Questions for Author Will ClarkeHey eNotes Book Clubbers!  We are so very fortunate that the author of Lord Vishnu's Love Handles (LVLH), Will Clarke, is willing to answer our questions about his...

Questions for Author Will Clarke

Hey eNotes Book Clubbers!  We are so very fortunate that the author of Lord Vishnu's Love Handles (LVLH), Will Clarke, is willing to answer our questions about his novel.  Please post any questions you may have for him on this topic board, so that he can answer them as he is able.

Thanks again, Will!  

Expert Answers
Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Now, I'm not a prude--ok, maybe I am a little bit of a prude--but my question is this: Why did you feel the need to use so much profanity? Is this really the way people talk today? It's getting harder and harder for young people to recognize what language is inappropriate in "polite" society. I just wonder if you think we're in the middle of a trend to vulgarize everyday language. Do you think it would have hurt your novel to leave any of it out?

I've read just the first three chapters, so forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions about language. I'm enjoying the read nevertheless.

Hi Linda. Profanity is the new black. The F-word is rampant, even in polite, well-moneyed society.  It's use in the workplace is common. Particularly in the new economy/new media area where Travis scored all his millions. (There's a reason Marc Cuban has been fined so many times by the NBA. Hint: It's his language.) As an novelist writing about a specific time in history, about a certain group of people, it's important that I capture the language as accurately as possible. And Travis speaks like certain business people in Dallas speak. You also have to remember that Travis is a dipsomaniac. Dipsomaniacs have filthy mouths most times.

Personally, knowing something about this culture, I would have found it untrue to not have Travis cursing in such a way.  A writer who can accurately depict vernacular is to be applauded.  I'm writing my dissertation on Steinbeck, btw, and he too was criticized for the "vulgarities" expressed.  Rock on, brother.

It saddens me that our educated people have begun to cater to the lowest common denominator instead of setting the bar higher. Profanity has its place. I'm not for a total ban of it. But when you use it too often, it begins to lose its shock appeal, its emphasis. Would Rhett Butler's "Frankly I don't give a damn" have the same punch if every other word was a "damn" or a "f***"? What was shocking and vulgar in Steinbeck's day is nothing to us, just like the word "suck" was a filthy expression when I was a teenager, but you hear it on commercials these days. And try explaining to a teenager why "Bite me" is not an appropriate thing to say.

Oh well, I'm not yet 50, but I guess I'm becoming an old fogey!

   A writer like Faulkner, or Steinbeck, or Clarke,  chooses to render speech as s/he hears it, not moralize about it. 

As for worrying about little ears, well, I say that it is up to the parent to monitor their child's leisure activities.  Some things are for children, some aren't.  Don't take (or rent) an R rated movie, don't put a computer in a closed room. 

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Now, I'm not a prude--ok, maybe I am a little bit of a prude--but my question is this: Why did you feel the need to use so much profanity? Is this really the way people talk today? It's getting harder and harder for young people to recognize what language is inappropriate in "polite" society. I just wonder if you think we're in the middle of a trend to vulgarize everyday language. Do you think it would have hurt your novel to leave any of it out?

I've read just the first three chapters, so forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions about language. I'm enjoying the read nevertheless.

Hi Linda. Profanity is the new black. The F-word is rampant, even in polite, well-moneyed society.  It's use in the workplace is common. Particularly in the new economy/new media area where Travis scored all his millions. (There's a reason Marc Cuban has been fined so many times by the NBA. Hint: It's his language.) As an novelist writing about a specific time in history, about a certain group of people, it's important that I capture the language as accurately as possible. And Travis speaks like certain business people in Dallas speak. You also have to remember that Travis is a dipsomaniac. Dipsomaniacs have filthy mouths most times.

I have been thinking a long time how to word this without being offensive, but I completely disagree.  Profanity, without purpose, is just profanity.  It's not fashionable.  I feel I need to clean my ears and Clear Eyes my eyes after each reading, although the story has merit.  It seems to me (not just because I live in the "fly over" states where the Bible belt is thickest) that of all the millions of words in our language, you could have said the same thing more beautifully without making it seem so dirty in the process.  Stephen Crane does this with Red Badge, Bill Cosby does it with stand up, and there are many other "dirty" subjects which can be explored without the "dirty" language to accompany.  I'm sorry you feel that profanity is the "new black."  That kind of attitude just further sullies the waters for our future generations and makes it harder for them to determine what is right and what is wrong.

I made the mistake of trying to read the book during my breaks at school. The other day, I was reading during my planning period, and a student came in to ask me a question. I just happened to be on page 23 at the time. I quickly closed the book, but not before the student saw the chapter title. Needless to say, I was very embarrassed.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Now, I'm not a prude--ok, maybe I am a little bit of a prude--but my question is this: Why did you feel the need to use so much profanity? Is this really the way people talk today? It's getting harder and harder for young people to recognize what language is inappropriate in "polite" society. I just wonder if you think we're in the middle of a trend to vulgarize everyday language. Do you think it would have hurt your novel to leave any of it out?

I've read just the first three chapters, so forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions about language. I'm enjoying the read nevertheless.

Hi Linda. Profanity is the new black. The F-word is rampant, even in polite, well-moneyed society.  It's use in the workplace is common. Particularly in the new economy/new media area where Travis scored all his millions. (There's a reason Marc Cuban has been fined so many times by the NBA. Hint: It's his language.) As an novelist writing about a specific time in history, about a certain group of people, it's important that I capture the language as accurately as possible. And Travis speaks like certain business people in Dallas speak. You also have to remember that Travis is a dipsomaniac. Dipsomaniacs have filthy mouths most times.

Personally, knowing something about this culture, I would have found it untrue to not have Travis cursing in such a way.  A writer who can accurately depict vernacular is to be applauded.  I'm writing my dissertation on Steinbeck, btw, and he too was criticized for the "vulgarities" expressed.  Rock on, brother.

It saddens me that our educated people have begun to cater to the lowest common denominator instead of setting the bar higher. Profanity has its place. I'm not for a total ban of it. But when you use it too often, it begins to lose its shock appeal, its emphasis. Would Rhett Butler's "Frankly I don't give a damn" have the same punch if every other word was a "damn" or a "f***"? What was shocking and vulgar in Steinbeck's day is nothing to us, just like the word "suck" was a filthy expression when I was a teenager, but you hear it on commercials these days. And try explaining to a teenager why "Bite me" is not an appropriate thing to say.

Oh well, I'm not yet 50, but I guess I'm becoming an old fogey!

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Now, I'm not a prude--ok, maybe I am a little bit of a prude--but my question is this: Why did you feel the need to use so much profanity? Is this really the way people talk today? It's getting harder and harder for young people to recognize what language is inappropriate in "polite" society. I just wonder if you think we're in the middle of a trend to vulgarize everyday language. Do you think it would have hurt your novel to leave any of it out?

I've read just the first three chapters, so forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions about language. I'm enjoying the read nevertheless.

Hi Linda. Profanity is the new black. The F-word is rampant, even in polite, well-moneyed society.  It's use in the workplace is common. Particularly in the new economy/new media area where Travis scored all his millions. (There's a reason Marc Cuban has been fined so many times by the NBA. Hint: It's his language.) As an novelist writing about a specific time in history, about a certain group of people, it's important that I capture the language as accurately as possible. And Travis speaks like certain business people in Dallas speak. You also have to remember that Travis is a dipsomaniac. Dipsomaniacs have filthy mouths most times.

I have been thinking a long time how to word this without being offensive, but I completely disagree.  Profanity, without purpose, is just profanity.  It's not fashionable.  I feel I need to clean my ears and Clear Eyes my eyes after each reading, although the story has merit.  It seems to me (not just because I live in the "fly over" states where the Bible belt is thickest) that of all the millions of words in our language, you could have said the same thing more beautifully without making it seem so dirty in the process.  Stephen Crane does this with Red Badge, Bill Cosby does it with stand up, and there are many other "dirty" subjects which can be explored without the "dirty" language to accompany.  I'm sorry you feel that profanity is the "new black."  That kind of attitude just further sullies the waters for our future generations and makes it harder for them to determine what is right and what is wrong.

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Will-  How much did you know about Hinduism/Krishnas before beginning your novel?

I'm a big fan of Vishnu and Hindu culture. So when I decided to write a spy novel, I began to see all these parallels between Vishnu and James Bond. 

Vishnu is the Preserver, the One who wakes up from sleeping on a bed of cobras while his wife rubs his feet. Vishnu only wakes up to save the world. Bond has a similar situation. All these "goddesses" lounging with him and then he has to "wake-up" and save the world. 

Have you been to the big Diwali festival here in Dallas?

Your descriptions of the Krishna temple are so accurate, as are the attached restaurant, I know you have been there.  What were your personal reactions to the ceremony?  Do you like Indian food?  Silly questions, I know, but curious.  I have been a couple of times and I don't think I'll ever get the "Krishna" chant out of my head.   

 

I hope that readers do not see the Krishna brand of Hinduism as Hinduism itself. Just as with any religion there are many different views and practices within the religion. The "Vishnu Temple" in the book seems cultish and almost absurd. For the Hindus in my family, religion is personal and respectful.

I should have been more sensitive in my reply.  I have been to the Krishna temple here in Dallas that Clarke describes, and my take was almost identitical to his. As you continue to read the novel, you may see how cultish indeed this sect can be, at least for some of the adherents.

On the flip side, I have also been to Hindu temples in Irving, where the tone and respect was altogether different from the Krisha experience in downtown Dallas.

I don't pretend to know as much about this as you do.  I think we would all welcome the learning about Hinduism that you could offer, as well as pointing out strengths and weaknesses in Clarke's rendition. I also encourage you to address any discrepencies or uncomfortable moment (or indeed, accuracies) that you find to the author. 

 

 

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Now, I'm not a prude--ok, maybe I am a little bit of a prude--but my question is this: Why did you feel the need to use so much profanity? Is this really the way people talk today? It's getting harder and harder for young people to recognize what language is inappropriate in "polite" society. I just wonder if you think we're in the middle of a trend to vulgarize everyday language. Do you think it would have hurt your novel to leave any of it out?

I've read just the first three chapters, so forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions about language. I'm enjoying the read nevertheless.

Hi Linda. Profanity is the new black. The F-word is rampant, even in polite, well-moneyed society.  It's use in the workplace is common. Particularly in the new economy/new media area where Travis scored all his millions. (There's a reason Marc Cuban has been fined so many times by the NBA. Hint: It's his language.) As an novelist writing about a specific time in history, about a certain group of people, it's important that I capture the language as accurately as possible. And Travis speaks like certain business people in Dallas speak. You also have to remember that Travis is a dipsomaniac. Dipsomaniacs have filthy mouths most times.

Personally, knowing something about this culture, I would have found it untrue to not have Travis cursing in such a way.  A writer who can accurately depict vernacular is to be applauded.  I'm writing my dissertation on Steinbeck, btw, and he too was criticized for the "vulgarities" expressed.  Rock on, brother.

malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Now, I'm not a prude--ok, maybe I am a little bit of a prude--but my question is this: Why did you feel the need to use so much profanity? Is this really the way people talk today? It's getting harder and harder for young people to recognize what language is inappropriate in "polite" society. I just wonder if you think we're in the middle of a trend to vulgarize everyday language. Do you think it would have hurt your novel to leave any of it out?

I've read just the first three chapters, so forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions about language. I'm enjoying the read nevertheless.

To be honest, Will, this same question crossed my mind.  I know that movies use tons of language like this, and I also know that the college kids I've worked with throw the "f" word around a great deal, not really even considering at times whether it's appropriate in that circumstance or not.  And I admit that I worked in profanities much as an artist might work in watercolors a great deal in high school and college (to borrow from "A Christmas Story").  But do adults really talk like that nowadays and I'm just "out of the loop" because of who I am, who my friends are, and where I teach?

This is a curiosity question, 100%.  Thanks!

malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sigh...I can see both sides of this debate, and it's so frustrating!  I agree that an author should accurately portray the time period, culture, people he/she is writing about.  To do otherwise is to lie, or simply be a pretty poor author.  So I agree that Will and Steinbeck and any other author out there should write what they know, and accurately depict what they're writing about.

I think what frustrates me is that profanity is so widespread...thus making it necessary for authors to depict it so accurately.  I'm not saying that Clarke's book is bad because of the profanity (in fact, I think it's a great book and have his other book on order right now!).  He has said that the world in which Travis lives is cluttered with those excesses, not only of language, but of money, drugs, alcohol, etc.  It's a culture of excess, and that is what bothers me.  Not that Will depicted it so brutally well, but that there is such a selfish, amoral culture out there to begin with.

I've finished the book already, and can hardly wait for "The Worthy" to arrive in the mail!

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Will-  How much did you know about Hinduism/Krishnas before beginning your novel?

I'm a big fan of Vishnu and Hindu culture. So when I decided to write a spy novel, I began to see all these parallels between Vishnu and James Bond. 

Vishnu is the Preserver, the One who wakes up from sleeping on a bed of cobras while his wife rubs his feet. Vishnu only wakes up to save the world. Bond has a similar situation. All these "goddesses" lounging with him and then he has to "wake-up" and save the world. 

Have you been to the big Diwali festival here in Dallas?

Your descriptions of the Krishna temple are so accurate, as are the attached restaurant, I know you have been there.  What were your personal reactions to the ceremony?  Do you like Indian food?  Silly questions, I know, but curious.  I have been a couple of times and I don't think I'll ever get the "Krishna" chant out of my head.   

 

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thanks for putting it into perspective. I guess I'm sensitive to the language issue because I've been battling my yearbook staff over what is appropriate and what is not. Most of them are in a club that went to its state convention last week. With me only a few feet away, they discussed--not in whispers, mind you--how to hide alcohol in their luggage. Something to do with a Pringles can. They were shocked that I busted them to the principal. They couldn't understand that if they got caught and that word got out that they made their plans in my room in my presence, I could lose my job. Do they just not care about my being unemployed?

Today, I wrote discipline reports on all 10 of them. I told them after the Pringles incident that I have zero tolerance for inappropriate conversations. Believe it or not, their topic of conversation was how much a guy's penis burns when he pees after drinking too much. These kids are honor students and came highly recommended.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Now, I'm not a prude--ok, maybe I am a little bit of a prude--but my question is this: Why did you feel the need to use so much profanity? Is this really the way people talk today? It's getting harder and harder for young people to recognize what language is inappropriate in "polite" society. I just wonder if you think we're in the middle of a trend to vulgarize everyday language. Do you think it would have hurt your novel to leave any of it out?

I've read just the first three chapters, so forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions about language. I'm enjoying the read nevertheless.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hello again, Will. This might be a dumb question, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Have you read Greg Bear's book Blood Music? The reason why I ask is that your discussion of sentient DNA reminds me of that book. It's all about how a researcher discovers a way to develop intelligent bacteria, which then set about changing all DNA cells in all living things. Just wondered if that might have been an influence for you.

malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hi Will!

Thanks for being part of eNotes for this discussion group!  Your book is amazing - really sucked me right in!

My question - Where did you get the inspiration for the character of Travis?  Is he someone you knew/know, bits and pieces of people, or entirely fictional?  He's such a sad guy...I mean, really, no hope, no joy, as of yet anyway.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I didn't know you were a Bread Loafer. I attended one summer eons ago and am thinking of going back. I was an oddball on campus--probably the only conservative Republican in the whole state of Vermont! Who were your instructors, and how did they influence you? Ken McCrory and David Haddad were two of my profs who really influenced me.

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I also read that your novel has been optioned for film.  I can easily see how this would work well as a movie; your descriptions and characters are so colorful.  As you were in the process of writing, did you envision the work as a film one day? 

If you could cast anyone you wanted in the title roles, whom would you choose? 

brandih eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hi Will! Some parts of LVLH are hilarious. I respect that you don't want anyone to know where you live or what you are doing, but were you born and raised in Dallas? Lived anywhere else?

Also, is this a pic of your fan club?

http://booktourvirgin.blogs.com/book_tour_virgin/

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Will-  We were talking on the discussion boards about Travis' mental state.  Were you at all influenced by Joseph Heller's Catch-22? (Particularly, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you."_

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I read that you attended Bread loaf when you were in the process of writing LVLH.  How important do you think attending the conferences was?  Can you tell us about a memorable conversation or writing tip? 

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Will-  How much did you know about Hinduism/Krishnas before beginning your novel?

guess | Student

Will-  How much did you know about Hinduism/Krishnas before beginning your novel?

I'm a big fan of Vishnu and Hindu culture. So when I decided to write a spy novel, I began to see all these parallels between Vishnu and James Bond. 

Vishnu is the Preserver, the One who wakes up from sleeping on a bed of cobras while his wife rubs his feet. Vishnu only wakes up to save the world. Bond has a similar situation. All these "goddesses" lounging with him and then he has to "wake-up" and save the world. 

Have you been to the big Diwali festival here in Dallas?

Your descriptions of the Krishna temple are so accurate, as are the attached restaurant, I know you have been there.  What were your personal reactions to the ceremony?  Do you like Indian food?  Silly questions, I know, but curious.  I have been a couple of times and I don't think I'll ever get the "Krishna" chant out of my head.   

 

I hope that readers do not see the Krishna brand of Hinduism as Hinduism itself. Just as with any religion there are many different views and practices within the religion. The "Vishnu Temple" in the book seems cultish and almost absurd. For the Hindus in my family, religion is personal and respectful.

I should have been more sensitive in my reply.  I have been to the Krishna temple here in Dallas that Clarke describes, and my take was almost identitical to his. As you continue to read the novel, you may see how cultish indeed this sect can be, at least for some of the adherents.

On the flip side, I have also been to Hindu temples in Irving, where the tone and respect was altogether different from the Krisha experience in downtown Dallas.

I don't pretend to know as much about this as you do.  I think we would all welcome the learning about Hinduism that you could offer, as well as pointing out strengths and weaknesses in Clarke's rendition. I also encourage you to address any discrepencies or uncomfortable moment (or indeed, accuracies) that you find to the author. 

 

 

Like I said earlier, I wouldn't look at the brand of religion that Ikshu pratices to be even mildly representative of mainstream Hinduism. Ikshu's organization is a cult just like The Branch Davidians or Jim Jones  or the Japanese Aum Doomsday cult.  These cults have their roots in mainstream religions be it Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, whatever, but they distort these religions with extremism, fear and apocryphia. 

As I read on in the novel, I did get this as part of your message.  Also, once I got to reading I couldn't stop. I finished the novel a couple of weeks ago and found it both thought prevoking and at times very funny. 

will-clarke | Student

Will-  How much did you know about Hinduism/Krishnas before beginning your novel?

I'm a big fan of Vishnu and Hindu culture. So when I decided to write a spy novel, I began to see all these parallels between Vishnu and James Bond. 

Vishnu is the Preserver, the One who wakes up from sleeping on a bed of cobras while his wife rubs his feet. Vishnu only wakes up to save the world. Bond has a similar situation. All these "goddesses" lounging with him and then he has to "wake-up" and save the world. 

Have you been to the big Diwali festival here in Dallas?

Your descriptions of the Krishna temple are so accurate, as are the attached restaurant, I know you have been there.  What were your personal reactions to the ceremony?  Do you like Indian food?  Silly questions, I know, but curious.  I have been a couple of times and I don't think I'll ever get the "Krishna" chant out of my head.   

 

I hope that readers do not see the Krishna brand of Hinduism as Hinduism itself. Just as with any religion there are many different views and practices within the religion. The "Vishnu Temple" in the book seems cultish and almost absurd. For the Hindus in my family, religion is personal and respectful.

I should have been more sensitive in my reply.  I have been to the Krishna temple here in Dallas that Clarke describes, and my take was almost identitical to his. As you continue to read the novel, you may see how cultish indeed this sect can be, at least for some of the adherents.

On the flip side, I have also been to Hindu temples in Irving, where the tone and respect was altogether different from the Krisha experience in downtown Dallas.

I don't pretend to know as much about this as you do.  I think we would all welcome the learning about Hinduism that you could offer, as well as pointing out strengths and weaknesses in Clarke's rendition. I also encourage you to address any discrepencies or uncomfortable moment (or indeed, accuracies) that you find to the author. 

 

 

Like I said earlier, I wouldn't look at the brand of religion that Ikshu pratices to be even mildly representative of mainstream Hinduism. Ikshu's organization is a cult just like The Branch Davidians or Jim Jones  or the Japanese Aum Doomsday cult.  These cults have their roots in mainstream religions be it Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, whatever, but they distort these religions with extremism, fear and apocryphia. 

will-clarke | Student

Hello again, Will. This might be a dumb question, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Have you read Greg Bear's book Blood Music? The reason why I ask is that your discussion of sentient DNA reminds me of that book. It's all about how a researcher discovers a way to develop intelligent bacteria, which then set about changing all DNA cells in all living things. Just wondered if that might have been an influence for you.

Nope, sorry, never read Blood Music. But it sounds like something I would like.

Most of my thinking about DNA comes from scientists like Rupert Sheldrake and Richard Dawkins.

will-clarke | Student

Will-  We were talking on the discussion boards about Travis' mental state.  Were you at all influenced by Joseph Heller's Catch-22? (Particularly, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you."_

I was heavliy influenced by Catch-22 AND Slaughterhouse 5. 

will-clarke | Student

Will-  How much did you know about Hinduism/Krishnas before beginning your novel?

I'm a big fan of Vishnu and Hindu culture. So when I decided to write a spy novel, I began to see all these parallels between Vishnu and James Bond. 

Vishnu is the Preserver, the One who wakes up from sleeping on a bed of cobras while his wife rubs his feet. Vishnu only wakes up to save the world. Bond has a similar situation. All these "goddesses" lounging with him and then he has to "wake-up" and save the world. 

Have you been to the big Diwali festival here in Dallas?

Your descriptions of the Krishna temple are so accurate, as are the attached restaurant, I know you have been there.  What were your personal reactions to the ceremony?  Do you like Indian food?  Silly questions, I know, but curious.  I have been a couple of times and I don't think I'll ever get the "Krishna" chant out of my head.   

 

I hope that readers do not see the Krishna brand of Hinduism as Hinduism itself. Just as with any religion there are many different views and practices within the religion. The "Vishnu Temple" in the book seems cultish and almost absurd. For the Hindus in my family, religion is personal and respectful.

I agree. Ikshu was an American, a crazed one at that, who had taken Hindu beliefs and bastardized them to fit his own apocolyptic mythology. 

Hopefully readers will no more see Ikshu's brand of fanaticism as Hinduism any more than they would see David Koresh as representative of Christianity.

guess | Student

Will-  How much did you know about Hinduism/Krishnas before beginning your novel?

I'm a big fan of Vishnu and Hindu culture. So when I decided to write a spy novel, I began to see all these parallels between Vishnu and James Bond. 

Vishnu is the Preserver, the One who wakes up from sleeping on a bed of cobras while his wife rubs his feet. Vishnu only wakes up to save the world. Bond has a similar situation. All these "goddesses" lounging with him and then he has to "wake-up" and save the world. 

Have you been to the big Diwali festival here in Dallas?

Your descriptions of the Krishna temple are so accurate, as are the attached restaurant, I know you have been there.  What were your personal reactions to the ceremony?  Do you like Indian food?  Silly questions, I know, but curious.  I have been a couple of times and I don't think I'll ever get the "Krishna" chant out of my head.   

 

I hope that readers do not see the Krishna brand of Hinduism as Hinduism itself. Just as with any religion there are many different views and practices within the religion. The "Vishnu Temple" in the book seems cultish and almost absurd. For the Hindus in my family, religion is personal and respectful.

will-clarke | Student

Friends of mine who were travelling the world with their laptops and a paypal account made the site for me after reading the book. THey needed cash to get out of India and they made the site and sent it to me with a bill. I paid the bill, took possession of the site and my friends got out of India and ont to seeing the rest of the world. 

Yes, the other pages are just for admin stuff. 

will-clarke | Student

My instructors where Robert Cohen and Randall Kenan.  Actually out of my class with Cohen there were ten of us and four of us have now been published by major publishers. 

Both Rob and Randall influenced me in different ways, but it was really the other Bread Loafers who shaped my experience. They let me know that humor is one of the hardest things to pull off and that it holds as much literary cred as anything if it's done well. My exposure to Bread Loaf, taught me the value  of rafting my prose and I think it paid off. I don't think both books would have been selected as NYTimes Editor's Choices had I not learned what I did at Breaf Loaf.

will-clarke | Student

Think Marc Cuban. Think Donald Trump. The F-Bomb is dropped all the time in certain – particularly in high-testosterone environments like new media and start-ups.  It's just part of the culture Travis lives in. Plus also remember Travis does everything too much-- drink, cuss, spend. 

will-clarke | Student

Um, Steve Carrell as Reed Bindler would be great.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Travis

Cate Blanchett as Debra McFadden

Salma Hayek as Shelby 

will-clarke | Student

LVLH is what got me into Bread Loaf. It was really important to getting published as I met my editor there and she would 3 years later buy LVLH for Simon & Schuster.

 The most memorable thing about Breaf Loaf was going to Robert Frost's cabin and see the austerity in which he lived. It was beautiful in that Japenese Wabi-Sabi sort of way. Very Zen.  

 As far as conversations go, the conference was such a heady experience it's hard to single out one thing or one conversation. It was a life changing experience though. A magical place. 

will-clarke | Student

Not slapping anyone, really, I think you can find holiness in the mundane and the profane. I think Travis really was waiting for God and he did find Him at Texas Stadium, which is rumored to have the skylight on it so that God can watch His favorite team play.

will-clarke | Student

Reed's everything we pretty much hate to see in a sucessful man: Vain, cruel, power hungry, manipulative, and blindly happy about it all.

will-clarke | Student

Hmm, the rogue bumperstickering is funny idea, but yeah, legally that could get a little sticky. Best not.

It's just something that Travis started telling me when I was writing the story. It was his way of maybe over intellectualizing why his wife didn't love him and putting the blame on her for the failure of the relationship. A scientifically correct way to brand her I guess. Travis must have read to many Richard Dawkins books.

will-clarke | Student

I was born and raised in Shreveport, LA. I have worked and lived in Dallas for the past 15 years. 

I've lived in Baton Rouge, Ruston, and Orlando. 

No those people on my website aren't my fan club. They are figments of my imagination. THey're not really there.  

will-clarke | Student

Now, I'm not a prude--ok, maybe I am a little bit of a prude--but my question is this: Why did you feel the need to use so much profanity? Is this really the way people talk today? It's getting harder and harder for young people to recognize what language is inappropriate in "polite" society. I just wonder if you think we're in the middle of a trend to vulgarize everyday language. Do you think it would have hurt your novel to leave any of it out?

I've read just the first three chapters, so forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions about language. I'm enjoying the read nevertheless.

Hi Linda. Profanity is the new black. The F-word is rampant, even in polite, well-moneyed society. It's use in the workplace is common. Particularly in the new economy/new media area where Travis scored all his millions. (There's a reason Marc Cuban has been fined so many times by the NBA. Hint: It's his language.) As an novelist writing about a specific time in history, about a certain group of people, it's important that I capture the language as accurately as possible. And Travis speaks like certain business people in Dallas speak. You also have to remember that Travis is a dipsomaniac. Dipsomaniacs have filthy mouths most times.

will-clarke | Student

Now, I'm not a prude--ok, maybe I am a little bit of a prude--but my question is this: Why did you feel the need to use so much profanity? Is this really the way people talk today? It's getting harder and harder for young people to recognize what language is inappropriate in "polite" society. I just wonder if you think we're in the middle of a trend to vulgarize everyday language. Do you think it would have hurt your novel to leave any of it out?

I've read just the first three chapters, so forgive me if I'm jumping to conclusions about language. I'm enjoying the read nevertheless.

Hi Linda. Profanity is the new black. The F-word is rampant, even in polite, well-moneyed society.  It's use in the workplace is common. Particularly in the new economy/new media area where Travis scored all his millions. (There's a reason Marc Cuban has been fined so many times by the NBA. Hint: It's his language.) As an novelist writing about a specific time in history, about a certain group of people, it's important that I capture the language as accurately as possible. And Travis speaks like certain business people in Dallas speak. You also have to remember that Travis is a dipsomaniac. Dipsomaniacs have filthy mouths most times.

will-clarke | Student

Hi Will!

Thanks for being part of eNotes for this discussion group!  Your book is amazing - really sucked me right in!

My question - Where did you get the inspiration for the character of Travis?  Is he someone you knew/know, bits and pieces of people, or entirely fictional?  He's such a sad guy...I mean, really, no hope, no joy, as of yet anyway.

Travis is a collection of people that I've encountered in life. But mostly he's what's left when the American Dream fails us in some way. Either we're not as rich or as accomplished as we'd have hoped or we've gotten too soft and a little too angry because we have this overblown since of entitlement. He's that really annoying hung-over part of ourselves that blames everyone else for the hang-over. But he has hope, just a glimmer.

will-clarke | Student

Will-  How much did you know about Hinduism/Krishnas before beginning your novel?

I'm a big fan of Vishnu and Hindu culture. So when I decided to write a spy novel, I began to see all these parallels between Vishnu and James Bond. 

Vishnu is the Preserver, the One who wakes up from sleeping on a bed of cobras while his wife rubs his feet. Vishnu only wakes up to save the world. Bond has a similar situation. All these "goddesses" lounging with him and then he has to "wake-up" and save the world. 

mrbill | Student

FYI: Question 8 posted twice and why #9 is deleted. Not because I was censured :)  But Will, About the Psychic Cow website.  When was it created?  Is there more fun stuff on the restricted pages or are they just administrative access?

mrbill | Student

Travis dreams of looking up through the hole in Texas stadium waiting for God.  Are you slapping Dallasites who revere it as their Holy of  Holies? I hope so.

mrbill | Student

Did you base the character of Reed Bindler on a real person or an amalgam of worst traits you ever met?

mrbill | Student

Hi Will, 

This book had me at “Shelby is a slut. She is also my wife.”  What is the legal penalty for putting “Slutty DNA” bumper stickers on cars without the owner’s consent?  But seriously, what was your influence for Travis’s idea that sex drive is evolutionary and amoral?

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question