Strangers Gate (Invitation)


Unused scene from “Idle in September.” India Ink and Acrylic Painting by Diana Muller

Strangers Gate

-An Invitation by Jeffrey F. Barken


Man in hat—
Ten Taps on drums,
“Testing, testing”
Mic unplugged.

Spring musicians
Back from winter,
Hear them ramble
Sweet-jazz season.

The city is tuning up for fireworks. Perfect summers last a century before we’re weary. Reminds me, in the beginning, Diana Muller and I did plan to publish Idle in September. She’d read my novel about a bluegrass band that goes on tour after 9/ll. She liked the story well enough to draw some sketches…. But the book was for scrap. There were holes, characters were underdeveloped and the plot was overwritten. I had no patience to revise. Besides, I was already writing All the Lonely Boys in New York.

So it goes. One book grows out of the other. Countless characters evolve, composing an alternate reality. Often their adventures connect or intersect. There are also dead ends. In All The Lonely Boys in New York, the narrator, Myles Fletcher, begins writing Idle in September, believing the book represents his apology to his best friend, Ari Shultz, whom he has betrayed. Constantly plotting his novel with escapist energy, Myles begins pinning scraps of paper to the walls of his apartment and later drawing directly on the surface. His destructive recklessness reveals a tangled web of emotion-laden poetic fragments.


strangers gate e-inviteA multimedia novel charts trails of creative energy. Diana drew several versions of the cover before we settled on a final design. She has also created numerous ink stamps to adorn the pages of the printed book. These small graphics interact with the novel’s materialism, heightening the reader’s sensitivity to small objects with thematic significance.

Meanwhile, Dara Lorenzo has included Diana’s drawings in her photo prints, creating introspective collages with unique intensity.

Witness a novel come to life this summer. Join us at the Grand Street Gallery, (278 Grand Street, NYC, NY, 10002) June 25th-27th for an interactive multimedia experience, book signings and a round of “monologue.” Soundtrack opening night provided by Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers.