Contemporary Creative Nonfiction Speculative

    “You’re telling me if you had one book to take with into the unknown, with no chance of returning, no chance of ever having the opportunity to chose another book, you’d choose a book no body has ever heard of, let alone read… Horseradish?”

     “You, I know, have read extensively, have a background in literature, and know all about the innerworkings of what a book is, what it is supposed to do, and what it does. I don’t know anything about any of those things, but I do know that the purpose of any art is to connect a feeling you have to that of another individual or purpose, and have it understood. Horseradish does that for me, sorry.”

     “There is nothing to be sorry about. I’ve known books like that, not that book, but ones like it. I know how a story comes together and what is expected of it for it to connect as you say, with another individual. I know what to do, what has and when it has to be done, but I can’t do it. Believe me I’ve tried. It is why I came here to this…not even sure what this is, but the idea was to find a medium, a muse, something, and someone to show me how to make that connection that causes someone to want to carry my words into the place of no return. 

    Can you tell me what it is about the book that you find binds you to a life you have, and will keep you connected as you wander into the unknown. I would like to know. I have to know. I would give anything to know.

    It isn’t just talent. The shelves of libraries, bedrooms, dens, garages, basements, are filled with books that if they disappeared forever, would never be missed, let alone remembered. What you are describing-that thing.  I sometimes feel I’d give everything I own, my life, to be told by someone that I gave them something that tethered them to love, happiness, people, the environment, our entire world. Do you even know what it is? Can you put your finger on it, put it into words, scratch it onto your soul with a pair of rusty scissors. Have you tried?”

    She is very centered, directed, driven, emotional, and a dozen other words I could chose, but I couldn’t describe the passion she has for something that doesn’t exist until you recognize it. I have no idea what it is, whether it can be something taught or learned. I do know that once you recognize the connection you will never let it go, no matter the cost.

    “You are correct. There is no shortage of talent. Talent however is a mixed bag of elements whose success depends upon popularity, finding a pulse that translates to interpreting what the populace is tuned into at the moment. There are no end of people skilled in editing, cover design, and marketing, but regardless of the expertise enabling a book to come to fruition, it is the connection that keeps those printed ideas and ideals on the shelves. In many cases the content has less to do with acceptance than how it is presented, and what you are told it will provide for you in the way of comfort, or discomfort.

     Books have the ability to transform us physically as well as philosophically, because we are in search of a place that makes us comfortable with our own preconceived notions or challenge us to include differing opinions that can expand out horizons. It all comes down to what we are receptive to. Are we willing to leave our comfort zone, or remain content to have our outlook on life validated. 

    So, it all comes down to connecting with others either where they are at emotionally, or those that wish to be drawn from their current stability, and exposed to an unstable environment that provides an opportunity to grow and change.”

    “Would you recommend Horseradish to me? Is it the kind of book that allows me to find comfort, agrees with my sentiments on the human condition, or would it pull me from my comatose state of assurance that allows me to remain free of the chaos we live in. You know me better than most.”

    “When or if I make a recommendation, I do so knowing that I am explaining to you the way I interpreted the message based on my experience and ability, in welcoming ideas that either confirm or challenge my view of the world and the human condition. It is in fact giving you a snap shot of some of what I believe, how I feel.  Recommending a book is basically recommending a part of  myself based on my perception of how things should be or are.

    Let me give you an example. I have over the past years spent time in areas of the country impacted my natural disasters. Disasters are more prevalent in areas that are prone to destruction due to the economic viability of an area, affordability. These neighborhoods are primarily occupied by immigrant populations, people of color, those who live from day to day, low income, poverty being the theme of the day. Their present and future are one and the same. When they lose today they have also lost tomorrow and the day after, they cannot and do not differentiate because they have no way to compare what they have to what they can’t envision.

    When you go into an area that has been destroyed, you see immediately that most of the barricades to assimilation, whether it be because of skin color or basic needs, come down, but only temporarily. It opens the door to another world that we might not know exists. It gives us a look into the spirits of people, not just their human physical and emotional condition.

    You forget about the fact you have come from a different environment surrounded by different people, and immerse yourself in lives that you not only become a participant in, but a part of. You cannot remain any longer aloof as you are no longer sitting comfortably on your couch watching people who you may have some empathy for, until the next news segment. 

    Those connections can only be either experienced in person, or by someone who can transplant you to their plight by their ability to connect their experience to yours. You have to have the willingness to appreciate, if not accept the imparted emotional and physical experience of the narrator. So for me to recommend a book is me allowing you to look into my crystal ball, and hope you can make a connection with your old uncle George.”

    “OK, so you would recommend Horseradish, if I needed a book to take into the vastness of eternity?”            

April 16, 2022 16:18

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