You ever read something and feel like, damn, I wish I was there or what would it have been like to have experienced that? Well read Stab at Sleep, a collection of monologues, stories and poems by Jason Anfinsen and not only will you feel like you were there, you will be convinced that it was you who had the actual experience.
Currently coming to us from Seattle, writer Anfinsen invited us inside his world this past September when this 155-page photo album was released. I say photo album because I have not read anything this vivid in a long time (there are no photos). These words take you to places you swear you have been. Many of the monologues in the book have been performed in various theaters in Chicago and his editorial prose has been featured in The Capitol Hill Times, UR Chicago, and right here on TheTripwire.com. In addition to being incredibly vivid, they are incredibly vicious and at the same time heartfelt. Broken into five parts, the book is like a map to a lost highway of emotions and unfulfilled fantasies. Or is it a diary of a protagonist who is clearly numbering his days of existence. Or could it be a last will and testament from someone who was longing so much for happiness that he would sacrifice anything and anyone to find it. Fact or fiction? You canï¿½t help but wonder while reading. But isnï¿½t that the fun of it? Or is it? Some truth with some fantasy? Who knows. Only the author can answer for sure, but this reader constantly felt very much in the moment.
Each work ends with a title that leaves you wondering what, if anything, it has to do with the piece. Sometimes it's nice to try and figure it out and other times you read it and accept it and move on. Other titles are a bit more revealing and include an actual performance date and place which is fun for the reader.
Some of the words come at you like cars on a highway at night going in the wrong direction - The beach is one of the biggest prostitutes in the world -from "No Sun O Mine".
But then at times when you least expect it, the serenity sneaks in for a comfort snack, like this gem from "My Only Living Mistake":
soft hope still shines
It's not that far away.
could be the same as
If you were next door
Or if you were right here
Or from the more intense "Sid and Nancy Christmas on Ice":
Your words flew out like belligerent buckshots
Smacking her innocent face
With metal venom hate
She soaked it all up, helpless sponge
A veteran of the bar room brawl
Girlfriend starred in this thriller before.
I know this couple and have seen them fight before and I have been to this bar. Or have I?
This read is a wonderful and colorful experience and can only extend your own capacity of awareness. Try it out, try it on and then re read it.
Anfinsen is currently directing/producing/performing/teaching independent theatricals at JAIL in Seattle, hosting a weekend radio show at KNDD/The End and writing the follow up to Stab At Sleep.
The book is available for purchase on line at JerkAlertProductions.com