Falling off my horse again in July did not help with whatever motivation to write I might have otherwise had. Seems my muse has yet to recover fully from what I guess I'll call the summer of the horse. And what a summer it has been!
Good news is that MLR Press has published (electronic only) my little novella, "The Palisade."
As I noted in a prior post, I'm horrible at writing meaningful blurbs; and those I struggled with which eventually ended up being published, really just hint at the content of this work.
"The Palisade" is probably thirty percent biographical, forty percent fiction, and thirty percent a mulligan stew of both. The published blurbs really don't do justice to the story. And, of course, that's no one's fault but my own.
There really was (is still?) an apartment complex in east Denver, surrounded by a six and half-foot brick wall, a palisade. In the late '70s and early '80s, the owner of this apartment complex actually wanted the units to be rented to gay folk. We are--most of us--quite a tidy bunch who take pride in our surroundings and tend to be, well...tidy.
I'll take this opportunity to write another blurb for the storytelling within "The Palisade"...one not restricted by word count.
Firstly, I see this story as representing a writer's (he is not yet published) urge to reckon the lives of the occupants of The Palisade. He is obsessed with his lost, fading youth and so desperately wishes to know if the experiences of his youth--his coming to terms with his sexuality--were so terribly different or so strikingly similar to those who share safe harbor behind the walls of The Palisade. There is a quietly intense love story here between the writer and his young partner who, the writer observes, takes him, the writer, less seriously than the writer takes himself.
Secondly, this story provides vignettes of the lives of many of those who call The Palisade home. Their lives are as diverse as the scrubby flatlands of east Texas are to the flash and sparkle of 42nd Street, Manhattan.
Thirdly, there is the specter of the HIV/AIDS scourge that began it's unkind, deliberately deadly carousal amongst us all in 1981.
Fourthly--and the published blurbs don't really address this aspect of the storytelling at all--there is that existential moment when the writer (and I hope the reader) realize that walls, palisades both shut in and shut out.
Fifthly and finally, there is in the storytelling somewhat literary fodder encompassing the history, the--part truth, part fiction--retelling of the writer's past, his life.
I look at "The Palisade" as kind of a quirky exposition of what it is a writer, an author finds him/herself dealing with when formulating their storytelling. How much should be told? What need not be told? How far does one go with one character or another, with one scene or another, with one passion or another?
If you have the opportunity to read "The Palisade," I hope you enjoy it. But, more than that, I hope you understand where I intended this storytelling to go; I hope you understand that the incompleteness of the vignettes, the mere snippets of information, the holding back, if you will, of beginning, middle, and end was quite deliberate, quite intended.