Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Palace of the King of Night (Introduction)

In the spring and summer of 2007 I wrote a narrative entitled The Palace of the King of Night, described in its subtitle as "a novella, or folly." Later, when I phased out the website where I had originally posted it, I elected not to transfer it over to my current blog. Not being inclined to revise or or even re-read it at that particular moment, I suspected that the length and likely artistic shortcomings of the piece would render it a distraction from what I was interested in doing at my new address. For whatever it's worth, I have decided to make it available now, in installments, but spun off onto a separate blog [here].

The novella originated, as does much of the (relatively little) fiction that I write, in a dream or half-dream, and the opening scene and perhaps a little more derive directly from that source. Once the story got going, however, I more or less consciously steered it according to a preconceived plan, and it became a kind of ersatz Grail legend, set not in a forest, as is traditional, but in an arid landscape that perhaps was also a kind of underworld or land of the dead. The peculiar artwork of Charles-Frédéric Soehnée (see above) was a partial inspiration, at least for atmosphere, and their were faint traces of what I knew about ancient Egyptian mythology, which was (and remains) very little.

I am far happier composing shorter forms (a few paragraphs) and so the writing of the novella was both exhilarating and grueling. I'm afraid its deficiencies will be all too evident, but perhaps something of what impelled me to keep at it will come across. I dislike reading long texts on a screen, and ideally I would print this up as a chapbook, give the copies away to the twenty or so people who would be polite enough to pretend to read it, and leave it at that. Until I get around to doing so, here it is, warts and all.

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