THE NEXT OSAMA

At first this may sound and look like a book about terrorism. And perhaps it is, but not in the way you might think. It’s more pointedly about the terror we feel inside ourselves. It’s about what media-induced fear does to us…how it alters our decisions, how it changes our priorities, how it shifts our consciousness so that the lives we could have had are no longer possible and we are thrown arms and legs akimbo into a high speed destiny stream from which we can never be freed.
It’s about that tiny, little moment when we are given the option to either say “enough” or we are driven past the event horizon and the universe says “enough” for us.
We are surrounded by event horizons…in our relationships, in our work, in our hearts, in our spirits. They are not just the stuff of distant universes or the imaginings of the great physicists. As above, so below. What exists at the macro level, exists as the micro. What exists for us as a culture, exists for us as individuals. The event horizons of black holes are here with us right now.
And these event horizons tell us what we can do before a relationship is destroyed, what we can spend before we are broke or in debt, what we can reach before we fall off into an abyss. It tells us that we can only go so far before we are torn asunder, before we are pulled into a place from which light itself may no longer escape.
All the characters—except one—cross that event horizon. Some knowingly. Some unknowingly.  The only one who does not cross it has a character of steel, a clear mission, and is not moved by fear.
All the others are moved by not only fear, but by secrets. Secret desires. Secret loves. Secret needs. Secret griefs and secret fears.
More than just moved, they are swept up, unconscious, never fully knowing what they fear, what they love, what they truly need or why they do what they do.
This is an ordinary story with an extraordinary meaning. It is a love story, a story of redemption, a story of loss, a story of secret plots and terrible mistakes.
This is a book based in the details of living. Everyone knows what it means to wake up and be daunted by the day ahead. Everyone knows the longing for more. Everyone has felt the anxiety of not measuring up.  It is ordinary in that it is about our living rooms, our TV sets and our need for stuff, our relationships with the media, our marriages, ourselves.
It is extraordinary in that it reveals the wizard behind the curtain and shows it to be, like the little man in Oz, a puff of smoke, a cyber-reality, an ad-driven dragon with a rapacious appetite. And it feeds on us.
First it sells us fear. Then it sells us a dire need.
Then it sells us something we don’t need at all.  And we buy all three.
If there is one thing that is common to nearly every character in the book, it is the inability to know truly what is necessary or “enough” and understand the choices they have as they get closer and closer and closer to their own event horizon.
Misha, one of the main characters, is a modern Ivan Karamazov. He is offered God’s salvation and redemption but because of the evil in the world and his profound sense of morality, he rejects it.
He rejects God and refuses to see what is beneficent, magnificent and divine in his life. More than that, he denies its very existence even though it is standing right before him, offered with love.
Jake, looking for everything that Misha rejected, is the one who is ultimately and oddly redeemed. Through his sacrifice he becomes all the people of the world that Misha points to as the victims of cruelty, of deceit, of delusion, as evidence of God’s absence or insanity. His death, as he surrenders finally into his own soul, becomes our hope.
Misha runs from God. Jake falls into Him, delivered into the arms of the universe.