In Window to My Soul, Boby Beavers presents an unconventional collection, inviting readers on a journey through his creative and self-described “undisciplined” mind in the form of prose, poetry, free form verse, and short stories.
Beavers’ works aren’t organized by unifying theme, format, or style. In fact, a glance at the table of contents reveals that there are several works that the author can’t quite categorize, referring to them either as “essays” or “other stuff.” More often than not, these entries fall somewhere in between free-verse poetry and prose.
Poems about carnivals, nature and love live between short stories of science fiction and ethereal lands, which can be a bit jarring. But it’s with the short stories where one misses organizational structure the most. These stories mostly revolve around protagonists Simon and Davine, who exist in a vaguely science fictional world. Each of their adventures are spaced many pages apart. With so much poetry and prose in between, readers will struggle to remember their last adventure.
Beavers’ use of untagged dialogue is present in most of his work, and is most successfully applied in the free-form verses where abstract thought, rather than an individual, is the focus. For example, in “Sing,” the characters of Raphael and Child are revealed through their exploration of the moon’s power to bring forth a kind of universal song. Their comments are unattributed, but readers sense the spirit of the piece:
“—Why does it only sing by the light of the full moon?
“—It’s the clarity of Evermore. It dooms the silence of darkness to banishment behind the consequence of light…”
With the author’s short stories, however, the use of untagged dialogue is confusing and clunky, taking readers out of the moment as they try to establish who is speaking to whom, and why.
Readers will find some rewarding moments in this smorgasbord. Unfortunately, Window to My Soul requires better organization to be effective.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.