Special Announcement.

In honor of National Science Fiction Day (which takes place on birthday of Isaac Asimov), I am proud to announce my second venture in novel-writing.

My second novel is called Lady On The Moon, and focuses on the experiences of Ella Leveret, whose husband, Charlie, changes their lives forever with a leap into the unknown.

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The concept is based on musings I had with my friend Jenn Rudel, who I’ve known for almost ten years and who is involved with makeup artistry. The story has grown into something quite unique and has the support of the team I work with at Chormeri Books.

Jenn and I (along with Chikodili and Hannah at Chormeri) are looking forward to developing this story over these coming months. I promise to keep you updated on the process and the future of its release.

Thank you for your support,

Erik Parshall

Follow Chormeri Books on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow me on Twitter for updates on the novel.

On Death

Death is nothing new to me, although this year has presented to me the cold truth about the entire concept. It is strange, isn’t it, to view death as a concept? But it is one, while also being a fact of life. Some may roll their eyes and say that death is not a part of life, but I believe it is, for it is through life that we witness and come to understand death.

Only one thing can be compared with death, and that is life.

We have the ability to reflect on the deaths of others. It is a gift to be alive, but, at times, the ability of sentience seems to be a curse, especially in the face of news regarding the slaughtering of hundreds, and the quiet slipping aways of those we have deemed worthy of the crown of celebrity.

I write this on the day of my reflection on the death of Carrie Fisher. While I have seen her in a limited number of films, I understand that she inhabited a spirit of varying mediums. On the day of her death, I became aware of her place in the literary community. Her work has been described, albeit in this case briefly, as a voice in the genre of memoir, self-deprecation, and writing on mental illness. While I knew of her experiences with bipolar disorder and use of drugs, I did not know to what extent she had expressed knowledge of these subjects.

It amazed and interested me, in the hours following the news of her death, that there were but a few posts about Ms. Fisher’s involvement in the conversation about mental illness in the midst of hundreds of articles about her place in the canon of Star Wars. The posts about her personal work came later. That, of course, is not a problem, per se. The concept of celebrity is an interesting one. How does one effectively honor anyone, for that matter? Is it possible to understand every action of a person you, most likely, have never met? How well do you know those that you have?

On a different note, a more critical one, the concept and ensuing conversation of mental illness is one that takes precedence in niche forms of expression. To the general public, it is still something to be hidden. We see it everywhere, but are truly unaware of its manifestations, its causes, and effects.

It is difficult to imagine a world where ignorance is more revealing than knowledge. It is not easy to admit that we, in our nature, are not knowledgeable about everything.

Death has touched the lives of those I know, those I will never meet, and those I do not yet know. Earlier this year, a group of people I knew mainly in high school lost a close friend. Her name was Amy. I, along with a friend and several others close to her, attended her wake. Numbed – perhaps from anxiety, or from the sheer vividness -, I witnessed the grief of those I had once known to be nearly entirely happy. In high school, the good outperformed the bad, even its darkest manifestations. Amy’s death was one that affected me wholeheartedly. Perhaps it is was witnessing the reactions of those I knew were close to her. Perhaps it was seeing her once in life and once more, in person, in death. I was touched by the testimonial confessions which arose from those who came to honor her. I pray for their strength and respect their resolve, their posterity.

The shooting in Orlando left a dark impression on my heart. I probably will never view certain things the same way again. I do not have the stomach to envision the horrors of that night too much. It brings to mind all of the horrors of the past 20 years – the years my generation were born to witness. I have vague memories of 9/11. I have memories of reacting to the various shootings and attacks that have occurred throughout our country, and in many others. The number of souls gathered this year was tremendous.

I have become more aware than ever about death itself, as a concept… or perhaps as a fact. I do not believe we are properly trained to deal with death, or to talk about it, and I view the grieving process as a beautiful, mysterious thing.

This year has made me thankful for all I have and for all of the lives of which I am a part. I do my best to take none of it for granted, for I see how delicate life is, and how easily the path of life is ended.

Be thankful, not just on holidays, for all of the gifts of life. But also, even in these times, be thankful for the knowledge of death. It has humbled me and allowed me to see through different eyes.

I am saddened by the losses experienced by all. However, this is not the end.

Happy, almost, New Year.

Erik Parshall

“Tug”

Look at you,
Both of you,
Holding onto both my arms,
And pulling,
Absentmindedly,
Without thought
Of causing harm.
But look at me,
Just look at me –
Look at all I’ve done,
(And all I feel).
Why is it only you
Who have emotions
That are real?
Like tug of war
You play my heart,
And warp the mind
I’ve worked to make.
So, if you will just
Let me breathe,
Let me decide,
Time after time,
The happier
We all shall be.

‘Bait’

When I see you,
I fear for you,
Bait on the line,
At the end of their hook.
I watch you try
To get away
But they
Always catch you.
And sometimes you tell me that you like it,
But I know when you lie,
For how unlike you it is,
To be alright
With no say
In your control.

So let’s remove them,
Send them back to the water.
Perhaps then they’ll respect you,
And see you as their daughter.

But monsters hide in the woodwork
In the trees and the walls,
With blood and bones,
And I wonder at it all,
Are we safer when we sleep alone?

I can’t and don’t want to hear anymore,
No tones.

A few words on…’The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy [primarily spoiler free]

I picked up The Road several years ago but did not fully start it until about a week ago. When I first read it, I do not think I was prepared for what lay in its pages. It is not an entirely threatening volume, reaching its finale at a point slightly below 300 pages. Upon finishing this book, however, I understand that I am at a time in my life when this book could mean a lot to me. And it has.

Halfway through the novel, I stood at the back window, watching the rain fall down, the sky grey just as it is in the book, and a shiver passed through me at the realization that the real world could be this dark forever. Perhaps it will, one day. Books appears along the journey taken by father and son in the novel, sodden and destroyed, unlike that which I held in my hand. Homes are destroyed, towns enveloped in shadow and ash, and yet this leftover family ventures on toward the unknown.

To be honest, I felt that the unknown was almost a character. In the midst of failure, impending violence, and seemingly inescapable doom, The Road is lit by the intensity of the will to survive. The barren wasteland, tempestuous weather patterns, blankets, and a shopping cart also take certain precedence in character more so than the living creatures at work in the novel, save The Man and The Boy. Ambiguity is the charm of this book. Without names of human beings and locations, the reader feels, at times, at one with the loss experienced by the main characters.

I think of the survival skills presented in the novel: the constant scavenging of wasted landscapes, searching for sustenance in any form. In the face of the darkening world, The Man and The Boy fight the influence of madness, which in physical form, in their world at least, is the act of cannibalism. A system is developed and enacted by the desperate and desolate. It is perhaps the most harrowing part of the book, or any book, truly.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly primarily because it offers a glimpse into a possible not-so-distant future, and delves as deep as possible into the heart of pure survival. At the front of the novel, on the copyright page, the subject categories include, ‘Fathers and sons,’ ‘Voyages and travel,’ and ‘Regression (Civilization).’

While the world has been destroyed, a certain fire keeps The Man and The Boy on their feet, on their toes, and in each other’s hearts. When betrayal comes from every direction, their bond is true until the final page.

I would recommend this book to nearly everyone, especially those I know to be interested in society as a whole, who look at the issues we face on a daily basis and dream of better times. This novel is very dark in context and fictional aesthetic, but the emphasis on survival, for the continuation and sustaining of life, allows for introspection and understanding of the world of yesterday, today, and seemingly endless tomorrows.

(Above art designed by Max Hancock)

There Is Something (an imaginative poem)

There is something,
Out There
Watching me.
I’m afraid.
I am not going to run –
For what would that do? –

(it could find me anywhere)
– But I won’t lie,
I feel that I should.

 

Note: I wanted to publish this post when the leaves had changed, closer to Halloween, but thought that there could probably horrors in the trees right now. Can it be autumn already?

‘In The Autumn’

In the autumn of my life,
Whenever that is,
I wonder how long it will take
For me to stumble
Into winter.
It will not be like spring,
When cut and bruise
Were painfully minute;
When I wanted more,
More active aggression,
Play, I regained composure.
I remember afternoons
Leaves around me,
Almost unaware
That Earth was changing.
I think of our history,
As friends,
As enemies
By choice,
As companions
On a long road.
The leaves on the trees
That line this road
Are golden, burnt
Into my eyes,
Devouring my cries
Of play, of fear
Of everything here
In this autumn,
This decay,
Of mine.