My Latest: The Aberrant Lives of Damian Callahan

My latest book The Aberrant Lives of Damian Callahan is now available at Amazon (and other outlets to follow).

The 50-word summary goes like this:

Damian Callahan suffers a head injury that leads to a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, and sets out on a quixotic journey to pursue the woman of his dreams—a woman who might be a figment of his imagination, only to discover the truth about his life and his death.

If you click on the cover below you can find out more.

This short novel came out of an event I experienced in the summer before seventh grade. Parents tell us never to get into cars with strangers, like the one who in the 1970s pulled to a stop in front of me while I sat on my bike waiting for a traffic light to change. I didn’t get into the man’s car. Every year, some children are not so lucky.

From time to time I always wondered about the “what if” scenario concerning the situation that had happened to me. Would I have survived? Would I have ever seen my family again?

Damian Callahan, the protagonist in my new novel, is not me. He is, however, with all of his flaws, a creation of the “what if” scenario from my own life.

Ordinarily, I don’t offer much in the way of trigger warnings for my work. With this novel, I’m making an exception. Anyone who may have suffered sexual trauma as an adolescent should read The Aberrant Lives of Damian Callahan with caution.

Drop me a line at obrien1writer@gmail.com and let me know what you think about the novel, leave a review, or both. Thanks so much.

Mi Paranoia es Tu Paranoia or, A Response to a Facebook Post

Thirty years ago, more or less, I took a seminar in college on Thomas Pynchon: The Crying of Lot 49 for the warm-up and Gravity’s Rainbow for the rest of the semester. The professor teaching was a brilliant, goofy Virginian that everyone thought, as impressionable young students often do at other colleges of their Pynchon professors, that our man was him. It’s ludicrous, of course. But it was stoked even further when said professor went on sabbatical “to tour the South” and a few years later Mason & Dixon was published.

Some hangers-on still cling to the notion that our old professor was Pynchon lampooning as a Virginian with a PhD. I like to imagine that even Thomas Pynchon has his limits.

Anyway, I have since gone back to Lot 49 and GR several times over the years, and all his other books save Slow Learner in its entirety. My favorite is probably Against the Day. Vineland had its moments. Oddly enough, I didn’t enjoy Inherent Vice as much as I should have. Bleeding Edge had its moments too, especially the passage about people eventually submitting to surveillance:

“Dick Tracy’s wrist radio? it’ll be everywhere, the rubes’ll all be begging to wear one,” decries Ernie, “handcuffs of the future.”

I wouldn’t be so flippant as to say Pynchon’s an acquired taste. Good literature as we all know has more to it than that. But if you’re like me and you memorize license plates of cars that pass your house more than twice in one day it’s nice to know someone out there knows, as William Burroughs once pointed out in reference to paranoia, a little about what’s going on.

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