I am publishing my book on a website:
My creative life divides naturally between acts of mimicry and abstruseness. Resultantly, every reinvention of myself (composer, painter, cartoonist, writer…) has been marked by the same predicament: I am too avant-garde to be mainstream, and too mainstream to be avant-garde. In a world where success depends on how well you meet an expectation, I am seen as being too conventional by one set of gatekeepers, and too different by another. (By any thoughtful inspection I am clearly my own thing.) Given this reliable misjudgment, and given I can make no headway against it, I undertake to publish my “too too” book electronically on this website. This does not mean I am not interested in finding a print publisher for my project. Any inquiries or advice on potential publishers or agents will be enthusiastically received at email@example.com.
Michael Louden-West is a reclusive man who understands himself in debilitating detail, yet relates to the world outside his door only through social logic gleaned from old movies, especially science fiction thrillers and screwball romantic comedies. His house is his sanctuary until he comes to believe a terrifying and beautiful angel has invaded it. Lacking corporeal form, this entity assumes the guise of his memories: both real remembrances and those transposed from films. Michael is resolved to escape the labyrinth and the monster that has come to haunt it, yet he is torn for how to go about this. The advice of his philosophizing friend gets around the obstacle of his overly rational mind, while the advice of a mysterious woman circumvents the inhibitions of his “barely owned” body. Without knowing the true identity of his specter, Michael must choose which friend to follow, and regardless where his journey to self-discovery begins, his quest is the same as Biblical Jacob: He must wrestle his fiery angel to secure a blessing from a curse, and in so doing find the meaning of his life.
The protagonist in Icarus Transfigured is afflicted with a mild, undiagnosed form of autism, and the reader comes to know his predicament through a fantastical story: one not intended to conceal his true life but, rather, to reveal how his life requires a kind of fiction to be understood.
Icarus Transfigured began as a work of speculative fiction in 2003, and it was not until the author was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2007 that the protagonist in his story became openly autobiographical. Autism not only informs the subject matter of the book, but the memoir/novel is itself an autistic creation.
While AspergersDoorknob.com serves as a repository for Michael Lowell Teague's writing. He is best known for his alternative comics, which appeared in anthologies such as Zero Zero and Blurred Vision. He won a Xeric Award in 1999 for his self-published comic book, Epic Dermis. His comic strip, Blender Kitty, was regularly seen in The New York Press between 2001 and 2003. (A list of websites featuring his art, music, and comics can be found at the bottom of this page.)
"It was like him to fall in love with the lead actress and watch a film repeatedly without cessation. His gushing heart would be uncritical in its initial praise, and only with over-familiarity would his eye wander off-script into peripheral details the filmmaker never intended for scrutiny. The fantasy, from there, unraveled from the inside out, beginning innocently when an untouched water pitcher was noticed changing sides on a table during a conversation, and then onto the late discovery of a subtle tic in the actress’ facial mannerisms. Eventually it came down to reading the lips of background characters, and finally spying the one guy in the crowd looking directly into the camera and mumbling, “I am the devil.” By then, he was watching an entirely different movie: a movie so painfully familiar it was completely alien." –from Chapter Twenty-two
"The friend chafed. 'I’m never anxious to meet any woman who will be your undoing.'
Omar justified himself. 'I don’t blame women for that, mind you. Domesticity makes women Nature’s natural ally in dragging the species into mediocrity. Women save the race from the fate of either being too cerebral or too dangerous to survive.'” –from Chapter Twenty-three
(This book is not recommended for readers under the age of eighteen.)
Table of Contents:
PART I: Spyglass Darkly House
Prologue (A Sleep) 1 (A Forgetting) 1 (A Coming from Afar) 1
Chapter One (Heaven and Hell): 1, 2
Chapter Two (The Labyrinth): 1, 2, 3
Chapter Three (Stonesthrow): 1, 2
Chapter Four (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Part 1): 1, 2
Chapter Five (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Part 2): 1, 2
Chapter Six (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Part 3): 1, 2, 3
Chapter Seven (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Part 4): 1, 2
PART II: The Idée Fixe
Chapter Eight (Chaos): 1, 2
Chapter Nine (The Dancing Star, Part 1): 1, 2, 3
Chapter Ten (The Dancing Star, Part 2): 1, 2
Chapter Eleven (A Visitation): 1, 2
Chapter Twelve (The Persistence of Memory): 1, 2
Chapter Thirteen (The Ghost in the Machine, Part 1): 1, 2
Chapter Fourteen (The Ghost in the Machine, Part 2): 1, 2, 3
PART III: The Blind Man
Chapter Fifteen (The Blind Man, Part 1): 1, 2
Chapter Sixteen (The Blind Man, Part 2): 1, 2
Chapter Seventeen (Invasion of the Body Snatcher) 1, 2, 3, 4
Chapter Eighteen (In-Betweenness) 1, 2, 3
Chapter Nineteen (The Unsayable, Part 1) 1, 2, 3
Chapter Twenty (The Unsayable, Part 2) 1, 2
PART IV: The Doppelgänger
Chapter Twenty-one (The Haunted Ruin) 1, 2
Chapter Twenty-two (The Doppelgänger)1, 2
Chapter Twenty-three (The Bug Collector)1, 2, 3, 4
Chapter Twenty-four (The Child, Part 1)1, 2
Chapter Twenty-five (The Child, Part 2)1, 2, 3
PART V: Intangible Gift
Chapter Twenty-six (Infinity) 1
Chapter Twenty-seven (Paradox) 1, 2
Chapter Twenty-eight (The Sublime) 1, 2, 3
Chapter Twenty-nine (The Black Box) 1
Chapter Thirty (The Object Lesson) 1, 2, 3, 4
Chapter Thirty-one (Deus Ex Machina) 1
Chapter Thirty-two (The Day of Eternal Noon) 1, 2
Epilogue (The Unknowable Thing-in-Itself) 1 (The Balance of Memory) 1
· Start date for manuscript: late October 2003
· Unofficial finish date for manuscript and art: late December 2007
· January 2011: Title Change (from An Aversion to Ladders)
· March 2012: Last Round of Edits
Appendix: Notes on Autism and Culture
Van Gogh's Ear: I wrote this short story in 2007. It is only tangentially about Van Gogh being cloned from his cut-off ear. The coffeehouse conversation between the mother and teacher touches on themes presented by Omar in the last scene of Chapter Twenty-three.
Music Inspired by Icarus Transfigured:
This link takes you off-site to music at Death by Algorigthm.
Philosophy Inspired by Icarus Transfigured:
Click to enter book.
It is the irony of history that a daring and difficult idea becomes popular in the general culture only after it becomes irrelevant. Einstein’s insight into relativity was a feat of genius, but few in his day (and ours) grasped the finality of what he purposed. As theoretical science shows signs of age and dementia, we stumble toward a greatly diminished horizon of certainty. The discoveries that awaits us will be subtler than those of Einstein, but far more profound.
This book, commenced in 2009, is a natural outgrowth of the philosophical ideas presented in Icarus Transfigured. These notes and their organization are still evolving, and so there are sure to be a few typos and rough patches.
"Beyond this appeal to function in the brain, there is the pricklier issue of manifest religious experience in the material of the brain. The ecstatic aspect of religious experience has been linked to the same location in the brain as sexual orgasm, and it is argued that spiritual elation is merely an offshoot or byproduct of this more legitimate evolutionary end. This offshoot subsequently evolved its own end, despite this end demonstrating no legitimate evolutionary purpose in itself (with perhaps the possible exception of salubrious benefit derived from self-affirmation through self-delusion). To the bigger point, we once more see locating activity in the brain as somehow explaining why something happens by where it happens, and by the same logic that sees bingo and worship as being identical in nature because they both occur in a church." –from Divine Clues
Ongoing editing, even as late as 2012, has bolstered the idea Icarus Transfigured continues to be a living document. I see these real-time “improvements” as one of the luxuries web publishing affords the writer over the printed page.
The Other Websites:
I have split my various creative pursuits into distinct websites. The curious are encouraged to visit winsomecreature.com for drawing and painting; blenderkitty.com for comics; and deathbyagorithm.com for music, animation, and my culture blog.
Comments are welcomed and can be sent to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
–the author, Michael Lowell Teague
Book Copyrights ©2007-©2012 Michael Teague. All rights reserved. Site Copyright© 2013 Michael Teague. All rights reserved.