Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Roadkill Cafe

The fourth chapter in Monorama is "Roadkill Cafe," something of a grim little fable.

It involves roadkill, as the title implies, but not in any gruesome terms (as is typical, I allow the reader to picture their appropriate level of imagery and get on with the rest of the story).  Directly inspired by seeing actual roadkill (one of my personal quirks is that I walk everywhere, so this was on slightly more intimate terms than as a motorist will experience such things), this is a tale that explores the animal kingdom and its relationship to humanity.

As it happens, in this story animals are fairly sanguine about it.  It's the pets who experience the melancholy.  "Roadkill Cafe" is not really about roadkill, but about pets, and how their lives are anything but entirely carefree.  We've been conditioned in recent years through a series of heartwarming books to think only of the best possible outcomes and nostalgic memories for our pets, yet we don't often consider that these are in fact living creatures who do not define themselves by their relationships with humans.  They do not experience the world the same way we do, but that does not mean we should assume that their devotion to us is the only way to explain their lives.

The roadkill are the leads in the story, as well as a human who has stumbled into the ability to understand their thoughts, but most of it is eavesdropping on the secret pains and regrets, the inner resolve of cats and dogs, even a little of what we project on a supposedly blank canvas (which is much of what the story is itself, and the only sure thing we'll ever know).

It's not the first time I've tried to pierce the veil between these particular worlds.  The fifth chapter, the novella "Leopold's Concentration," is the same story in an earlier iteration, more whimsical, far more traditional in structure (hopefully anyone who's still skeptical about my mainstream abilities at this point in the collection can start to breathe a sigh of relief).  "Roadkill Cafe" is purposefully minimalist, even moreso than "Lost Books of Tomorrow" or "Back from the Dead."  If you're looking for everything to be explained, this one is an indication that one of my themes as a writer is to say, that will not always be possible.

9 comments:

  1. Ah, it did seem Roadkill and Leopold were very similar. Now I know why.

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    1. Indeed you do. My sister keeps pestering me to write about her beloved cat Boo (whom I also adore). That was basically the genesis for "Roadkill Cafe." I only reminded myself how central she also was to "Leopold's Concentration" when I made the decision to include it in Monorama.

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  2. Sounds like a great story premise. I see you have paperbacks, but no digital editions. Is that right?

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    1. Exactly, each of the books I have available have Kindle editions.

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    2. Shows what I know - I followed the links on your sidebar and was sent to the paper versions. I freaked out.

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    3. The Monorama Kindle Edition link speaks for itself. The other two books have Kindle listings on the pages provided.

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  3. Inspired by roadkill. What a great idea.

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    1. I figured it was more fruitful than being horrified. But there was some of that, too.

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