I have the sincere pleasure of bringing to you a guest post by Robert Jacoby. Robert sent me There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes a few weeks ago and I am literally dying to read it! Especially after reading this guest post. The synopsis is fabulous, the cover is amazing, and honestly it just sounds really great! Read this guest post and you’ll see what I mean! Review coming really soon!!
AND if you do find this interesting, do not miss out on this giveaway!
Some Thoughts on Writing and Reading There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes
There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes [link to http://www.amazon.com/There-Reasons-Noah-Packed-Clothes/dp/0983969701] is a sorrowfully hopeful novel. I wrote it for myself and for other people. For myself, I needed to get out of me this book that had been in me for many years. This fiction, this writing (even the sense perception of the writing act—of putting the pen to paper—and the style of the writing itself), was a way for me to try to understand and try to find meaning in events that, to most people, I know, are unimaginable, unthinkable, or, worse, unbelievable. (For the certain percentage who simply do not care, there is no hope.) I wanted to make my fiction world believable. For engaged others, I wanted to provide insight into how this disease we’ve collectively named “depression” can warp a person’s worldview and damage not only him but also every relationship he has: with himself, others, and the world. I wanted to show this disease for the monster that it is: all-pervasive and all-consuming. The way to do this, I thought, was to drop readers directly into this world, from the first sentence forward. It’s why the novel begins as it does.
Novelists have written about their craft, of getting “lost” in their fictional world and of actually feeling that the world they’re imaging and writing about is more real than the “real world”. When I first read that years ago (before I wrote my novel) I thought to myself: that’s not right … how could that possibly be? It sounded absurd, even frightening. I thought: I’ve written short stories, I know the writing process. How could you let yourself become so enmeshed in a fiction, in a world, that was not true? I thought I was right and I thought I knew what to expect from the process. I was unprepared and I was wrong.
The writing process was often very excruciating. It was the best and the worst therapy. There were more revisions to the text than I care to remember. During the years of writing the novel I carried the text with me so that I could stop whatever I was doing to jot down a sentence, a phrase, or a word, to deepen the text. I think it was Melville who said that the writer’s job is to dig for the meaning of what he was trying to say by always deepening the text through revisions, deepening and deepening the text, more and more revisions, layers and layers of meaning.
Some people are confused by how the book is written. I’ll grant that. Not every style is for every person. I wrote the text showing Richard’s experiences, not telling about his experiences. This is verisimilitude. I wanted the reading to be visceral, so that readers would feel as if they were in his head, in his skin, from the moment he wakes up and through these few weeks in the institution. Sometimes the only way I felt I could do that was through poetry, or unstructured text. Just: words—describing what is happening. (Read some of my poems [http://robert-jacoby.com/poetry/] and you’ll see the influence of this style in my novel.) One of the themes in the book is division, or separation, in one person and between people. A gap. Everyone struggles with this, of course. We were born alone, we live alone, and we will die alone. This is our human experience. So there’s an inherent longing to bridge that gap, to feel a wholeness or oneness in life, within and without. The moments in the text that are most poetic, most stream of consciousness, most “present”, are those moments when divisions between things dissolve and the separate things touch. I play off this theme many times in the text; for example, when describing Richard’s touching the window in his room as if to reach outside, or when Richard recalls his mother telling him to not touch the aquarium in the dentist’s office: So he wandered, stooped at the fish tank; the tiny eyes gaped fearfully, curiously, mouths puffing invisible smoke rings. The fish appeared distorted, enlarged, and with his fingertips and eyes he searched for and found the cause: the thickness of the glass. Sandy was right. There would be no going in or out of this aquarium. He pulled his fingertips off the surface. His mother had once scolded him in the dentist’s office, “Don’t touch it, you’ll scare them. They see only their reflection in the glass, and if you touch your finger they’ll think it’s some kind of monster.” (p. 39) They’ll think you’re some kind of monster. We are the fish, and we are Richard. The supernatural events are this, too: a touch from another reality, another plane of existence. With his suicide attempt, Richard has crossed a boundary few choose to cross, and few return from. He is, in a way, blessed: he has returned from the dead, with new eyes and a new connection. Read to connect, bridge the gap. Touch.
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According to U.S. government statistics, major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability for people 15 to 44 years old. It affects nearly 15 million American adults, or nearly 7% of the population age 18 and older in a given year. If you or someone you know suffers from depression, there is help. Google “depression help” to find a variety of resources for you and your loved ones.
About the author:
I’m a poet, novelist, memoirist, and diarist. My poetry has appeared in more than a dozen literary magazines, most recently The 2River View, Sleet Magazine, and Slow Trains. (My recently published work is available from my website at Robert-Jacoby.com.) I’ve published two books, a novel, There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes (2012), and a memoir (by interview), Escaping from Reality Without Really Trying: 40 Years of High Seas Travels and Lowbrow Tales (2011). Besides keeping writer’s sketchbooks, which contain ideas and notes for poems, portions of novels, and other works, I’ve kept personal notebooks. Since 1985 I’ve written about 900,000 words…reflections on events, life, and his work. For comparison, Thoreau and Kierkegaard wrote about 2 million words in their journals.
I’m at work on a second novel, Dusk and Ember (or Leave the Dead to Bury Their Own Dead); a book of poems, Stars Fall Nude (or Everything You Know Alone You Know Together; and another nonfiction book—Never Stop Dancing—a memoir (by interview) of a friend who lost his wife in a pedestrian traffic accident in Washington, D.C. in April 2010, and the aftermath and recovery with his two young sons (visit his friend’s online journey, Hole in the Sun.
Author’s homepage: http://robert-jacoby.com/
Author’s Goodreads page, blog, and book reviews: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14571.Robert_Jacoby
Contact the author for interviews, book club events, appearances, etc. at robert-jacoby.com [link to www.robert-jacoby.com].