If I were asked to give a mission statement for FRAMESHIFTS, it would be this:
I believe that we learn our way out of our dilemmas. Messy decisions, heart-stopping grief, ridiculously selfish leaders—all take our attention from what most concerns us: our next breath.
Breathless, anxious, and hurried, we find our ways when we turn obstacles into challenges, our wreck-sites into studios—all by a shift of mind, a frameshift.
That’s what the Frameshifts series is about. Transforming consciousness like the Shift Network of Stephen Dinan? Yes, but not the way you may think. No sermon, screed, tract, self-help book, or manual of arms for the new millennium, Frameshifts are stories—a history and a vision, but also stories:
Stories about a quiet deal made by a city councilman unaware of the lethal consequences; about a young Air Force officer’s choice between career and corruption; about how the suicide of a young gay teacher draws friends and enemies into a tangle of betrayals; about the slander, Joe-job and murder of an activist, and stories about a strange theocratic community, its technology, and its Supreme Prophet.
Left with the debts of a husband who invested in start-ups as if he were ordering pizza toppings, June Brightman could only stare at the wreckage of her life until she met Harry Pettiford. That’s when her perspective began to shift.
Everyday shifts of view, slight changes of routine, learning something new, taking on a new duty or responsibility, small acts of resistance to authority—frameshifts.
If consciousness evolves, it is because we pay attention to the resistances in our lives—and to our dreams. Learning occurs at the friction points—or pressure points.
Caught between his wife’s need for 24-7 nursing care and his disappearing retirement income, Harry Pettiford leaves Roanoke to live with his aged aunt near Alexandria so that he can do public relations for a politician struggling to retain his seat on the city council. When the councilman is murdered, the pressure on Harry closes like a vise.
Like all good survivors, the characters in the Frameshifts learn to work with what they have—a bit of science, a potted plant, a poem, a math theorem, a few pieces of gravel from the malpais lands of New Mexico. They put their imaginations to work. For readers, each story is a different kind of discovery, each a different genre, each a different journey, each with a slightly different cast of characters. But there’s more.
The stories add up to something—a larger story that had been going on all along in the background. This is the story that the eccentric Hank Randall discovers at the end of his own rope, or, as he puts it, “at the other end of my arm.” But the full story doesn’t become clear until Hank begins living in a different scale of reference, like what Charles Yu describes as living in a “science fictional universe.”
The stories of FRAMESHIFTS are for readers open to a path that twists through mysteries, suspense, philosophy, poetry, history, military escapades, dramatic dialogues, letters, lectures, adventure, fictional memoirs, science fiction, dystopia, and political intrigue. Whether you want a whodunit, a lost missile launch code, the sinister results of the petty politics of town councils and school boards, genetic engineering gone awry, or a utopian reform of agriculture and society that seems almost too perfect, then these stories are for you.
Check out the first e-book, Death Wears A Tricorn (for 99 cents) to begin the journey, or purchase FRAMESHIFTS, Part 1 and Parts 2-3, the novel in two volumes comprising eight linked stories, from Amazon (hardcopy or ebook) or from your bookseller by order from Ingram or Baker & Taylor. My plan is to serialize the novel in six e-books, to be published by Telemachus press. Another book featuring Harry Pettiford is currently in progress.