Have you ever felt insecure, persecuted, or abused as your life has progressed from childhood onward? Have you ever become tortured by love? Have you ever had a near-death experience? Have you, or a family member, or a close friend, ever become afflicted by a fatal or near-fatal disease or injury? Have you ever been “at your wit’s end,” or felt like you were “at the end of your rope”? Speaking for myself, I’d say yes to most of those questions. Maybe you would too?
Every person’s life is like a play on Broadway: a story full of surprises, laughs, tears; but above all, a story worth telling and understanding. “A Telling Experience” is a collection of stories about an ordinary life but also an extraordinary one. It is, somehow, like your own life.
If you can understand your own life, you can comprehend almost all things worth knowing. “A Telling Experience” ponders one personal life, and in so doing tries to figure out everything else as well. It may help you do the same for yourself.
The uniqueness of this book begins with the one-sentence description given for each chapter (story) in the Table of Contents:
- The Tickle of Life: Tales Short and Tall. When you realize you are protagonist of your own story, namely your life, you can try to make both your story and your life as venturesome as possible.
- It’s a Long Way to Santa Fe. A boy escapes an abusive parent by finding a home away from home on a train with that parent.
- The Phantom Dogs of Ghost Ranch. A Western sojourn opens the eyes to vast vistas and the imagination to infinite possibilities.
- The Worst of Sins: A Tale from the Crypt. A boy is emotionally abused by his take on religion and damns himself in his own imagination.
- We Don’t Talk About Things Like That. Sex is portrayed to the protagonist as the worst thing on earth until it is discovered to be the best.
- One Shoe Off and One Shoe On. A young man gets a job, loses his mind, and finds another job and mind.
- Rebel’s Grave. A middle-aged man’s dog digs up a lot of roots.
- The Road Runner. A desert thunderstorm serves as an initiation rite for a latter-day brave.
- Lyric Love. Love is found and lost and found and lost and found.
- The Mind of a Terrorist. The protagonist discovers he is his own worst enemy during the course of a ferry ride and a twenty-dollar lunch.
- Piranhas at the Pond. A million things go bump in the night.
- Night Run. A parched Mexican desert proves curiously refreshing to the imagination, which can’t even see where its owner is going in the dark.
- Numb and Numberer. The adventures of superdog almost do in her klutzy master.
- The Writing Well. The source of all solace is found deep within.
- Wanna Be in Our Video? An evening jog on the beach turns into a romp, almost.
- 16. What’s Up, Doc? One’s health is largely in one’s own hands, and feet.
- Valley Boy. A man’s favorite haunt inspires him up, up, and away.
- The Seventy-Five Dollar Grapefruit. The unexpected may be just around any corner.
- When Friends Drop Out. The staying power and evanescence of all human relationships are simultaneously met on and off a tennis court.
- The Life of Really. A swamp provides a fine reptilian, avian, and human habitat.
- Where Did the Time Go? A hernia operation exposes some dark and light secrets of the universe, above all the sense of continual consciousness each of us has.
- The Ghost Crab of Trinity Center. A small critter fails to reveal God’s purposes.
The droll style of these capsule comments mirrors the entertainment value of the work as a whole. It’s a wild ride. You’ll laugh your head off and cry your eyes out but otherwise no harm done. In a nutshell, “A Telling Experience” tells all!
About the Author
Richard M. Trask, author of “A Telling Experience,” is just your average person: a “weirdo” in some sense, in line with the hypothesis in this book that, in a true light, everybody is a weirdo in one way or another. He likes to write, to play sports, to sing, to act (though not a “song and dance man” himself), to philosophize, and to chill out. He resides in Southport, North Carolina, with his wife (Karen), and their dog (Woofie) and cat (Zoomer).
The author has a doctorate (University of Illinois, medieval studies), has published two previous books (“The Complete Writer’s Guide: Questions of Language”; “Beowulf and Judith: Two Heroes”); authored numerous articles (such as “Why Beowulf and Judith Need Each Other”; “Looking Forward to Doomsday: An Old English Pastime”; “What the Seven Dwarfs Have to Say about Language”); written two produced plays (“Don’t Try This at Home”; “The Real Judith”); and has completed a screenplay (“Cosmosis of Worlds”), from which a scene was produced and shown for the Fantasy/Sci-Fi Film and Screenplay Festival, Toronto, Canada, June 2019.