The Worst Book in America
Have you ever listened to Porcupine Tree? They have a song that says: "The creator had a master tape / But he left it in a cab. / I stared into the void tonight / The best dream I ever had."

That's what it's like writing House of Broken Angels.

I am half-way through it already, and I veer from thinking it's brilliant to thinking it's the worst book in America. It definitely goes places I don't want to go. As usual, with me, it's about Grace...but it's dirty and awful. I told my editor it's like my beloved HBO show, "Deadwood." If you can see through the violence, cussing, dirt, sex and depravity, you can see it's a story full of odd sweetness and spirituality. Can you find Heaven when you're wallowing in Hell? Probably not. But you can see Heaven. You can see it! (In one of CS Lewis's books, you can take a bus tour from Hell to Heaven...a new form of torment, perhaps.) So what happens if one of the denizens of Hell sees Heaven and is trying to find a rope ladder to climb up there? How does he carry a few of his friends and enemies with him? Do gang-bangers go to Heaven? Do junkies have Zen? Can a guitarist who runs from all his deepest connections find out he's some sort of Barrio Bodhisattva? Does Jesus sometimes cruise in a low-rider? Are there some sins that cannot be forgiven? Hmmm. Worst book in America, like I said. Praise Quetzalcoatl!

I once asked Pastor Von (the hero of Across the Wire and By the Lake of Sleeping Children) what he had learned after all these long years serving God. Was there one word I needed to know? One word that would sum up the whole story of our troubled lives on earth? And he thought for a short moment, and he said: "Reconciliation."

It's funny, when you delve into the Dark Matter, you have to be careful that the darkness doesn't inhabit you. Or, in my case, re-inhabit. Devils swarm like little iron wasps with bat wings. They think the doom and hopelessness are funny. So you need to be careful. What's that old line about peering into the abyss (the void)? Beware that the abyss isn't peering into you.

Oddly enough, though, thisis the funniest book I've ever written. It's enough to make you crazy. Speaking of "Deadwood," Cinderella gave me the boxed set for Christmas, so I can go to my favorite show all the time. Not only the boxed set, but David Milch's book about the series, which is a great little writing workshop if you're at all interested in the vision behind something interesting. It's all homework for me, and I study hard. And, once I get through Broken Angels, assuming I don't jump off a bridge, I'll get to the poetry and Hummingbird II. Perhaps fans of that story will be over their shock by then and will be able to read it.

This year, homies, I am rated NC-17!

What I'm listening to: The Beatles, "Love."

Adieu, Louis XIV

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