Silent Screams: A Note from the Author

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Silent screams bounce around inside my head like an impending storm brewing into a force that will escape in a wild dance of chaos and be lost forever if I don't stop to jot them down.

I'm a condemned man. Condemned to write.

But don't get me wrong; I love it.

For centuries, philosophers have been plagued with the question: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" But, due to my curse, my deeper, more morbid musings, I am doomed to consider: What is the sound of one hand screaming? Why ask? Why delve into the darkness? Why pursue fear and terror?

There's really no answer. I merely respond to a call both from within and from without. Human beings have been eagerly devouring notions of evil and horror since we dwelt in caves and jumped at the shadows and noises occurring just outside the comforting range of firelight. History is wrought with examples of people standing alone, facing a vast, empty void and questioning both themselves and the universe.

Canadians, especially, have always been concerned with notions of what lies beyond our normal existence. From the days when we had still to explore the uncharted west and northern territories to a time when our very cities seem to be a futile attempt to light up the dark, we are both intrigued with and fearful of the unknown.

One Hand Screaming explores one man's journey into the unknown and dealing with such universal elements. At a basic level, it documents the early evolution of a writer cursed to churn out morbid musings, spin dark tales that question the ideas of evil and of sanity. It is a collection of fiction and poetry, but it can also be seen in an autobiographical sense if you decide to read the final chapter of story notes. I purposely separated them from the stories and poems to ensure that those readers who prefer not to "see the strings" behind the writing can simply skip them and still enjoy the tales.

But regardless of how you choose to enjoy this work, I trust that if you try really hard, you'll be able to hear, almost out of perceptible range, a series of silent screams.

Don't worry - it's just me.

I scream a lot.

- Mark Leslie, February 2004

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