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Not to mention, he’s a murderer.

Dave Matthes
Dave Matthes Author Interview

A Cage for the Wind is the story of a man who has been through a lot, done a lot, and most of all, gotten away with a lot. What inspired the idea of Jerry’s character and the life that’s shared in this book?

Originally, the book itself was simply going to be a new poetry collection to toss onto the stack of my previous collections. The poems in this book, however, started to take on a different sort of life of their own separate from what I’d written before. Eventually, I started filling in the spaces between the poems with little bits of story which in turn began to tell a tale of sorts of a man who would eventually become “Jerry”. I’ve written a lot of solid characters in the past, solid in that they have a very defined line, a route of progression, flawed, absolutely, but they’re mostly all very concrete; you can almost reach out and touch them if you thought about it hard enough. I wanted to write something different, not just a new character, but a new kind of character. Jerry is shattered, in pieces, and in probably will never be put together in a way that makes sense to himself or others around him. So the structure of the book reflects that, as it is written from three different points of view all centered around him.

Jerry is a provocative yet compelling character. What was the writing process like to create that balance in Jerry’s character?

Jerry’s evolution came about very, very slowly during the writing process, right up to the very last day before publication. I wanted a character that didn’t just leave the reader wondering more about and then shrugging off, but rather a character that had many different dimensions of possible existence. Jerry’s story is told from the points of view of three different styles and formats, but they are all “him”. My goal was to leave the reader having some idea of who or what Jerry is, while also in a way, having no idea at all. In that sense, Jerry can be whoever the reader wants him to be. The more people who read Jerry’s story and come to that realization, the more versions of Jerry will come into existence, and I think that’s an amazing thought.

What were some themes that came up in the book organically and surprised you when you were finished?

Flawed characters exist everywhere and are written every which way. I myself have never really gotten any joy out of writing a character who isn’t flawed or fractured in some way. But with Jerry, I wanted to create a character who the reader could sympathize with, maybe even empathize on some level, but couldn’t decide why, because he’s actually a pretty bad guy. He has his glimmers of goodness, but really, he’s a rotten, hole of a man with most likely no real light at the end of his tunnel. Not to mention, he’s a murderer. I think the main thing I wanted to get across, is that no matter how good or how bad someone is, they can never truly be 100% good or evil. I’ve seen a lot of this world try to argue with absolutes, and it makes me sick to my stomach to know that many people out there think so harshly and so absolutely about being “one way or the other”, or “if you’re not with me, you’re against me”, leaving no room to move either way. It’s sickening. And so maybe Jerry is more bad than good, but also, maybe there’s enough good in him to come back from all that darkness. Maybe. Probably not, but maybe. And that’s the point.

Have you pursued any other formats to tell your stories in?

A Cage for the Wind is the most “out there” I’ve personally gotten in terms of style and format. I’ll probably attempt writing another book I the future in a similar way with more tweeks and turns and twists, bending the ways a book can be read. I really like the idea of someone picking up a book and assuming one thing, then when they begin to read it they’re suddenly swept off their feet in a way they didn’t expect.

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Jerry is a writer, a box-truck driver, a desk-jockey, sometimes a murderer, but more often than not, he’s a liar, and no one in his circle of associates, acquaintances, or lovers can ever be sure when, and more importantly, if he’s telling the truth. But over the course of the next few days (or weeks, or months, or years, who can really be sure?) he will go on a journey, maybe, of self-discovery riddled with mind-transporting drugs, childhood-rooted romances, and ancestral malarkey. Or, maybe he’s returning home from a journey he can’t remember anything of. The only thing he can be sure of, is that he’s not sure if he’s leaving to or returning from, or if he’s even gone away in the first place.

In this story, Jerry’s life is told from three points of view of gradually-intensifying insanity. His melodramatic world is seen through his own eyes, narrated in the nameless voice of another, and finally, through anecdotal poems which serve as thoughts, musings, reflections, and more.

So come along, hop on board, join Jerry in his quest for… whatever. Maybe you can make sense of the mess, if, of course, there is any sense to be found at all.

A Cage for the Wind

A Cage for the Wind by [Dave Matthes]

To be fair, the reader has been warned that they will be “helplessly lost in an abyss of muddied and bitter confusion”. Jerry is one of the brave ones. He is brave for letting the reader see into his messy mind. He is brave for not attempting to hide the darkness inside him. He is brave for being exactly who he is, weird and disturbed as he may be. Perhaps the world would be a better place if everyone let others see them in their full glory.

Jerry has worn many hats and many masks. He has been the charming diner. He has been the office worker who does not conform or fit in. He has been the ‘jilted’ lover. He has been the unassuming courier enjoying the company of jazz on the lonely road. He has been the man who creates a marriage then goes home to a cat at the end of the day. Through his many faces, he has always been a writer and a murderer. This is the story of Jerry and all his different selves. It is the story of a man who has been through a lot, done a lot, and most of all, gotten away with a lot. Is it his upbringing? Is it his inborn nature?

When a book starts off with an oedipal confession then you know it is going to be a treat. In that moment, you know that Jerry is not going to be an ordinary person. Rarely do people come back from watching the mounds of their mother’s breasts peek out of the bathwater as she cries about something she never talks about.

Even when he does or says something particularly disturbing, Jerry is almost likable. Maybe it is because of the pity he inspires. He has a way of manipulating the reader into rooting for him despite his actions and character. He does nothing to be liked but somehow, he is. The writer does not describe him but a reader will know him. Jerry is the alter ego we all hide from the world and only allow him out in dark empty rooms. The crass narration of events is funny and abhorrent in equal measure.

The book ends just like it begins; in confusion. The writer often misspells the name ‘Agnes’. While it does not happen often, it causes a measure of distraction on the pages it does happen. Considering the type of writing in this book, any other errors will go unnoticed as Jerry keeps the reader gripped and their eyes stuck on the pages.

Ever gone by a gruesome accident with brain matter sprawled on the ground and limbs bent unnaturally as screams of agony fill the air? Ever found yourself staring, almost savoring the smell of hot blood and listening to the lull of fading pulses? That is what this book is. It is a hot but intriguing mess. A Cage for the Wind is daring. It is messy. It is the book you whisper about to everyone. Dave Matthes has executed a beautiful literary tangled web.

Pages: 152 | ASIN: B09D43RBRH

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