more about my Hamburg relocation which I still intend to enact after the first of the year.

While in London, I was most productive. I re-edited my novel with a focus solely on Sautin. He’s mentioned a total of 110 times in the book. I met up with some film contacts. I went to a Buddhist cultural center and spent time at a couple of lovely inns in the English countryside.

I’ll be blogging more later in the week. All is well.

Above is a book trailer I discovered ages ago which I fell in love with entitled: “I am in the Air Right Now”.

I.S.

 

 

Blue Five Notebook – (October 2014 / 14.19)

Originally posted on Blue Fifth Review: Blue Five Notebook Series:

Blue Five Notebook – (October 2014 / 14.19)

Crows in the Woods
Artist, Robin Grotke, is an artist and photographer living in southeastern North Carolina. Her inspiration is drawn from nature, people and cultures, emotions and humor, new life and decay, present moments and distant memories. Grotke’s work focuses on the sensation of “being there,” taking the viewer to the location of the photograph so that he/she feels as she did when the image was taken. Of the art included in this month’s issue, Grotke tells us: “‘Crows in the Woods'” is a combination of a scanned drawing (duplicated), layered over a picture I took at Fort Fisher, NC.”
 

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Ann Yu Huang

Harmonica

For there are warm words in each doorstep;
There is syrup of bread that feeds on the seasons,
Those ever tucked-in tuberoses; the ground
We dig into until the green pastures change;
A torch with few fireflies to extinguish
My…

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