To aid my recovery, I temporarily put aside my venture, and instead worked on How Eagle & Cuckoo Save America: The Beginning. In truth, I didn’t have much choice in the matter. It was as if my persona was taken over by some mischievous djinn and compelled to write the story. If you are wondering what a djinn is, do not not concern yourself. I’m merely trying to convey the idea that I felt creatively possessed as if by some alien force. If that sounds overly dramatic, it is not meant to be, but whatever the source of my creative compulsion, it was exceptionally strong. That said, I would be less than honest if I didn’t state that creativity is a powerful force even at its weakest. It may manifest itself as a modest hint or a subtle insight, but that is no more than a disguise. In truth, the creative urge is an imperative which will not be denied. Are serial killers driven by the same kind of force? Damned if I know; I’m a writer, and have not turned homicidal (as yet). What I will say is that when a creative idea takes hold, there is no stopping it.
The project started with my wondering was there any way one could comment about the U.S.’s current disastrous political and economic state without resorting to the generally uninformed level of debate which seemed to prevail; and which rarely advanced the state of the argument at all. Indeed, it was (and continues to be) more a self-neutralizing clash of prejudices and obduracy than rational discussion. Not only do facts seem to have almost no effect on whatever subject is being debated, but frighteningly few people seem to be armed with any facts; and fewer still to be informed by the truth.
Suddenly, the idea of a satire popped up into my head – inspired, as it happens by thoughts of one of my favorite books, Gulliver’s Travels (written by an Irishman, I’m proud to say) then the basic concept of E&C (Eagle & Cuckoo) popped into my head virtually ready to roll.
A cuckoo! Why not pair an eagle and an owl? I hear you think. After all, owls are traditionally considered the wisest of all birds. Well, precisely for that reason. The point of satire is to illuminate the human condition through irony and ridicule; and not to advance the obvious. Besides, the idea of making Cuckoo into the ageless teacher and source of wisdom appealed to my sense of the ridiculous and irony.
But Americans don’t do irony, said an inner voice. That stopped me in my tracks, I can tell you – because, broadly speaking, that is an accurate comment. However, then I thought about the Jon Stewart Show – which certainly does use irony, albeit leavened by Stewart’s hilarious body language, and felt much better about the whole thing. But, really I’m rationalizing, because this was a story which I was going to write regardless.
But, what was the premises underpinning How Eagle & Cuckoo Save America?
To be continued…