Friday, April 3, 2015

INKBLOTS--Sindbad to the Trenches of WW I

As WW I ground on boys were conscripted to fight
Five of us this evening, crackling fire (though spring and some sunshine, still a bit chilly after the sun sets). We discussed for an extra half hour at the leading edge our Inkblots venture plans in the cooker. Many details to hammer out but good discussion and progress. Bob Rogland leads off with chapter six of Sindbad and Selassia, which I had the privilege of reading in its entirety several years ago. My adult daughter says this is his best book yet.

Bob has a straightforward narrative style, no affected syntax or over-wrought verbosity from Bob's pen to cut through. Inspired by the Arabian Knights, this yarn has an imbedded critique of Islam. It may be difficult for me to entirely be unbiased here because I so much enjoy Bob's humor, and I appreciate just about everything about him as a person, as a creative genius (I'm not really exaggerating, though some will not believe me when I say it), and as a no-nonsense Christian man. Bob writes in first person from the point of view of the intrepid Sindbad, a Muslim who engages in congenial debate with Selassia, a Christian slave from Ethiopia. 

John suggested more dialogue than Bob took advantage of. And he said he would like to hear Selassia's prayer. Patrick asked if Bob had read the original Sindbad. Doug suggested more description of posture and description of tone of voice. Bob reads it with engaging inflection but will this be conveyed in the words on the page alone to readers on their own. We ended up having a discussion of Islam and the Koran, wherein there is confusion about the Trinity, the Koran explaining it as Jesus, God, and Mary. And no personal relationship with God in Islam. And Christians don't believe in justice enough, too much grace in Christian gospel. Though Muslims depend on their works and God being mercy, but an arbitrary mercy, ironically without justice, because there is no substitute, no atoning sacrifice for sin. Allah is just being arbitrary in passing over sin. Selassia could point out that Islam actually is weak on justice, though it claims the opposite.

I read the first chapter of War in the Wasteland (working title) set in World War I, and received helpful feedback from the men. Here are my rough notes from their comments.
Germany was an army with a country, England’s driven to fight, France determined to recover Alsace… More context as to why they are fighting this war (but do I want to do this here, or save for trench talk later). Why are they here? Too much on the down side of the war. Make more tension with having him feel enthusiasm, a drive to fight. Needs more of Nigel’s patriotism, his commitment to fight. Needs more itching to put Germans in the ground. The war was the outlet for young men’s violent nature. Whereas today we suppress young men’s violent desire to fight. In early 20th century England encouraged boy fighting unlike today. Focus young men’s aggression toward the enemy, the Germans. Nigel feels too much like a 2015 character, Patrick commented.

Patrick read from his zombie apocalypse yarn. Patrick catches his own editorial issues, another great benefit of reading aloud. Slab of meat, in this context does make the stomach crawl. Let us hear that the butcher used a high and whinny voice, and is that the best way to convey his tone. Omni is an omnivore. We fifty-and-aboves, though we admittedly don't get this genre, do appreciate and have high regard for Patrick's growing skill as a writer, and we appreciate him attempting to prepare us for the Aztec human sacrifice joke allusions coming in this episode. 


  1. France still smarting from humiliation of Franco-Prussian defeat. The German Kaiser captured the French King Napoleon III on the battlefield in 1870. Probably the last time any European kings commanded troops on the battlefield. Important to note that England sat that war out, and was content to watch as the Germans marched in victory down the Champs-Élysées to the Arc d' Triomph.
    The English didn't like the French much. They fought the French around the globe for most of the 1700s, watched in horror at the French Revolution when the Paris mobs massacred priests, nobles, and their king. Then fought Napoleon for a decade. It is a wonder they agreed to fight alongside the French against the Germans at all.

  2. Indeed. Britain was far more concerned about keeping Germany from Channel ports than aiding the French. The latter was incidental to the former.