The characters repurposed from an abandoned first novel, The Book was written over the course of four years. It is the story of a Mexican-American librarian who has trouble connecting to the real world, an underground network of buskers who pass books of lore from generation to generation, an army of information-hungry assassins on the payroll of the Vatican and one imaginary dwarf who knows a lot more than he's letting on. The Book: A Novel is a magical, sprawling, literary adventure novel in the tradition of Haruki Murakami and Thomas Pynchon. I am in the process of finding an agent and publisher.
I have a degree in literature and writing from the New School University, where I studied under Douglas A. Martin, author of Branwell: A Novel of the Brontë Brother. I am currently the co-editor of the literary blogazine Wet Asphalt.
It was like I produced it by some kind of biological function. That's what haunts me. The story itself only remains in my mind in the faintest possible terms -- something about unrequited love; there's a girl who's impossibly out of grasp. I remember the tone was informal, like it could've been told over a camp fire somewhere, the face of the teller up-lit in red and yellow. Nothing else stuck.
When I was still prepubescent, my parents responded to my youthful acting out by bringing in the "doctor" from down the road. Bent, liver-spotted with whole forests of nose-hairs and a necklace stringed with bits of bone and feathers -- I think he was half-Indian or something -- he was the only one they trusted. The only one who was part of their congregation. Perhaps if I had been taken to a psychiatric professional I would have been given drugs; tempered by the methods of Dr. Spock. Instead the "doctor" was convinced that the reason I was always talking to myself and not paying attention in school and so forth was an imbalance of energy in my pineal gland, and he hooked me up to an EEG machine. Cold, metal, gel-covered electrodes were pressed hard into my head, feeding into a little box on the coffee table. The "doctor" sat on my parents' green and yellow couch scrutinizing as the box went scritcha scritcha scritcha;paper spilled out of it and piled onto the floor and I remember the moment when his deep-set eyes bugged out and his back straightened up. He sat there for a long time, going over it. Eventually, he ripped the paper from the machine and brought it into the kitchen where my parents were sitting, smoking. There was shouting then.
The "doctor" came back. As he took off the electrodes he had this spooked white expression, looking at me and not responding to my questions about what was going on. He packed up his machine and left, and my parents came in and said I wouldn't be seeing him again. They turned on the television, told me to keep myself busy and went up to their bedroom. And then more shouting.
As soon as I heard their door close, I got up and crept into the kitchen where I found the rolls of gridded, greenish paper on the table. I pulled myself onto a chair and took it in my hands. Written on the paper -- and I'm aware this doesn't make sense, but I'm not liable for the coherence of memory -- were words, and the words were a story of unrequited love.
I read it through there, and when I was done I left it where I found it. I wish I hadn't. I wish I'd secreted it away somewhere, because the next day the story was gone and now I have only the vague but palpable impression it left behind. I went through the trash looking for it when my parents were in the other room, but only found some old food and beer bottles. How was a device equipped with merely a needle that goes up and down able to write English letters? Where did the story come from? I don't know. Maybe it was never there at all. Maybe I dreamed the whole thing. I'd ask my parents but they died two weeks later.