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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

#CountdowntoPub - An Excerpt from Lance Olsen's Dreamlives of Debris


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#CountdowntoPub - An Excerpt from Lance Olsen's Dreamlives of Debris

Guy Intoci

[[ In this retelling of the Minotaur myth — part speculative fiction, part horror, part nonfiction, part love story, part myth, all narrative experiment — the “monster” takes the form of a little deformed girl whose parents hide her away at birth in the labyrinth beneath Knossos. She calls herself Debris, and can hear/see/feel the thoughts, memories, desires, pasts and futures of others throughout history, from Herodotus and Silk route traders to Derrida and Edward Snowden. The problem is Debris can’t control these voices speaking through her. She’s both a living instrument through which time rushes and an emblem for contemporary lived experience, in which temporality often feels like a fury of abrupt slaps. ]]



:::: debris

Howling and dreaming and dragging my nails along the walls as I advance — advance perhaps evoking too strong an act — and it may be evening — let us call it that — call it evening — midday — I find myself roaming and howling and dragging my nails along the walls in a particularly damp branch of passageways — inventing them as I go — passageways I have never stumbled upon before — even though it may be the case I have stumbled upon similar ones — or for all I know I have stumbled upon these before — only to have forgotten them — as I have forgotten so many things in my life — lives — which — because I have forgotten them — I am almost surely unaware of having forgotten — remembering only the act of grayish disremembering.


:::: debris

And in this dreaming—if we should choose to name this agitation such a thing — the muscular young man named Theseus to whom my sister Ariadne had handed something I couldn’t make out stood before the alabaster throne in a palace so sun-flooded the lavish furniture itself seemed assembled out of shimmering silver haze.

He was addressing someone. I couldn’t make out whom. I couldn’t make out what he was saying or what land he was saying it in.

            Still, all at once his lips parted — in this dreaming — and I heard him speak my name — one of my names — look at you you and you and you — and I balked awake into a rush of mommy whispers — once upon a beast once upon a beast


:::: paspihäe chorus

And there was a day, she was saying, a beast called the Bull of Heaven crashed into being.

Its very amplitude lowered the level of rivers, opened vast pits that swallowed hundreds of men, women, and children.

After many years of destruction a courageous young warrior from a far-off shore appeared to slay the monster. A horrendous battle ensued. Villages became gaps in syntax. Topography became hypothetical. Time turned the color of ice and melted.

Standing over the behemoth’s corpse, the foreigner offered up its still-beating heart to the noises. In the heart of that heart lived a little girl’s voice. It was singing.

The noises accepted the foreigner’s gift.

            By way of thanks they translated our world into a whorl of craving and aporia.


:::: debris

What I am telling you, I want to say, is a love story.