He was in situ, on his back, paralytic and with only his capacious chest rising like Goethe and his hands in two fists like Zeus. She turned to look at him and he was like an approached mountain, a buried extinct beast covered in slip rock and dew, a thing that hid the sun in the dawn and held the last light of the dusk on its high-edged surfaces. He, she thought, was from whence scattered the black birds.




Pain demands a response.

These words have been widely used and are well known amongst the philosophers, the healers, and the artists that have read or are reading Roman McClay's book Sanction. This opening phrase has left me pondering what

response does pain deserve? Roman poetically

follows up this phrase with 800 pages of

possible answers that force the reader to

come to their own conclusions.

Peeling back layers of masculinity, ferocity,

science fiction,ontology, and mythology lies

the story of heart; showing how the heart

does not respond to fundamentals and it does

not search for order. What the heart does,

is long for love. Roman beautifully depicts how this yearning for passion, intimacy, beauty, and love is the most powerful force within any human and it fuels our quest for what it truly means to be alive.

Sanction does a phenomenal job via it's characters at presenting the different kinds of love one can experience and how each of these manifests and affect our understanding of ourselves. Most importantly, it shows that love is present and can save us in times of our greatest suffering if we have not lost touch with our heart.

Pain is good. A life without pain is bad; and

even if the body is not deformed by lack of pain, the soul would be.




Eros, or erotic love, is frequently represented in Sanction. The characters pine for this overwhelming primal desire of passion and sex, however, their hearts are misguided and the Eros of these characters is led by impulsive and abusive actions turning into obsessive love. Many of the characters crave physical pleasure to satiate the void of self worth lost to broken hearts and traumatic experiences. 

Sanction is filled with lost souls wanting to love and be loved, having no sense of self-worth. These characters become manic, often finding themselves somewhere on a spectrum between possessive and childlike with a euphoric dependency on the love of another. The masculine and feminine are lost to pain and self soothing methods of sex and violence, no balance between the chaos and order.. 

Woven intricately between the tales of selfish and erroneous love is a divine story of two souls experiencing the highest form of love, agape. 

The root of Sanction is a story of unconditional love shared between two of the main characters. It is a love that has a depth beyond the sex-obsessed and deluded love many of the other characters possess.

The author paints a picture so vividly of the connection between these two lovers that most only desire to have. It is a Syzygy of two halves that embrace fully the anima and animus thus making one another whole. This love the two share ignites a fire within, lighting the way for their individual journey's to understanding themselves towards their own evolutions. 

These journey's alone and together are filled with horrendous pain from past betrayals and bliss from the love they share. The passion between them is raw and intoxicating so much so it left me as a reader in tears at times, unable to fathom something so pure and selfless existing.


By allowing their hearts to be open to each other, the pain from prior betrayals is alleviated and their suffering ceases when together. Hostility becomes futile​ and they heal one another. 

And she saw through his eyes anyway, his anima, a part of the whole that only woman could rebel against. For women seek completion while men seek perfection. This was the way of God’s wisdom, she thought. For him she would be perfect and for her he would complete the splintering world.




We live in a world where people don't understand the duality of the masculine and feminine in the human experience. Too many relationships fail from not understanding the dynamic and roles of men and women and this leads to seeking love from outside sources.


Roman poetically details in Sanction that the heart serves more purpose in our lives than being an organ to keep us alive. It is the compass to your soul and link to our greatest emotion, that of love.