My Publishing Journey
by Brian Francis Heffron
The book was started while I was a student in the prestigious Emerson College Bachelort of Fine Arts in Writing program. My Writers-in-Residence were Russell Banks, one of America’s greatest novelists and Tim O’Brien who has written extensively about the Viet Nam war. Each week I would bring in a chapter (Denis Leary was in my class) and either Russell or Tim amnd all the other students would critique it. This worked like a lathe as I sculpted the writing based on the reactions of these other dedicated writers.
But then, after college, I went to sea as a sailboat delivery skipper and celestial navigator and left the book with a friend. Decades went by as I built a career as a screenwriter and then a TV writer/producer/director.
Then several years ago my PTSD flared and I went into therapy. After six years I pulled out the old manuscript of Colorado Mandala and had it retyped. It shocked me how deeply the story was actually my own, even if it was disguised by the three main characters (perhaps I am all three?) and so I set to work to rewrite it bringing into it any and all of the wisdom I might have acquired in the intervening years. I worked hard on it expanding the theme and adding in new characters to express new ideas and deeper depth. From the resulting reviews I feel comfortable that I did the best possible job I am capable of right now. I hope that my readers feel the same.
With refreshing depth, distinct literary merit, and highly original poetic phrasings that spill from the pages like paint, Colorado Mandala is poet Brian Heffron’s debut work of literary fiction. It mines the complex landscape of post-Vietnam America to unearth the deep connections that bind individuals together, and also ferociously rip them asunder. Illustrative, luscious, seductive, and engaging, this rare piece of craftsmanship will stir the senses of any one who thirsts for artistic expression, or who longs for an era in our country now utterly, irretrievably gone.
In the heady, hippie backdrop of Pike’s Peak, Colorado, in the tumultuous 1970s, three souls swirl together in an explosive supernova. Michael is the flinty-eyed, volatile former Green Beret, whose tour in Vietnam has left unbridgeable chasms in his psyche and secrets that can never find light. Sarah is his fair-haired paramour, the ethereal Earth Mother widow of a fallen soldier and single mother to a ten-year-old son Stuart. Paul is a young wanderer, who is drawn in by Michael and soon bears the mantle of both minister and scourge. As they are drawn together, and torn apart, each is changed forever. And our hearts race along with them, through the rocky, raw Colorado terrain amidst the blood sport of man and beast.
Laying bare the loss and acceptance of a pioneering age, Colorado Mandala shines revelatory light on the crazy, glorious, and romantic notion that each generation conceives anew: that love can be a spiritual gift shared openly rather than coveted, or hidden, or hoarded. If you wish to go barefoot again and climb an unspoiled Colorado trail, look no further. If you long for something to wake you up in simple, clean language, a shimmering story awaits. Awaken to what you have always known: simple truths show you the way home. With his gripping and unforgettable Colorado Mandala, it is clear that Brian Heffron knows the way.
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Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – PG