February 22, 2005

The American Book

When researching my new novel about UFOs, World War III, life after death, and so on, I read a huge number of esoteric books. When I sat down to write the book, it started reading like non-fiction. I had no patience to write dialogue. I’ve taken some time away from the book, which is a good thing because now I think I can write it like a novel. I still, somehow, have the desire to write the book, even though it’s been years since I first conceived of it and I’m a far different person. Every time I read a story about George Bush it gets me energized to write the book--about a crazed fundamentalist president, among other things which I won’t talk about for fear of losing The Urge.

It also makes me fearful to read about this administration. I try to stay away from it if I can. I read about the recent Porter Goss hearings, in which he spread more fear, and where he said something so profoundly stupid as "The War in Iraq hasn’t created new terrorists, but it has been a training ground for terrorists." I’m barely paraphrasing. That night I had a vivid dream about plane crashes and going to war--buying guns to protect my family and not knowing how to use them.

After Sept. 11 I would have plane crash dreams all the time. I had seen the planes hit the towers and it shook me on an unconscious level which didn’t leave me for a long while. Read my entry in The American Book of the Dead about September 11. The blog’s been abandoned, but that chapter sums up my experience and will probably end up in the book.

Just read Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers--a Christmas gift from my dad--which reminded me of my devout paranoia after September 11. Much of that paranoia has left me and I've worried that I won’t be able to write my book with the same fervor, but I think fear is not the greatest catalyst for writing. Fear has no subtlety maybe. It led me to conjure up ideas that will go into the book, but it's not a great mindset for writing the book itself. This is my hope as I continue on.

Here’s an Amazon list where you can see the kinds of books I was reading as I geared up to write a deranged novel. Some grammar problems in that list, if I remember, but I haven’t bothered to fix them. I was living in North Carolina and living at the New Hanover Public Library as well. Made friends with the librarian who loved my daughter. Ordering far-out books from distant universities. All that insane information which will probably become mainstream before too long.


Magazine Man said...

I read that second-to-last sentence as "ordering far-out books from distant universes" and thought, Man, I gotta meet his librarian! Good luck with the novel revisions. --MM

Spiral Stairs said...

That's an interesting list.

Many years ago, I read The New Inquisition, by Robert Anton Wilson. I still consider it a life-changing (or at least, mindset-changing) book. Its central premise -- that what we are taught is healthy scientific scepticism is really dogma in disguise -- has informed my opinions on many things. I think I will always have to fight the urge to say "That's hogwash!" to "paranormal" claims, but I try to temper that urge with what Wilson teaches us about speaking too soon.

Henry Baum said...

Glad that you’ve read RA Wilson. I had the same experience with Cosmic Trigger. Intellectual liberals are just as the conservative as the right on these types of things. There’s going to be a Peter Jennings show about UFOs on Thursday. Probably won’t be groundbreaking but it’ll be interesting to see it on mainstream TV.

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