Self-review of Anarcho-Hindu

In writing this book, I was convinced multiple times over a period of many years that it was a failure, the worst thing I'd ever written, moronic. I tried to throw it away. I did, in fact, throw away twice as many pages as remain. For god's sake, it's only 100 pages long. I needed my friend Don Stuefloten's gorgeous photographs to make it a decent book length. And yet it took me three years to write!

But always the little heart of this book flickered at me. Especially my hero, Siva, Hindu divinity, housewife, and porn queen. The soul of congenial everydayness.

The book began with the whimsical idea of a novel with three sections titled "A Sordid Life," "A Sort of Life," and "Assorted Lives." The three sections would move from 1) the vilest sort of self-incomprehension, self-disgust and boredom, through 2) failed efforts to revolutionize and thus transcend that condition, and finally into 3) real insight, even if that insight merely left me, like Dante in the Paradiso, about to fall face-first into a heaven that is finally only always deferred. Yes, this book is my Divine Comedy. Sure, pomo as all get out, but The Divine Comedy nonetheless.

All of my fiction is a complicated rewriting of my favorite books. Prominent here is Victor Hugo's Les Miserable. Actually, I didn't know I was rewriting Hugo because I'd never read Les Miserable. But then I found a quote from it in Derrida's Spectres of Marx. The quote was: "What else is there to do in the abyss but talk." It's a line spoken by one of the revolutionaries at the barricades shortly before he dies. I got a copy of the novel and read it from beginning to end. I was astonished. Hugo stole my idea! Narration broken by historical accounts! Drama bracketing political speculation! It was my rhythm!

But I never found Derrida's passage. Nothing even remotely like it. No one talks about talking. No one talks about the abyss. Nothing.

So I was led post facto to read the text I'd already been rewriting by a passage from that originary text that had never been in fact written.

Until, of course, Derrida wrote it, that clever dog. Still fuckin' with my head after all these years.

What I attempted to wonder in this book was: what if western revolution and eastern reincarnation were the same thing? They're both teleological narratives of human ends that no one person can experience in one life. Both require being able to imagine that your own personal homeboy or girl real life is most real when it happens over generations. Interestingly, the story of western revolution (Hugo) and the story of eastern reincarnation (The Mahabharata) are most touching and human precisely because they are the stories of humans "energetically conspiring in their own defeat." When the soldiers meet the rebels in Paris in 1844 or 1871, it is themselves they defeat. When the Pandavas meet their cousins the Kauravas on broad Kurukshetra plane in the bloodiest battle in fictive history, it is themselves that they defeat.

Well, perhaps defeat is the wrong word. But if not defeat, it's a victory we'll never see, brother. Think about it the next time you talk to a cop.

What I admire about what I've attempted in Anarcho-Hindu is that it is an effort to make a book that is dead smart (I really respect nothing in the world except intelligence), beautiful (I really want this thing, beauty, genealogical phantasm though it may be), and politically revolutionary (I'm with Adorno: administered life in late capitalism is a life that does not live; any other world will do, the sooner the better, please).

And it is in my beautiful character Siva, androgynous companion and baffling sexmate to my mostly imagined days and nights, who brings the three together. (I wish Hegel had had the chance to meet her. She'd have shown him how to make the Absolute fart, dance, and help your children with their homework.) To clarify: she's the kind of wife who visits your parents and disconnects the life support apparatus to which your father has been attached for twenty years. (It's your mother who never gets over the shock.) She's the kind of wife that you catch circling the football field at the local high school in the dead of night with a randy Punk, penises sticking out of every rip in his tattered leather pants, and she greets you with, "Cheri! I'm so glad to see you! I've missed you! I love you!" And she's the kind of wife who, while sitting quietly at your side in a delicatessen, suddenly levitates into the air in full lotus position. You and your fellow diners admire the lovely blonde hairs on her legs. But, you worry, what if they can see up her skirt?

It's all right. In her velveteen yoni the lonely and confused diners glimpse the Universe, consisting of objects that move and objects that do not move, the ethereal dome, cardinal points, mountains, oceans, wind, fire, stars and even the mind itself.

When you leave, everybody's so grateful that they chip in and pay your bill. Your only regret is that you didn't eat something a little more expensive.