I Have a Question About the Books/the Characters

I first heard about Derrick Jensen’s work through a recommendation you made on your reading list several years ago for his book A Language Older Than Words. I thought Language was a deeply moving and beautiful book—still do—and I also admired his next book, The Culture of Make Believe, though its subject was so dark as to make it far from enjoyable for me.

In his more recent work, though, Jensen has expressed his conviction that “[t]his culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living” (quoting from Endgame). Based on that assumption, he’s argued that the very best those who love the world can do is to try to bring civilization down as soon as possible in a sort of planned demolition, like taking down a condemned building.

While I don’t agree with Jensen and see no reason to think you do based on my understanding of your work, my impression is that many people with an earnest desire to save the world have read books by both of you and would likely be interested in reading your reaction to his clarion call for us to “bring it all down.”

Near the conclusion of Ishmael, you proclaimed that humans in the Taker culture have stopped evolving, because they do not live in the hands of the gods. This is the only idea of yours that I cannot wrap my mind around.

I don’t understand how or why evolution would cease for a segment of one species but not for another segment of the same species…especially considering the segment for which evolution supposedly has ceased contains the vast majority of the total species’ population.

In addition, how have the Leaver peoples evolved, and what proof do we have of that evolution?

Daniel, I’ve got a million questions for you . . . such as why you mentioned in Ishmael and The Story of B jesus’ sermon on the mount(“behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not nor do they reap…”), yet then you include him with the “salvationists”? In the bible (read post-Ishmael) jesus describes religious leaders as “the blind leading the blind, and when the blind follow the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

It just seems to me that the ideas of jesus were used by religions/salvationists to serve their own needs and all the while mother culture tells us that salvation and jesus are one and the same.

Along the biblical theme Why no mention of john the “B”aptist? I understand now why jesus wished to be “baptised” by john the B, for when asked by the scribes who he was, john the B replies, “I am he who cries from wilderness.”

And thanks for going over the “great fall.” Powerful story i had never “saw” before.

But my real question is Have you ever realized how similar the concepts of Ishmael are to the music of the doors? “Cancel my subscription to the resurrection, send my credentials to the house of detention, i’ve got some friends inside… what have they done to the earth? what have they done to our fair sister? ravaged and plundered and returned bitter, stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn and tied her with fences and dragged her down, i hear a very gentle sound we want the world and we want it NOW!”

I hear parallels between Ishmael and much of the doors music. Is this a question you’ve been asked? Am i simply “seeing” Ishmael in everything?

While reading After Dachau I began to wonder how the novel related to the stories of Ishmael, as I’d heard it was a distant cousin of the trilogy. Eventually I gave up and just enjoyed the story.

But, about a day after I finished, I realized that After Dachau was a long form, detailed example of how easily the Great Forgetting talked about in the trilogy could have come to be.

Was this one of the intentions of the story, or am I reading too much into it? Alternatively, am I just dense in believing my discovery to be a revelation as opposed to an obvious conclusion?

Was there a difference for you in the writing process when you wrote Dreamer versus writing something like The Holy or After Dachau?

There are books like your Dreamer and all the many, many Stephen King and Peter Straub mass market paperbacks that you find on the shelves and then there are books like After Dachau and The Holy—books that it seems like the author put more of himself into, that were more personal to the author.

Is there a difference in the writing process when you’re imagining up things for a novel like Dreamer and your more recent fiction, which seems like a different kind of thing altogether?

It’s obvious from the book and your answers to questions that you have knowledge on a broad range of subjects. Furthermore, to develop the unique perspective presented in Ishmael requires a special blend of disciplines (e.g., theology, anthropology, ecology, history, etc.).

How did you acquire this knowledge and how did you develop the arguments used in the book?

I recently read The Holy and found on this website that part of it was inspired by a similar event in your childhood. A young child being confronted by a not-quite-human entity is something I’m pretty familiar with: I too had an encounter with a mythical being at a young age.

When I was 10, the summer of 1995, I went camping with my family at a lake in Oregon’s Cascade mountain range. We spent a day at another nearby lake and when we headed back in the afternoon I asked my parents if I could hike back.

Pretty soon, I found myself walking down a ridge with the sun already setting, and the trail winding down this dry creek bed, with a 10-foot embankment towering over the left side of the path. Then I heard something moving in the bushes up there, and I smelled something terrible.

And there it was: a goddamn Sasquatch. It just stood there, on the embankment and stared at me silently. And I just stood there and stared back, I didn’t know what else to do.

After an undeterminable period of time, it just walked back into the bushes. Even then I knew it was a “Bigfoot,” and I really feared for my life until it went away.

I never really told anyone beyond a few friends (who thought I was making it up). But then I read The Holy and I’m now wondering if what I and others who claim to have seen a Sasquatch encountered what was really a “yoo-hoo.”

So is The Holy really a work of fiction? Are there false gods living among and around us? It might sound bizarre, but suddenly all these reports of Sasquatches and Yetis and UFOs and monsters in Loch Ness make a lot of sense.

But now that I’m fairly certain about what exactly I ran into 8 years ago, what am I supposed to do about it? Go run around the mountains looking for a sasquatch? Any kind of advice would be good right now.