The novelist doesn't give answers.
The novelist asks questions.
That is what I do.
This is who I am.
My life is language.
My world stories.
My Grandfather fed the family, saying, "look what my stories grew." This is an approach to life. Stories maintain peoples, recording entire cultures.
I offer scope, not certainties.
"There is a price exacted from those who live in a place where they are rejected and openly hated by their neighbors: loss of confidence in one's identity and its corollary, the unending need for self-reinvention." (Banville on Kafka)
Do you chose life or honor?
That is the central question of the slave.
At some point each slave made that choice, they either made it themself, or they had it made for them.
Slavery is the primal act of submission.
The dishonor of slavery is not specific but generalized. It becomes a heritage we pass down. A legacy.
Slavery is the most immediate human expression of the inability to defend oneself or to secure one's livelihood.
Dishonor is not part of the "institution" itself, but a result of having no being, except as an expression of another (you exist, not because you are a person, but because you are property).
My work has always been concerned with unclaimed bodies, and the loss of kinship, with being an orphan, an adoptee, a slave, and having no relations, with being rejected or unrecognized, and having no place within a family or humanity within society.
Some say we can never know the lives of the nameless and their descendants, but we are related to them. We descend from them too. And daily, we face the same choice: life or honor.
Many say it is a universal belief that choosing life over honor betrays a degraded mind.
Yet, I agree with Molloy: "And I for my part have always preferred Slavery to death. I mean being put to death."
If you want to follow me, fund this project.
The substance of this project originates in my fundamental belief in original art and artists, and the essential connection between artists and audience.
I am not turning my back on audience. I believe in you. This Kickstarter moment is what creates this art. If I do not reach my funding goal I will not receive one dollar of anything pledged. This is an all or nothing program. I will not and cannot do this alone. I need you.
This is my philosophy, it is true and honest.
1. I will write a novel exploring the above themes. I keep a rigorous writing and reading schedule. You will be backing my writing at the most basic level. Everyone backing at the $25 or more level will receive a final copy of the novel in electronic form.
2. The visual artist, Niki Lee, will create 4 inch by 6 inch pieces of art, while reading the novel, while it is being written. These pieces will be sent to Coltrane backers (and above) as they are created. Each piece will be an original work of art. We will not mass produce images. We believe that you do not know a piece of work until you have lived with it. She will be making a relationship to the novel and we invite you to make a relationship with the art she then creates. These are Kickstarter Exclusives. These will not be available any where else, at any other time.
3. The visual artist, Niki Lee, will also create four (4) Artist Books, each with a cover, chapter illustrations and selected text. These books will not be mass produced. She will be working with me as I write, and the books will be hand delivered to Beckett funders, where I will also read from the novel itself. These are Kickstarter Exclusives. These will not be available any where else, at any other time.
Watch this project unfold.