by Kim Weiss
Kidding the Moon is a work of creative nonfiction that Mark Spano wrote over a period of years. He calls the process “an intermittent affair.”
Kidding The Moon is a special kind of book– part memoir, part personal narrative —
through which the author searched for clues as to why he was “different” from everyone else and why the world was such a hostile place. Writing to himself rather than some faceless reader, he sought elucidation rather than simple answers (assuming the latter didn’t exist). He wanted to find meaning – a true purpose — in the persistent conflicts that arose from his difference.
What he got instead was “an assemblage of defining memories” based on “pure speculation” about his past. Those memories became chapters. And those chapters are slices of the author’s life – some slivers (one paragraph), others hefty portions – rendered in evocative vignettes composed around and about nearly every aspect of his life.
In Kidding the Moon, warm memories-as-vignettes take the reader to some wonderful places, such as his grandmother’s kitchen where he could stand on the kitchen stool and perform to the delight and applause of his grandma and two unmarried aunts. Other vignettes expose his father’s violence and cruelty, which seemed to lurk in the dark corners of his family’s small apartment, waiting for a young boy who could be the target of that violence at any minute.
And then there are the more mature “defining memories” that cross-stitch intriguing characters on the colorful tapestry of Mark’s life, from flesh-and-blood lovers to the philosophers, poets, and lyricists that still fill his creative mind.
How true to life are all of the memories that make Kidding the Moon impossible to put down?
Mark smiles. “Memory only becomes clear over time. Even if said memory is inaccurate, it becomes more clearly wrong by allowing it fermentation time.”
Sections of Kidding The Moon have been published in literary magazines as far back as 1992. The chapter entitled “Unfinished Symphony” appeared in ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum, published in Tonawanda, New York. “The Old South” was featured in Catalyst Magazine of Atlanta, Georgia.
Recently, the opening chapters of the book were published in the digital journal Ovunque Siamo: New Italian-American Writing. Two more chapters will soon appear in the inaugural edition of The Long Island Literary Journal.
Mark hopes Kidding The Moon as a complete book will be published in 2018.