Author: Mark William Lindberg
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: BitBit Project
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 06/07/2015
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction
Em sits down on a bench in a park and makes a deal with themself not to get up until something happens. What follows is a formally experimental stream of consciousness novella that digs deeply into the way we think about the world and view both the people around us and ourselves. Em’s relentless self-examination brings up beautiful insights and frustrating questions about privilege, gender, and religion, while getting constantly interrupted by short story daydreams that veer off into sexual fantasy, memoir, and playwrighting. Mark William Lindberg, author of 81 NIGHTMARES, gives us another eye-opening look into a human mind at work.
Bleeding Hope In the Sunshine
If I was permitted to use just five words to review this book, these’d be what you get. They’re all you need.
But what’s the fun in that???? (Except, it did get my poetry writing juices flowing.)
I knew going into this story that it’s written in a unique manner, a mish mash of not quite stream-of-consciousness, first person, greatly internalized, with imagined sequences between the patches of reality. No matter how you slice it, this is a kick ass brave honest piece of writing that I… well, it made me celebrate and bleed and fight the tears and want to hi5 everyone I ever meet ever again. Ever.
Lindberg is laying all of it out there: determination, insecurity, experimentation, silliness, sarcasm, curiosity, questioning the most basic of human and societal ~everything~, all while working to define who he is amongst it all.
I’d like to contemplate them one at a time. I’d like them to meet them one at a time. I’d like for us to contemplate each other.
And it only gets more spectacular from here.
When I slow down, or even stop, and let the mind wander, it can take me to creative and previously unexplored and unexamined places. Thoughts string along, becoming new and other things. Some are expected, mundane, annoying, while some are exhilarating, frightening, and fleeting, flitting away from me, taking their solutions to the universe and my own life with them. Even still, I’m left in a state of wonderment.
This is how I felt while reading this entire book.
Like ascribing a pronoun, I can ascribe an entire life. It’s just as presumptive, just as invasive. Just as automatic and inescapable.
I am in a position in life to have an idea and make it happen, even such a seemingly simple idea. Not everyone can do that.
Just… let those settle for a minute or three, or more. Breathe ’em in.
Our narrator is expressing thoughts and wishes many, many, many – maybe most? – of us have but don’t, or can’t, take the time to do, or feel silly even doing the thinking and the wishing, fearing ridicule or misunderstanding if we put voice to them.
Everything is questioned and tossed into the unavoidable bright light of reality: racism, sexism, misogyny, gender identity bias, self-hate, religion, all of it. They’re approached from both a very personal level and a larger societal existence. Some of the questions he asks about why we do how we do as a society when they create those masks we feel forced to wear but want so much to chuck to the side of the road, left forever to rot and disappear.
Seriously, right now, someone give me a hi5, right now, c’mon.
~ hi5 ~
Our storyteller, Em, is going through some things. He’s at that point in life where you can feel the change in every cell of your body and it makes you think about and question everything, just as I’ve already described. I mean, I swear, I must know this person. Do I know you? I’ve been you. I might be you again.
How can I want to believe something but not believe it? How can I believe something I don’t want to believe?
See?? Em, you are making me ponder, and remember. I felt that allegiance through recognition, with Em, especially regarding family, and religion, church specifically, deciding as a teenager to stop attending because I no longer could see myself as a part of that world that didn’t see me, and many others, as part of them.
I’m recommending this to all of you. Everyone. Don’t question this. And while you’re reading, roll with it. You won’t regret it, you won’t miss a thing. I promise. Just do it.
You can’t stop tears with shallow breath. You have to breathe into tears, to breathe down deep below them, then they will quiet. You can not stop emotion by holding it tighter. You have to release it. You have only to breathe into it, to lift the lid on it, to expose it to the light, and it will out. And it will heal.
Yes. YES. Thank you, Mark William Lindberg, for being so effing out with all of this.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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