I-Land is where memories and experiences turn into short stories, personal journal entries and narration in first person, part memoir, part fiction, exploring topics such as the relation between humans and the societies they live in.

Behind The Mirror Meets Howl

Behind The Mirror: The Correspondence (The Start) [a working title]:

A novel currently in the works. The story behind the BTM movie, the backstory if you will, or at least part of it. Xavier’s letters to Victor, Xavier’s journey into madness, into the events that culminated in the summer and fall of 2015, as seen in the movie. How did Xavier develop a relationship with Victor? What was Xavier’s life before he got married to Sandra, before they had two children together? What demons had he brought with him, what memories did he bury deep inside him, hoping to never release again into the world?

Part of this manuscript was workshopped in a writers’ conference where it got ripped to shreds, and rightly so. It was a controversial passage written and presented in a controversial but ineffective manner. I learned a lot from that workshop, and part of it had to do with how to build up to a story of this magnitude, leading up to the challenge and controversy gradually and methodically, doing it all from a character’s point of view.

Reading The Underground Railroad has taught me even more, what to do and what not to do, what to attempt to get away with and see what happens. How to recreate a world of injustice and suffering on the backdrop of perceived righteousness, forcing all these ingredients into a tiny space and letting them fight it out, and not worry about balance. This is a picaresque after all.

A Single Man also comes into play. The wisdom of that book will play into the development of this version of Xavier. And so will Mrs. Dalloway, or shall we say, Virginia Woolf, who has always been part of Xavier’s psyche, as has a certain Mr. Charles ‘Hank’ Bukowski, a Mr. J. D. Salinger and his firstborn Holden Caufield, a Mrs. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and her two indomitable abominations, Victor Frankenstein and the Creature.

Lots to play with, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg (yes, there will be Hemingway in there, too).

So here’s the thing. The story doesn’t begin on 9/11 anymore, as it used to, but much earlier, when life was hunky dory, or so it seemed. I’m going to write the story from beginning to end and tell it as such. If the edit permits, or requires it, I will splice the events around, mix them up and see what comes out of it, creating a non-linear narrative. But first I have to write the narrative, and it has to make sense, and for it to make sense it has to be constructed with a sense of continuity.

So BTM The Correspondence is finally getting its proper dues, an outright overhaul, starting from the beginning.

And to remind myself of that beginning, I am unofficially naming this working manuscript The Start. But to keep my focus on the general direction and give readers a little taste of where it’s all headed, foreshadowing the general direction, I need an epigraph, and I think I found one in Howl.

More in due course . . .


And here is the unabridged edition of this note:

Behind The Mirror: The Correspondence (The Start) [a working title] is a novel currently in the works. The story behind the BTM movie, the backstory if you will, or at least part of it. Xavier’s letters to Victor, Xavier’s journey into madness, into the events that culminated in the summer and fall of 2015, as seen in the movie. How did Xavier develop a relationship with Victor? What was Xavier’s life before he got married to Sandra, before they had two children together? What demons had he brought with him, what memories did he bury deep inside him, hoping to never release again into the world?

I’ve been working on this novel for some time now, going through a third rewrite, the first major one. Part of the new Correspondence was workshopped in a writers conference where it got ripped to shreds, and rightly so. It was a controversial passage written and presented in a controversial but ineffective manner. I learned a lot from that workshop, and part of it had to do with how to build up to a story of this magnitude, leading up to the challenge and controversy, doing it all from a character’s point of view.

Reading The Underground Railroad has taught me even more, what to do and what not to do, what to attempt to get away with and see what happens. How to recreate a world of injustice and suffering on the backdrop of perceived righteousness, forcing all these ingredients into a tiny space and letting them fight it out. This is going to be a drama, a vicious fight between forces at conflict with each other, and Xavier will be the main character, the rest of the cast acting as his reflections.

A Single Man is also coming into play. The wisdom of Isherwood’s masterful book will play into the development of this version of Xavier. And so will the sublime Mrs. Dalloway, or shall we say, Virginia Woolf, who has always been part of Xavier’s psyche, as has a certain Mr. Charles ‘Hank’ Bukowski, a Mr. Salinger Caufield, a Mrs. Mary Shelley and her two abominations, Victor Frankenstein and the Creature.

Lots and lots to play with, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg, which also alludes to a certain Mr. Hemingway’s technique, the principles of which shall be applied in this elliptically-designed epistolary novel. The story reveals a love of guns and wildlife and adventure, consumed by war and impotence, by rage and love working for and against each other, at odds with one another, striving to gain a foothold on a character that slips ever so slowly and gradually into the vortex of his own domain, both free and a slave, in control and out of his fucking mind.

Did I mention Jim Morrison? He serves as an inspiration, too, as does a certain Dave Mustaine and a band called Megadeth, and an author who went by the name of Edgar Allan Poe, and a movie called Pi.

So here’s the thing. The story doesn’t begin on 9/11 anymore, as it used to, but much earlier, when life was hunky dory, or so it seemed. No more starting in the thick of it, a la Star Wars. We start from the beginning and take it from there, all the way to the end. If the edit permits, or requires it, I will splice the events around, mix them up and see what comes out of it, creating a non-linear narrative. But first I have to write the narrative, and it has to make sense, and for it to make sense it has to be constructed with a sense of continuity. This is the prequel, so it needs to start slow and build us up to the events taking place in the movie, a fourteen year span, make that seventeen years, the way its going, at least. All the way to 2015, and then — then other things await. A sequel in the form of a short story collection titled Appearances, which is, I’m happy to say, in the works, too.

Those of you who recognise the title Appearances is because I self-published a short story collection by the same title in 2011. This is going to be a total rewrite, a brand new manuscript aiming to become a brand new book with a brand new ISBN, while the self-published version will serve as ‘copyright proof’ as well as ‘frame of reference,’ a how-to draft version that reveals how far these stories have traveled to finally come into their own.

So . . . BTM The Correspondence is getting its proper dues, an outright overhaul, starting from the beginning.

And to remind myself of that beginning, I am unofficially naming this working manuscript The Start. But to keep my focus on the general direction and give readers a little taste of where it’s all headed, foreshadowing the general direction, I need an epigraph, and I think I found one in Howl.

More to follow in due course . . .

Leave a Comment