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Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah Paperback – May 1, 2019

4.6 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

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From the Author

From Dream to Book: How I Wrote Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah
 
Like many of the real-life characters in its pages, including me, the author,
Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah is a survivor. It has endured several powerful hurricanes, withstood the terror of too many computer crashes to count, eluded theft, and dodged falling ceilings.

The real miracle is the book not only survived these successions of turmoil but managed to steadily evolve with the addition of my artwork to the nonfiction stories. To appreciate how truly exceptional that is, please note that when I first began writing the book I did not consider myself a visual artist of any kind at all: not an amateur digital craftsman, acrylic stylist, photographer, or portraitist. I was the author of
Songs from the Black Skylark zPed Music Player and co-author of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance beginning a new literary adventure.

Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah started with the experience of an actual dream in 1989. It had to do with a group of friends banding together, up in the sky, for a very crucial battle. I decided the dream was interesting enough to write down in a journal but not so fascinating I needed to dwell on it.

But then time began to do what time does and the dream slowly started to reveal its hidden meanings. With the revelation of possible meanings came the expansion of the narrative in the form of entire memoir essays derived from my fully-awake conscious life. Intriguing themes like forgiving people we don't love so very much because of the pain they have caused, correcting social injustices, and weighing the value of practicing compassion toward the earth as well as humans, started crystallizing. As they did, I began to realize I was wrestling with issues--immigration, global warming, care-giving, racism, multiculturalism, family politics, shifting demographics--in which I may have had some individual stake at different times in my up-and-down life but which reached far beyond my kingdom of self. In truth, they went even further than my particular neighborhood or country. Still, somehow, my specific being and region had come to reflect the realities of many rather than just that of one. I was an individual living a modern-day story behind some troubling numbers and apparently meant to write about them.
 
TIME AND MEANING

Two complete decades would pass before I could thoroughly grasp the meaning of the dream spinning itself into one story after another.Then nearly a third decade would roll by before developing texts became the narratives described as follows in the introduction:

"In 'Cities of Lights and Shadows,' a writer moves back and forth between awareness of himself in 1990s Savannah and a false memory of interactions with cultural icons in 1940s Paris. 'A Brazilian Thanksgiving in Georgia' examines the paradox of an estranged caregiver rediscovering the meanings of family and fate through a surprise holiday visit from Brazilian immigrants. 'Trees Down Everywhere' documents attempts to prevent the flooding of a civil rights icon's historic Victorian home during the ravages of 2016 Hurricane Matthew and at a controversial moment in Donald Trump's campaign for the U.S. presidency.

"The title story, 'Dreams of the Immortal City,' confronts the legacy of slavery while the closing narratives examine modern conditions and hopes for the future. 'The Bridge and the Monument:A Tale of Two Legacies' was first published in
The American Poet Who Went Home Again. The updated text included in this volume is presented in tribute to Dr. Abigail Jordan, whose passing (January 9, 2019) was reported just as edits were undergoing completion."
 
The above narratives, and others comprising
Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah, represent stories of battles for reconciliation taking place all over the globe. They're unfolding on levels ranging from the personal and familial to the public,environmental, and political. They pose questions we can no longer avoid, such as: Why in this most technologically-advanced of ages are human beings still forcing other human beings into various forms of slavery? What are the likely consequences of failing to adequately prepare to meet the needs of an aging population? Can different countries' refusals to resolve the humanitarian crises stemming from immigration result in anything other than bloodshed and unspeakable abuses? Does the brutal onslaught of climate change leave of room for anything other than intelligent coexistence?

A DUTY TO CARE

My dream had informed me that I was a writer on assignment to reconcile rampant denial (my own as well as the world's) with the unrelenting necessity to recognize and engage truth. I was to immerse myself in the transformational flow of a city slowly evolving from antebellum modes of thought and behavior to 21st-century strategies for addressing increasing diversity and demands for more progressive administrative policies and practices.

With the death of the Savannah-born Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Alan McPherson in 2016, I became the only living native Savannahian whose work had been included in the celebrated travel anthology:
Literary Savannah. That fact to me seemed to come with a responsibility underlined by the implications of my dream. It is true that John Berendt of Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil fame was still alive and had contributed to the anthology, but he was a distinguished New Yorker who had completed his Savannah mission and moved on to another in Venice, Italy. It was important for me to complete in book form what had started out as a middle-of-the-night vision. The identity of the friends in the dream would remain a mystery until meeting them, greeting some face to face across a restaurant table and others via the wonders of technology with an entire ocean between us.

In terms of where it fits in the corpus of my writings, 
Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah is possibly closest to The American Poet Who Went Home Again with its fusion of memoir and literary journalism. The important difference is the adoption of Savannah as a symbol, or perhaps microcosm, of some of the most challenging dilemmas and most beautiful possibilities facing humanity in the 21st century.

Aberjhani
100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance

From the Back Cover

DREAMS OF THE IMMORTAL CITY SAVANNAH takes readers on an extraordinary history and culturalarts tour of one of the world's most fascinating cities as seen through theheart, mind, and soul of one of its most acclaimed literary artists. Bymaintaining a steady focus on the evolving dynamics of his hometown andimmersing himself in its cultural currents, the author has been able to gleanand share insights applicable to individuals and communities around the world.From informed musings on family life, global warming, immigration, and slavery,to examinations of the power of art, technology, and numbers, he continuouslyengages readers' imaginations in thrilling and unexpected ways.
 
Front cover art "Historic Owens-Thomas House inSavannah" by Aberjhani.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Cyberwit.net (May 1, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 188 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9388125959
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-9388125956
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 7.8 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.25 x 0.48 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

About the author

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A native of Savannah, Georgia, and former U.S. Air Force journalist, Aberjhani has authored and/or edited more than 2 dozen books and journals of fiction, history, poetry, essays, and biography. He is also a visual artist known for his creation of the Silk-Featherbrush Artstyle and image series exploring contemporary social justice, environmental, and cultural arts issues. A member of the Savannah Art Association, his visual art can be found on his Pixels profile and at Fine Art America.com.

His acclaimed literary works include the American Library Association's Choice Academic Title Award-winning “Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance” (2003, e-book 2010 and 2019, co-authored with Sandra L. West), "The Wisdom of W.E.B.Du Bois," his popular “The River of Winged Dreams” (2010), the frequently-quoted “Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry” (2014), and the ekphrastic art and poetry collection “ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love” (2008, featuring art by Luther E. Vann).

Among his works addressing the history and culture of his hometown are: "Greeting Flannery O'Connor at the Back Door of My Mind" (2020, memoir on O'Connor, James Alan McPherson, and John Berendt), "Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah" (2019, memoir), “The American Poet Who Went Home Again” (2010, a memoir), “The Savannah Literary Journal” (1994-2001), “Savannah: Immortal City” (2011, as editor), “Savannah: Brokers, Bankers, and Bay Lane” (2012, as editor), and “Literary Savannah” (2011, contributing poet). In addition, he previously served as a literary reviewer for the Georgia Council for the Arts (1995-1996), and as a member of the Poetry Society of Georgia (1995-1997) headed the Critics Committee and held other Executive Board Member positions as well. His photographic documentation of Hurricane Matthew's impact on the Historic District of Savannah in 2016 are some of the most dramatic images of the event.

The author is well-known for his fellowship with various cultural workers/creative artists and has been a consistent supporter of the principles and ideals championed by the PEN American Center/ International PEN, the Academy of American Poets, and Charter for Compassion. He founded the popular Creative Thinkers International social network in 2007 and the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance Initiative in 2012.

In addition to publishing a blog on his Bright Skylark Literary Productions website, Aberjhani maintains profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. His awards include: the Thomas Jefferson Journalism Award, the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait VIP Dot Award, Best History Book Award, Best Poet and Spoken Word Artist Award, Best Author Award, and Notable New Jersey Book of the Year Award.

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