Sunday, December 17, 2017

Writing Tips from the Lord of Hosts


I’m a big fan of the Lord of Hosts. He’s a surprising deity, now forbidding murder, admirably, now punishing King Saul for refusing to participate, or participating unwillingly, in ethnocide.
But I never thought of the Lord of Hosts as a postmodernist.

Last night, though… well, last night as we were putting Adam to bed, and settling on what we should be reading – maybe the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror? Maybe the book on Ancient Egypt, emphasis mummy? I got into my head to explain to Adam that his name was really something, and that the first man was named Adam. To prove it I decided to read him the account in Genesis, in the KJV version – which I tried to read with my best Richard Burton accent. Well, I was reading the first chapter when it struck me that, a., I hadn’t read this for a while, and b., this wasn’t the story as I remember it. Then I read the second chapter, and realized that, with sovereign aplomb, God majestically crushed the law of non-contradiction the way lesser creatures, say drunk UT fratboys, crush cans of Papst Blue Ribbon (after emptying them, of course). For of course, Genesis begins with two accounts of the beginning of everything, and there isn’t even the slightest attempt to make one account cohere with the other. It is as if in the beginning was the First Draft, and then in the beginning was the Second Draft, and we saw that both were good, so here they are.

Adam was not that impressed about his namesake. Oddly, in a chapter in which Adam names the animals, little concern is shown about how Adam was named Adam himself. As character intros go, Adam’s is pretty un-Tolstoyan. We have no story about his name and no description of his characteristics. Of course, this is par for the course – one of the great things about the Old and the New Testament is that there is not a hair or eye color found in the whole thing, that I can recall. This is much different than, say, the Iliad and the Odyssey, where we do get body descriptions of a kind.

Anyway, Adam, my Adam, was pleased when we turned from Genesis to Spiderman. Myself, I’m thinking I need to read Genesis again.