On a bitterly cold night in 1903, an immense airship appeared in the sky over Brooklyn. Of the few who saw it, only one spirited soul dared approach it. Her reward, floating down by parachute, was a common shipping crate.
I was that spirited soul. And inside that unassuming box, I found a literary treasure trove—bundles of manuscripts, journals, and letters, all chronicling the lives of a circle of people living in a small upstate–New York city called Byblos. I took the archive to my apartment and spent a long night poring over it.
Many of the pieces proved quite fascinating, and none less than curious. But most remarkable of all was the date displayed on the principal manuscript’s cover page. It had been completed in the year 1959—fully fifty-six years after its arrival! What’s more, the crate bore my name and address.
As to what strange forces were at work, I could only wonder. But certainly I had been sent this extraordinary collection with some purpose in mind. Someone wished to make use of my unique set of talents.
I vowed then and there, this anonymous patron would not go unsatisfied!
(My account of this episode, including an inventory of the archive, is more fully expounded in the preface to my second book, excerpted here.)
From the very beginning, I knew it was incumbent upon me to place this work before the learned public. But how to present what amounts to a hodgepodge of memoir and memento?
My first instinct was to synthesize the disparate parts into a unified narrative of several volumes. With the first three novellas this course paid off handsomely. The result is a pleasing story, peopled with memorable characters, and told in a graceful, yet singular, style.
But when I came to the tales of Mélisande Bodel, I realized it would be impossible to incorporate them into my central narrative without diluting their unique flavor. Likewise Eugenia Biddle’s childhood effort, The Circensiad. These required a defter touch.
Necessity, it is oft said, is the mother of invention. And just was it so in this case. I would embrace the Babel of voices and organize them into a whole which would be greater than the sum of its parts, creating a new literary form which I have christened the novaplex.
What precisely is a novaplex? That is something which remains to be seen. But a term coined by the second Lord Dexter might offer the simplest definition: “a lit’ry gallim’fry.” If that hasn’t made things clear, perhaps this graphical display will help.
The first novella, where we meet the incomparable Mrs. Biddle, a most unnerving occurrence… < more… >
Those partial to Boccaccio, or bawdy tales generally, will find this an essential addition to their library… < more… >
Our noble entourage enters Byblos and encounters its plebeian complement… < more… >
Mrs. Biddle learns that things won’t always go her way, and she’s not the least bit pleased… < more… >
Jack Tigue comes of age with the circus in this gripping remake of Virgil’s Aeneid… < more… >
A veritable Biddle bonanza, this novel-length trilogy contains the first three novellas in the redoubtable woman’s saga…
< @ Lycophos Press >
A pulp detective comes to inhabit the head of a literarily precocious young woman, who just happens to be Mrs. Biddle’s granddaughter…
< @ Lycophos Press >
Who is M.E. Meegs? An authoress, an editor—a wordsmith, if you will. Her work as journalist has graced newspapers as distant as Bacup and Cheadle. And as editor and publisher, she single-handedly resurrected the little magazine Psi, which rose, phoenix-like, from the literary ash pit—only to return there a short while later, having ventured too close to the dazzling flame of immortality.
But more important, to me, is how history will come to define M.E. Meegs. For it is on this great work, this great American novaplex, that I expect to be judged. Whether as author, editor, or orchestrator—the title matters little (though, to be fair, all three might apply). What does matter is that the project be brought to fruition. This will take time, of course, and immense effort—herculean effort. So please, dear reader, be patient.
As each novella is completed, I will make it available (at modest price) to my awaiting readers. And when appropriate, I will bundle these into novel-length trilogies. To keep yourself informed of these developments, be sure to add yourself to my list of devotees.
In the meantime, please do feel free to drop me a line. It’s your kind words of encouragement which make all the sacrifice worthwhile.