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Transapparent sample chapters


Here are a few chapters from Transapparent.   Some text has been replaced by (...) to avoid spoiling plot lines.



WIZARDS - narrative - Alicia Seabolt

A one-year-old girl, Alicia Seabolt, sat on the carpeted floor of a living room. The big television was entirely above her head. Face raised, she watched large heads talking. Seen from a foot above gray wall-to-wall carpet, the world was full of castles whose towers dominated all the approaches. Wizards in boxes held sway there, chanting their incantations between fast images of mostly naked women and new cars. She turned her head and looked at her parents. In stark contrast, they sat slumped in soft chairs scarcely speaking, obediently watching the sorcerers' every gesture.

Alicia was too young to clearly understand the difference between the TV and the windows of the house. Things happened in these frames. She looked at her career-exhausted parents; virtually motionless. Out the window cars rumbled past, kids ran in the street, the man across the road was at his ceaseless yard work, birds flew. She looked back at her parents. Upholstering their recliners. The TV was a window into a world where colors danced an orgy of constant motion before the backdrop of restless sound. Her parents sat silent. Except when sounding drowsy snores. Though she could not have explained it, Alicia knew life was something that happened 'out there'. Something was going on, and it was going on out there. The world was out there. Out there people were excited.

Alicia tottered over to her mother as she sat on the end of the sofa with her feet tucked beneath her. She stroked her daughter's hair a moment before the hand fell still again. Throughout, the eyes remained the wizards' captive. But out there something was going on. Before her earliest conscious memory, Alicia had already decided life at home was dull to the point of death. If she was going to join in the laughing and singing and shouting and running she saw through the frames, she had to get out of this place.

Alicia's TV experience was indicative of 'family time'. As an only child she was fed, clothed, and toyed. Otherwise her parents seemed scarcely to know she existed. Whatever capacity these people possessed to exhibit flashes of liveliness were apparently reserved for the office. Few hugs and fewer kisses were dispensed from the family larder. To her they appeared shadows lacking affection and articulation. Apart from liking ice cream, grumbling about the office or some damn fool politician on TV, she had little idea of their opinions, of what principles motivated them, of any sort of meaning to their lives. She did not learn to question. She did not learn to follow. Neither questions nor explanations were part of their world.

The only place she encountered strong opinions was on TV. She lacked even a small part of the cultural context necessary to understand why one group held an opinion rejected by another group. But she saw people use words to attack and to defend themselves. That many of these defenses and attacks were logically flawed, intellectually unjustifiable, or morally repugnant was an understanding beyond her reach. Though it did not need reinforcing, Alicia's virtually inherited 'out there' attitude was reinforced by the stoicism of her parents set in continual contrast to the high emotion she saw on TV. That emotion was staged, overwrought, and calculated to alter her consumer habits, but of this she was ignorant. If asked, she would have said she could tell what was real and what was fake. She did not have the perspective to understand none of it was real. Not even the motion on the screen was real.

Her attitude was also encouraged by her peer group. While a group of inexperienced people know not a tittle more than one inexperienced person, somehow being in a group of like-minded people lends an air of authority to shared ignorance. With her exceptional memory, and the dwindling expectations of a narcissistic society, elementary school academic work was easy for Alicia. Little wonder. She was practically born to the reciting of rote lessons. She got along well with her peers because she did not talk too much, being content to let others take the limelight. This contributed to a division between the worlds of parents and peers. With her parents she felt invisible. With her peers she felt important.

Over time she learned to ignore her parents' wishes, since their disapproval differed little from their normal relationship. In contrast, she was careful to cultivate the approval of her peers because that approval constituted the primary validation of her existence. Unbeknown to her parents, she became the one in her group who could be counted on to accept nearly any dare.

Medea Media

Coming home at night the lifted latches rise then fall.
Famine vapors blight the drifted desert of the hall.
I turned on a light that shifted shadows to the wall -
Fearing what they'd write in gifted gallow handed scrawl.

Medea Media.
Keepers in the public square.
Medea Media.
Why do you pretend to care?

The light I fought was wrought of twisted steel.
The slanted blade crusade takes no appeal.
The sight I caught then turned and sought my soul.
I can't evade the glass grenade patrol.

Medea Media.
Keepers in the public square.
Medea Media.
Why do you pretend to care?

Glancing blow intentions tapping sin.
Strife with new dimensions and chagrin.
Dancing dark reflections enter in.
Life with no directions as I spin.

Medea Media.
Keepers in the public square.
Medea Media.
Why do you pretend to care?

I'm tearing through the veil before my eyes
So I can really touch what the sound of this life implies.
How can the drive to know have grown so stale
In the hand of a mute who is telling his rootless tale?

Medea Media.
Keepers in the public square.
Medea Media.
Why do you pretend to care?

When did the longing change?
When did the quest rearrange the rules
To entice with all things strange
Those who'd be wise but still are fools?

Medea Media.
Keepers in the public square.
Medea Media.
Show us how to be aware.
Medea Media.
Sell us yet another snare.
Medea Media.
Why do you pretend to care?
Medea Media.

 



DIRTY LAUNDRY - narrative - Mary Anzo

You must know when to close the book, when to turn off the light because you are full. Full of the ghosts of other people's dreams. Full of resident ghosts I did not know were waiting to be summoned. Ordinarily, I am not afraid of ghosts.

But I am haunted.

When I walked that night behind my mother as she pulled a wagon of dirty laundry back to the duplex because vandals had wrecked all the washing machines, I saw lines of a pioneer woman in her back from the bend life's weight creased into her. Years of long hours and short rest were supposed to raise us above the dust that had seeped into the cracks in the asphalt that made the wagon wheels growl. Streetlights craned their necks to keep nostrils above the pooled shadow that clotted our movements with resistant yielding. Their hum was the only sound that even tried to disperse the clatter of that wagon and its fossilized wheels on asphalt with dust in its cracks.

We were hopeless as the savaged laundromat that never reopened. The investment was lost. The jeers and taunts set against my normal background of invisibility were now specters on the sidewalks lining our meager parade. They were right. I was a nothing, descended from a line of nobodies who had not even worked themselves up to a washing machine - who were rattling a cheap retreat from a laundromat defeat. We were ghosts.

Sometimes you need to know when to turn off the light.

The room gives up its shadows. There is no more light to give them form. How did the ghosts creep out of me only to look back at me from that movie screen? How did the director know there were families hidden in my attic? I am accustomed to the world calling them my imaginary friends. I was stunned to see them led away; arrested.

I imagine a thousand eyes watching me from the darkness. For a moment. I remember the linoleum-floored apartment full of darkness conceals only my own two eyes from me. A car growls slowly past - the first this hour. Do the eyes in that car look up through a pool of light obscured? Do shadows hang under their eyes? As I move toward sleep I kick the bedpost. I lay down with my pains, but even they do not respect me.

Yesterday a hole opened in the clouds while I was feeding the dumpster, and set one ray down into the church parking lot across the street. I stood transfixed for the moments it took to vanish. I cannot recall having ever been so moved.

Why do people hate a person who still dares to dream?

Inside of the Mask

The maelstrom that emerges when I close my eyes
Is made from every image that has passed inside.
The logical pretender sinks while spirits rise
To usher in the king the metal drones denied.

The whirl of every water that my stride has crossed
Has tangled up the nature of my years of loss.
The spray can etch the air like faces drawn in frost
With deeper lines that cut beneath the surface gloss.

When I fall to my knees
Having drained every cask,
Then my sight only sees
The inside of the mask.
When I let it all go,
When I drop every task,
Vision only will show
The inside of the mask.

Deeds return to question direction,
Life’s regard exceeds our intention
To choose where we’ll begin.
Who can say how streams run together?
Who can use our dreams as a lever
To move the world within?

When I fall to my knees
Having drained every cask,
Then my sight only sees
The inside of the mask.
When I let it all go,
When I drop every task,
Vision only will show
The inside of the mask.

 



NATURAL WONDER OF NIGHT - symbolic - Man

One of the most disconcerting things about a massive internal transformation is the world is oblivious. (...) he knew the fatal work continued. (...) the night life was swinging. He could almost hear the music, see the artificial lights, feel the dusty pavement hard beneath his boots. Startling as discovering the pulse of a person thought dead, that place was no longer his home. The people he knew appeared moths drawn to a consuming flame. The ideas that once promised him hope and meaning faded away. In his mind, standing in the same old places, surrounded by the old songs, the old ways, he found the thread of his life was no longer part of that fabric. He felt like a ghost once haunting those passages who was now, unimaginably, alive. He had chosen life, and life had chosen him. By this time the sky was black. The stars pierced the blackness, and his mind. Behind him the moon rose, and smote his heart. Unable to sit any longer, he ran and danced down the long grass hillside. He danced life up out of the ground and into his heart.

The night divided his dancing perception. His soul flew into the vast stellar distance while around him the light only showed objects clearly when scarce outside the radius of his arms' reach. (...) As perspectives spun in and out of sight, he felt he was stationary and creation was dancing around him in a greeting and challenge so sophisticated it left him as if that toddler gaping at a physics lecture where a woman drew equations with the hand of a shaman spreading chalk hieroglyphics on the walls of a holy torchlit cave. Tall grass bowed in homage as he ran past. Scattered trees caught his infinite upward vision and drew it into their roots so it rose again out of the soil and encircled him as he passed beneath their branches.

Winded, he stopped to lean against one of these trees. The bark supported his back like a bed of blunt nails. Though the moonlit land was open around him, he felt as if he had stepped into a quiet room. Now that the kinetic kaleidoscope aspect had ended with his motion, his restless perception pressed itself forward into a minute examination of small details. The silhouette of each leaf against the silver landscape evoked an exquisite agony of delight. He noticed the tree bore fruit. In the old world he would never have been so reckless, but the new world made him bold enough to pick a fruit and taste it. The flavor was subdued, almost refined, moist with a delicate balance between tart and sweet. He ate the rest of the fruit. The ecstatic emotion that had propelled him dancing down into this valley set its feet deep in the earth. He shifted position, and passed from being an observer to being a participant in the wonder about him; and now in him. He picked another fruit and ate it while he walked.

As his stride and pulse and breathing settled into an interlocking rhythm, his open heart let each sensation caress it and move on without attempting to understand it, to capture it, to harvest it to some utilitarian project. The distinction between himself and the environment melted around the edges. When the molten interface brought a stream to mind, he found he had just then walked up to the bank of a river. As his emotions had spread from their initial shallow noisy rapids, so too this river ran deep and quiet, though swift. Despite its speed, the flow was so smooth he could see the moon and stars reflected on its surface. When the breeze gusted a bit, these lights trembled as if the wind walked past in heavy boots. He long stood letting the river run quietly through his soul.

He looked to his left. Downstream, a bridge spanned the river in a single graceful curve. An arrow of loneliness pierced his heart. It was the first unnatural object he had encountered in the new world. Strange to have so long failed to note he was utterly alone. The decision to leave behind everything and everyone he had ever known struck him in the face. Even while the pain remained on his cheek, he knew this exile had been the price of his life. (...) This bridge demonstrated he was not the only person who had trod this realm. He was alone but for now, not forever; unless those who built the bridge had perished.

He walked slowly along the riverbank as if carried along on an eddy. The bridge was made of close-fitting stones. He started to put a hand on the parapet, then pulled back. He leaned his face close. In moonlight from any distance it was hard to tell, but up close these were undoubtedly gemstones. He knelt. Yes, these too. The bridge was built entirely from gemstones, some at least as large as his head. He walked to the center of the span. Between his feet he could just make out the moon on the water through the gemstones that comprised the deck of the bridge. He moved to the side and leaned on the right parapet and looked down on the water as it coursed toward him and vanished. He stood there still when dawn began to supplant the light of the moon.

In Though Expected Out

The visor on the helmet opens west into the sky.
The face is full of stars inside inverted sight surprise.
I'm looking into eyes beyond my expectation's reach.
I find that I'm the student though I thought I came to teach.

In though expected out.
What's it all about?
In though expected out.
Found a different route.
In though expected out.

Detect the wisdom looking from the eons down to you.
Connect the pattern engines to the points you thought were true.
The web of earthbound longing traces interwoven dreams
Into the forge of Vulcan beating swords to sharper schemes.

In though expected out.
Found a different route.
In though expected out.
Sure despite the doubt.
In though expected out.

Shadows trace the mortar joints between the things we know.
The interlock in feedback crosstalk sparks before it blows.
The world of our ambition feeds our hunger to forget
Our instruments can't measure what our thoughts do not reflect.

In though expected out.
Sure despite the doubt.
In though expected out.
What's it all about?
In though expected out.

 


Transapparent sample chapters

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