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 Original Music 2017

Base Metals

 Impareggiabile

3 minutes 27 seconds| I never intend to write medleys, but these days I am less inclinded to shut off the creative spigot where my OCD keeps adding tunes. In the case of the musical piece presented on this page and the one featuring Food Court, they were initially joined and shared, remotely, the key signature of E flat. Impareggiabile was neither inspired by the Italian film composer Nino Rota nor Sofia Loren, but I often meditated on this stunning photograph of the latter and so associations were minted.

In keeping with these themes, this opus may be thought of as the soundtrack to a Mid-Century Italian romantic comedy, where a variety of humorous scenes involve a suitor who pursues a beautiful woman beyond his grasp. Lastly things turn sad and the ringing phone says it all. A brief quote of Shorten’ Bread is a quirky touch indicative of the time. I watched a few of these foreign movies on Cinemax and HBO circa 1980, when cable television was new and everything unfamiliar was magical to a Southern boy of blue collar roots.

Time stamp: 11/05/17.

Novel Icon Book Notes on Icarus Transfigured| These notes were original to the first presentation of my book and were later removed. They contain spoilers about the plot, so if you have not read the book, you may want to do so before reading this. Icarus Transfigured is open to many possible interpretations, and the ideas presented here are only a few that were in play at the time of writing.

Overview: Icarus Transfigured is a self-styled memoir about a life with autism told as a fictitious story. It bends many genres, including fantasy, psychological horror, romance, and mystery. All these elements are in the service of explaining mild autism to the reader in an engaging, literary way, and showing how such a condition can go many years without being properly understood or diagnosed.

Masked Characters: Though the story is presented as a straight-ahead linear narrative, and can be easily read in that light, the myriad threads of subplots and doors that open onto doors are in no small part to demonstrate the protagonist’s many partitions of mind and heart. Each metaphorical house in Icarus Transfigured is populated by a different set of characters. Some are never met: the evil neighbor from Chapter One is only confronted in a dream; the fiancé in Chapter Twenty-two is only inferred from conversation; the invalid in Chapter Five is only a potentiality.

Of the characters we do meet, the male and female characters serve different roles:

The males in Aloysius’ life are caricatures of his fragmented self-image. From the swagger of Omar to a dwarf performance artist who aspires to invisibility by masquerading as a lawn ornament in people’s yards, each character is a mask for a man who does not feel comfortable in his own skin. There is a mysterious Houdini-like police detective who embodies Aloysius’ inconvenient conscience, a loathsome, philandering college professor who reminds him of his grudging desire for prestige and power, and a doting special-needs nephew who only succeeds in deepening his uncle’s guilt over a lack of familial feeling.

The female characters, by comparison, are less echoes in the protagonist’s echo chamber than reality checks against the prospect he can wall himself off from the world. Emma, the tabula rasa fashion plate, comes closest to his ideal, although her unfathomable heart makes him ever wary of her motives; Erica, a local dead-ender, is miles below Emma, yet she not only has a nasty knack for pushing Aloysius’ buttons but also a genius for piquing his interest. Amber, a shadowy prostitute “friend” of Omar’s, swims the dark current between these polar opposites, yet in removing the obstacle of nonverbal communication for the love-shy man by confessing her heart, she exposes someone who is more afraid of getting what he wants than not getting what he wants. In the end, there is only one female Aloysius is capable of loving unconditionally: a neighborhood latchkey child who befriends him with no expectations. And it is only through her that he finds a way to love all in return. (6/03/08)

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