It was June 5, 2018 and I was writing an email to an author friend describing how I was then envisioning some of the main plot lines of “Guitars of the Gods: The Redemption of A. Lester Lord,” which was to be the third and final installment in the Lester series. I think I was about half through the writing of it. As with the previous books, I was not sure how to proceed and how to bring about a surprising, exciting and satisfying ending . This being the final book, that was even of more importance than in the previous ones.
You have probably read the book by now. If so, you will recognize the similarities and differences between what I wound up with and where my thoughts were at at that juncture in time. I do think the tumultuous and ambiguous ending of the book, which came to me in one fell swoop while I was out for a run about a month after I sent my friend the email, turned out to be, at least to me, better than what I’d had in mind previously.
I’ll contrast what changed from those original ideas and what stayed the same:
- The struggle between Boss and Luce for control of headquarters based on who had the most winning bets: Stayed the same
- Boss was to be contrasted to Trump and Luce was to be Trumpian with Boss wanting to open up headquarters to the souls of humans and Luce being “anti-immigration.”: Changed
- Luce working on behalf of Republicans and Trump to cause the destruction of Mankind and thus win his bets: Same
- Boss betting on human survival due to being preoccupied with the band’s string of dysfunctional drummers and not following events on Earth: Same
- Archangels appeal to Lester to return and play in the band which requires Boss to be induced to break his own non-intervention rule and contact Lester: Same, but not in the way originally conceived. The appearance of Boss was only toward the end and in disguise. Lester only guessed who he was at the very end. As you know, he did not intervene knowing it would be futile anyway. But I really like the fact that his reaction to being here, the appreciation he gained for what it was to be human, made him (and I hope the reader) understand there is an upside to being mortal, an idea that runs through the whole series.
- Boss agrees to meet with Lester who fills him in on Earthly events inducing Boss to intervene which leads to an impeachment process against Boss in headquarters: This changed, but may have been a cool alternative or at least a fun subplot.
- Boss is not convicted and intervenes to stop Trump from nuking North Korea. At the same time Boss reveals himself to humans and tells the evangelicals they are moronic hypocrites and the pawns of Luce, commanding them to vote Democratic if they really want to be “good.” : I wish. This, of course, was changed.
- Boss turns over a new leaf and vows to continue to act in the interests of humanity, but it is really for his own gain to win his bets on our survival and maintain his power in headquarters. This raises the question, if you cheat for a good cause, is it OK? What really is right and wrong, good and bad? : I changed this and decided to leave these questions to Emanuel Kant and other philosophers who were a lot smarter than I. For Boss to intervene would just be too sugar coated an ending, too unrealistic, and would have undermined the entire purpose and pretext of the series. As you must know, one of my main points is, even if there is a God, our fate is entirely in our own hands. Forget the thoughts and prayers. They are worthless. From the above you can see, in specifics at least, a lot changed after that June email. I think for the better. What do you think?
At that point in June I had the idea of Lester teaching the course on the existence of God, but the Ha debacle had not yet occurred to me. That took form after I encountered the young woman on whom Ha was based and it really took off. This girl was so exceptional and beautiful, it was easy to imagine Lester being enchanted with someone like her. I regret I was not able to find out who she is because I think she’d get a kick out of the character she inspired. His eventual resolution of his dilemma was, of course, how he redeemed himself.
“Guitars,” has seen the expected small number of sales and remains obscure. That’s partly my fault for not actively marketing. But, even if I did, I doubt I’d get anywhere. No one has ever heard of me and even of those who know me, few have bothered to read me. Familiarity breeds contempt, or maybe in some cases it’s a matter of envy. At any rate, I’m not bitter. Those few readers who have told me how much they enjoyed my books have my undying appreciation. Please tell your friends about the books and write short reviews at the Amazon sites. This really helps sell books due to the herd mentality, another tragic human flaw.
Whether or not I’ll attempt any more novels is completely up in the air. I think I’ve said what I set out to say in the Lester trilogy and had a blast doing it. For now, I am submitting letters to editors and op-eds to newspapers, and a couple have been printed. I could write about ten a day, but have restrained myself. I’m focusing on my own guitar playing at the moment, which I assure you is far from godly.
It’s possible this may be my last post on this site unless I decide to use it as an outlet for my curmudgeonly tendencies, but I’ll probably spare you that. Be well and may Lester bless you. Both of you. ND