Guest Post | Jesse Teller on The Pristine Moment

About the Author

Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.

He lives with his supportive wife, Rebekah, and his two inspiring children, Rayph and Tobin.

Buy Onslaught of Madness here.

The Pristine Moment

If you are lucky in life, you get one. The really lucky ones get three. So far in my 43 years of life, I have had six. Six pristine moments I would never change.

Every normal experience has some sort of stress. Every meal we eat, every car drive, every book, we have some sort of distraction, some sort of smudge.

Maybe we are thinking of something else. Maybe we are hungry, uncomfortable, maybe the activity takes longer than the time we have to accomplish it, or we have too much time to analyze it when it is over. In this world, in this era, there are very few times when everything lines up and you have a moment, no matter how long, that cannot be improved upon.

When I graduated high school, I went on a trip to Milwaukee. I was given an audio book of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. I started it on my tape player when we left Milwaukee. I listened to it all the way home. The story started slow, but as it progressed, as I traveled down that dark river, and things grew ominous, the sun went down. We made a few stops, gas, food, but never very long, and I do not even remember them. I was trapped in Conrad. By the time the story got dark, really dark, the storm began.

It was immense. The lightning, the sheets of rain. The horror outside mimicked the horror in my mind. As the final terrifying revelation came, the lightning became an explosion. When the story was finished, we pulled into the driveway. When the story was finished, the storm had died down to distant rumblings and a brief lighting of sky on the horizon. That was my first pristine moment.

I read Dante’s Inferno two years ago in one sitting. I started at eleven at night and finished at six in the morning. I faced the horror and majesty of Hell in an island of light, for every light in the house was turned off, except those burning in my office. Everyone innocent was asleep. I was the house’s last sinner, sitting in my office and witnessing the workings of Hell. When it ended, the sun came up, the day began, and the moment was over. One pristine experience, one moment I would not change a second of.

The other night this happened again. My friend and I were supposed to hang out and his truck had trouble. I put my wife to bed, kissed her well and went to pick him up. I was on the interstate in a breath, driving the short distance, listening to blues, when Jonny Lang’s song “The Truth” came on. The heartbreak in that song. If I held my hand out and could grasp the power of the song, and I squeezed, pure liquid ache would run through my fingers and into the car.

The volume was perfect. I didn’t have to turn it up or down. The hum of the road brought a lonely bass to the song I never would have heard before. The light of the dashboard, the slow march of the street lights on the highway. One semi tractor trailer to pass as the guitar wept and moaned, and a quick exit from the highway. A perfect dismount as the song ended at a lonely street light. A pristine moment I will never have again. The song was the perfect length. Everything about the moment was pure.

A collection of songs put together for me by a friend to ease my heart late at night while the house slept. A dance on a dance floor so perfect, at such the right moment and ending with unexpected flourish, unchoreographed and fulfilling. My life has had six perfect moments. The writing of a letter to a friend of mine. Just the right length. Just the right setting. Just the right volume. Just right.

As writers, we look to bring that experience to our readers. We yearn for the idea our book will hit the right person at the right time and bring to them the hum of perfection. In my newest release, Onslaught of Madness, I hope to have done that. I have given you the very best I am capable of at the moment. The cast of characters to bring you in, the heartbreak to twist you up. You will feel hate, love, joy, and victory. You will experience the best I have to offer.

I hope for you it brings a pristine moment.

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