Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Man With No Name

I was reading Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize speech just now and what he had to say about Moby-Dick made me want to sit down and write a story. Here's a taste:

Moby Dick is a seafaring tale. One of the men, the narrator, says, "Call me Ishmael." Somebody asks him where he's from, and he says, "It's not down on any map. True places never are." Stubb gives no significance to anything, says everything is predestined. Ishmael's been on a sailing ship his entire life. Calls the sailing ships his Harvard and Yale. He keeps his distance from people.

Did you get that? There's a man with no name from a place that's realer than real and not on any map. Wherever he is, that's where he's always been. Whatever he's doing is foreordained. No one can say they truly know him. Underestimated, barely noted, he descends out of nowhere upon the Pequod. When he leaves, everyone behind him is dead.

Have you guessed his name? Do you see what "Ishmael" has in common with Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone's Man With No Name movies? In Cosmic Trigger, Robert Anton Wilson gave the game away. The man has no name, he wrote, because he is Death.

Ishmael is still out there today, walking down a dusty road somewhere, on the way from a place that's not on any map to a destination he will not share. And he's headed this way.

You can read the speech in its entirety here.

And as always...

I'm on the road again. I'll let you know about my adventures when I get there.


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