Genre: Literary Fiction, Magical Realism
Synopsis: Calliope Braintree has a lot working against her, but the forces of Nature and Love conspire to make her an instrument in the liberation of her fellow humans and the Wildness they have suppressed and perverted.
Aided by the Muse of Epic Poetry, an urban coyote, and the Chicago River, Calliope saves herself from the ravages of abuse, self-loathing and sexual humiliation. It’s not easy for her to remember the plan she and Muse had made for this life, but memories do come, in confusing fits and starts. A homeless orphan, sure of nothing but her urge to write, she ignores the mind-numbing conventions of civilized society, preferring to listen to her Muse. She follows Coyote, who leads her away from the degrading and harsh brutality of her life, into a haven of safety. Calliope goes to live in a hidden pocket of Wildness alive in the city. Still in the world, she is no longer of it, and she’s glad.
River is a powerful entity, her world a parallel reality existing in the cracks of civilization’s façade. And, polluted and tormented as she is, River is still able to transform the toxins polluting Calliope’s mind, absorbing what is hideous and making it holy. This process climaxes in a Trickster-ized version of Revelations, after which Calliope’s life will never be the same again. (ADULT CONTENT)
Anne Victoria Pyterek is as much the product of her protagonist, Calliope Braintree, as she is her producer. For in the ten year process of bringing Calliope into being, she ended up completely re-writing the story of her own life.
Very much a daughter of Daniel Burnham, Anne left the City of Big Shoulders—at Calliope’s request—driving off into the sunset in a big blue bus with her then 11 year old son, a managerie of animals and no income. She did this for the adventure, the learning and to find out about Calliope’s childhood. She and her son live in Colorado now, still in the bus, on 120 acres with a pack of semi-feral dogs, surrounded by coyotes.
Why I Write
What I Write
You know how seemingly unrelated things can come together and create something new and unexpected? Well, that’s the story of my life. There were a lot of disparate seeming (at the time) elements that came together for me in the long process of finding my voice. Luckily, I didn’t realize how much I was taking on when I started writing To Hear The Rest More Clearly. All I knew was how high my skirt was blown up over the idea of writing a book about a young woman who finds her voice. The thought never occurred that writing it would be how I found my own. I thought I already had a voice!
Ha ha! That’s pretty funny, considering how stifled I felt. Which maybe explains why it took ten whole years…? But it’s really not funny at all. Silencing women has been the status quo for some 6,000 years now. I felt strongly compelled to push through that, both for myself and for my readers. We need real heroines—super heroines who know how to save themselves. Helpless females obsessed with submitting to a man make me sick. They say we write the books we most want to read. Well, I wanted a heroine who learns how to see through all the artificial conditioning of male dominated society; a heroine who follows her own path, no matter how weird it may seem.
I’ve always preferred the company of other animals and wanted, somehow, to give them a voice, too. That’s a lot easier said than done. Ultimately, it was a combination of being an avid reader of Thoreau and my magnificent home births that got me tuned so completely in to the sense of Wildness and the Wisdom of The Body. Wildness is not a place, it is a state of mine. Another word for it might be authenticity. It’s a state of mind that does not allow for anything fake. And I experienced this authenticity more and more over the time I spent writing this book.
It was better than therapy. It brought my life into focus for me. It made me have these odd resolution experiences. Over and over I would have these realizations, “Oh! That’s why I had to do that thing back then. I needed it for this!” This happened a lot. It was pretty gratifying to realize my strange learning process actually was single-minded, after all. I had spent so many years beating myself up for being “too flighty” and having no direction. I did have a direction! It just didn’t follow any well-worn paths! So the more I applied myself to the process of becoming who I felt I was meant to be, by writing the story I most needed to read, the more I became who I already was. This is one of the things my protagonist Calliope learns as well. (She gets it from me. Obviously.)
I’ve learned a lot about myself by writing the first three books in this series. Now that I’m working on the fourth, my realizations are more along the lines of “This is who I’ve always been. Why did I allow so much to get in the way of this? I worked so hard to strip away all the lies, and I’m glad. But they were never part of me in the first place. How did they get there? And why did I have to make it so hard for myself?” I feel embarrassed for having been so easily distracted, for having wasted so much time. I struggled enormously over stuff that was never true. But it’s a Zen thing: you have to fill yourself up with information in order to be able to let it all go. Which would be great if I were a Buddhist. But I’m not. These days, I’m quite good at not beating myself up. I’m proud of un-learning that. And I know, it is because of my writing that I’ve been able to recover to this degree. It’s the most perfect therapy anybody could ever devise. I plan on writing for the rest of my life.
Author Blog: Anne of Blue Bus Books (http://blue-bus-books.com/)
PURCHASE LINK: Smashwords