August Prather is Not Dead Yet
Publication date: August 7th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance
Katherine Garnet is a writer who has never cared much about much, making it awfully difficult to create new content. Despite the fact she has the “edge” of being trans (according to her cis male editor) she is not looking to capitalize on her own personal story. Garnet tries to sneak a peek at her rival, August Prather’s, latest fantasy manuscript about a quest for the elixir of life. While reading, Garnet gets accidentally dragged into a bizarre cross-country road trip that may or may not have a purpose and begins to see parallels in the story of the manuscript and the reality of their journey. Along the way, they encounter a parade of equally troubled individuals, including ghost-hunting priests, a robot magician, a discarded piece of furniture, a runaway teenager, and a Japanese rock star. As Garnet confronts her past, she begins to understand why someone might want to live forever.
I don’t remember thinking I was crazy.
It just wasn’t something that occurred to me.
I think I missed something important.
Some time, at some point, people began to click on certain switches and click off others in their brains. It’s supposed to start with childhood. You pick likes and dislikes. My favorite color is blue. My favorite food is macaroni and cheese. That usually leads to picking favorite writers, favorite television shows, music, hobbies, jobs, careers, friends, spouses… and that’s your life.
That’s who you are, so that’s your life. These choices.
Some of it you’re born with. Hair color, eye color, skin color. Body type. Family history. That’s what you get. No choice.
Sometimes, your family, they make those choices for you and you get pushed along with them. You’re a boy, of course you like trucks and sports and dirt. You’re a girl, of course you like ballet and unicorns and baby dolls.
Then you get older and there’s a small amount of self-expression. I am this kind of person, I wear these kind of clothes, I like this kind of activity. I’m a jock or a slut or a cheerleader or a nerd or queer or a loser or a stoner or a hipster or goth.
And as an adult you choose a career and hobbies and a house and a family and you become an architect or a fighter pilot or a supermodel or a dishwasher or a clown. And you live in a yurt or a palace or a split-level ranch. You have X number of kids. You spend time doing Y on the weekends and wish there was always time for Z.
I don’t like the choices. They trap me. I don’t know if I don’t like anything or if I like everything just the same. Either way, it’s a trap.
I don’t seem to see the point in a lot of things. I just do them. There isn’t a point in not doing them, because you should do something.
I live without purpose. Without reason. But I don’t really want my reason for living to be that my favorite color is blue.
People are a reason for living.
But I don’t really have any people to live for.
I have parents. They haven’t ever done anything atrocious. They just don’t like me. I used to care about them. I don’t hate them. But it’s hard to care about people who don’t care about you. Over time, the relationship becomes just that phone call once a week, where you talk about the weather and who from the old neighborhood died.
I don’t have real friends. I have people I go places with. We just talk about movies and sports and other pointless things that make people infinitely happy. We never talk about anything that matters. Anything real.
I once had someone who wanted to marry me. She liked the color green and cheesecake. But she never really liked me. She liked the idea of being married to me. But she didn’t like me. She didn’t really know me. And I didn’t really know her, either.
I could have chosen to marry her. With her, I would have had purpose. But that’s a heavy burden for someone else to carry, being someone someone else’s purpose. I don’t think I’m worth all that. I knew once I said no that she would find another person.
So, I said no. She got married last week.
I don’t usually regret my decisions. But I feel empty. I always feel empty.
My therapist told me that I should try to picture what I feel an ideal world would be and then try and achieve that for myself. That is bound to give me purpose. I tried it.
In an ideal world, I would have nothing. Just a comfortable, calm nothingness. Like dreamless sleep. Like a sensory deprivation tank.
Then I wouldn’t have to worry about what I liked or didn’t like; or what clothes I wore, what shape my body was, what gender, what job I did, how much money I made, or whether I wanted kids.
And I would just be.
Danielle K. Roux is a writer, teacher, and historian. Her first novel August Prather is Not Dead Yet is currently available in e-book and paperback through Parliament House Press (and soon will be available in hardcover and audio book). Danielle has always loved reading and telling stories – especially stories with adventure, mystery, humor, romance and at least a little bit of spookiness. Not Dead Yet has all this covered, with a story-within-a-story structure and a quest for immortality in the early twentieth century paired with a present-day road trip. There’s a lot of existential crisis and a male/male romance that is sweet and steamy.
Danielle has been writing fiction since she was nine, after getting tired of reading from the perspective of white, straight male characters in fantasy novels. Her first written story involved a group of middle school girls who find necklaces used by a dead witch that give them supernatural powers. It was written in notebooks in purple and green gel pens that are currently housed in a box in her linen closet. She is inspired by travelling to new places and reading about the stories tied to landscapes. She has at least three novels building in her brain (or wherever novels come from) and wishes she was writing them all right now.
Danielle lives with her wife and two orange cats in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has added a lot of young adult fantasy fiction to her bookshelves recently, and regrets nothing. Her dream library would be accessed through a secret door and look something like the library in the animated Disney Beauty and the Beast, although it would also have a cute barista or sentient coffee machine that once was said barista.
When she isn’t writing or thinking about writing, Danielle is building houses in the Sims, listening to podcasts, or taking Buzzfeed quizzes to find out what kind of tree she is based on her hair color. She has recently been watching lots of old BBC period pieces, and some of them are good. She has begun to drink Diet Coke and is worried this might be a real problem. Coffee and tea are still her primary beverages of choice.
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