Saturday, January 23, 2021

"The Forever Sea"

Joshua Phillip Johnson lives in a little green house on what used to be the prairie with his partner and their child. His work has appeared in Syntax & Salt, The Future Fire, and Metaphorosis Magazine, among others. He teaches at a small liberal arts university.

Johnson applied the Page 69 Test to The Forever Sea, his first novel, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Forever Sea finds the protagonist Kindred still reeling from the news that her grandmother has leapt into the sea and disappeared. Kindred is trying and failing to find the captain of her ship in order to pass along some information about their water stores. Instead, she talks with Ragged Sarah, the crow-caller (navigator) of their ship, who gently sends Kindred to bed, seeing that she’s in no fit emotional state to be wandering the city in search of their captain.

After the scene break, Kindred wakes in her berth aboard the ship, finding in the darkness a kind of possibility. Her grandmother gone and her fortunes in disarray, Kindred makes a promise to herself about what her life will and won’t be.

The test works surprisingly well for The Forever Sea! This page is a great showcase of my tendency toward interior scenes (which can be slow and quiet—maybe too slow and quiet for some readers) and my focus on the unknown. Many of Kindred’s decisions in this novel come down to what she knows and what she doesn’t, and this is the first of many moments where she chooses the mystery and intrigue of the unknown over the control and comfort of the known. Readers turning to this page would find two scenes representative of the whole in many ways.
Visit Joshua Phillip Johnson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue