Category Archives: Literary Genres

Magic in the Time of Conventions

mr bloghop cropped

A year ago, when I contributed to Zoe Brooks’ wonderful Magic Realism Bloghop, it was so easy to post about that literary genre in relation to my fantasy series, 1001, The Reincarnation Chronicles.  But just a year later, how do I write about fantasy and wonder when the Realism of the world is so violent, dire, and contentious — not Magical by any stretch of the imagination?  But stretch I must, so for starters I bifurcated my thoughts into one post pursuing this question of the current reality, which you can see here, and this post affirming Magic in our world, even in the time of Conventions, Revolutions, Hacks, Attacks, and Donald Trump.  With a free story at the end!

Giving my imagination permission to stretch, I asked myself, “In what daily reality can I find magic anymore?”  My own daily reality is working as a musician accompanying dancers.  During the school year I work at the fabled ‘Fame’ school.  Dealing with the most talented adolescents in New York City is itself a dose of reality, but no day goes by without moments of magic.  Aha!  Magic Realism at the High School of Performing Arts!

Following this theme, this summer, between long hours of editing 1001’s  Book Three, The Qaraq and the Subversive Manuscript, I played a few classes at the Martha Graham School.  Martha Graham was kind of a choreographic Magic Realist (maybe a stretch right there), combining the arcane magic of mythological characters with the shadowy realism of modern psychology.  It is embedded in the technique of her movement, which was what I strove to support with music.  Even in a basic dance class at the Graham School, I witnessed the Reality of the dancers struggling in a Manhattan heat wave, alongside the Magic and joy of working with Susan Kikuchi.  Susan is the daughter of Yuriko, one of Martha’s first important dancers and teachers, still a legend at 96, who worked on the mesmerizing choreography of the first production of The King and I.

I have also worked at Juilliard and many other dance conservatories, so I transformed the reality of my experiences as a dance accompanist into a fantastical world within my series.  My contribution to the bloghop is a free story from 1001, which merges my personal everyday reality with a magical fiction series.  The Reincarnation Chronicles follows a group of intertwined souls, called a qaraq, who recall their past lives in various worlds and puzzle out their karmic history.  In this world, on the planet Aklanon, the qaraq worked as performing artists in an alien arts conservatory called Draill U.  In Book Two, The Qaraq and the Maya Factor, the qaraq remembers their dramas as students in a volatile class.  In this tale, a generation earlier, they recall an experimental dance workshop that bred romance and vulnerability.

“The Tale of the Indaki and the Neuromistressa”

The excerpt can be found on the Stories page.

You can read this excerpt and try to decipher the alien terms for fun.  Just know the tale is told in the second person, from I-zaea’s point of view, speaking to himself as “you.”  But if you’d like help navigating the halls of this alien arts school and its technical vocabulary, here’s a Glossary:

Indaki  —  dance accompanist  (I-zaea)

neuromistressa  —  dance teacher  (Fughini, and later, beyond the excerpt, Daywa)

whakatan, whakatani  —  music, musicians

tarakan, tarakani — dance, dancers  (Daywa)

neuroscore  —  musical composition

Nerve Dancing  — basic Aklanonian dance technique, firing the nervous system as well as mind and muscle

whaka  — arts

Pr, Do’en  —  Professor (Ctatlo), Dean

multiperf  —  interdisciplinary performing arts work

freshling, sophmorist, junieur, senieur  —  the 4 years of college

Heyatt uy Budoyr  —  Heyat and Budor, tale from the 1001 Arabian Nights

sounding holes, plectra plane  —  well, imagine an alien keyboard instrument, y’all

 

Enjoy my personal dip into Magic Realism.  If you’d like to finish the complete story, there are instructions at the bottom of the excerpt, again on the Stories page.

 

REVIEW: The Goddess Within by Iva Kenaz

As a follower of the Visionary Fiction Alliance, I enjoy learning about new authors and books that, like the 1001, The Reincarnation Chronicles series, address themes of expanding human consciousness. Iva Kenaz is a lovely writer from the Czech Republic who bravely writes in English about witches, fauns, and The Goddess Within.  Here is my review of her… Continue Reading

Thursday is the New Black Friday

Happy Thanksgiving!  Oh, but I forgot: due to our irrational consumerism, I saw all kinds of ads on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, announcing that “Black Friday Starts Today.”  Crazy enough that we line up all night after a rare day of gratitude to fight over cheap toys and televisions.  Now we have simply replaced Thanksgiving with… Continue Reading

FREE on KINDLE — THIS WEEK ONLY!

From Sun-Thurs, Oct 18-22, The Qaraq and the Maya Factor will be free on Kindle.  It’s the ebook version of Book Two of 1001, The Reincarnation Chronicles, the 11 book literary fantasy series. From the book description: What if your déjà vu lasted ten minutes? Involved ten neighbors? Linked to a 1001 lifetimes with this group? This… Continue Reading

Fabulous Fabulists

As always, I’m proud to be represented on The Visionary Fiction Alliance, this time with a guest post about the power of fable, both classic and modern.  I look at how fable relates to my new work The Qaraq and the Maya Factor.  Here’s an excerpt from “Fables, Italo Calvino, and Visionary Fiction.” “We know this… Continue Reading

1001, The Reincarnation Chronicles, and Magic Realism

This post is part of the Magic Realism Blog Hop.  Click the blue frog at the bottom to see a list of other mouth-watering articles!  Here’s my two bits: One Valentine’s Day, my wife gave me a sadistic gift.  She signed me up for Pitchapalooza, a book marketing workshop given by The Book Doctors at our… Continue Reading

When Ursula Dissed Kazuo: 8 Bits of Book Gossip

The novel is always changing.  Has always, will always.  But here’s 8 links to posts about current stuff going on that points to a radical departure from lit as we know it. 1) Kazuo Ishiguro’s new book, The Buried Giant, sparked a debate about the breakdown of genre literature, and the consequences of blurring or obliterating genre… Continue Reading

Time Travel is the New Space Travel

Well, Einstein messed everything up with the concept of spacetime, but it’s taken decades for the fictional consequences to take hold.  There’s been a paradigm shift in recent years, and not just in science fiction.  I believe we have moved from a fictional obsession with space travel to a new fascination with time travel. Granted,… Continue Reading

Magical Places, Then, Now, and Forever

I’ve been on blogging break over the holidays, especially enjoying a wonderful trip to Mexico.  It’s truly a magical place, with its brilliant colors, ubiquitous crafts, and misty mountainous towns like San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato.  New Year’s was full of buskers and fireworks, and meals were full of wonders like huevos divorciados, where… Continue Reading

Best of 2014 Qaraqbooks posts

If you’re just now following Qaraq Books, or have been a loyal fan and want to look back at a ‘novel’ year, here’s what I consider the best posts of 2014 (just click on the post title). If you’d like notifications of 2015 posts, plus book news, free stories, and promotions, please subscribe to my… Continue Reading