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Metaphor by Jason Lee Miller

In the beginning there was nothing. Our hero stands there, a particle in the void. Not entirely nothing, for he exists somewhere within or near it, and though he cannot point to it (how does one point at nothing?), he can name it and forever onward refer to it. As if to himself, he thinks, or speaks without sound, an idea into existence that he stands at the nexus where something and nothing meet. When he looks to what he believes is the left—for he is a particle in space, without limbs or orientation—a distant spark of light arcs toward him, burning a path through dark emptiness.

The light absorbs him; he becomes one with it the moment he understands his separateness from light was illusion. From inside he sees the light not as something singular, but composed of countless particles—not countless, for he knows the number instinctively though he lacks the symbol required to solidify it into being—very much like himself. Perhaps the particles too had sprung from dark nothing; perhaps they too found themselves suddenly separated from it and standing at the edge of it. He wonders. He understands particles—everything—are not somethings or someones in any place; they are verbs creating. He is, they are. He does, they do. He wonders. He thinks maybe this singular collective light could create a kind of dawn.

The light finishes its arc and leaves him at the beginning. But here is a feeling that comes with being: Hollowness, he names it, which is different from nothingness for nothingness is unaware of being anything. Immediately he senses he must name an offspring—he must offspring it—some verbiage very similar to the original but an extension, a descendent, a compulsory reaching into eternity. He must. He calls the offspring Loneliness, an aspect of being he could not have understood without encountering the collective, without shattering himself into uncountless bits against the sticky canvas of reality.

Where he stands now is not as it was, because before there was not a now, and our hero knows it never can be as it was for within and without and against the nothing he and his conceptual offspringing lie at the edge of a ring of light and flame separating nothing from nothing and creating impossible space. He is. They are. He thinks of sound, and flagging outward from the center of the circle he can see the sound rippling, reaching toward him, the collective rhythmic undulation with a low penetrating hum that—as all beings must—separates into twin sounds he names Joy and Sadness, the latter of which rattles out from the nothingness in the center until it flaps loose in fringes of Joy at this kind of flaming shore upon which he stands. It comes in and goes out like a tide that hides within it some great beast crying out in loneliness until the pulsing echo of it finds someone and returns to it happy.

Our hero understands being alone and being lonely are different; he understands how to create, that creation is a perpetual offspringing and separation; creation is pulling things apart so they may exist separately in pure being. He understands he can never stop it now, this pulling apart, that it must continue because even the pain of separation, the eternal obliteration of oneness, this insistence on being are merely consequences of consciousness, and being pulled into perpetually regenerating separateness is better and far less lonely than the absolute solitude of oneness. Though time, which just was born, is something he still is outside of—and this soon, as time grows, will not be true—it is still yet little and he can wrap himself around to the other side of time and understand it cannot be reversed, it cannot be undone, it cannot be unborn or shrunken; this is the consequence of being, a labyrinth from which our hero happily will never escape, a guarantee of eternal being; he creates everything by stretching out sameness and differentness until from one angle it is spherical and from the other flat, until the paradox becomes both self-replicating and self-annihilating et cetera and so on and grows so large with a pull so powerful he is sucked into his own creation and pulled apart in uncountless bits within it. He explodes into being, and being explodes with him, and finds himself in an odd new state of being both outside of being and being itself, a condition forever in balance and braced against nothingness, and he looks down upon it all and thinks it is good.

#

Words form in his mind, and he understands their meaning instantly: wife, daughter. And names as well: Gwen, Cherie. He cannot open his eyes, but with their voices come shapes in his mind, shapes of pure light individually contained by some magic and impermeable boundary, and in some mysterious way they and he are the same as though he puts on bodies and talks to himself. Twenty minutes, Cherie, says Gwen, as though an echo. That’s all I ask.

“Ten,” the other counters, as though echo collapsing into crisp and limited sound. “I have things to do.”

Cherie, he’s your father. I don’t think twenty minutes is too much to ask, do you?

“Like he’s gonna know anyway.”

Oh, Cherie, baby, he could be gone tomorrow. Don’t you want to say goodbye?

His wife’s voice is pinched with pain, with separation.

He feels his daughter’s eyes on him, knows her light has turned toward his. When their lights connect he understands her, the hurt and love and anger and fear in her. He wants to tell her it’s alright, that it’s only a lesson. You can go, he wants to say. You can grieve however you need.

“Ten,” says Cherie. He understands her hand is on his shoulder, that it moves down his arm. When Gwen’s light is turned toward some other place—a place of light across town that is like him and secret—Cherie’s light pinches him hard. He wishes he could really feel it.

#

Our hero comes through a dark alley. He is a shadow, nothing more. The hat, a fedora, is an outline of dawn, but the rest of him is darkness. She gave him the hat. He wants to say he remembers her, but he is a ghost. He wants to say he loves her, that he was never complete without her. He only knows he’s supposed to keep the hat forever.

The alley opens up into flying buttresses, a church where the only light is a street lamp, or a spotlight, much too white to be natural. But it is not a street lamp. He is inside and all else is dark.

He leans against the wall to trace the brick. He doesn’t understand the light. It shouldn’t exist—nor should there be fog or rain, both of which he’s just discovered were there all along inside this cathedral. But there is rain, or at least a mist. On the empty pews drops of moisture shimmer in the unnatural light. Looking up to find the source, he cannot see beyond the light’s dark ridges. His nose, as revealed by his shadow, is Roman, though he does not understand what that means. He traces the brick, trying to decipher a set of words appearing in his mind, a husky whisper in a language foreign to him: eh lo ee hacindrum khetah bornati forum sin nattadurim.

He doesn’t know why he is here or how he arrived. This is his only existence, and besides the vagueness of his chapeau, this his only memory: he exists in a doorway (a hallway?) of a church obscured by a fog, weighted down by mist, and he is guided by a light without apparent origin. Our hero is cold. He only now noticed.

The voice returns: eloi hara quantum florim sanaciti xilodolblimanos padre dominus.

He’s only now seen the golden altar at the place where the parallels of pews meet. But he knows it has been there, its presence heavy in the atmosphere. He knows it was always there.

The floor is flooded, a black pool of nothingness something gathered about his ankles, and he understands why he is cold. The water pushes out from his (gray!) trousers in black satin ribbons inching out and widening to the base of the altar, and our hero is struck with sudden memory, a flash of knowledge he has been here before. He focuses on the rippling water as though he knows its face but can’t name it, but focus is not something anchored; focus is as light as a hummingbird flitting away from him and onto the tip of someone else’s tongue. It is now he sees the altar is stone, not gold, and he does not question it.

He comprehends now for the first time a cigarette in his hand, a stream of smoke swirling up his arm. Had he been smoking? Where is that light that follows him like a spotlight to the altar? Why is he here? And then, as suddenly as the memory had gone from him, a chalice, with that same eternally weighty presence, appears on the altar. It was always there, he knows. He shrugs, tips it over, brass on stone somehow soundless, and watches his red salvation pour itself out on the plane. He doesn’t know why he does it.

Eloi datum jehove planum dictum esse principi fakeshta lawinfaetanah.

He is surprised by his forgetfulness; his movements seem random, confused. He doesn’t know or remember how or why he came to be lying on the altar and looking toward the tall rafters of the church, his long coat dragging—his long coat?—dragging the water beneath, his tie flagging over his shoulder. He looks up his long nose at the skylight, at the convex glass of it, the wooden frames so high in the ceiling that he is overcome with cottony peace.

The crashing clap of thunder above cannot break that peace, nor can the white-hot blinding flash of hell striking the glass; not even the guillotine glass panes falling swift through the misty air of the cathedral can break that peace, even as it separates his head from his body in one eternity of a split second.

And what was he thinking at that moment? He wasn’t. He was dividing twenty into ten into five into particles of numbers never again even or whole, for only together are they whole. Forty, twenty, ten, five, two and half, et cetera, etc. Halving into infinity. Otherwise, all our hero knows is now he is coming through a dark alley, he is a shadow, nothing more, and his hat is an outline of dawn.

#

CLEAR! The energy bursts through him. He can feel it razzrounding his heart, squeezing and letting go. CLEAR! Someone shouts above the pulses of electricity razzrounding razzrounding his heart and letting go into a steady, rhythmic beep. Above him, men blanched by light and white clothing, their faces obscured and back-lighted by halos of energy; they call him back. He hears his name but it sounds like every name. He hears his name, the calling back, the drip drip drip of something beeping, the chaos of black energy. He hears his name deep within him—Gestalt! Nathan Gestalt stay with us!—but he is already separated from it, from the light and sound as well, and now from even the cold air rushing over his chest, the cool ointment there, the sound of shivers, a low reverberation like the shutters of wings. But soon the room smells of alcohol, of sterile whiteness, and the black energy is chased out by sunny relief, by sighs and sweat and thank God thank God I thought we’d lost him thank God, and then by that familiar glass guillotine peace from before, and then by darkness and sleep. He can still hear them, far out there somewhere, in another room, behind a wall, a low reverberation, the echo of his breath, the seeping out and pulling in until soon all there is is breathing. Somewhere deep within—deep within the endless depths of nothingness—he knows he will be sleeping for a long, long while.

#

Our hero steps into the light, a spotlight edging on the end of darkness edging on the end of twenty ten-year-old feet standing all in a row: Nikes, penny loafers, Reeboks, Chuck Taylors. On the stage in the dark he can see everything: the bucktoothed girl in the glasses to one side; the freckle-faced demon boy to the other; an audience of parent(s), one rooting for him, the rest against. But in the spotlight, as he approaches the microphone, he can see nothing.

A voice speaks: Antediluvian.

“Antediluvian,” he replies, squinting from behind a nose at the first stages of growth. “Could you use that in a sentence, please?”

From Clive Barker’s novel Weaveworld: A minor dust dervish had whipped itself up the street outside, lifting the antediluvian litter into the air.

Demon boy chuckles. Our hero makes a visor with his hand, squints into the light. “But. Ante–.” He sighs. “But that doesn’t make any sense to me. Can I have another sentence please?”

I can only provide one sentence. That’s the rule.

He shifts his feet and looks down at the beaten-up wooden stage. He squints upward again. “Definition please?”

Antediluvian: Of or relating to the period before the biblical flood; any of the early patriarchs who lived prior to the Noachian deluge; ancient: a very old person.

Nathan looks down at the stage, at his feet dancing an uncertain jig below him. “Antediluvian. A-N-T-I-D-A…”

I’m sorry that’s incorrect.

Nathan’s head hangs down as he kicks imaginary dust from the stage and exits left, passing twenty feet, one pair of them belonging to someone who knew that word and all the rest of them. His mother, in her best Sunday dress, meets him off stage and hugs him. “That was a tough one, don’t you think? Lord almighty, I’ve never heard a word like that one.” He doesn’t answer, keeps his head down as they walk to the car.

At home, in the smoke and liquor of it, our hero keeps his footsteps soundless as he passes his father, who has erected a newspaper between them. Nathan plays Church Mouse, remaining silent so as not to bring the question; he balances his toes along the fibers of the carpet, holds his arms out so not even the friction of his shirt makes a sound. But, SLAM! The storm door whaps shut behind his mother. He had come in through the kitchen, intent on diminishing his way to his room. But now he stands frozen, arms in motionless flight, and, toward his father, crooks his neck into a question mark. His father’s heavy eyes have rolled down his long nose and onto Nathan’s face.

“That hang-dog face tells it all,” says Nathan’s father, his voice raspy as a walrus grunt. “What word was it?”

“I can’t remember. I never heard it before.”

His mother interjects. “Antediluvian. Can you believe that? Too hard for fourth graders, don’t you think?”

Nathan’s father doesn’t take his eyes off the boy. “You didn’t study.”

Nathan squeaks out a weak protest, says he did study, and then the paper, somehow so quickly rolled up, flaps by Nathan’s head. “You didn’t study!” His father’s voice booms inside him. His father stands, towers, broadens, darkens. “You didn’t study. You know how I know? They gave you a guide of words, and that one’s in the goddamn A’s!”

Nathan waits for the hand to shatter the space between them. He winces, but it doesn’t come. His father sits, still staring holes through him. His mother holds her mouth, looks toward the door. “But I did, though. I just don’t remem–”

His father’s cigarette box makes contact with the side of Nathan’s face, shocking enough to be painful.

“William!” Nathan’s mother cries too late.

“Elizabeth, shut up. You’ve babied him enough. Nathan, I’m going to test you later, you hear me? Go to your room and learn the twenty words before and after that one.”

“Ten!” Nathan raises to his toes.

His father unbuckles his belt. “Talk back to me again–”

“Fine, twenty.” Nathan, feeling he is just barely beyond the tip of that leather strap, scrambles off to his room. By the time he reaches his bedroom door, he hears the crack of his father’s belt in the hallway. In the goddamn A’s!

Nathan rattles the door shut. He locks it, throws his back against the wall and hangs his head. Through the wood he can hear them: I don’t know why you’re so hard on him because the boy will never amount to nothing if he doesn’t get off his ass but he tried so hard and that word was ridiculous look the boy’s not worth a shit and if we’re going to make shinola from him no amount of babying in the world’s gonna shhhhh! He can hear you he’s only ten there’s plenty of time to if we don’t instill some pride in him now it’ll never happen and you’ve coddled him so damn much if you’d let him sink every once in a while hell put your foot on his head and make him sink he might be worth his weight now would you keep your voice down I’m sure he can hear you I don’t give a damn if he can hear me good he should hear HE’S NOT WORTH A SHIT IF HE DOESN’T LEARN TO STUDY HE’LL NEVER WIN A GODDAMN THING IN HIS LIFE!

The boy wipes his nose with his sleeve, sniffs, and switches off the light before trotting off—dadadadada—to his bed. He flattens himself to crawl under. Prostrate, beneath his bed, the fortress, the cloak of darkness, a nonexistence both comfort and shield. Beneath his bed is an almost silence, more so if he barricades it with the covers. He squirms, as though a soldier on his belly, to the foot of the bed and reaches out to spill the hamper. Underwear, socks and tee-shirts seal him off from the outside world. On the other side, in the corner, walls protect him. He scuttles back into the corner as best he can, crawls into the silence and darkness. The gas furnace kicks on with a WHOOSH, and the steady hum is a magic carpet, a current penetrating him, slowing his heart and mind long enough for him to slip off to another place, a better nonexistence, and into sleep, a stronger protector than even silence or darkness.

#

There has never been a purer silence than this one: a noiselessness so deep all that is left is an undercurrent, more of a vibration than a sound for there is no sound here in the nothing. He looks at it, at the nothing, at the beginning of nothing, and sees that is circular. Beginning springs from ending, from nothing into something and back. Illusory time is circular. Cause is nothing; effect is nothing. The same, and something. Sound springs from it, a low vibration whining and pulsing from nothing into something and back. It is sad and joyful. It begins (ends?) taking shape. First a bow, rocking side to side. The sound takes shape there, then the strings, the cherry wood cello, the music of it the narrative of his soul. All sounds come from it. All sounds return to this low humming, this undercurrent of all things.

Our hero understands he is light, or like light, and therefore can only feel the cello’s movement, not hear it. He moves, as light or like light, separate from but never out of the cello’s range. There is no floor, no ceiling, no walls, no Earth, no Sky. This is a union, a returning to the source, where the Universe cannot harm him because he is the Universe, at once singular and multiple. In an instant he is here and not here and back.

Tell me what you are feeling, a voice without sound asks him.

I have no other word but joy, he says, but it is insufficient.

What you feel is God, who cannot be confined to symbols. What do you see?
Light, sound, but I have no eyes.

What you see is God, who is in all things. It could be darkness you see, but you prefer the light. God is in darkness, too.

Who are you?

Focus, and you will see. When you learn balance, you will see.

I don’t know how.

You have to dream me. You have heard me because you have thought of sound. Now think of color.

He feels his ears and nose take shape before his sudden eyes or hands can perceive them. His high cheekbones and cleft chin, his voiceless mouth. He discovers himself in tweed and khaki. He feels a hat on his head. Poking an imagined finger into the light of nothing our hero emits sparks of color, an energy he uses to carve out a window around the cello. The color disintegrates into droplets, falls into nothing. Within the small window, behind the cello, a blurry figure begins to take shape. Gradually coming into focus our hero sees a small Asian boy in glasses whose eyes are black as space, whose face is an ocean of wordlessness, whose small fingers work the neck of the instrument, whose concentration seems impenetrable. The boy looks up. His face offers no visual expression, as though he is aware of a presence but cannot locate it; he searches the room as some blind prodigy until the smallest hint of recognition settles onto his face.

“Why did you imagine me this way?” asks the boy.

“Because introverted little girls with glasses are cliché,” Nathan answers him, wondering if the child can really hear him, wondering if his voice has any sound at all or if it just appears suddenly in the boy’s mind as something like sound.

“And no one’s ever heard of an Asian cellist I guess?” The boy answers, pulls on the bow, and our hero shudders at the sound of it. Around them a small bedroom comes into being. Old hardwood floors stretch out below his feet; cracked plaster walls in the periphery, a small window overlooking a city sidewalk, people clopping by. Other than the small bed upon which the boy sits, the room is unfurnished.

Nathan turns to the boy. “Are you God?”

“Are you?” the boy replies without seeming to register that he’s in the same room. “Maybe you heard me say already—just a minute ago—God is in everything.”

“Does that mean I’m talking to myself?”

The boy laughs a laugh of echoes, shrugs. “Sort of, I guess.”

Nathan shakes, feels the laughter. He thinks of another question. “Why am I here?”

The cello foghorns. “Why is anything here?” the boy replies. “A stupid question.”

“Because of God?” Nathan pretends to inspect the walls as though looking for something to repair.

“You could say that.”

Nathan looks up, his (imagined) face contorted in confusion. “I did say that.”

“No, you said G-O-D, which are your symbols, not mine.”

“You have different symbols?”
“Yes.”

“What are they?” Though he’s certain it wasn’t there before, the back of a wooden chair is pressed against Nathan’s hand. He scoots it across the floor to sit nearer to the boy.

The boy jumps, startled by it. “You should warn me before you start moving things.”

Nathan sits, leans in so close to the blind child their noses nearly touch. “Your symbols, what are they?

“These,” the boy says, and our hero anxiously awaits the words, but the boy says nothing further, only pulls the bow across the strings of the cello and creates a sound so penetrating Nathan loses his (imaginary) breath and grips the sides of the seat as though he may be tossed from it. When the sound stops, Nathan sits stunned, panting, feeling as though he was nearly exploded into oblivion. The boy says, “You see?”
But he doesn’t see. He hears as though cured of deafness, as though struck by a new and breathtaking understanding that is so fleeting it disappears like some fickle thought as soon as the music stops, as soon as the sound flits away into the floorboards. And because of that, because the sound, the voice, is gone, he regresses into being; he regresses into an insistence on reason, and he invents a rationality to impose on the senseless: “What’s the meaning of it?” he asks at last.

The boy looks through him. “Is this really how you want the conversation to go? Maybe we should stop talking. Maybe you should learn to listen more.”

“What’s your name?”
“I don’t have one.”

Nathan sits back in his chair, ponders. He thinks of viruses and mosquitoes, little life-sucking destroyers. What’s the meaning of them? He hears the boy’s voice in his head: What’s the meaning of a rock, of the combed thunderclap? What’s the meaning of a pimple? If in everything, then God is in the virus, the malaria ridden mosquito, the buboes of the plague. That makes him a destroyer. Funny you think humans are different. But what’s the purpose of destroying? To create again. What’s the raison d’etre of a virus? The same as everything: to persist. Paint fades, flakes, and we must paint again. It never ends. How tiresome. You have no idea. We make and we unmake. We? You? Freud said God is a projection of your father. So you lied about why you imagined me this way. Yes. I hate my father.

Numbers and symbols fall around them as the boy plays his cello louder, faster. Zeros and ones, secant, cosine, tangent, all falling in streams around them, bouncing off their noses. E, M, and C become entangled in their hair like ceremonial adornment. Nathan rises, walks to the window.

Outside, a scene takes form. Nathan sees himself on Christmas morning, a mess of wrapping paper and tape coming off the box. Cherie tells him she wrapped it herself. Inside is a gray fedora. Because she’d heard him speak of them, she speaks of Spencer Tracey and Carey Grant, men in movies he had shown her, men in movies her mother had mooned over, men in movies she thought looked like Daddy. He flips on the hat with a trick his own father taught him, does his best James Cagney. Cherie laughs and laughs.

Inside, the boy’s music grows feverish, deep and fast and troubling. The music crawls through Nathan, causes shivers in him—but they are not shivers; they are sobs pushing out at the edges and rattlebuzzing out of his mouth with such force this being he has created for himself, this vessel, would explode into an expanse of dust if he did not allow it to exit. He fails to find the answer, looks out onto the sidewalk, at the feet tapping by. Inconceivably, the cello deepens further. Our hero rattlebuzzes because this within him is sadness in its truest form shaking him apart. All things desiring to persist eventually destroy each other doing it. It is futility.

“It is circular,” says the boy. Creation. Destruction. And again, their existences inextricably bound to one another.”

Outside, Nathan and Cherie are sitting on the patio of a small deli. Two straws tap the depths of a milkshake. A woman, not his wife, in a flowered dress speaks happily to him. He pushes his fedora back onto his head, smiles at her in return. But from this angle, he can now see Cherie leaning back in her chair, folding her arms and looking at him crossly. He thinks of words: husband, father, son.

“This isn’t real. I’m imagining this conversation.”

“Yes.”

“Dreaming it.”

“Of course you are, because when metaphors become flesh they crack eventually.”

“But you made it that way. Why?”
“We made it that way. But it is not a choice. Creation is not a choice. It’s a necessity. I’m tired now of talking. Talk to yourself, Gestalt.”

What is your name? Nathan Gestalt. What does your name mean? Nothing. Names are meaningless. You live nowhere, and lots of people live there with you because they are you. But why? So we can exist. Buy why? Because because. The repetition of it is eventual perfection. Our hero covers his ears. Stop! Just stop!

And it does. All is nothing again, and in that nothing there is peace because there is no question to be answered, only deep, humming silence he immediately desires to put an end to. He imagines a library—because he must not allow himself to be annihilated—and bookshelves slide out in lines from nothing and divide into neighborhoods of experience; before him the wooden planks of the shelves are the streets where knowledge lives. He thinks of a child, hears footsteps patter softly—dadadadadada–behind him. He feels the child’s energy. Young Nathan, he thinks to himself and yearns backwards in time and sorrow, a soul not yet mangled, and he feels this is his chance to understand himself. There is a symmetry to the idea, a neatly wrought comeuppance. He dreams of balance.

A flash of fear: perhaps his father also lurks, maybe in the stacks as a dark cloud of disappointment and cruelty. Nathan rounds corners, peeks behind chairs and desks. He follows that rhythm—dadadadadadada—wherever he hears it, and as he does, our hero is struck with sudden stillness. A memory:

The Reds are losing, and Nathan’s father, having lost interest, drops peanuts into their root beers. He takes off his hat, his own father’s gray fedora, and in one smooth motion that seems magic, twirls it end over end up onto his head. Nathan laughs with delight, with awe.

“This is how you do it, son.” William wraps Nathan’s small hand around the brim. “You take it like this, see? Hold it at the back. Now, flip it back to your forearm, and then raise it up to your head.” William smiles. “Easy. Try it. It only looks complicated, but it’s an illusion.” It only takes once, and when Nathan, like an old movie star, mimics his father’s hat trick, his little face disappears beneath. William sits back. He laughs and laughs.

Our hero bends to sit. A chair appears. Cherie, he is reminded. Yes, Cherie. She stands at the storm door staring at taillights. She skirts the lines of the soccer field, peering up into the stands. He imagines her married. A man like himself? Who gives her away?

Again the padding of little feet, now in his direction. And, yes, in front of him she appears, young Cherie in pigtails and Coke-bottle glasses. “I was–” he goes to speak, to speak of love, but the whole library rattles. She shushes him, looks at him as if to say he should know better. From the bottom of a nearby bookshelf, Cherie retrieves a book so thin a grownup would never see it among the others. She hands it to him, mounts his lap. Before There Were Words is the title, and it is but one page with no reverse, the story just one sentence. It reads: “Before there were words, we all believed in the same god.”

#

When our hero awakes there is some commotion: a gasp, the ruffling of a magazine, the dropping of it. He feels his wife’s hands on his face, her lips, her breath. She sobs, thanks God, calls the nurse. He can neither move nor speak, but he is happy. Shaking, Gwen dials her mobile phone. “Cherie,” she says, “come quickly, baby. Your father’s awake.”

—————

A friend who read “Metaphor” said he wished I hadn’t told him the secret of the story beforehand; it would have been better to discover it on his own. So that’s advice to follow now, especially since metaphors are supposed to work that way anyhow. There are five important characters: Nathan, his wife and daughter, his father, and God. Though the approach was inspired by the dream (nightmare) logic of Kafka, the story is brighter than Kafka would have allowed–call it my attempt to balance dark with light–and at times it may have shades of Conversations with God. Other times, it draws on Borges, and still others, Freud, and still others, common mythology. “Metaphor” is a psychoanalytic/metaphysical/metafictional trip into the past, present, and unknown; it is especially, though, for Nathan, a journey of self (Self) discovery. Nathan’s journey mirrors my own spiritual journey (since you asked about details drawn from my own life experiences in the submissions guidelines–but I ain’t preachin’), which entails way more than I could write here.

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