One of my favorite anti-war stories is Homer’s The Iliad. Yes! Sure, ostensibly it’s all about the glories of war, and the Greeks were very much all about both (glory & war), but if you read it deeply, you can’t help but see it’s all about the folly, stupidity and moronic futility of war. I mean, think about it: While there certainly IS a good deal of fighting in it, a good deal of the narrative is taken up by Achille’s extended temper tantrum, refusing to fight because his HONOR has been slighted. If you don’t believe me, check out The War That Killed Achilles by Caroline Alexander. Great book. Read that, then reread The Iliad. You’ll see. Here’s the NYT review of that book.
Back to Kevin: It was a big day for the author today, as he was also featured on NPR today, along with Brian Castner, as a member of the new breed of war writers, but then again, I imagine he’ll have lots of big days in the near future.
More cool news: I asked Magnuson if there was anything new with a favorite writer of ours, Denis Johnson, and he said Denis will be here for an event soon, before the Texas Book Festival. That’s something I really look forward to, every time it happens. If you’ve never seen Denis Johnson speak, you are really missing something. And if you’ve never read a book by Denis Johnson, not even Jesus Son, Nobody Move, Train Dreams, Tree of Smoke, or Fiskadero, or any of his anthologies of poetry, man, I don’t know if I even wanna talk to you. Denis Johnson, by the way, is not army material, however, his Tree of Smoke is undoubtedly one of THE great novels of the Vietnam conflict.
As you can see above, I’m a pretty serious fan of The Iliad. OK, not THAT SERIOUS. I’m not in a Trojan War reenactors club or anything. I bought the helmet during the aborted staging of my play, titled MARATHON, which is a retelling of the Minotaur myth but set in Marathon, TEXAS, not in the Grecian Isles. I withdrew my script for the play after a disagreement with some of the other principles. There is still, maybe, some sort of musical theater piece or monologue with music or so called “Marathon Song Cycle,” but that is a different project. Long story, not a pretty one.
One of my songs in particular seems appropriate for this post. It was demoed with GarageBand, here at my tiny desk studio in South Austin. The second song, also recorded here with my GarageBand set up, isn’t necessarily appropos, but the cover art fits. The song is also a story in my new novella, which is shopping around for some lucky book publisher at present. And then there’s number 3, GIRL FROM ARMAGEDDON. A real cracker, an atom blast of metallic anti-war snarl. But you gotta sample that one on CD Baby. Sorry, baby, but it’s worth a buck, seriously. Check it out here.