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Welcome Back My Friends (to the show that never ends)

Welcome Back My Friends (to the show that never ends)


When Wampus chief Mark Doyon offered this soapbox for me to talk about my forthcoming novel Believe in Me—and, more generally, in his words, “Music, Fiction, Dreams”—I couldn’t help but appreciate the irony.  Because Believe in Me will be published in e-book form only, and my wife and I are still mourning the loss of the Borders down the hill from us, where we used to stop in a couple of times a month.

And yet… and yet… I’m also intrigued and energized by the idea of being a part of the new wave of publishing represented by e-books. I wish Borders had been as nimble as Barnes & Noble in developing and implementing an electronic platform for delivering books to their customers, but they weren’t, and when it comes to content delivery in this day and age, it’s adapt or die.  When it comes to publishing, as in everything else it does, Wampus is on the leading edge.

Back to the subject of irony, though, which you’ve probably already detected is a favorite subject around these parts. Believe in Me, while nominally a story about a young-ish campaign operative (and son of a recently deceased music writer) who’s drawn steadily into the orbit of a political activist rock singer, is on one level a story about irony writ large. The two main characters are both running away from something that, the more they run from it, the more entangled in it they become.

It’s also a story about heroes, and how we create and relate to them. In our post-modern world, irony typically goes hand in hand with a world-weary cynicism, an attitude that suggests heroes have become obsolete. I don’t think they are—or at least, if they are, I think that’s more our fault than theirs. We have a hard time believing in heroes these days because we’ve been exposed so many times now to our heroes’ human flaws and frailties that we’re constantly afraid we may be left feeling like suckers. Refusing to believe in someone’s ability to rise above and make a difference is the ultimate form of cynicism, and the ultimate victim is every one of us. If we lose the capacity to appreciate real heroes, what’s left to inspire us?

So, there are heroes in Believe in Me. They don’t wear tights, or fly, or have x-ray vision or utility belts, but they do remarkable things. Not always for the noblest of reasons, but they do them anyway. I wonder what the world would be like if that happened more often? A little less cynical, maybe. And a little more connected with things like music, and fiction, and dreams.

Comments (2)

  • Judy Warburg

    I have had the pleasure of knowing that "super hero" who doesn't "wear tights, or fly, or even have ...." and who does have an incredible understanding of how music affects his words through listening and analyzing his world. Good for you and we do "Believe " in You!

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