Monday, November 1, 2010

Meet the Benson's

Okay. I concede!

I succumb to the pleas demanding I cease my deviation from the intended purpose of this blog and return to promoting interest in the novel: Benson's House.

My apologies.

I changed direction thinking my concealment of project details would entice curiosity. While deliberately exposing surface references and descriptions of randomly chosen characters in my earlier posts, recent entries have not contained the same devotion to the content of the novel. I instead attempted to share essays allowing glimpses of the author's voice so apparent in much of the novel's theme. The move has not been as successful as initially expected.

The strategy switch also failed to appease the required instruction from agents. They seem determined to guard preset standards on how to be enticed into requesting further project details. This is not good! My insistence to explore alternative procedures is failing my project, and I must adjust to provide the necessities for a successful evaluation. I've received sufficient rejection to prove divergence from standard procedure will not be tolerated.

I accept all responsibility.

Understand, although I acknowledge my faults, I'm neither the professional editor or publicist in this arrangement; it is why I seek representation. I'm just a rebel male writer: spontaneous, adventurous and oblivious to "cookie cutting" formulas. Please bare with me. This is my first endeavor with the process. It is awkward and reminds me of asking a girl out on a blind date.

If the courted lady began to express predate inquiries- insisting a need to know all specifics before the purposed occasion- I'm certain I would also be hesitant with responses to that process. I'd ponder whether an explanation of details would distract from the real experience. I might, furthermore, be tempted to purposely offer a formulated reply with hopes of attracting a positive reaction. I'm certain there would loom the threat of insincerity: a fabricated response offered to advance to the next stage of the dating process. I would much rather avoid the risk of pretense and have her agree to meet with an understanding that the social engagement would end abruptly unless interest was prompted in the first thirty minutes of the encounter.

I believe experiences are best left to fate and events are often more memorable when spontaneity is not jeopardized. Precautions distract and contribute to perceived mistrusts. However, I do understand the essence of time and the necessity to avoid wasting it. Still, much of what is demanded in the content of a query letter can be more effectively gathered by a limited amount of time offered to reading segments of the project.

These are a few of the things I had in mind when I changed course from the initial introductions of Benson's House. I was hoping more agent's would have chanced a reading, affording me the oppurtunity to surprise the potential representative's unprepared perusal, but I now accept the need to provide details to inspire a mutual acceptance and willingness to direct this project to the platform of excellence it deserves.

So, lets get on with it!

The story is a somewhat surreal, often subjective, account of history as it pertains to the evolution of contemporary pop culture. It begins in the early 1860's, when a group of emancipated slaves migrate to a shack in the shanty town known as Seneca Village. The town is located in the heart of the projected expansion grid of Manhattan, and the shack is owned by an older run away slave named Thomas Jefferson Hardy.

He has opened his home to those former slaves brought together with a mutual passion to play music. When the village is destroyed to begin development of the Greensward Project- a development project designed to form the grounds of what became Central Park- the troubadours moved inner city, returning on weekends to perform jubilees in the newly landscaped fields that once held the village of their homes.

Jubilee's were traditional outings that originated in the area of New Orleans, when on Sundays, plantation owners allowed their slaves to spend time in a city square. Food was served, music played, and dancers danced at a place that became known as Congo Square during the 1850's.

No one knows where the boy came from or what his real name was. He wandered into a recruiting camp for the Thirteenth Independent Battery of the Union Army in 1861. When asked his name by the recruitment officer he responses that he was "Just Ben's son."

His name was entered on the rooster as Justin Benson. Through his life encounters, he becomes the patriarch of a family responsible for promoting the music that became Rock 'n' Roll.

The name Justin Benson becomes his slave name. Slave names refer to the monikers given to those slaves not born into captivity. They were called motherless children: taken from their African tribes and brought to a new world to exist as plantation laborers. Plantation foreman often gave them new names to replace their African identities.

I use the slave name as a symbol of an independence from ancestral affinities. It is used to mark the separation from all conformity with conventional standards. The ones possessing slave names are outsiders looking in; separatists. They feel detached from families, communities, religions and municipalities and create or establish counter cultures as their institutions.

It is from this rebel spirit that pop culture began.

Justin Benson- like Thomas Jefferson Hardy- both come from the wilderness and redefine their identities. While in the process, the adaption of a new sound in music, and a new direction in art occurs. Their transformations begin the origin of pop culture, leading to the age of another person who came from the wilderness and accepted a slave name: Bob Dylan.

Although Justin is solely responsible for shaping his social identity, he feels obligated to fulfill a destiny that came to him in a dream. He believes his fate is to create a place on earth that will serve the principals of democracy by creating a center of an artistic universe.

I will explain all that in the next post.

Stay tuned!

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