james pumpelly

Twice Melvin

Twice Melvin by james pumpelly
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fiction Humor, Romance
For readers of:romance-comedy, paranormal romance, literary fiction, New England history
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About the Book

It all began the day of my funeral, relates the book's protagonist, Melvin Morrison - a spell-binding tale that begins with an ending. Traveling through millennia of recorded history, sparring characters draw the reader into compelling, real-life action with hero's and villains of eras long past.

Melvin, a deceased Vermont attorney, and Aunt Martha, Melvin's suddenly reappearing, self-appointed spirit guide, vie humorously over the trivial, heroically over the traumatic; their interaction, with dear ones left behind, the troubling constant holding the past and the possible in perilous proximity.

"Dear ones" include factious and facetious characters like Simon Farley, the village would-be poet and needs-be bicycle repairman; Thelma Peabody, an old maid, placard waving demonstrator at Vermont's nearby capital; George O'Malley, Melvin's Boston-Irish law partner-cum-Romeo; Melody, Melvin's grieving wife and soon-to-be mother; Charlene, Melvin's vengeful, pregnant mistress; and Arthur Steinburg, an illiterate antiquarian book store proprietor.

Melvin's last case is a suit against the Rogue Sperm Bank filed by Mr. and Mrs. Way - inversely referred to as Rogue vs Way - for the untimely death of their in vitro baby. After Melvin's death, Melody makes a withdrawal from the Rogue Bank, giving her deceased husband the opportunity to come back as his own son. (Hence the title, Twice Melvin.) But the problems are only beginning for Melody when Melvin reappears, in the whitest state in the Union, as a cuddlesome and controversial black baby. Rumors run rampant that Vincent TenKlei, a wealthy Rhodesian student at the village's acclaimed God-Hard College, has fumbled his way to fatherhood.

Enter interventions from the Beyond, and the disturbance proliferates! Tongue-in-cheek humor, heart-wrenching romance, or soul-searching tears, the reader will find it all here - including an ending that begins.

About the Author

Reared by traveling evangelists, my sheltered years were a moth-swarm of questions and quandaries. Like drawn curtains against the sun, my naiveté rebuffed the dazzle of temporal joy. I feigned comprehension, for to do otherwise was to be reproached by the happiness of others - until the milieu of university curricula enlightened me. As Eudora Welty wrote, "A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within."

In retrospect, I treasure the innocent years - as most do - a kind of throwback to Thoreau's life at Walden. Yet, as I write, I suspect only God and romanticists empathize with my quest, my yearning for warmth - like a meadow on a summer day. Peace. A palliative of which the world is bereft.

Having eyes that see, and ears that hear (in the biblical sense), I often feel complicit in the world's duress; escaping via demiurgical expression, creating

characters, places and events by the whim of fancy. Freud instructs us to hold our parents accountable for our problematic existence, Marx tells us we should point the finger at the upper class, when, in truth, we have only ourselves at fault. Blake believed if the doors of perception were cleansed, we would see everything as it is. Infinite. But truth is beyond the rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Beyond thought, even.

Accordingly, I've stumbled through the fifty states, and much of Europe and Asia, gathering impressions for my narrative. To quote Melville, "This world clean fails me: still I yearn." Such hunger funds the heart, the will to live. As the journey lengthens and the destination seems never nearer, I've grown to accept that my journey IS the destination. A writer's duty, I think, is to brave possibilities. Temerity breaths life into characters.

Accepting the challenge, I've been writing since the mid seventies - poetry (that window on the soul) and short stories, reflecting the uniqueness of station and local. Before college, I was homeschooled, due to my parents' constant travel. As an adult, I've called home by many names: Texas, Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Louisiana, among them.

My hobbies include reading, cooking, gardening, and piano (the latter one of my college majors). Surmounting these four, is writing, making memories into more than they were; for memories are living things, conjoining the past and the future, resurrecting the dead and imagining the unborn.

Two thousand years ago, Pilate asked Christ, "What is truth?" the answer being every man's quest - to which I add another Pilate excerpt: "What I have written I have written."

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