A young, homeless, mute musician walks into Laguardia Airport with what he thinks is a time machine, and what the police assume is a bomb. HITCHHIKING IN THE GRAVEYARD, a dark coming-of-age tale complete at 70,000 words, weaves together three stories at once as an ode to a New York City that no longer exists. One of a fragile but gifted pianist, Ian, who leaves the safety of the world he knows only to arrive in New York on the eve of 9/11. The second story begins two years later when Ian, now homeless and suffering from mental delusions, embarks on a plan to travel back in time. The third story is about Bram, a teenaged runaway who, inhabiting his own distinct timeline, happens to meet Ian while working in New York in a piano store.
Unraveling, Ian lives on the streets of New York and spends his days in a world of street hustlers, violent con men, and drunks. He busks for change to rent a piano by the hour at the store where Bram works. New York has broken him. He no longer possesses or wishes to possess the power of speech. He becomes obsessed with the idea of building a time machine—something that would take him back to his ex-girlfriend Katie, whom he left behind in California. He hopes by boarding a plane—nearing God, ascending into the sky—that he’ll be able to travel back to when things made sense, back before this strange New York City waking nightmare. He devotes all his time to playing piano and obsessing over the time machine. When he does finally arrive at Laguardia Airport with his machine, he closes his eyes and detonates the trigger.
A work of literary fiction, HITCHHIKING IN THE GRAVEYARD explores the nature of thought, time, and our inability to alter the past, no matter how deeply it pains us in the present. However, this novel is a time machine in its own right and is my attempt to tackle my own past. I moved to New York City on my own at the age of 16 to pursue a life in music. Having lived through many of the stories recounted in these pages, the novel obviously draws heavily on those days.
HITCHHIKING IN THE GRAVEYARD was recently named the runner-up in the 2018 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, coming in second out of more than 430 entries in the novel category.