Read an interesting book recently – Mastering the Dream, by Kelly Lydick. It’s published by Mary Burger and Second Story Press, which you should become acquainted with, if you’re interested in innovative narrative forms. Lydick’s book, for instance, alternates between first person (journal entries and dream narratives), second person (letters to self), and (in the second half of the book), third-person narration. All in prose (except for some poems in the letters), interspersed with single quotes from rabbis on otherwise blank pages. Taken together, it forms a story of the protagonist, “Marie,” who seems to be recovering from a suicide attempt, a failed love, but, more importantly, a generalized desire to connect the metaphysical dots (“technically, it is a fallacy to try to look for constellations on my body [freckles], because the mirror shows only the reverse image. // Shin. Mem. Aleph.”). Those last (reversed), “[a]ccording to some mystics . . . comprise what are known as the three ‘mother letters’” – analogous to A-U-M, one gathers. Thesis-antithesis-synthesis, solid-liquid-gas.
In any case, Aleph-Mem-Shin spells “yesternight,” a word that haunts the book. Thankfully, there’s no final word or how-to mysticism here. In fact, you the reader are asked to connect the dots of the story and the reflections (if I may) that punctuate the story. I’m finding it hard to quote anything – I didn’t underline, as is my wont – and many of the sentences describe the sort of routine thoughts that make up one’s day – if one thinks about things like being and non-being. I’d call the writing “simply good.”
If the universe is 99.9% empty space, then “[m]y identity is part of the 0.1% of matter.” Worth bearing in mind. Try tracing the space occupied by your body, for instance: “I try to meditate, Aleph, Mem, Shin, but it’s difficult to do looking only at the ink on the mirror instead of my body.”
If this were a real review (or universe), there would be an ending somewhere.
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