Where Melting Crayons and Burning Battleships Come Together – a novel about the salvation of an autistic child
Frank would like to be successful with women and with writing, but his autistic childhood, visual impairment, dismissive parents, and narcissistic brother are too much to overcome. Then on vacation in Hawaii, Frank has what feels like a paranormal experience on the Arizona Memorial that starts him down a path of psychological and spiritual self-discovery. In making the transitions from weird to respected, awkward to insightful, brainy to wise, his relationships with women shift from fearful to erotic, and through them doors open to unexpected opportunities with his writing. Lifting himself from the purgatory to which his past had banished him, he inadvertently helps free those he connects with from their own shadowed depths, making his story the Memoir of an Unlikely Savior.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
In a writing class years ago I wrote a “word portrait” of Rene Magritte’s The Mysteries of the Horizon, an interpretation of the person and setting of the painting. Then as a later exercise I wrote a “wrapper” story about the writer of the word portrait and how it reflected his life.
I liked what I’d done and wrote more. I began to connect them into a set of linked short stories. Then I decided that the word portraits themselves were bogging down the read and removed them. The protagonist still wrote word portraits but the content was now only intimated.
Then I read an issue of Time Magazine about autism and realized the autistic nature fit my protagonist. I read books that taught me more about the attributes of an autistic childhood and about how some were able to overcome their limitations.
By then the collection was becoming a unified piece, finding its own life probing the boundaries of social, psychological, and spiritual understanding and how they fit together. My goal became the expansion of these boundaries for the protagonist, the author, and hopefully the reader.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The core for each of them was dictated by the needs of the story. Then I thought about people I’ve known who were like that and took bits and pieces from each of them. Adding in drops of my own imagination, I integrated all the pieces into a single characters.
– I was born in Philadelphia, PA.
– For my first three years of school I attended Overbrook School for the Blind, a boarding school with classes for the “partially sighted.”
– I attended “normal” schools starting with fourth grade.
– When I was twelve my father joined IBM and we moved to Poughkeepsie, NY.
– When I was fourteen IBM transferred my father to Zurich, Switzerland where I attended Institute Minerva.
– When I was eighteen we returned to the U.S. and I started Lehigh University, majoring in Engineering Physics.
– I left school for a year in the middle of my junior year to work for Bell Labs in Whippany, NJ.
– I went to graduate school at Boston University and received a master’s degree in physics, then left after two years in their Ph.D. program.
– At 26 I moved to Los Angeles and changed my life. Between bouts of creativity I worked intermittently as a software engineer to earn a living.
– Along with the bouts of creativity, I strenuously pursued psychological and spiritual awareness.
– When I could, I retired and moved to Thailand to write full-time.
Have you read this book or others by this author? Tell us in the comments how you liked it!