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Here is the Prologue to "Trouble in Paradox: A Creative Memior" by A.P. Eberhart (Copyrighted material).

How do I introduce such a book? Does the world really need to hear another tale of wilderness adventure? I doubt it. Thus I must first warn the reader that this is not a book about wild adventure--though there is some adventure, and a good deal of wildness. Second, I must warn the reader that this prologue is little more than the author attempting to justify his actions. Let us abandon pretense and call a duck a duck. This is a disclaimer, where I abdicate all personal responsibility. There could be no reasonable justification for the story I have to tell. None whatever.

That said, ideal reader, I will take an oath that this book is a serious child of my mind and experience. It contains the narrative of a camping trip I took several years ago to the Paradox Valley. Romantic and strange, the Paradox Valley is a part of that colorful naked desert known as the Colorado Plateau, a seared and sinister sundown land of little rain and ample dust, of heartbreaking sunsets, agoraphobic distances and acrophobic heights and claustrophobic depths. A beautiful no man's land; a glorious land of no return.

The bitter truth is that, having seen enough of the world to be vary definitely a coward, I did not want to go to that insipid valley--that moonscape of the mind, that cracked and broken landscape of the soul. No, I did not want to go. But of course too slow in realizing my mistake, and too proud anyhow to admit such failure, I went to Paradox, and now there comes the inevitable book. Welcome to my head. Good luck finding your way home.

Written words are dead things. We impute meaning to the events of our lives only after the fact, and whatever lessions that might be taken from this tale are the product of a postmortem consciousness, sculpted by the dead hand of reminiscence. For that reason, whatever this book might be, it is not a true story--though most of it did actually happen. Long on honesty but short on truth, I intend to dangle before your eyes a montage of half-truths that might, if I am successful, coalesce into some more substantial fraction of truth. But be warned, it is a sourmilk kind of truth, tainted with acknowledged ambiguity and obvious falsehood, and I cannot recommend swallowing it whole and unboiled.

Be that as it may, all of the people and places I have described in these pages are, or were, nominally real--excepting myself, of course--and all of the acts and events here recorded are fundamentally factual, rendered accurate in essence if not in detail.

If the author seems a bit confused at times, that is normal enough. I am confused--always have been. Thus any embarrassing revelations or confessions of a personal nature that might leak out of the narrative should be ignored, seen for what they are: filthy lies. Further, any opinions or ideas that might be expressed are no more than farts in the wind, wild echos emanating from somewhere beyond the edge, and thus should be regarded with a sympathetic smirk or a hearty laugh, whichever comes first. To paraphrase Mark Twain: anyone who takes this story seriously will be ridiculed. Anyone who does not take it seriously will be shot. I promise. Laugh first, ask questions later.

Cheers folks.

A.P. Eberhart

S*** Creek, Colorado

September 2009

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