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Mel Bosworth

Mel Bosworth is the two time Pushcart nominated author of the fiction chapbook When the Cats Razzed the Chickens, the novella Grease Stains, Kismet, and Maternal Wisdom, and the novel Freight.

Blurbs

"I loved those choose-your-own-adventure books when I was a kid and now I love Mel Bosworth’s Freight, a formally inventive novel that lets you choose how to read it, skipping back and forth between what happened and what will happen, a kind of page-turning time travel that makes the novel swirl together in wonderful ways."

– Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody and Us

"Freight moves like a train through a familiar internal landscape where memory and thought detour and derail and yet somehow we end up transported, we end up moved. With spare and urgent prose, Mel Bosworth has written an extraordinary novel that is at once traditional and experimental in all the best ways."

– Robert Lopez, author of Asunder

"Evoking Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and F. ScottFitzgerald, Freight is the kind of bed time story that big people need to hear."

– Brian Allen Carr, author of Short Bus and Vampire Conditions

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Freight

Carry-on Baggage

11/16/11

Freight I Found:

If you hang around for long enough and don’t destroy yourself properly with gallons of gin or various other poisons or inhalants, you get lucky and come across those good bits that Hansel and Gretel left behind in that scary forest. A few weeks ago on my run through the woods I found a bicycle. It was abused, wounded, and abandoned there in the soil, wet and dirty and rusty (as all found things seem to be), screaming to be taken and nursed back. Shortly after that, I found Mel Bosworth’s novel Freight delivered to my door. It was also just waiting there screaming to be taken, but on my porch, crisp and clean, and not at all rusty or abused; wrapped up nicely with a personalized bow. And so I took it.

Freight I Ate:

I devoured Mel Bosworth’s Freight quickly (read it in one day), but not without digesting it properly. It sounds like a contradiction of terms, but believe me . . . it settled down just right in one session. I ate Freight without adding any salt or pepper or chili flakes or Tabasco. Because it didn’t need any of that. It was perfect as it was served. I ate it alongside a bottle of red wine. And then alongside another bottle of wine. So it could break down properly, you see.

Freight is the elegant, sensitive story of a man who carries things with him. Within him. Around him. And sometimes even above him. Freight is the story of every man. Or . . . Everyman. Sometimes he discards things because the burden gets too heavy or because it sickens him, and sometimes he takes on too much. But he really doesn’t discard all of anything. Bits of things remain for him to haul along. Things. You know these things well. They’re life. Your life.

The construction of Freight is pretty interesting; it’s crafted as an homage to Edward Packard’s series of Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks, in which the reader assumes the role of the protagonist and makes choices that determine the main character’s actions and the plot outcome. It only hints at Packard’s concept, however, as the plot doesn’t majorly deviate from its course, despite the cross-referencing and jumping to ideas either foreshadowed or recounted. Being the unmotivated, indolent swine that I am, I chose to not pick my own adventure, and just trusted Mel to guide me through it. For me, the novel settles to a logical construction just fine without the Packard-like literary device.  But that isn’t to say others won’t enjoy re-reading the book in different ways, jumping forward through time, and experiencing the story in a different order. Y’all drink coffee or tea; I drink benzene.

Freight I Destroyed (epilogue):

I did no such thing. Well . . . at least not Mel Bosworth’s Freight; for the book now resides quietly and comfortably on my shelf in my living room, just on top of Louis Armstrong’s biography. I don’t fear for its safety, though. Satchmo can carry that burden quite well.  Sometimes, but  not too often, it is a Wonderful World.

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2 Comments

  1. Jordan Blum said on 11/16/11 at 1:58 pm Reply

    I like how your intro sort of insinuates that this book was the first thing you found and accepted that wasn’t “crisp and clean, and not at all rusty or abused.” And I like how you arranged this into three sections, much like countless books we’ve all read. It’s like a three part journey. Since you “ate” the book, I wonder what exactly were the literary condiments you chose to disregard. Anyway, I’m nostalgic for Choose Your Own Adventure books, and I’m always interested in stories about an everyman, so I’ll look into this.

    And did you name your bookshelf Satchmo? Ha-ha.

    Reply

    Alex M. Pruteanu said on 11/16/11 at 2:29 pm

    Thank ye. My other bookshelf is called Cletus.

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