Thursday, November 23, 2017

"Li Bai's Shadow" by Lee J. Mavin

Li Bai's Shadow
by Lee J. Mavin

Li Bai's Shadow by Lee J. Mavin

Author Lee J. Mavin stops by today to share an excerpt from Li Bai's Shadow. Keep an eye out for my review, coming soon.

It appears I have undoubtedly been mysteriously transported to a young child’s bedroom, her name is Caitlin and she is of course very fond of my poetry. However despite this unusual occurrence I miss my homelands, dreadfully. This dry and scorching hot city, that she calls Sydney is beyond any distance I can comprehend, but I have always been a traveler, so I am contempt with the path I have stumbled upon. Her mother has faded into the shadow, so I must guide her, keep her safe and share a glass or two of good wine. It is rather odd that her father behaves like I don’t exist, it is at the very least disrespectful, doesn’t he know who I am? Why I am none other than the world’s greatest poet to have ever lived, Li Bai and my words have been etched in history and sang throughout the ages with the guzzling of wine. Yes indeed, I have informed and educated the girl on the most important pleasures of the world, to drink wine whenever one desires to, though she is still a youngling, it is rather amusing to watch her chant my poems in a drunken stupor. Together we will drink and recite my old rhymes and perhaps not long after I will figure out how to get home.

Li Bai
Being in this world is like a dream,
What’s the point of toiling our life away?
That’s why I’m drunk all day,
Lying flopped by the reception hall from the pillar
I do not dwell on the reasons for my current state as it is too complex for even a genius such as myself to comprehend. It is better to enjoy all of the moments in one’s existence and the little instances like these, oh and a little wine can be very helpful along the way. Perhaps the final lines from my old friend Du Fu’s poem are most appropriate:
Fluttering from place to place
I resemble the seagull between earth and heaven
As the seagull doesn’t question the path it flies, it simply soars above, in the blues of the sky and twirls down below into the depths of the sea, so I have accepted my destiny and here I am, beholding my Caitlin as she glares at me with that slight grin, brushing her brown hair from her pale face, just like she has always done since I arrived in her world, when she was but an infant. I fondly reminisce, being delivered to her like I was a rolled up message wrapped around a pigeons’ leg, miraculously gifted with celestial hearing, I could understand every word her tiny mouth uttered. It was not long before we were dancing around her soft green dwelling, bathing in the bright sun, carefree and joyous. I did enjoy the tea parties with her toys, as I struggled to squeeze into her elaborately decorated doll house and the ghost stories in her little pink hut, where she would shine a light on her face and speak in a deep voice in an effort to sound frightening. But they are all just memories now, fading away into blackness between the stars. Thirteen dull winters have disappeared into that blackness and now we stand together at the edge of a river of change, where the cold wind meets the end of the sky.
You may be wondering why an old poet like myself has been gifted with such an odd but wondrous fortune. Perhaps it is something to do with my timeless contribution as I am the great Li Bai. There is of course no need reiterate my importance as I am the greatest poet who ever lived, praised by the Emperor himself as a genius! If you are poorly informed and lack a proper poetic education then you may have not heard of me. It is as true as the rising and setting of the sun that I am an everlasting poet and have clearly been placed here for a reason. I know not of the reason, but I have lingered here with her all this time, watching her grow into a woman, bearing witness her uniqueness in her habitual counting and repetitive mumbling. Yet her oddities are a part of her and now she distinguishes herself from her school mates, most of whom follow foolish songs of lust and improper pompousness in senseless jingles through their musical devices. She does not concern herself with the major banalities of this modernity and has always embraced my poetry with open arms. She has grown naturally inquisitive and eventually questioned me about my golden wine bottle, however I could not educate her on something I didn’t quite understand myself. That is, until now. I have gradually uncovered the secrets of this spiritual liquor and learned that it must be consumed in very small portions. It is like drinking life itself so one must withstand the temptation to indulge. Caitlin is no longer the giggling infant who loved to pull at my beard and who would climb onto my shoulders and tug my ears.  She has blossomed into a rather independent and complex individual and her eagerness to venture out into the wide world has grown. So, as she wishes, I will go with her, into the shadows of these murky lands. Her time has come to drink the blessed wine and experience the rich senses of my homeland.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"I was instantly drawn into how readable it is. The story beckoned me through its pages, feeling an air of mystery overtake me. [...] Lee Mavin's magical story reveals itself from so many points of view that it becomes a test to wonder how real Li Bai is. He is real to some characters, to others an imaginary friend. This is one of those coming-of-age stories that I couldn't put down until I finished. It will take you through Sydney and China (modern day and Tang Dynasty time), gives you perspectives from each main character and keep you wondering. Is Li Bai real? A figment of Caitlin's OCD imagination? A ghost? Or a time-traveller?" ~ Chris Johnson

About the Author
Lee J. Mavin
Lee J. Mavin is the author of The Students Sold Us Secrets Volume One and VolumeTwo (he’s working on Volume Three now) and The Intergalactic Custody Battle. He holds the annual Students Told Us Secrets short story competition for ages 12-18 and he has also taught Japanese, Chinese fiction, ESL, and creative writing from primary to tertiary levels.
He lives in Sydney with his wife Grace, who has been married to for ten years, and his two children Declan and Charlotte. He previously lived in Shizuoka, Japan and Shanghai where he discovered the poet Li Bai and also taught English. Since then he has completed his Masters in Creative Writing and continues to teach ESL in Sydney to adults from all corners of the globe.
Lee J. Mavin enjoys reading horror, fantasy, science fiction, and poetry. He normally selects books by new authors he hasn’t heard of, regularly in these genres, as he believes in supporting indie authors all over the world. When he is not busy discovering the next Stephen King, he often dwells over lines of ancient Chinese poetry and debates post-game NBA statistical analysis. He tries not to spend too much time online and reads and writes between ESL lessons whenever he can. Strangely enough, he is also a pretty inexperienced driver, having just got his license to drive a few years ago. Though he doesn’t let the monotonous Sydney traffic frustrate him too much and is always thinking about a new plotline and a new character.