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“Fiction was invented the day Jonas arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale.“
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“If you’ve heard this story before, don’t stop me, because I’d like to hear it again.”
– Groucho Marx
Updated March 19, 2018
Now that my novel, Charon’s Ferry, is available in print and ebook form, I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself. Sure, there’s a bio page, “About The Author,” but that doesn’t really tell you anything personal about me, my life, or why I actually wrote Charon’s Ferry. It doesn’t explain why I included my middle name, Robert, to the perfectly strong and succinct Gordon Abrams, or why my signature, which only includes the “R” anyway, is completely illegible.
Well, this introduction probably won’t tell you much, either, come to think of it, and I’m not sure I could fully explain Charon’s Ferry even if I wanted to. But let me try, anyway.
Let’s call Charon’s Ferry an allegory. It isn’t, really, but let’s call it that.
I wrote a song back in the eighties, a kind-of bluesy number, called “Tomorrow’s Comin’ Soon”. Unlike other songs written for my band at the time, “Tomorrow’s Comin’ Soon” was quickly discarded, a forgotten series of stanzas scribbled hastily into an old notepad. Several decades later, I stumbled across the lyrics and, surprisingly, the melody and chords came back to me, like, well, an old song. So I did what any reasonable songwriter would do under the circumstances: I turned it into a novel.
The main character, Chance Martin, reaches his full potential somewhere around 1983, but by the time ’96 rolls around, his best days are behind him. Living day to day is a constant reminder of who he once was, a one-hit wonder with no hint of a future. Still, like an old soldier, he never dies, he just fades away … until about 2006, when he shows up again, completely unaware that the world has changed around him.
The aforementioned and long-neglected “Tomorrow’s Comin’ Soon” was chosen as the protagonist’s one and only hit song. My own personal irony.
Yes, I know the world has changed; that’s why I’m writing this blog on my website, instead of on a typewriter, white-out at the ready, or scratching my errant thoughts on parchment with a quill pen.
Still, I remember 1983 pretty clearly, too; the bands and the darkened clubs, the Spandex and eyeliner, illicit drugs and cheap Scotch. My wife and I had a baby in 1996, a few months before fictional Chance Martin walked out of the fog and into his new life, haunted by ghosts from his past. Me? I became a stay-at-home dad, learned Irish flute and played my old songs on a new acoustic guitar.
So, okay, there we have it. Maybe Charon’s Ferry is a bit of an allegory, after all.