I read James Joyce’s novella, The Dead, during my senior year of college. I enjoyed reading the story, but it wasn’t until I had a lecture on this book that I truly appreciated its value. When my professor conveyed this meaning, I got shivers down my spine. The main character’s reminiscences of her deceased lover are so vivid and real in her mind that this person, although dead, is still very much alive. The minor characters in the story, who are technically alive, are the dead ones as they have gone dead inside. I’ve experienced this irony through my own life in which I’ve witnessed many people who are physically alive but are sleepwalking through their lives. Paradoxically, I’ve known people who have crossed over to the other side who remain alive in my mind and the minds of many other people. Being alive is more than having a heart beat, a pulse, an appetite. Being alive is being present and being passionate.
In writing Discovery of an Eagle, I wanted to convey this paradox and I hope that my intentions are effectively conveyed to readers. Cosmo, the main character, is technically alive but is dead inside as he sleepwalks through his life. He’s abandoned his passion of learning for the safe road and he’s fearful of stepping away from his life of safety and boredom. Various encounters he has along his journey force him to confront the fact that he’s been keeping himself dead. One character is enlivened with his passion of making music. Another is close to death but has a glow in her face that’s unearthly. One character describes his dead wife with such feeling and love that his words seem to resurrect her.