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The Ghost of Books Past

April 24, 2016

I recently revised the information about RETURN TRIP, the last book I wrote and published on Smashwords, about a year and a half ago (Yes, it’s been that long. Sorry). I wanted to write something short and pithy about it to see if I could give the book a second lease on life, based on what I latterly decided was perhaps a slightly misleading–or just misguided–attempt to drum up some extra drama for the book with its original release.

I originally wrote this:
Richard Burley is dead. Long Live Richard Burley.

When is Death not an ending, but a beginning? Perhaps it’s when your spirit crosses over to the afterworld, or maybe your atoms scatter across teh cosmos and add to the total callective consciousness of the universe. Or could it be that the myriad forces and energies that intersected at the nexus of reality that is you will simply divvy up your total potential energy amongst your alternate selves? Whatever the ultimate answer you choose to believe in, it comes down tot he same basic premise: that your essence is eternal, and thus, death is, as the poets say, just a door to another level of perception.

When Richard Burley lay dead on the hospital floor, perhaps some of his friends were convinced that that would be the last chapter in his story. A few suspected otherwise, and his handicapped brother spent many months trying to convicne anyone who would listen that he had simply stepped across the threshold of the world and into a mirror reality, where he could watch over them from afar.

But what is Richard’s ultimate fate? Will he go to Heaven or Hell? Will he transcend reality for a higher plane of consciousness? Will he dissipate and leave his friends lost and wondering if they can carry on without him? And, knowing what we do about Richard’s mental health, how can we be sure that his death isn’t just other another psychotic fantasy?

I decided to replace it with this:
Richard Burley is dead. Long Live Richard Burley.

This isn’t the sort of supernatural story you might suspect it is. It’s really an examination of the possibilities of what it is to be Richard Burley, which in a real sense is an examination of what it means to be YOU. For Richard isn’t just my alter ego; he’s yours, too. He’s a little like everyone, and a lot like no one you know.

In essence, this is the story of some of the many alternate realities that are somehow affected by Richard’s untimely death, and his efforts to help them recover, so that he can move on, or come back, or do whatever it is he’s going to do by the end of the book. Read it yourself and find out.

Incidentally, for those wondering, there are at least two stories in this collection that are basically rock and roll fanfic, including a rather lovely story featuring someone not entirely unlike the late, great Chris Squire of Yes fame, and a short piece about an aging rock star who isn’t entirely unlike Roger Hodgson, formerly of Supertramp.

I did this yesterday. It had to be reviewed and approved, so i logged off and went and did other things. Today, I figured I’d check and see if it had been approved yet. Instead, I got this notification telling me the book has been flagged for some mistake in the Table of Contents (NCX), because ‘chapters are missing. They’re not. I actually meant for the second book to be numbered consecutively to follow the first, picking up with chapter 16. I sent them a note to tell them this. Now I’m waiting to see if they revise their decision. If I have to renumber it, I can, and I guess I will, but it seems kind of a waste of time, since no one has ever read the book, in any case. I pretty much killed it and decided not to write the final act. The only thing stopping em from unpublishing it is the stigma it will create with the other book selling companies if I develop a reputation for unpublishing works.

So I wait.

Meanwhile, I’m working on a very old painting idea I had back in college, but never completed. I’m doing a small acrylic colour study to test the technique I’m thinking of using, before applying it to my Limbo Tarot Fool.

Time to make some tea and get back to work.

Lee.

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