The Genesis of Jupiter and Gilgamesh
Jupiter and Gilgamesh was the third novel I attempted. I knew that I could dedicate a month to try for a first draft, but I didn’t know what the book would be about. During the years of driving back and forth from New Mexico to Oklahoma, we had passed many grain elevators many times. At first I asked, “What would the view be?” Then I asked, “What if you could live up there?” Then I asked “What would the problems be?” About that time, I realized that electricity would be easy, but water would be hard. That got me to a place. I bought Frank Gholke’s marvelous photo book, Measure of Emptiness, Grain Elevators in the American Landscape. Later I bought Lisa Mahar-Keplinger’s book Grain Elevators from the Princeton Architectural Press – expensive at $77, but worth it, a marvelous book with beautiful illustrations.
I had been thinking that there weren’t many books about men in their mid-sixties, certainly not sympathetic books. And (Madmen accepted), there weren’t many books about advertising. I was thinking hard about an ad executive, as vanilla-white as you could imagine, and I was wondering how such a person could actually be interesting. When I gave him a nickname Jupiter, so magnificent and godly, and connected Jupiter to condom, I knew I had started. From there, it was mostly a matter of having Jupiter cause himself endless trouble. I flat-out stole the condom/classics idea from Trojan.
And Gilgamesh? God love the high school teacher who forced me to read the Epic of Gilgamesh for the first time. I’ve read it a half dozen times since. What writer wouldn’t want a protagonist who was a Sumer king, a man with an unquenchable obsession for immortality, a warrior with really really bad judgement. — Scott
Genesis of a rising tide of people washed away — coming soon
Genesis of The Big Wheel
The Big Wheel is the fourth book I wrote. I was basically deceived by pop culture and the internet, but it turned out alright. I had heard a saying ascribed to the Inuit, “You become what you hunt.” This was perfect for my Ivy-League character turning into a rather uncommon criminal because he chased a Chicago-Polish cat burglar. Unfortunately, there was no Eskimo who ever had the saying attributed to him.
I also have been fascinated by medieval society, where you were essentially locked into your status and station at birth, and by medieval concepts of fate. The Big Wheel refers to the Wheel of Fate or Catherine’s Wheel (not the torture device). I was also a fan of those secular Songs of Benediktbeuern, popularized and abbreviated by Carl Orff with Carmina Burana. For that reason, I wrote the Big Wheel in five sections.
Genesis of a rising tide of people swept away
The neighborhood of the book is the Albuquerque Bosque, between 2nd and 6th street, the expensive River Road and the Interstate. It’s a hard-scrabble place where the permanently poor of all races lead marginal lives one step away from failure, two steps away from being ruined by governmental help. I hope the reader connects with these people, who are actually us minus the advantages of birth, class, and education.
What appears dangerous is not necessarily so – and what we trust to be safe can destroy us.
Ask Scott where other strange writing came from at email@example.com