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Their marriage falls
apart when they lose their four-month-old son, Davey, on a
transcontinental train. They blame one another and divorce. Then,
separately, each of them invokes nevermind, finds Davey,
and raises him.
Breeze, a young woman in present-day Connecticut, goes into a medically inexplicable coma. Her boyfriend, Yannie, a senior at Yale, has to get her the help she needs to survive, while trying to solve the mystery of this goddess-like free spirit who appeared out of nowhere two months before and turned his life upsidedown. His ex, Lauren, a childhood friend, gives him the support and advice he needs, helping him rebuild his life, while trying to win him back.
In part two, Breeze wakes up in a different body in a different place and time. She is at Troy in the body of Briseis, love-slave of Achilles, and she needs to improvise quickly so she won't be taken for a demon. She knows the story she is now trapped in, and she learns that she can make changes in what the story doesn't say, so long as they don't alter the direction of the narrative. With the help of vengeful friends, she murders Achilles, who she loves, but stages it so the world believes he died in combat at the walls of Troy. And despite that, she and Achilles survive and ride off together to the east, where she will become an Amazon warrior and he her stay-at-home husband.In part three, Breeze finds herself in still another body in another time and place, with a different Achilles. It's the fourth century AD, at the temple of the Eleusinian Mysteries, near Athens. A young woman lies down on the altar next to the corpse of another young woman. It is expected that in the ritual the soul of the living woman will move to the body of the dead woman. But instead, the dead woman comes to life with soul of Breeze. That glitch leads to humorous complications and rivalries as well insights into the ironies of ordinary life and love.
Bittersweet comedy and romance, with touches of tragedy and magic.
The narrator is writing now, during the pandemic, feeling nostalgia for what has been lost, as he recounts stories that were told around the dinner table on a Caribbean cruise two years before. The stories, many of which could stand alone, are woven together as a novel.
As Abe, the narrator explains at the beginning:
On a cruise, strangers could be thrown together around the same dinner table for the duration, seven days or two weeks or all the way up to the ultimate − a world cruise of a hundred eleven days. This was a seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Regal Princess, a floating town, with thirty-five hundred passengers and thirteen hundred crew. This time, by chance, my dinner companions were articulate, creative, and fun. One among us, Uncle Adolph, served as ringmaster, coaxing us to tell our personal stories and then to create new stories which kept us entertained and bonded us together with our knowledge of and concern for one another.
Of course, at the time, none of us had the least suspicion that the world we took for granted would soon change, that the tales that we shared over dinner might soon seem like fairy tales, impossible in the harsh conditions of a new normal ...
Sharing our tales over dinner, we believed that romantic love was a possibility for people of all ages. But perhaps we sensed the fragility of that belief. Perhaps we were moved to share these stories in part because of the possibility that emotional magic might someday go away. Not that people would never love again, but that they wouldn't be able to fall in love simply and spontaneously.
We celebrated love in all its forms, from the sweet innocence of youth to the uninhibited lust of age, with a sprinkling of bawdy wit. And I want to capture and preserve the flavor of that time as well as the stories themselves.
I treasure those stories all the more now as I remember and record them, trying with my words to preserve the romantic flavor of that bygone age, the hopes and desires that once shaped lives and that now seem unreal. I didn't know at the time that human nature could change so much, that we could adapt so quickly to survive not just contagion but economic disruption as well, and that that might mean the end of hopes and dreams, and the end of what we once thought of as romantic love.
I don't want to imply that cruises by nature were romantic, à la Love Boat. These stories, for the most part, are not about shipboard romance. The ship is the setting for the telling of the tales, not necessarily the setting of the tales themselves. I'm not just lamenting the end of cruising. The loss is far greater than that. Romantic love itself may have ended − God forbid.
He explains the intriguing title at the end:
I'm writing from the midst of this crisis, not with the wisdom of hindsight. Even if it gets no worse than it is right now, much has been lost.
I'm hoping that we can gether. That's a word that isn't in the dictionary.
To gether is to find new ways to be together, new ways to meet, to bond, to love.
Even when physically isolated, I believe we can adapt and create myriad ties to others. We can come together in spirit, to share experiences and emotions to the point that we are intimately connected.
Perhaps the virus will mutate to become less virulent or we will have an effective vaccine. In that case, you will be able to read these stories from an ironic perspective, knowing that the world returned to the old normal and my speculation about what was lost was overreaction.
May that be so.
In any case, may we always treasure our normal life,
knowing, as we now know, that it is fragile and should never
be taken for granted.
based on that novella The Barracks, a three-act stage play (1989) and Spit and Polish, a full-length screen play (2001)The Gentle Inquisitor and Other Stories, published at Untold Tales Publishing,
MGMT MEMO: Management Lessons from DEC, 2018 at Apple at Nook at Google Play
of DEC, 2018 at
Web Business Boot Camp Hands-on
Internet lessons for manager, entrepreneurs, and
professionals, Wiley, 2002 at
- Take Charge of Your Web Site, MightyWords, 2001
Shop Online the Lazy Way (Macmillan, 1999. Braille edition published by National Braille Press) at Nook at Google Play at Apple
The Social Web: How to build successful personal or business Web sites, 1998) at Apple
The Way of the Web Lessons from the Internet. How to adapt to the new business environment, 1995) at Kobo at Apple
Dryden's Exemplary Drama, senior thesis at Yale (1969) at Apple at Google Play at Nook
the Federalist Party, paper written in high school, in
at Apple at
Dark Woods and Other Poems at Apple at Nook
Let Laugh, word play,
over 2300 short jokes
Stories, prompted by images post on Twitter to
AgathaChocolates (daily, starting February 13, 2020)
(Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2019) one of
the top 10 most popular articles of the year (#6)
Trumpisms 2.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire. 2019)
3.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2019)
Trumpisms 4.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
Trumpisms 5.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
6.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
- Trumpisms 7.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
Tumpisms 8.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
Trumpisms 9.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
- Trumpisms 10.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire,
- Trumpisms 11.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
Trumpisms 12.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)
- The Gentle Inquisitor (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)
- The Choice (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)
- Creation Story (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)
- Chiang ti Tales (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)
- The Mirror (from Saint Smith and Other Stories) (American Bystander #13, 2019- Now and Then (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)
(at Glossy News Satire, 2019)
Without a Myth and Five Other Plays at Apple at Google Play at Nook
- Without a Myth, three-act play (1971)
- Heel, Hitler, ten-minute play (2015)
- The Barracks, a three-act stage play (1989)
- Rights Crossing, a two-act historical
play, set in the American Revolution (1976)
- Mercy, a two-act historical comedy, set in the American Revolution, based on the lives of Mercy Otis Warren and General Johnny Burgoyne. (1975)
- Heel, Hitler, ten-minute play
- From Russia and Ethiopia to the
Internet (Wesleyan College) article
- Surviving as a Small Business in the Age of Google: Generate Search-engine Traffic (NEXPO, Washington, DC) article
- The Future of Business on the Internet (Lewiston, Maine) script
- Increase Traffic on the Internet Without Advertising (IQPC Conference, San Francisco, CA) article
- Corporate-wide Knowledge Management (ExpoManagement 98, Buenos Aires, Argentina) article
- Business Opportunities on the Internet (Comdex, Buenos Aires, Argentina) script
- The Social Web: from Hyper-links to People-links (Web Week 97, Oak Ridge National Labs, Oak Ridge, TN) book
- Basics of Effective Web Sites: How to Succeed When the Rules of the Game Change (Boston) book
- Building Communities on the Internet (Internet Expo/Email World, Boston, New Orleans) article
thoughts on all topics
COLLECTIONS OF ARTICLES
- The Story of the Trojan War in Unintentionally Humorous Verse doggerel written in the sixth grade (age 11)
- Hi-Q or Peg Solitarie, a solution to the game solved and recorded in the third grade (age 8)
- Stories Written in the Second Grade
- The Shakespeare Twins -- the formative years of Shakespeare, the twin sister no one knew he had, and their turbulent and passionate relationship, working on second half
- To Gether Tales -- romantic stories shared on a cruise ship soon before the pandemic
- Breeze, novel, written 2000 - March 2018 query message- Sign Me Up, (picture book)
- What Can You Do With a Fifth Foot?
Name Trilogy, including The Name of Hero, The Name of Man,
and The Name of God (opening chapters of Name of Man)
Sixty-Twp Years of Reading (complete list
of books I've read since 1958)
Reading list (2020)
contemporary books (published since WW II)
My book reviews
Book reviews by Dean Rink
Author page at
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Cary-Estes Genealogy by May Folk Webb and Patrick Mann Estes
-- as a web
-- as a Word
Genealogy by Helen Estes Seltzer
-- as a web page
-- as a Word
All-inclusive genealogy page (listing
over 1600 direct ancestors)
Seltzer and Hocker Genealogy
Daly Family Album
Surfing (advice on genealogical research)
and Friends page