Mike and Me

Body & Soul

by Gregory J. Wassil



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 26/07/2019

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.5x11
Page Count : 324
ISBN : 9781546274322

About the Book

If Don Quixote tilted at a catawampus in the cock-and-steer style of Tristram Shandy with Finnegans Wake read aloud over the wireless in the next room, the result would be this sprawling narrative of mythic incongruities in the shadow of the Great American Novel despite being about coming of age among the “lost generation” of gay men. At a memorial for his boyfriend, the author’s place in the life of his charismatic friend went unacknowledged. To be the unacknowledged lover decades after the AIDS epidemic is one thing; to be an unacknowledged lover who is thought to have introduced the agent that killed his boyfriend when HIV could not is an eternal recurrence of the Birth of Tragedy, with the panpipe of the seminal he-goat and polyglot paterfamilias and scarlet women vibrating with many words across the airwaves. Sometimes a rueful compositor, sometimes a prevaricating cad, sometimes an obnoxious boyfriend, often one whose tears are a balm for the lonely-hearted, the author seeks the man who was loved in order to make a katabasis, a descent, to go deep to find his lover and, in his presence, find the grace to love again. This is a hybrid work of fact and fiction, fables and myth, erudite speculations, pedestrian observations, and bizarre insights illustrated with original artwork by the author written in an engaging writing style with text boxes and sidebars and an interesting textual apparatus. This is the first book of two volumes, also available in a French translation, The Forest of Adam, with its own lurid cover art by a scholar of John Keats, who loads every rift with ore, fills every cup to a brimful, conveys the feeling of about to feel and not to feel, and is always about to reveal what constitutes the shadow of a magnitude. And were readers to feel jerked around, the author makes it clear that no bodily fluids are in this book but tears to be expunged; no desire but a distant shore; nothing stranger than finding rest in the setting sun and rising in a new world, and he would appreciate it if it were to stay that way.

About the Author

Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver inspired young people to go to film school, and those, hoping to make America Great Again, might have stocked their car trunks with a small arsenal but avoided prison by finding love along the way. When you come from the country, and your first priority is looking for love, and you get a hack license, you find that as a hick or a hack, or a hoaxster, whose hooey consisted of learning a little Latin from your girlfriend and the New York City way of saying Houston Street by repeating a fare’s destination as Howdyston Street, you discover that when you are a lover, every day is the greatest day in America. And, though, not all girlfriends are as tall as Cybil Shepherd or close to a beau ideal like Jodie Foster, nevertheless, all are graced with the beauty and intelligence of Woman, and teach you that, though, you demonstrate all the physical manifestations of an ardent lover, the key to happiness is the expectation of future happiness. My hyperopia, which makes what is far seem too distant to worry about, and what is near too near for anything to be done about it, expressed itself as a muddle and my hack license carried me through to an undergraduate degree, and if I was not the brightest, I had the disincentive of life long unemployment and the tenacity to incentivize the act of throwing all my fuel on one fire, and this carried me through to the Ph.D. in British Romanticism. ‘Mike and Me, Body and Soul’ is a first book, something like ‘Travels with Charley’ (John Steinbeck!) meets ‘Sullivan’s Travels’ (Preston Sturges!) meets a Lost Generation (Gertrude Stein! F. Scott Fitzgerald! The Marx Brothers!) . . . correction . . . not that generation but the generation of gay men lost to AIDS and to my boyfriend Mike, who succumbed to complications from chronic HIV infection. But the commotion you hear outside the waiting room, threatening the vigil, is an unauthorized Marx Brothers meets the Three Stooges meets Abbot and Costello, with the singing voice of Jim Nabors meets Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.