In this exclusive excerpt from Chaucer Dickinson and the Timberscape of Memory, titular character Chaucer squares off against her father, who wants to change the channel on the iconic performance of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Chaucer is the largely ignored middle child in her family, but seeing the Beatles perform is worth the fight. Chaucer Dickinson and the Timberscape of Memory is Book Five in the Heretics in Occupied Eden series.
On the evening of February 9, 1964, the unspoken cultural alienation that had for several years simmered between Chaucer and her father came into the open. The whole family gathered in front of the television that Sunday to watch the Ed Sullivan Show. The British quartet, the Beatles, performed five songs, and Chaucer was deliriously smitten by their music and their personas.
After the Beatles’ first set, Banky said, “That’s a flash in the pan if I ever heard one. I dislike rock and roll on principle, but what this shaggy bunch plays is utter rubbish. ‘Till There Was You’ is a beautiful song. How dare they desecrate it by sandwiching it between two of their juvenile numbers?”
“I think they’re great,” Chaucer exclaimed.
“Great, my ass,” Banky grumbled.
Norah thought the Beatles were charismatic and entertaining but refrained from saying so. Marlowe and Spenser, who enthusiastically agreed with Chaucer, similarly kept their mouths shut.
“Why don’t we just turn the TV off now?” said Banky. “We’ve seen what the noise was all about, and it’s just that –noise.”
“No,” Chaucer replied forcefully. “You always watch Ed Sullivan to the end, even when you complain about the stupid acrobats and hand puppets. You’re excused if you want, Dad, but for a change this is something I want to watch.”
“Alright,” Banky acquiesced. He sat back on the couch and folded his arms across his chest.
However, following the quartet’s closing performance of “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” Banky was impatiently irritated. “They’ll never last, you mark my words,” he prophesied forcefully as he snapped off the television.
The next afternoon, in defiance of her dad’s words, Chaucer rode her bike to Bill’s Records at Park Central and bought her first, but by no means last, Beatles records.
More about Chaucer Dickinson and the Timberscape of Memory:
This companion novel in the HERETICS IN OCCUPIED EDEN series can be enjoyed independently of the other books but offers more riches to those who have read them. Chaucer Dickinson first appeared in a minor role in THE DANCING CHURCH. This book offers a deeper surveillance of her life, including previously unrevealed involvements with important characters from the earlier novels.
Emerging from a dysfunctional childhood as the lost middle child between a brilliant older sister and a golden-haired younger brother, Chaucer decides to write a fantasy novel to make fun of it all. Producing the manuscript, however, stretches over decades. The chapters of her satirical work unfold at crucial times for Chaucer as she outwardly explores the roles of idealistic war protester, drug-using hippie, feminist graduate student, and gay rights advocate, before settling into a career as a college English professor. Along the way, she marries a gay man, divorces him, and seeks new love with a married colleague.
Her wonderland fantasy, THE TIMBERSCAPE OF MEMORY, is interspersed between the chapters of her personal story, reflecting her own improbable journey and ultimately providing a means for integrating her outer and inner worlds.
Get Chaucer Dickinson and the Timberscape of Memory here!
Read more exclusive excerpts:
Book One – The Floating Boy – Discovering Metaphysics
Book Two – The Strange Angels – Establishing Gender Studies
Book Three – The Dancing Church – Discovering a Connection
Book Four – The Mansion of Our Undressing – Literature and Protest
Book Seven – Emma Round & the Holy Rowlings – Harry Potter Trivia Night