So what is Crazy with Angels? And more importantly what exactly, is a multi-dimensional literary experience?
The short answer is this.
Crazy with Angels is my personal tribute to the west of Ireland, wrapped loosely around a sad love story with a happy ending.
Yes, it has a happily-ever-after sort of ending, so the story might best be classified as a grown-up fairy tale. Or since angels are involved in the plot, a more accurate description might be “angel tale.”
As for the “multi-dimensional” part…
Crazy with Angels is a novel-length prose story with some poems and a play thrown in for good measure. There are also lots of photos and a few sketches intended to accentuate and enhance the overall aesthetic experience of the story. If all goes well, the text will be presented both as printed words and in a read-by-the-author, audio file format. Also, music is a recurring topic in the story, and thanks to some wonderful musicians who are willing to collaborate with me, there will be some streaming music files to complement some of the chapters, as well.
So there you have it: Crazy with Angels: a multi-dimensional literary experience.
The whole kit and caboodle will be presented electronically to interested readers at the pace of a couple of chapters a day over the course of several months later in 2013.
But there is also a much longer answer. It goes something like this…
Crazy with Angels is a story. It is a tale of love lost — in a big, noisy city in the U.S. — and ultimately found — amidst the mystical beauty of the west of Ireland.
The story is presented in a two-part narrative. One is first-person and is set mostly on an island off the west coast of Ireland. The other is a third-person narrative that begins in the large U.S. city and eventually catches up with the first-person narrative on the island, from which point the two narratives run simultaneously to their (did I mention happy?) conclusion.
As implied in the title, angels are involved in the story. At this point, you might be tempted to ask, “Are we talking about real angels here?” The answer to that is a resounding “Yes.” The story is not my tribute only to the West of Ireland but also to angels.
I’m not referring to (as the story puts it) “the ones you buy for half price at the shops the week after Christmas,” but rather actual “beings of light” whose job it is to look after, shelter and guide human beings through our day-to-day affairs, or (to quote the story again) “Keep us alive and well, vibrant and strong,” and help us to “escape our constraints and uplift us — help us to soar.”
It is, however, a work of fiction. So in my humble opinion, not believing in angels is no more of a reason not to read the story than not believing in UFO’s is a reason not to watch Star Wars.
Within the text I refer to angels as “extraordinary beings,” and I’ve come to realize that Crazy With Angels is an extraordinary story. It is much more than words on paper or the screen of an electronic device.
As its author, I wanted to believe the story was mine. That I had control of it. I saw myself as a sort of parent to the story, and therefore thought I could mold it and make it just what I wanted it to be. But I, like any good parent, more-or-less quickly realized that my creation has a life of its own and that by trying to control it, I would do it a great disservice. Would limit it merely to the vision I had for it and hinder it from fulfilling its ultimate potential. So I, like any good parent, more-or-less willingly decided to become not so much controller of it as guide for it. Nurturing it and helping it to become the best story that it can possibly be.
Although I don’t know what its ultimate destiny will be, I do know how it began. Crazy with Angels began as a feeling. An emotion. At first it seemed sad. But I soon realized my label was already limiting it. It was much more than sadness.
While traveling with this perceived sadness several years ago in the midst of the mystical, unspeakable beauty of the incredible landscape that is the West of Ireland, I gained the awareness that it really wasn’t sadness after all. It was mellower and more complex. More of a melancholic longing. A yearning for something more than that which is readily apparent.
It was then that the feeling began to grow. Before long it was a full-blown idea.
Over the course of several more years and several more extended trips to the West of Ireland, the idea grew and grew. It developed. Matured. It became the concept for a story and, subsequently, an actual story.
At first it looked like a short story. Short and succinct. Cute. I liked it that way and would have been satisfied if that was the end of it. But like a toddler growing out of its first pair of shoes, it was far from finished. In fact, it was only beginning.
It grew into a novelette. A little longer. A bit more complex. But still pretty short and sweet. Again, I was happy with it just the way it was. But again it was far from finished.
It continued to grow and mature, slowly but surely, into the full-fledged, full-length novel it is now.
But as you’ll see, it is no ordinary, run of the mill, black-print-on-white-paper, prose project.
Oh no! It was never going to be satisfied with mere prose. It wanted poetry, too. It told me so one day.
“Poetry?” I thought. “It really wants poems, too?”
It assured me, in no uncertain terms, that it did. I’d previously written a few poems, so I agreed and—to the best of my ability—complied.
The story was pleased. But not satisfied. It also wanted a play.
“Really?” I asked it. “A theatrical production? In the middle of a novel?”
“Why not?” was its reply.
“For starters,” I protested, “because I’ve never written a play.”
“Why not?” it persisted.
I had no good answer, and now Crazy with Angels has a play. More-or-less in the middle of it.
Again it was pleased, but again not satisfied. It began demanding photos. Lots of them.
I was much happier with this development. As an amateur photographer with countless photo files clogging my laptop’s memory banks, I thought this was a brilliant idea. Finally, I had a use for those photos—many of them taken in the midst of that mystical, unspeakable beauty of western Ireland—that I’d previously had no idea what to do with.
Plus, one of my all-time favorite books—I Could Read the Sky, by Timothy O’Grady—is one of my “faves” precisely because of the inclusion of wonderful photos by the photographer Steve Pyke. I think the narrative and photos complement each other in a way that makes both so much more than either would be on their own.
Also, I have long agreed with the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and was fascinated and even delighted to realize that the direct definition of photograph is “writing with light.” And I’ve long felt that some words, or combinations of words, are worth a thousand pictures. But I really think the two media are at their best when they are combined. They interact synergistically. In my opinion, when the right images and words are mixed in the right way, they are worth more than all the tea in China or gold in Fort Knox or pints of Guinness in Ireland. Combined.
So I was all too happy to emulate O’Grady and Pike’s artistic design by weaving photos into the narrative of the book, and I decided to include a photo for each chapter.
But, there was a problem. Not all of the chapters readily lent themselves to photographic images. At least not ones I could envision. But that’s just as well, because the story wasn’t about to settle for mere photos. It wanted sketches, too.
That initially seemed problematic, as I have trouble drawing anything more complex than stick men and geometrical shapes. I can do a decent square, but even my circles aren’t really round. Fortunately I have a dear friend who is a very talented artist. To my—and Crazy with Angel’s—delight, he has agreed to provide sketches where photos are lacking.
So there we have it: a prose story with poems, a play, lots of photos and a few sketches interwoven along the way. An ambitious story indeed.
But wait. Yes, you’ve guessed it. There’s more. This story isn’t satisfied yet. It has loftier goals than these. Or at least further demands.
Crazy with Angels is not content to be presented to the world in the traditional fashion as mere words (and photos (and sketches)) on pieces of paper, although that is its ultimate goal. It yearns to sit proudly on the shelves of bookstores and libraries. It longs for the tactile experience of being held and carried around. Of having its pages turned and caressed by the fingers of adoring readers.
But not just yet. Before it settles into its role in the concrete, three-dimensional world, it wants to spend a bit of time in cyberspace. It wants to be downloaded. E-mailed. Opened and saved. Liked and shared.
But not all at once. It wants to be savored, like a fine wine. Unfolded slowly, like a rose blooming in the springtime. I’ve suggested that it’s being overdramatic, but as any child will do at times, it is refusing to listen to me.
Instead, it has instructed me to present it to the world as a “multi-dimensional literary experience” a couple of chapters a day over the course of several months. I’m not entirely sure what “multi-dimensional literary experience” means, but in an effort to be the best parent I can be, I’m trying my best to figure it out…
It is definitely a work in progress, but as near as I can tell, it will go something like this.
I’ll take subscriptions for the electronic presentation of Crazy with Angels and then at some point in 2013, I’ll start to present it to the subscribers via e-mail at the pace of two chapters a day. A photograph or sketch will accompany each chapter.
Crazy with Angels is not satisfied (of course!) with being presented merely in visual form. It is demanding an audio component, as well. For starters, it wants me to read it aloud to those who would like to hear an author reading his own story (it promises me there are a few of you out there). So the plan is to include an audio file in each e-mail with yours truly reading the text.
But it is not satisfied (never satisfied, it seems!) with mere spoken words. It wants music, too. It wants me to include music files to complement and enhance the presentation. Although I think this is a brilliant idea, I’ve been trying to point out that it’s problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is copyright issues. But true to form, it is not listening and is remaining persistent in its demands. I’ve promised to do my best to figure it out and have already found some amazing musical artists who are willing to collaborate with me on the project. So there will definitely be some songs. Sort of like an ongoing soundtrack interspersed periodically throughout the story.
Crazy with Angels also has ambitions as a philanthropist. It sees the world as a beautiful but tragically flawed kind of place. It sees pain and poverty, sickness and suffering. Pollution and environmental degradation. But it also sees people who are attempting to make the world a better place by helping those who need help, including Mother Earth. It is demanding that I assist some of those who are doing the helping.
I’m all for the idea. I’ve always wanted to be able to help those less fortunate than I and have long felt I should be doing more to preserve the natural environment of our precious planet; however, I’ve found it difficult to overcome my accepted role of reclusive writer and actually muster the energy and courage to be an active, in-the-field humanitarian and environmentalist.
However, I’ve had the great fortune of befriending a number of people who have taken a more active role in the world of philanthropy and are running their own charitable organizations. And I know of others who are running organizations that do wonderful things to assist Mother Nature. It is my (and my story’s) intention to assist these fine folks by contributing a large portion of the proceeds (if there are any!) from the story to their organizations. You can read more about them on the “Charities” page of this website.
So that’s about it. The long and the short of it.
But wait. Crazy with Angels is pointing out that I’ve forgotten one very important bit of information: How to subscribe.
Actually, I haven’t forgotten. It’s just that I haven’t figured out the details yet. As I said, it is still very much a work in progress. But if you’re interested in finding out more when I know more, bookmark this page and check back now and again. Or better yet, e-mail me at email@example.com, and I’ll keep you appraised of developments.
And if, by some incredible stroke of synchronicity you are a web designer with any real clue about how all of this would work from a functional standpoint in the electronic world and you happen to be looking for a new project, then PLEASE e-mail me at the above address. I’d love to hear from you and maybe we can work together on this.
Peace, blessings and warm fuzzy thoughts,
=Ty F. Webster: author, photographer, dreamer, believer.