Friday, June 24, 2016

Subtitle Decoded

Q: It may seem obvious to most, but tell us—what does the subtitle of your book mean, “Way Back Beyond Across the Stars”—and why the long string of prepositions?

A: It’s a play on some lyrics from the Jimi Hendrix blues tune, Red House:

Lord I might as well
Go back over yonder
Way back beyond across the hill

I’ve just changed “hill” to “stars.” As readers should know, the book (or at least the main character, Sos) is inspired by the artistry of Jimi Hendrix. And so, a bow to his lyrics in the subtitle of the book is just another tribute to this inter-dimensionally-charged, creative being who graced the planet with his presence and left a stunning ‘60s portfolio of sound in his wake. Only Hendrix could string all those prepositions together like that. He’s jumbled the expressive moment into a grab-bag mix of space and time.

It’s not much of a stretch to see that in my book the “red house” is Project Lobster, the “ET interspecies, cross-breeding program.” The ETs that were cross-bred have come from the stars, somewhere, and, in the end they return to the stars. As can be said of any “dangerous intercourse,” there may be unintended, far-reaching consequences. (Hey, no shit!)

Now, in the context of the subtitle, when you talk about a quick, Snagglepus, “Exit, Stage Right”—viz., a “23 skiddoo”— you have a kind of “inter-cosmic jump” going on—for refuge, for safety—to re-charge, to replenish oneself—a temporary tactical retreat to allow one to re-group, reconnoiter. That can mean a jaunt to the beach, to deeply relax and enter a meditative state, to steal out of town by means of a cloak-of-invisibility, to zap out and zap in to new geo-coordinates—whatever, as long as you are self-protecting yourself and giving yourself time to get strong again so that you can remain ever-resilient in your plight, your battle to defend the righteousness of truth, goodness, beauty, love, justice—for the simple survival of your genes—for the “quality intensification” of your consciousness, of your immortal soul on its journey to its celestial source, its journey’s end. In the review of the book, this is what is meant by the statement: " ‘23 skidoo’–i.e., to get out with all due haste—is infused with new contextual life in this work…”

Way back beyond across the stars may be from whence humans originally 23 skiddood—it is where our Ragt duo 23 skiddood, for sure. It is also a direct reference to “astrotheology,” which is not simply a theology based upon the observation or knowledge of celestial bodies, but also a recognition that there are interstellar cosmic forces that shape our existence—our physical being, our actions and cultural milieu. To what degree we can trace our heritage and our future to a whole inter-cosmic web is something we perhaps still need to learn more about. That is definitely a message to be found in 23 Skiddoo.

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