This week I read Kris Saknussemm's article "Historical Novels and The 'Truth'" (The Writer January 2012), in an ongoing attempt to remove chaos or at least diminish the to-read pile in my office.
Saknussemm wrote on the novelist's responsibility to the truth and concluded that what really happened 'back then' shifts drastically, depending on which version you trust -- from your vantage point of several decades later, several hundred years, or more.
Since weaving facts into fiction is a preoccupation of mine, his comments were intriguing enough to push me over to his site where I discovered -- not only a fascinating site that uses video, music and clips to promote his book, Zanesville, but there I found the oracle!
Having properly emptied my mind, I asked my question, pressed the button, and received this enigmatic sentence:
You meet the ghost of yourself in every unfinished task.
Now there's something to think about. For if I pick up something I wrote five years ago, for example, in a sense I am no longer that person. But I re-experience who I was at that time. A very different way of looking at unfinished projects.
Saknussemm, dubbed in Wikipedia as a 'cult novelist and multimedia artist' has a new book out about slavery set in the 1840s, Enigmatic Pilot (Random House Books/Del Rey Books 2011). This one's definitely on my to-read list. And I will follow this writer as well, despite his reputation for being somewhat of a 'shock jock,' for he has an edge on blending the visual, the written word, and internet-based technology that is fascinating.
If you wish to play with the three Chings, go to Kris Saknussemm's site, enjoy or skip the intro, and click on "Ask the III Chings" (after you have a question in mind).
I just checked his ZanesVille out, the first in the series. Dubbed a satire, this outrageous book will challenge me, but it will have to wait until next week's reading . . . another unfinished project!
Source of Saknussemm's portrait: Wikipedia.