For various reasons, I fell behind in sharing more from my latest chapbook of prose poems and flash fictions, Reasons (not) to Dance. As promised, here is the final installment of excerpts and artwork from the project.
This almost-cover image was inspired by the piece below, “Relinquished.” One of the memories that always comes up when revisiting this particular piece is one audience member’s reaction back in 2013. I was doing a reading for the Eugene Public Library’s Windfall Reading Series (run by the Lane Literary Guild) and performing excerpts from an early draft of Reasons. As the narrative developed, there was a gasp that reached me as the piece came to its conclusion:
after Lafcadio Hearn
A Buddhist priest – upon receiving a note of love from a woman who had seen him only in passing and could not think of anything else and now hoped for a response from his heart –wrote a letter himself saying that he relinquished his body for he was growing weak and did not want to sin and sent it to his superior before heading out in time to kneel between the rails as an oncoming train made its scheduled trail of smoke and sound in the night – leaving what was left of the man’s heart to be turned over and over in the sleepless thoughts of a woman.
This last image was inspired by the piece that closes Reasons, “Rewarded.” A side note: the story of the man and the tree retold in this piece is from a Zen Buddhist tale. Between the piece above and this one, one can read one of the underlying themes of the project, the worlds one experiences between restlessness and rest:
Showering under a low faucet, I see the sun begin to show at the window. The room fills with orange light, and I am like the man rewarded for his silence as he slept under an orange tree that dropped its blossoms over him in such a way he heard a voice thank him for his words on emptiness. When he spoke up, and said he had said nothing, the tree agreed, he had said nothing, and the tree had heard nothing, and the rush of blossoms poured on.
Reasons (not) to Dance is available from FutureCycle Press is available in paperback and Kindle here.
Thank you to all who have bought copies and have shared your thoughts on the project. Special thanks to Diane Kistner and everyone at FutureCycle Press for all the support with this project.
Thank you also to Blue Earth Review for publishing both “Relinquished” and “Look” (shared here) and placing them 2nd in Blue Earth Review’s 2014 Flash Fiction contest.
Lastly, a very special thanks to Andrea Schreiber (“my co-conspirator” to whom the chapbook is dedicated) for all the great artwork and support. It is her art displayed not only on the cover but also on the Reasons-related art/excerpts posts today and from this summer.
See you next Friday!