Kelly Moran’s An Insomniac’s Dream (Publish America, December 2005) is just the kind of book that matches its title throughout its content and style – a half-dreamy mode of story-telling, one which makes you question the meaning of the word ‘real’. A collection of 30 poems and 7 short stories, the book explores the paranormal phenomena by palpable characters in the stories and a number of uneasy feelings in the poetry.
In an important sense, most of Kelly’s poems are ‘versified’ flash stories, each of which ends with a twist in the last two lines. While they do vary in the themes of the stories they tell, the mode mainly remains dreamily observational. In the first few poems, the author does not use the first-person narrative and hence a distinctive kind of detachment from the scene depicted in the poem; but it’s not long that she pays her personal tribute to her near and dear ones in poems like Pink, Blue, and Yellow.
Kelly’s poetry, in part, sounds dreamy because of the ease with which she waves two contrasting impressions in a single concept. In Every Petal Falls, for instance, we read of a daisy’s ‘frail petals, and its whisper that is ‘strong as the wind’ – when the daisy speaks. Same quality repeats in the very next poem Candles Wishes where the evanescent tears and smiles in a moment of time are contrasted against the memories ‘etched in stone’. Only a few poems lack the fluidity of poetic beauty and sound rather monotonous – Keeper of Secrets, for example – and one or two are less expressive in conveying the message, like Nothing. Most of the poems in this book, however, do touch your feelings and the sensation lasts for quite a while.
The true charm of Kelly’s writing, however, is best seen in her short fiction. Each story in An Insomniac’s Dream stands as an attention-grabber, a mystery of the literary quality of good creative writing. Communicating with the dead is the main motif in most of these stories, a spooky air, hence, envelops the reader while keeping him/her glued to the sense of its words. The tale that stands out from the collection as a real gem is The Man Named Fred in which the ghost of the deceased wife of a mystery writer communicates with him and shakes him down to his last nerve. The story sparkles as a critical view on the sincerity of one’s belief in what he/she writes – an interesting challenge to all writers of paranormal fiction.
Looking at the title and cover image of An Insomniac’s Dream, if you feel attracted to take a look at the content, it is surely recommended that you do since there is much inside this short book to amuse, intrigue, puzzle, and (sometimes) haunt you with its dreamy situations.