Statues in the Cloud -Tease #1 - The Opening

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The following is the first few paragraphs from my work-in-progress novel "Statues in the Cloud."

Update - Sketch draft finished August 21, 2016

Update - First draft completed on October 20, 2017

Update - Second draft completed, August 1, 2018

The Synopsis - One day, a writer in Japan receives a letter from a young fan who is dying from a mysterious disease. The young fan, Aya, gives the writer a challenge -- come to Nagasaki and help me find seven pieces of a statue. If you can help me do this simple thing, she tells him, you will have cured me. What the writer soon finds out is that finding the seven pieces means telling the stories of seven unique individuals: a politician, a soldier, a folk hero, a dancer, an AI, a writer, and the story of Aya herself. 

The Tease- Page One 

Once upon a time, perhaps fifteen years ago, perhaps longer, the states of waking and dream became more and more similar. At the time, I was a young man living in Nagasaki. An English teacher. I was a different character in a different story.

It was a story that I told to heal a weight that had settled into my spirit. There were many things that made the story personal to me -- a girl with red shoes and a spirit that danced on the top of mountains, a ruthless samurai, a talkative Welshman who transformed himself into a dragon, my lucky dragon, as it were. It was a story I had lived and told as best as I could.

A strange thing happened as soon as the story was over. I was healed in a sense. The difference between the dream-state and the awake-state became coherent again. I was also happier than I'd been in a long time. The years passed, and I settled into a kind of sober adult happiness that others would probably find boring, but which I found remarkable. I continued to write stories. Some of which were read by people I'd never meet, most of which were forgotten.

Little by little, though, I began to have the creeping sensation that the world had changed. People had become strange and ethereal, like if I tried to touch them my hand would pass through. At first, I thought this was a result of my aging. Now I wonder, Am I dead? It was hard for me to ask this question and not smile just a little. I wasn't dead. I was older than I ever thought I would be, and in my own small way, I was happy. I had my books. I had my stories. I had a rich internal life where people -- real people -- lived and played. But every once in a while, I would be going for a walk and I would feel in my bones that I had already died. 

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