Sometimes you’re faced with a task that demands what you’re not sure you have. But it is a task that tingles you in anticipation and plumbs your depths, seeks your best wherever it may lay.
Responding to Heidi Kasa’s Split, the 2022 offering by Monday Night Press, is such a task. For an aged one whose neural pathways have been patterned by a lifetime of reading, listening, and expressing in relatively linear and literal confines, the wide-ranging freedom of Kasa’s prose was a mind-muscle stretch. It pried open new crevices of thought and left me in a puddle of wondering.
Does the title, Split, refer to rips in time fabric? A split personality? The split between the actual and imagined self? Maybe it is referring to a split screen where you’re watching multiple movies in disparate dimensions simultaneously? Or perhaps it pertains to none of the above...or all of the above. Kasa dares you to untangle the strands of Amy and Dan’s relationship to each other and to themselves.
If standard fare with a tightly woven plot, with clearly delineated protagonists and antagonists, with beginning, middle, and end marching obediently in step to the beat of “normal” drums is what you seek, then saunter by Split with a wary glance. Yet, if a jagged journey into the space of a wondering, wandering mind unleashed beckons you, then open the pages of Split…and your mind.
The Now always has the last laugh, dances the last jig as Amy and Dan struggle to embrace the cruel humor, to hear the mocking music. In Kasa’s words, “Sometimes the Now is slow and endearing, like cookies cooling off. Other times it stops you sharp and hard and you don’t ever want to get back to know it.” Kasa seems to dare the reader to put their finger on the elusively swirling Now.
Kasa leaves a trail of philosophical crumbs that congeal to make a meal throughout the work: “Odd things have to pile up to be noticeable and alarming.” “Sometimes in relationships, unseen parts of people turn visible and become connected.” “But the deeper you get into any world, the more interesting it becomes. Stay open. Find people who like opening.”
And her poetic penchant populates the pages like dandelions in a green field of a summer’s day, using metaphors from film, photography, music, baseball…yes, her mind and words wander freely: “Dan either zooms toward her or Amy dollies toward him, the room stretching past as his dark eyes suck her in.” In the following passage, she combines music and film: “Sometimes he heard diminished notes more than augmented ones, but his axe remained unaffected. Maybe he didn’t have his money shot, but he felt the mise-en-scène was whole nonetheless.”
It is perhaps the variety of pools into which Kasa and Split dive that resulted in a glossary. However, I must confess that the glossary, a full third of the book, furrowed my brow. From my limited perspective, it did not add but pages to the work. It took me away from the free-flowing Kasa I had just read. But perhaps, for those unfamiliar with the wide range of fields into which Split treads the glossary will be nourishing.
That bit of dissonance notwithstanding, I purchased a copy of Split to send to my niece Joans, an aspiring author and screenwriter. It is my way of saying to her, “You need not limit yourself to the conventional. You can let your mind and heart roam where they will and weld their travels into fertile descriptions and Star trek destinations." In sum, a hit of Split took me on a trip of psychedelic wonder. Mayhap it will do the same for you.
jessica wickens, editor in chief of Monday Night Press, for bringing Heidi Kasa’s mind, spirit, and work to light! You can better acquaint yourself with Heidi and her work at her website, heidikasa.com, and check out one of her recent poetic expressions below or on the The Human Room Open Voice (THROV) YouTube channel.