More à la Mode

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Story of the Story

Editor’s Note:  I have tried to stay as true to Adrian Barnes’ words and intention as possible.  This is for those of us who see strangeness all around us.      

The main thing about me is that I was raised by raising myself with endless reading of Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking-Glass by the magnificent Mr. Lewis Carroll. His books made an insane world sane.  Satan A La Mode aspires to be something of the same 'removal from fake sanity'. In other words, I’m just trying to have fun. I love laughter and I love rock and roll, and rock and roll is just as wild as the Alice books. I quickly learned it was no coincidence that both Dylan and Lennon loved Alice, and that both musician/songwriters tried to write their own Alice-like books (Tarantula by Dylan and A Spanish In The Works by Lennon). And so the arts began to blend between art, words, and art. And I am so grateful I have passed through the same paths with my creative partner, Yuliya Kashapova, in Satan a la Mode.

In grade five or six I wrote a story about pigs fighting wars against armies. My teacher brought me into her office and asked me if I'd written it intentionally. She was worried and her worry made me feel proud and somehow able to create things that made people feel uncomfortable enough to mention concern.

And from then on I felt that I held an opening to a new world, beyond the world of 'normalcy' around us. I felt like I could think clearly by letting go of the normal ways of thinking.

For five years I worked in the casino business where the crowds made sense to me. I made friends who had very strange characteristics and who made me laugh. I started to write to try to 'show' the world as I was seeing it.

I raised my two sons with Alice as my first child and they loved her. And while they were sleeping I began work on my Satan A La Mode. I'd write character sketches and share them with the boys, hoping to make them laugh. Today, when I walk down the street I make eye contact with people and sometimes I see in their eyes the same way I see the world. I am relieved to find that others see the world the same way. We pass by each other and say “good evening” with a shared knowledge.  I see a similar vision in Yuliya Kashapova’s illustrations.

I recently got a terrible curse of cancer and I can’t write the same way anymore. My editor, Almeda Glenn Miller is making sure that my written work still makes sense. At least to the people who see the world in a similar way I do. My brain received a plum-sized tumour behind my eyes and I can no longer read and I can barely write. Somehow I don't mind that the world goes broken and there is much confusion in my brain. Such weirdness is everyday and every hour for me. Thanks to Alice’s strange world, I can face a disconnected world. 

I know this sounds weird, but it is all weird. In this new novel, Satan is terrified of reality and so he moves into the 'real' world where he hopes, like all of us, to play a role. But playing a role doesn't work for him, as it never works for any of us. Poor Satan. Poor you. Poor Me. Let’s just keep meeting each others’ eyes and move forward, if we dare.