EILEEN R. TABIOS (3)
Introduction: The excerpts below were deleted from the published version of DOVELION: A Fairy Tale for Our Times (AC Books, New York, 2021). I thought to share them outside of the book because they also exemplify a tactic with which I was experimenting for writing the book: the collapse of time (hence, an early draft's use of "XXXX" instead of a specified year). Theoretically, the linear unfolding would be irrelevant for DOVELION’s story. This means, in part, that one could print out each individual section, throw them up in the air, gather the pieces in the random order they’re picked up, and then be published in that order … and the story would still work. One could try that with these five sections; the change of emphases would be logical but would the story still work?
The author on why these excerpts were deleted:
These excerpts repeated other themes addressed by other sections and deleting them ramped up the energy flow of the novel.
Deleted from DOVELION: A Fairy Tale for Our Times
2 January XXXX
Once upon a time, I pushed open the door into a grey building and walked into sunlight. Immediately, I sensed the veils begin to fall.
After cataract surgery, vision can be blurry during the next day or so. Then vision clears. Then one can see more clearly. At times, with fresh eyes one might even see colors more clearly than one has ever experienced.
The condition precedent, of course, has to be surgery—excising the cataracts that had dimmed or blocked one's vision. Lucidity often requires ruthlessly cutting away at one's life to eliminate the gauze of illusions or ill-conceived beliefs.
The stranger waiting for me in the grey building came to be uncompromising when performing surgery on my life. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way—despite blood-reddened eyes already depleted of tears even as I continued to feel like weeping.
15 July XXXX
Once upon a time, Ernst watched Elena approach the grey building where they’d been meeting her for several months. As she neared the front door, Ernst could see her face more clearly—they could see her smiling.
I am sorry, Elena, Ernst thought. I am sorry I first had to teach you to anticipate me.
16 December XXXX
Once upon a time, an emerald island laid upon a blue sapphire ocean and both glowed under the beam of a 24-carat sun. All of the June12.com rebels assumed Pacifica, before The Dictator’s reign, was a paradise.
But even if, once, Pacifica was a paradise, Elena thought, has there ever been a successful return to paradise? Adam and Eve never returned…
11 July XXXX
Once upon a time, she was fascinated by fairy tales. What paradoxical bit of misogyny is this idea of a Prince whose arrival—as savior!—would birth the result of “living happily ever after”! As she walked towards a grey building to meet a stranger she also paused at one point, bending down to pretend to adjust her right shoe. The motion was her body’s pretense for her to pause so that she could caution herself, The stranger is not a Prince. And you already know only you can be the adjudicator on your own life.
As she stood, she mocked herself: Nor are you a princess, daintily wincing from the effrontery of an invisible pebble.
But she did feel that pebble between her toes as, minutes later, she waded down a hallway towards Apartment 3J. Crushed sampaguita scents from her childhood wafted through the hallway whose walls undulated from invisible breezes. The pebble was small, perhaps as tiny as a grit of sand, but its presence was palpable as a cautionary reminder.
A reminder, she mentally castigated it as she loosened her dress to fall in front of the stranger, is a reference to reality but not reality itself.
“Who are you talking to this time?” the stranger asked with a smile after correctly interpreting her face. They pulled her closer to them.
“No one,” she said, even as she thought, Myself.
But they said, “You are not no one.”
They always correctly interpreted her face.
I pushed her closer towards their lips. I desired and achieved bliss. There is a welcome, particular ecstasy to the bliss of being seen.
23 August XXXX
Once upon a time, a woman walking on the street suddenly halted, surprised by the sight of a grey building that appeared after she turned on a street corner. She remembered the stories shared by her mother about meeting a stranger in a grey building as she tried to address the trauma from her past. With Ernst’s help, her mother healed and, a few years later, felt strong enough to bear a child.
The woman squinted at the building. Are you really grey? she wondered. Ever since her mother told her stories of meeting Ernst in a grey building, it seemed that she kept stumbling across grey buildings.
Ah desire, she thought. You create your own realities. Could my mother distinguish? How much of what my mother shared really happened? And does it matter if …perception is reality?
Eileen R. Tabios has released over 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in ten countries and cyberspace. In 2021 she released her first long-form novel, DOVELION: A Fairy Tale for Our Times. In previously attempting the novel, she couldn't get past seven chapters, but managed to release a collection of these short novels: SILK EGG: Collected Novels 2009-2009 (Shearsman, 2011). Her 2020 books include a short story collection, PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora; a poetry collection, The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku: Selected Tercets 1996-2019; and her third bilingual edition (English/Thai), INCULPATORY EVIDENCE: Covid-19 Poems. Her award-winning body of work includes invention of the hay(na)ku, a 21st century diasporic poetic form, and the MDR Poetry Generator that can create poems totaling theoretical infinity, as well as a first poetry book, Beyond Life Sentences, which received the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry. Translated into 11 languages, she also has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 15 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays. More information is available at http://eileenrtabios.com