My story, The Interstellar Trilogy.
I had a UFO experience when I was a young man. I am not now sure exactly how old I was when it happened but I know that I was certainly more than 16 years old but probably no older than 20. In my book The Interstellar Incident, I describe the encounter in detail under the heading of My Story, which is located near the end of the first part of that manuscript.
For nearly an hour one dark night I was terrorized as I played a game of cat and mouse with whatever or whoever that thing was. When the new day dawned following that incident I shared my experience with friends and others that I held a great deal of respect for at the time. They summarily ridiculed me and caused me to feel very foolish about it all. They supposed I had been hallucinating or simply had made the whole thing up.
As the years went on I too began to feel foolish about what had happened, but not because of the disbelief or ridicule I had received from my young friends. I reasoned with myself that whatever or whoever had presented itself to me that night was interested in me for some reason. I felt foolish because I did not reciprocate and show interest toward them in return. Instead, I ran away as fast as I could.
The more I thought about it the more I wondered how I might do things differently if that ever happens again in my life. Would I have the courage to face the unknown and welcome the alien force into my life? Would I be able to communicate with them and have the presence of mind to act intelligently?
From there my thoughts often went to the questions I would ask if given the opportunity to talk to them. What would you ask an alien if you had the chance to speak to one? By that time in my life I was familiar with the Barney and Betty Hill story as outlined in their book The Interrupted Journey. I knew the kinds of things they had detailed under hypnosis and I would often fantasize about that when I thought of what I would do if I am ever again granted another close encounter with a UFO.
I wondered if they would show me the star map they had shown Betty Hill. Would they let me see the book that they had given to her but then would not let her keep? I wonder what that book had in it or what it looked like? In fact I was fascinated by the prospects of a very advanced alien life form having anything as antiquated as a printed book in the first place. It would seem to me that some form of digital or other advanced data storage medium would prove much more appropriate than simple and primitive ink on paper. That whole question is in fact the one glitch in that story that has always bothered me.
And then my mind would drift away from such trivialities. As I thought about it I quickly concluded that instead of books or maps I would inquire about their machinery instead. I would ask about the basic propulsion source that would allow them to travel across great distances of space. I would ask them about the limitations imposed by the theory of relativity, which suggests that one cannot physically approach the speed of light. And then I would ask them to explain to me, if they could, just how they are able to transverse such great distances which earth scientists calculate can only be expressed in many thousands of years traveling at the speed of light.
I don't know how many of those questions they could answer. Nor do I know if they would even try to answer any of them. But I have concluded that upon my next encounter, if ever I have one before I die, those are the kinds of questions I am going to ask. If they want to show me that map then great, I would love to see it. But I don't want that book. I only want to know why they have it in the first place. I want to ask them if they know about a device we have invented called a USB thumb drive which doesn't require ink and paper in order to record large volumes of printed data?
My life has been relegated to a position outside of the center of cultural and physical humanity. What I see is not what is seen by the average individual walking down the street at any given time. That peculiarity of vision and understanding transcends cultural boundaries as well as age and other demographics. In point of fact, what I observe is often so outside of the cultural mainstream that I might just as well be talking to an alien as to no one at all.
Thus, the vehicle for The Interstellar Incident was born. Of course, the book is a satirical allegory. It is not about space aliens at all. I have long concluded that there is no such of a thing as a homosexual agenda. I have further concluded that there is a very definite heterosexual agenda even as many heterosexual are completely unaware of that. That agenda is to have many babies, and the proof that such an agenda does indeed exists can be observed in the ever expanding earth population numbers. That alone is what my book is really all about.
But how does one go about saying such a thing? It flies in the face of politically correct dialog to bluntly suggest that couples quit making so many babies. It feeds right into the homophobic cries of persecution screamed by the many who oppose same-gender relationships in any form whatsoever. They say when I ask for the same rights of marriage and cohabitation that they take for granted that I am trying to strip them of their basic rights. If I go on and suggest they stop having so many babies, I only re-enforce their contention that I am somehow out to get them.
If I had simply filled up 100 pages of straightforward dialog outlining my feelings I feel it would have fallen far short of the intent I had for my book. I wanted people to think. I wanted people to observe. If it was at all possible I wanted people, for just an instant, to see a little bit of what I see from my perspective on the outer fringes of everyday life on the planet earth.
That is why I chose the vehicle I chose. I wanted simply to introduce the subject for discussion and to show those parts of the obviously misguided arguments that have been leveled against me and others who are in same-gendered relationships. There was so much potential for discussion once I had created the vehicle that I had to carefully choose my themes so my creation didn't become unmanageable.
I finally pointed the allegory toward some of the most pervasive discrimination that many of us are forced to tolerate every day of our lives. My objective became to cameo the homophobia that dominates much of the traditional religions of the world and if I could, show the effects of that homophobia on the innocent gay community. Many people have spoken of those conditions in simple, everyday terms. But I felt that it was necessary to paint a picture with words so that people might, if possible, see the absurdities associated with their ancient contentions and beliefs.
I know that any large painted canvas is created by the many strokes of a small brush. I therefore broke my subject up into a series of short stories each of which represents a small portion of the much larger picture. After having gathered together those pieces which form the basis of my message, which was simply an attempt to describe why I believe individuals act as they do, I wrote to bring it all together in part two of the book.
After the book was finally published I was excited as a few copies began to sell. No, to date I have not sold enough to register a profit but at that copies were going out and what is more I knew some of the people who were buying them. I had invested a great deal of my creative energy into carefully crafting the allegorical content of my novel. And in that regard I was soon very disappointed.
I had named the country of Iran in the book as Uwalk. Similarly Iraq was named Ushelf. Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, I named Survivorgirlcano, Uganda, I named as Mestayduh. The descriptions leading up to these various names all spoke of the tragic, historic acts of homophobia that have actually occurred in each of those places. I further added dialog that described in very simple English how I had encrypted those names.
I thought that the descriptions together with the names were pretty straightforward and easy to understand. It seems that so far I was mistaken. No one I have spoken to so far has concluded that any of the names were anything more than made up bits of gibberish which I included as a way of creating a name for a fictitious place located on an alien planet.
In many Christian cultures there is a belief that persons who are possessed by a devil can be exorcised, a process by which the devil is forced out of the possessed individual. Thus, I had a Galdarnian, who was believed to be possessed by the devil of homosexuality, forcibly exercised. I thought the use of the similar words for the same function was entertaining, amusing and provocative. That too flew right over the heads of my readers.
Did I expect too much of them? Or was I simply being way too introspective? Perhaps it just isn't possible for someone who has never walked on the outer fringes to understand what is seen from that perspective.
When the churches on Galdarnet began to collapse, a scientific analysis of the problem soon revealed that a peculiar insect was eating away at the mortar that held the building stones together. I describe that insect as a hairy tick and I relate that the ticks arrived in the church clinging to the backs of singing rats. Does anyone reading this recall the name of the German Cardinal who has since become the current Pope of the Catholic Church? I think the words zinger and singer sound very similar, don't you?
Even today some have no idea what I could have possibly been talking about. I should have produced a point and click video instead. Better yet, I should have been talking to an alien aboard a UFO.
I do not blame anyone for not reading what I write. But I will no longer apologize to anyone for what I have written. My words are my art. It is my canvas and if it is a thousand years or never before anyone ever figures it out, so be it. My art wells up from deep inside of me and I can only attempt to share it. After that all bets are off.
This time when I began the self-publishing process I spent a little more time establishing my publication base. By the time the manuscript was ready for print I had studied the Amazon Kindle self-publishing platform and I knew I could offer the book both as a paperback "Print On Demand" publication as well as an electronic book. As I furthered my research, I discovered the site Smashwords. They provide a free, digital self-publishing platform as well, and they deliver the product for many different electronic media.
Most digital publishers encourage authors to give away a portion of their work as an incentive to get potential buyers to buy the book. I too agreed with this concept and have authorized that the first 35% of the book be given away for free to anyone who wants to read it. The idea is that if someone gets that far into the book they will want to finish it and will buy a copy.
I have not ceased to be amazed when I see that almost every time I have checked the Smashwords site a few more copies have been downloaded for free. I would think that, given the number of copies that have been downloaded, I would have generated a few more sales by now. But here again I continue to be disappointed in that department.
For those of you who are reading this and who might be considering writing and self-publishing your work I want to admonish you about my approach. When I began this blog I said I would tell it like it is. I am describing what has happened to me during my years of writing and self- publishing. And I must add to all of this that what has happened to me so far does not portend with certainty what will happen tomorrow.
Lesbian Nuns Breaking Silence was unknown until a radio announcer picked up the title and it exploded. When I was a teenage boy I recall singing along with Glen Campbell to the tune Gentle On My Mind. Campbell was signed onto Columbia records in those years but they were on the verge of dropping him when he recorded that John Hartford song.
That list goes on and on. If there is any indication that things are on the upswing for me it is that I am near the bottom of the barrel at this time. I know of many stories where an individual artist has been at the end of her or his rope when things suddenly changed.
I personally know of an actress who told me that before getting a part which propelled her to stardom she was unable to pay her rent. She said she had a family heirloom, a ring that was very valuable and had belonged to several generations in her family. She was on the verge of selling it when the call came to audition for the part that opened the door for her.
I also know a rock musician, I know several of them actually. The individual I am thinking of laughed when he talked to me of his success. He said that on a particular night during the recording sessions for his first successful album, which ultimately made his name known to a whole generation of young people, he slept in his car. He said he had no choice in the matter. He had been locked out of his apartment because he could not pay the rent.
These people and others I know are all very successful today. Perhaps I will die never having sold much of anything. But I won't stop writing and publishing. I have already outlined in my mind the second book in the series that I am now calling my Interstellar trilogy. I don't have a title yet but I do know the opening line. Keep watching. It will be coming to a bookstore near you. I'll keep you posted.