About…   My Lousy Life Stories

An Abstract Novel

 

 

Prologue

These fifteen interrelated essays and short stories depict a rather full cycle of the protagonist’s life in an abstract style. They contain a mass of actual events and perplexing thoughts that have propelled the course of my lousy life, but also made it bearable and even interesting on some days. Our mundane experiences best reveal the peculiarities of our habits, cultures, and minds, but also our resilience and coping mechanisms. They show the intricacy of human nature, ego, and spirit firsthand, which authors strive to capture in their tales. For example, the rather odd story of Trumpet Man reflects the lively culture and atmosphere in downtown Vancouver, as well as a great perspective of the fluid humanity. Conversely, the oddity of random events and our fates often make us wonder about some kind of magic or supernatural always interfering with our lives and plans.

Starting with the intriguing and high-spirited events in the first story, The Big Plan, various adventures in the subsequent stories carry the readers toward the last story, The Final Plan, where the protagonist (like many other people) faces the biggest contrast with his initial vision of life. The protagonist reveals my personal experiences (over sixty percent) or appears as a secondary character in these stories. Some aspects of the stories have been modestly changed, though, to make them more complete or meaningful. The endings of a few stories have also been altered to offer a different outcome I liked better, but only because it could have easily been the case in those circumstances, anyway. Yet, I have tried to remain fully faithful to the gist of the stories and characters’ quirks in the way they had intrigued me to write about them in the first place.

These essays and stories were written randomly during the last fifteen years, but by accident, they seem to cover the three stages of the protagonist’s life. The first phase—the beginning—covers youth’s narrow vision of life while they struggle with their dilemmas and confusion in hopes of building their characters and lives. The second phase—the middle—relates to our direct experiences and involvement with life as we strive to survive financially and emotionally, while wonder about the purpose of all that hard work regularly. We face middle-age crisis and do a great deal of soul-searching and reflection. The third phase—the end—arrives as we feel old and defeated, realize life’s vanity, and eventually reach the point of resignation.

The use of first person voice or a narrator (with mixed pseudonyms for characters) fitted each stories’ particular structure best when written independently many years ago. They have been kept intact for the purpose of this book. This variety seems to help avoid monotony, however, despite the intention to follow a particular character’s interests and thoughts throughout the fifteen stories. A commoner’s unsettling fate and mind manifest during his travels from city to city, while he staggers in the journey of life itself, satiates his curiosities, encounters complex people and situations, and strives to make sense of it all.

As my main field of interest and study, ‘relationships’ has naturally emerged as a recurring theme in almost all the stories in this book. Social welfare and individuals’ health are in severe jeopardy, while people struggle to balance their sexual urges, independence, and emotional needs. Companionship is a basic human need, especially in our stressful and harsh societies, while sexual deprivation and relationship complexities are getting more burdensome and out of hand every day too.

I do not believe in merely writing or reading stories for fun alone or indirect hints about social issues. It is crucial nowadays to directly address the fast deterioration of our values and life structure in any manner we can. We must get more active about the sources of social problems and the urgent need to change our mentalities and lifestyles. We are becoming more self-centred and unreliable every day instead of learning and spreading compassion. The effect of this social mayhem is that life often feels lousy to most of us, but also quite funny if we get the gist of it. This abstract novel along with my other novel, Midnight Gate-opener, support this conclusion, as they reveal my personal traumas during adolescence with my peculiar parents, during middle age with my nagging bosses, lovers, and wife, and finally during old age with my children, while really trying hard all along to maintain a civil relationship with everybody.

 

Tom Omidi, Ph.D.

Vancouver, May 2014