The previous post discussed the “33” story or novel attempt. I’d thought for a long time that since “33” is so surreal, it must have been sparked by dreams. But in perusing my 1985 journal from May to August, I didn’t find any such dreams; and I realized “33” was gestated out of idea sessions from May to July 1985.
So my memory of an 8/20/85 poem being the inspiration for “33” is incorrect, because “33” was completed August 2. Therefore, 8/20/85 represents an urge to go beyond that first story and consider what sort of novel could expand from there. And that turned out to be Parts I and II, one of Asylum and Mirage’s ancestors.
So here, in the untitled 8/20/85, we have an idea session typed as a rough draft poem. Some of it repeats the “33” storyline. New concepts surviving into Asylum and Mirage are the man who “wishes to paralyze others by mental force alone,” and the “gate to catch the unwary” that became nods to Reunion brainwashing, and the psychopathic hitchhiker who evolved into Thomas Tanner.
okay, so tell me what the themes are:
a soldier betrays his country and must wander back
from Siberia while facing constant threat of death.
a businessman plunders his own soul to keep coming out on top,
and then dies. his mistress carries on the struggle.
a dog frolics in the park of lightning bugs, unable to reach
any deeper for the full awesome mystery. a gate is set up
to catch the unwary, who are then tortured. years later,
deformed, they realize they could have escaped at any time.
a man wishes to paralyze others by mental force alone. he holds
up his hand at a shopping mall. another wanders in south Texas
with a revolver and a cruel grin, hitching rides on railroad cars
and always sure to get on intimate terms with his victims.
another man is a deacon at his church. he cannot admit
he is in love with the church secretary. her beauty and
practicality scare him, so he treats himself to more
years of climbing. Al and Paula fail to communicate on a date
at the end of the world.
so much suicide that we must begin to ignore it. a sense that
the main characters do not live in that dimension–if only we
could contact them, scream Billy and Sheila.
a cat rages at the stupidity of mankind. an exemplary man forgets
his identity at sunset. the party on the balcony takes
an accident forces hundreds of automobiles to wait on the freeway
for hours at night, after the big day when the parachutes were handed out.
a writer descends into a basement and is subsumed into the boxes
of other people’s manuscripts he finds there. a housewife begins to
think seriously about the origin of the universe. a toy is
destroyed. an idea completed in one novel is said to be ready
for inclusion in a carnival of dreams.
the carnival of dreams is sold at a bankruptcy sale. a small-town
hoodlum is worked over by members of the local carpenter’s union.
a record album contains a fence at night, and the smell of freshly-cut wild grass.
power is fed through tubes into an ailing musician’s mind.
steps lead to a mountain.
the clouds drawn over the years continue to build in the darkness.
Asylum and Mirage can be found at