Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors shed light on their recently released books by comparing them to weird things. This week Brett Petersen writes about The Parasite from Proto Space, his story collection published by Clash Books.

If The Parasite From Proto Space & Other Stories were a Tarot card, it would be the Hermit. The Hermit is an old, hunched, bearded man wearing a tattered cloak. In one hand, he holds a twisted walking stick, and in the other, a lantern. The lantern blazes with light, and the man gazes into it: contemplating the flames in a state of deep meditation. What does he see in those flames? Perhaps whole worlds billow, unfold before his eyes and disappear above the tree line in plumes of entropy.

The traditional interpretation of the card maintains that one must seek out total solitude and practice introspection in order to gain divine wisdom. Only by studying the contents of one’s own mind and heart can one find the answers they seek. Every story I’ve ever written is a journey through the dark caves and secret grottos of my mind. The concepts conveyed by these stories are the results of hours upon hours of ruminating over the mysteries of the universe while lying awake in bed at night, unable to sleep.

Among these universal mysteries is the phenomenon known as synchronicity. The Hermit is the ninth Arcana (meaning the ninth out of twenty-two trump cards in the 78 card Tarot deck) and there happen to be nine stories in my book! As a self-proclaimed armchair philosopher, I am never one to overlook coincidences like that. I believe such instances of synchronicity are evidence that the universe is an intelligent organism and we are its organelles, but I digress.

The Hermit is also associated with the Hebrew letter yud, which means ‘hand,’ ‘power,’ or ‘thrust.’ I like to think of this book as a stick of dynamite or chi blast that I have thrust into the world much like Krillin from Dragonball Z hurls spirit bombs at whatever alien menace happens to be threatening the Earth that day. 

Among yud’s many connotations is the notion of focusing one’s mind during moments of rapid change. The Hermit retreats to solitude to focus his mental energies during times of chaos and emerges much more powerful than before. The act of writing a book is very much like meditating in the center of a maelstrom. Words fly all around you, sentences form in your mind and escape before you can write them down; but in the end, a good writer can create order out of that chaotic jumble and create something coherent and ‘good.’

     
Brett Petersen is a writer, musician, and artist from Albany, New York, whose high-functioning autism only enhances his creativity. He earned his B.A. in English from the College of Saint Rose in 2011, and since then, his stories and poems have appeared in over a dozen print and online publications. The Parasite From Proto Space & Other Stories is his first book, and unless he is apprehended by the Trump Regime for being an outspoken autistic, will certainly not be his last. Aside from his writing career, he is the rhythm guitarist and vocalist for sludge rock band Raziel’s Tree, a competent visual artist, Tarot reader, and would-be Kabbalist. All things Brett Petersen can be found at jellyfishentity.wordpress.com.