Body in the Pond: Third International Serialization


It’s free. The writer is giving it away.

This round begins on February 1, 2021.

Despite the writer’s tendency to brood, the work is positive, a salve during these difficult days.

The writer (yes, me) is not selling anything. This art is not a commercial product. Email addresses are used only to distribute the serialized story. Some months after serialization, the wri . . . I will write a final time and ask recipients to nominate, suggest, recommend other potential recipients. I will not be selling, loaning, giving away, or doing anything else with the email addresses. I will probably lose them.

You will receive a short PDFed chapter or two every Monday via email. The project lasts for twelve weeks.

This 2021 round begins during a winter when we’re cold and quarantined, when we all need a regularly recurring bit of warmth and light from a humble performance art project in the Dickensian tradition.

I am an actual human being who can also be found here:

The first round of serialization occurred in early 2019 and reached a modest audience stretching from the West Coast of the United States to England.

Thanks to readers from that round, the audience tripled for the second round, in late 2019 and early 2020. The serialization circumnavigated the world, landing in Taiwan, India, Democratic Republic of Congo, England again, Jamaica, and various locales in the United States.

More countries are already waiting patiently on the third list.

The book has been particularly attractive to teachers, because of its school setting. But it’s not a campus novel. What a disappointment that would be. The school is the world away from the world where strange occurrences may unfold and flourish.

Sign up at unfetteredlit_at_gmail_dot_com (or leave a comment on the blog site). You know that “_at_” means @ and “_dot_” means a period.

One rule: Feedback is not requested. Critiques are — how to say this politely — forbidden. This is not a writers’ group project. This is a paper lantern set afire and allowed to drift.

But . . .

Late in the second round of serialization an absolute prohibition against feedback was lifted at the request of a reader in India, and recipients wrote the following:

From India: “In Body in the Pond the prose style has a kind of crystalline quality that is polished and delicate.  I remember seeing a classic movie a long time ago (perhaps ‘Zhivago?’) where the window is frosted over, and when the sun comes up, you see for a brief moment so many of these crystals. There are many perfect moments like that in Body in the Pond.”

From the United States: “I have been a teacher and administrator in boarding and day schools for nearly 40 years, and the characters, dialogue, and relationships rang true. You brought Benschloss to life in a very engaging and relatable way for me; Smitty, Malcolm, and Chitwood too. Thank you very much for a lovely diversion during the pandemic.”

From England: “How pleasant to return to find episodes 12 and 12.5 waiting for me in my inbox. I’ve commented already on how appropriate your performance art style of presentation is in the current situation. The content and style of the piece also seem to suit the times. There’s a welcome unhurriedness in the pace, a kindness in all the characters, and a gentleness in the unfurling of plot that provides an antidote to the far-from-mellow spirit of this age. I’m grateful for it.”

From the United States: “This work stems from deep roots in education, introduces characters a reader wants to know better, examines life as the mystery it ultimately is, and offers its sinuous plot with finely wrought style and a sly sense of humor.”

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