Monthly Archives: September 2014

JIHAD

Here in the desert

We are fighting Great Satan

Head by head by head

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Do not be one who sings,

There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea. …
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas. …
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

– from T.S. Eliot “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

What Is That All About? (One way that novels begin)

Some writers work by plotting their entire narrative, characters included; others proceed in a more rough, intuitive fashion à la Kurt Vonnegut, who would have no more than a phrase or image in mind when he began. He tells the story of the barge he saw one evening in New York harbour, on its deck a number of men in dark suits. He then wrote a novel in order to find out just what was their business there. In similar fashion, I found my dream of a brightly lit and artistically arranged fridge interior at the top of an Edgar Allen Poe staircase sufficiently intriguing to put my (literal) pen to paper and find out what was that all about? Only, in my case, the detective character I created for the purpose ended up tackling much more substantial and significant issues … More to come

Dostoevsky did not work this way … or did he? (One way that novels begin)

At the top of a rickety staircase, I opened a fridge door and found all the items brightly lit and beautifully organized. Some seven years later I completed the novel that came to be titled AN AMERICAN POPE. In it, the reader will not find a staircase, rickety or otherwise, nor a refrigerator never mind one whose contents are aesthetically stage-lit and arranged as had appeared in my dream. Nevertheless, this purely sleep-manufactured micro-story began the multi-year process of producing a narrative that moves between the seventeenth century and the present day as it takes the Roman Catholic Church to task using the foil of a new American pope in the role of the not quite hidden hand behind what unfolds. … More to come