Wayward is a contemporary, literary fiction; it is about a journey, to the jungles of Central America. The protagonist, Dean, is driven, fleeing the irreconcilable society of the empire, spurred on by the anxiety generated from the Y2K bug. (go to chapter synopses)
The reader is yanked into the fray, mid-flight, like a lost voyeur, clinging for dear life bumping down dusty tracks through Mexico towards Costa Rica.
But the problem is still there, he’s brought it down with him; the real antagonist is part of him. Multiple voices of the first person narrative convey inner perspectives as challenges of the outer journey are encountered and overcome, sometimes bringing insight to the inner struggles, sometimes not. But he’s not been able to understand just what the pervasive, yet shapeless menace is.
Dean documents both his external and internal explorations, attempting to write an accounting of the trip as an early blog, from the genesis of the internet-era. He wants freedom, but is initially unable to even identify the chains that bind him, and who or what is responsible for the unreasonable constraints.
The more human, cultural mores of the less ‘connected’ 2nd and 3rd world society expose the dysfunctional code that has been downloaded on him, representing individuals of so-called ‘first world’ society. Dean meets a host of characters, acquaintances, and some friends, both from Central American and ‘first world’ expatriates, as he drifts from one tangent to another. His interactions are detailed, immediate present state first person, often retold in the story and captured in Dean’s writings, illustrating the inevitable impermanence and subjectivity of all human perspectives.
He can’t seem to escape the stress. But, in the words of Shannon Hoon, the lead singer for rock band Blind Melon, in the song “Walk” [see it with lyrics], Dean “… Gonna take a breath and try again.”
Then, something breaks, something inside, something fundamental, illuminating the conflicting indoctrinations inside him. Slowly, painfully Dean slays his internal demons and begins to form a new, sustainable contract with the ‘globalized’ society, and more importantly, himself.
He returns to the ‘first’ world with new insight as he rides by bicycle northward, and plots his next journey.
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