As an experiment in prose poetry, I often find myself writing a piece that becomes an excerpt from an imaginary book. Sometimes I write only a line or two, like the captions for the cartoon Geranium Lake Properties by Wm. Yost (which was originally titled Geranium Lake Prophecies). Yost himself is a hapless character in the imaginary novel The Boy in the Yellow Leatherette Portmanteau by Gralie Bohe. I once had the idea I might make a real novel out of The Boy in the YLP, and I have written more than a few paragraphs of the book, but after years of messing around with it, only disparate excerpts exist. The following paragraph is part of the piece that introduces Yost into the novel.
“Yost had once been famous as a writer, but not for his novels, of which the first was yet to be published. He had been the creator of a cartoon that had gained enough notoriety to become a dubious cultural icon of the early nineties. His fame had declined sharply in the years since the last panel of Geranium Lake Properties had been published, yet his celebrity had retained enough currency to generate international gossip about his disappearance. Upon his return to civilization, Yost was annoyed to discover that people all over the world believed he had been living in voluntary retreat from the oppressive vanities of modern existence, except for those who believed he had fled to escape prosecution for the murder of his former wife. There was a small percentage of the world’s population who believed he was dead, while another smaller percentage believed he was an alien from another planet. The smallest percentage were the sixteen people who believed in a complicated mysticism that made him the reincarnation of the dead son of Countess Elizabeth Báthory and Torquato Tasso.”
Two more excerpts from The Boy in the Yellow Leatherette Portmanteau:
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