confessions

Why I wrote The Bomber

 

I wrote The Bomber because I wanted to see the world through the eyes of a man, returned from war, and facing the horrors of returning home to normal life. I read the New York times article today (http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/12/26/books/human-costs-of-the-forever-wars-enough-to-fill-a-bookshelf.html), and it struck me that my book is different for many reasons. Firstly, I have never been to war. I thought about it a lot in high school; I thought that I would do well in the Army, that it would be my sort of thing. I thought I could be a good officer. I based this on my interest in Napoleon Bonaparte and Arthur Wellesley, The first Duke of Wellington. I came to realise that the sort of people who succeed in the Army are probably the guys who do well on the football team. I was more interested in history and English. I do not think I am a great leader either. It did not take long to decide against joining the army. I also considered the Navy and at 34 still think I would like to go to sea and sail around for a while.

Secondly, my book looks at the workings of Joseph Starling and his descent into madness and ultimate recovery. The mindset of my main character is similar to one who has to descend into the underworld to save his lover, but ultimately loses her just before returning to Earth. It is a madness of throwing yourself into a system that will crush you because it does not even know you are there. The other books are more concerned with actual places and people; mine is set in a world of madness that could be anywhere. It is not clear cut, heroes and terrorists are as confused as they are in real life.

Finally, I feel The Bomber is successful because it deals with human issues in a human way. It is not because Joseph was a soldier that makes him interesting, he is interesting because he suffers. Just like anyone suffers. How many people do you have to meet before you find someone you actually like? What guarantees does life give you anyway? You could die alone, you might get cancer, your child could become addicted to drugs. Life is cruel and uncaring, but it is also beautiful and loving. Look at the sunset or the way the clouds sit still in the blue sky on a Spring day, The Bomber is a book that examines what it is to be human, faced with madness and fighting not to become mad as well. If Joseph loses his mind, the simple beauty all around him will disappear as well.

Choose books that challenge you. I love being recommended books by people who feel their lives have been changed because of them. I wrote The Bomber because the story changed my life.

 

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Advice on life

Listen, the cop said to me, the thing that really gets you

Is when you’re standing there and their goddamn phone starts ringing.

I mean she’s been dead for an hour or two and her phone is ringing

And it’s on her.

You actually think you should answer it,

But what are you gonna say?

 

Listen, the cardiologist said to me, the thing is

These people have heart attacks

And then we fix ‘em and get them in for exercise

And the goddamn idiots

Actually complain about how hard it is to exercise

And all we ask them to do is walk a bit and maybe ride an exercise bike

And they don’t want to.

I tell ‘em not to eat cheese because cheese blocks up the arteries

I explain to them that they have to watch their diet

And they say

No doctor I really like cheese.

 

It’s riding two abreast,

The paramedic tells me

The cyclists shouldn’t ride two abreast,

I saw this just last week.

One guy knocked into the other

And they both went under the rear wheels of a truck.

It’s safer to ride single; I tell everyone.

 

I gave up cheese and riding two abreast, and I keep my phone on silent

But still, there’s a lot wrong with the world.

People get hard, and then they get crazy.

 

My first job

The job was as a crew member with the most famous fast food store.

I was told to meet the truck, unpack it

And load the cool room and freezer with every goddamned box in the universe.

I was a school kid, frightened by everything

and the managers were either 20-year-old stoners

or 20-year-old assholes.

I began to load the boxes; it was easy at first, they went on the shelves

then the shelves filled

and I started to load them on the floor,

piling them on top of each other like bricks.

But they weren’t bricks and as they became taller than me

The corner of some low down box would crumble, then they’d fall.

I remember standing in that cold room, half frozen, laughing at the boxes of

French fries and hamburgers collapsing.

I watched my white breath disappear into the spinning fans

The noise killing me.

Then something snapped within me, and I began to push the boxes into each other, forcing them onto each other, throwing them in

The place piled up with boxes in no order,

Crushed

Some split

open with the inside bags spilling out.

I didn’t care.

Someone had ordered too much

I went out and collected the trolley, to bring in the last boxes.

The trolley caught my corduroy jacket and tore it.

I had bought that jacket in California.

When I was finished, the cool room looked like a massacre, and I could hardly close the door.

 

The next day I came back to work

This nice guy named Duc, one of my best friends

Told me the stoner assistant manager we all liked had been yelled at

By the asshole boss and I felt bad.

I hated the place and I wanted to be fired

But I also felt bad.

I spent two hours fixing that cool room up.

 

Actual confessions from various anonymous people

1

I had been wishing for Simon Weston* to be dead for a long time. Since I was 15 years old. When he did die I was 22 and it seemed strange to me. We were the same age, he had given me a hard time in high school. I found out he was dead from the internet.

He died in a car accident on a dirt road. He had crashed into a tree. I later heard, and it might have been a rumor, that he was drunk.

He left behind a daughter who was maybe 2 years old and I thought, was it right all those when I was a teen to have wished him dead?

He left school at 16, I never saw him again. But now he was dead and I was afraid it was because of my thoughts.

*not real name

2

I saw her again, this time she was running late for the bus and I asked the bus driver to wait for her. He waited and she climbed in the bus. I did not speak to her but I kept watching her.

I am sure she knew I was watching her and it probably annoyed her.

I don’t understand women.

3

I used to work at McDonalds as a teenager. Some of the managers were sometimes really mean to me so one day I stole a bag of chocolate fudge and another time I stole a box of chocolate flakes. (for the sundaes) I don’t feel bad about it because the managers would give me such a hard time. I mean they really screamed at me and made fun of me.

4

A guy did not stop at a crossing for me. I looked at him driving the car as he went past, he looked like a fat slob for hours later all I could think of was cutting his throat like the terrorists do. Later when I calmed down I thought, maybe he just didn’t see me, it was dark and there was a big car parked right near the crossing entrance. Still I had thought about running the blade across his fat neck.

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On the 24th of June, (only a few days away) my debut novel comes outs.

Get your copy of The Bomber as soon as you can.

It is an incredible work of fiction.

http://ow.ly/i/bnWnl

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