This is book one of my Secrets of the Senses series. I call it metaphysical fiction. The book isn’t sex-centric like my erotica, though this excerpt contains one little getting-to-know-you scene. It’s really a story about Aonghas, a gifted guy with a skewed view of himself, and pretty much everything else. He works to change that, sometimes with success, sometimes not. As gifted as he is, he’s far from perfect. That’s what I love about him.
I’ll be talking more about Murmur as the release date approaches.
Excerpt from Murmur, Chapter 3
Fog on the moors is beautiful. In that ethereal atmosphere, one can believe himself to be floating in a cloud; the limited sight, the vaporous essence creates a world within a world, at once exciting and playful, and foreboding. On one such evening I walked through the low scrub, careful of my footing, cloaked within the fog and feeling myself to be a phantom traversing an otherworldly landscape. The sky grew darker, the fog thickened with the approach of night. I gave up sight, and navigated relying on other means, other senses—my knowledge of the terrain, my instincts. It was a thrilling experience that brought to full attention all of my being, and I walked with bold confidence.
I have a collection of nine shorts on the way, titled Stories for Boys. In anticipation of the book’s release, I’m going to talk about some of them here, beginning with Jude the Unsure.
Yes, it is indeed modelled after Thomas Hardy’s novel, Jude the Obscure. Hardy did not write happy stories, but they are compelling. His characters are often dealing with societal restraints that hold them back from their dreams and desires. Hardy’s Jude longs to be a scholar, but he is limited by 19th century low expectations from the working class, and as he enters into his teens, other things *ahem* rise up to distract him. Suddenly he finds himself saddled with a wife he does not love, and a life he never wanted.
He does, however, want his cousin, Sue. They share an attraction that wasn’t considered scandalous for the period, but was rapidly falling out of favour. She marries another man to escape her own desires. In fact, she ends up running from desire altogether, troubled by her feelings about sexuality.
My Jude and his stepbrother, Alexander are struggling with similar obstacles. Their association as family is definitely a hindrance, and Jude is also troubled by his sexuality – he doesn’t seem to know who he is. The difference between Hardy’s Jude and mine is the difference in societal structure from then to now.
In his novels, Hardy pummels institutionalized systems such as marriage, religion, and higher education as the privilege of the upper class, by pummelling his characters, who struggle within these constraints. We’re still feeling a lot of restriction from these same things, but more and more, the structures are being recognized as outdated and oppressive, not just to the marginalized, but across the board.
But they’ve definitely left a mark. Old standards are hard to shake off, and some people will choose to remain confined within them because they see no other way. So how does someone manage to get out from under? That is what Jude and Alexander are confronting.
That is the inspiration, and the underpinnings of the plot. Lucky for me, I’m not held back by moral restrictions on explicit sex in literature, as Hardy was. Jude and Alexander are free to explore their desire for one another as they work their way through and around the obstacles. Hurrah for that!
This is one of my favourite stories I’ve written. I love paying tribute to the things that inspire me, and Thomas Hardy in particular is a novelist who has left a lasting impression with his poignant stories. His work was a great influence in my understanding society as both victimizer and victim of its own self-inflicted rules.
Jude the Unsure:
He hesitated for a moment, then his lips parted against mine, kissing me back. I was in heaven. His was the first male mouth I had ever tasted, and I eagerly took in the experience—the scratch of his stubble on my cheeks and chin, the firm softness of his lips, and the flavor of him, sweetly pungent and sensual and unmistakably masculine. He put his hand on the back of my neck and I was ready to fall onto the bed with him, explore his body with my hands and mouth before I gave myself to him, let him push up inside me and fuck the innocence right out of me. But instead he pulled me away, pulled his lips from mine and slid back, shifting his eyes to the floor.
I’ve signed with MLR, which is publishing one of my short stories. I’m very excited. I’m also scrambling to put on a public face – how do you like it?
Yeah, I know what you mean. I’m not exactly a pro at this website building thing, it’ll creak along looking undignified for much longer than it should, I’m afraid. Makes me long for the days of plain white sheets of paper.
You see, I’m a bit of a recluse. Oh, I’m a right handful once I get to know you and you’ll long for the days of short passages and clipped responses, but it takes awhile to work up to that point. So I’ll begin simply by saying I’m currently working on a five book series, and am about a third of the way through book three. I also have several half-written shorts waiting in the wings, along with a folder of completed shorts waiting for a home.
I plan to use this site to talk about my projects, the people and things that inspire me, and my experiences in the world of authorship, with an open clause for anything else that strikes my fancy. I also want to hear from you – the things that inspire you, interest you, in art and in life.
Come in, sit down, make yourself at home in my little beams and rafters salon.