dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Friend or Foe, Explanation

The face on this cover belongs to the Australian actress Abbie Cornish (ordinarily she looks quite fit). It’s a traced sketch of a screenshot from the movie Sucker Punch (2011), although she might be better known for the movie Limitless in the same year. In the flick, she’s in an asylum: In the book, which came first, she’s also in an asylum. She communicates with the main character, Toby Thomas, through his dreams. Toby (name of my childhood pet by the way) believes he has a microchip in his head, implanted there by his so-called friend’s father, Wrench Senior, Sire of the Archfiend, and which may account for all the zany stuff in his life. The book is an exploration of the human psyche, warts and all. A lot of it was dream logs, hashed together. I wrote it in 74 non-consecutive days while in custody (along with some poetry), completely clean, back in ’07, almost ten years ago now. All of my subliminal subconscious was revealed to myself, and the hand-written manuscript turned out to be an almost on-the-button premonition of how my actual life would unfold. The damn thing, ahead of itself, was true. At the time, I thought I was making up fiction. The truth, though, is stranger than fiction (and that’s a fact – you can take that statement to the bank).

It reigned in at 52k words. Last year, I looked over it. Some works have lost the plot as they went on, but this didn’t have a plot to begin with. It did, however, make more sense towards the end. So what I did recently was halve it, cutting out all the dreamy parts. Still, after so many years to ponder, I couldn’t make complete sense of it. It requires a return re-read, re-draft, re-process, whatever you wanna call it. Somewhere in there, beyond a bucketful of surreal distracting imageries, is a realist conspiracy plot. No shit, I have to filter and sharpen that content to make it digestible, but I will, in time, endeavour towards this feasible outcome. Not quite yet, like, but it is on the ever-expanding to-do list. It was originally called The Violent Arsonist, because the girl on the cover, Plain Jane, is exactly that; some kind of mysterious, succubus, irresistible, loveable psycho. I pondered over the title Headspace Vs Cloak ‘n’ Daggers. I’ve settled on the title Friend or Foe, and just in case you are wondering, although I absolutely loathe and despise spoilers, the real-life hindsight 20/20 vision verdict is an utmost, and I mean utmost, most definitely, FOE. It’s a mean universe, people, to quote Richard Gere, in Brooklyn’s Finest (2011). But that’s not to say that I’m allergic to metaphysical happy endings, because I sure ain’t, even if they don’t take place in reality.

There’s a scene in which Toby has an OBE (Outer Body Experience), and he’s dragging himself along the floor. There’s a scene in which Plain Jane jumps off her top bunk and smashes her roommate’s head into the sink as he is brushing his teeth. There’s a scene in which the ballroom inside the asylum is full of apes with popcorn. There are flying ninjas and allsorts. Ah I don’t know – much of it is insane. It’s never been read. That’s why I’m remembering it now. I thought it was worth a mention. If the author can’t recall his own unread books fondly, then who the hell is going to? Answer: Nobody, it’s impossible. So this, until worldwide publication, is what thou hast to settle for. A fond recalling...and some energetic edits to do – perhaps on the ten year anniversary...you wanna buy, ha? Only 2p on Amazon...

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