Songs of the Maniacs
From her office at a mental health institute on the outskirts of modern day Miami, a troubled young woman counsels deeply disturbed clients while coping with her own heightening concerns. These include frightening consciousness lapses, violent memories of a high school sexual relationship, a menacing stalker, and an annoyingly arousing visitor who may or may not be insane. All this on a single stormy day as SIPD, today's flavor of mental health disorder, threatens to distort memory and identity, unmooring the validity of reality itself. After a morning spent with clients suffering from illusions, nightmares, and lack of self-definition, the protagonist finds herself trapped in a tropical storm. She is rescued by the mysterious and attractive older man from her office building who has been offering her a chance for a romantic interlude. If he doesn’t turn out to be an inpatient, that is. An evening spent with the inarticulate and troubled Malaise Group takes an unusual turn when a visiting student from the local university invites her into the city. The protagonist begins to enjoy herself while fighting off the feeling she’s being followed. The creepy stalker and other strange coincidences lead her to believe she has lost touch with who she is. Could it be that she, too, is a sufferer of Stand-In Personality Disorder, the strange and life-changing disease that is afflicting so many young people and ruining their lives? Does this mean that she, too, will begin to dissociate and, eventually, become someone else entirely? Or is everything in her worldthe lurid institution, her professional career, confusion about love and sex, the truth behind her own identityall in her own head? In stark, lyrical prose, Songs of the Maniacs shares a young woman’s search for illumination as she attempts to understand her past, present, and true self. When she allows herself to take a deeper look at the people and events that make up her life as a counselor for the insane, she is drawn into the hallucinogenic reality her clients are struggling to control. The hypnotic pull of the story lies in the mystery of the storyteller herself and her murky, uneasy sense of doom. Her world is a wounded one, but familiar and uncomfortably close to our own.