The Next Big Thing
The Next Big Thing.
The wonderful Karen An-Hwei Lee (author of Phyla of Joy, Ardor, and In Medias Res) and Joshua Young, (author of When the Wolves Quit, To the Chapel of Light and co-author of The Diagesis) tagged me for The Next Big Thing interview series. Thanks so much, Karen and Joshua! Here are responses regarding my fifth book of poetry/prose that is currently in progress.
What is your working title of your book?
The working title is In the Curl of the Labyrinth, and it will most certainly change. It might just get shortened to Labyrinth, though I don't want people to confuse it with the Borges book.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I attended a reading during the Slash Pine Poetry Festival in Tuscaloosa, AL, and I heard the work of David Welch. I really liked the spare, parable-like quality of the pieces he read, so I sought to do something similar.
What genre does your book fall under?
Currently, the book is a sequence of inter-related prose poems. You could classify the book as a novella, too, though there's not really a clear narrative trajectory. At the moment, it's a strange catalogue of sensations in the dark.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Lou Diamond Phillips--Minotaur
Lou Diamond Phillips--Voiceover Narrator
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
As a spool of thread slowly unwinds, a boy, lost in a labyrinth, senses what dwells within.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Upon completion, I intend to query various publishers. I currently have an editor who is supportive of me and of future projects, so I will show her the manuscript, but she has also given me the blessing to send my work elsewhere as budgets get decided and catalogs get reviewed.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It hasn't taken that long. I started writing pieces for the manuscript in April of 2011, and I've continued to write parts for the manuscript at the start of the 2013 year, so drafting the book has taken me a little less than two years. The time kind of flew by because writing these little ditties has been fun.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'd compare the work to the first book, Names Above Houses, because it follows a similar allegorical tone, though the tone of this newer work is much darker. I'd also say it's comparable to other poetry books that take on revising mythologies.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Recently, my son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, and I've been reading a lot of literature that explains or attempts to explain what the world is like to someone on the Autistic Spectrum. Part of the symptoms of Asperger's is a thing called Sensory Processing Disorder, which effects how sensory information is sensed and perceived. Night time has been particularly hard because when it's time to turn out the lights for bedtime, all the noises and sounds of the house are amplified for our son. The heightened secondary, tertiary, and quaternary senses of someone who has been deprived of sight is a phenomenon that has been described by people who have been deprived of light for long stretches of time, and so I wanted to explore issues of perception. I've also been reading a lot of Oliver Sacks. While the pieces in the book are, by no means, commentaries about life on the Autistic Spectrum, they are pieces that allow me to work through what I don't understand about how my son perceives the world.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The poems are interested in hybridity--the minotaur is an animal man and the boy is a boy on the verge of being a man, but he also is part of the world and not part of the world. There are weird creatures in it. The walls have faces. Weird, unexplained lights, opera, and blind fishes.
You can also find some of the poems from the sequence here: