Gregory Borse is an Associate Professor of English and Philosophy at a small university in a large university system in the Midwest. He has previously published an anthology on World Literature (Other Canons: A Selection of Non-Western Literary Masterpieces, FountainHead, 2012) as well as a chapter on Hitchcock's "Psycho" and Stephen Frear's "The Grifters." He has presented on Shakespeare, Jane Austen, William Faulkner, as well as the Oral and the Literate in the Age of the Internet. He is married and resides with his wife and some of his children (those who have yet to reach escape velocity) and a very smart heterochromiatic Border Collie, appropriately named Bowie. The Incorruptibles is his first novel.
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Guess what I just did? I just sent the first 160 pages of my novel, "The Incorruptibles," BACK to my editor at A&M Publishing with my response to the editor's suggestions for improvements. Of my novel. Which is under contract and will be published this year. By the publisher of "The Meg" (a half a billion dollar franchise the sequel to which has already been ordered...). So. You know. I have that going for me.
I continue to be amazed by your support and your patience. Who knew this process would take so much time? I'm confident, however, that this process has succeeded in making me a wiser person and a much better writer. My goal was always to produce a novel that I would enjoy reading. After editing one hundred and sixty pages, I can say I still like my novel.
Re-reading my novel under these circumstances has humbled me, for sure. But, well, I must say, "The Incorruptibles," in my estimation, is a ripping good yarn. It entails regular folks confronting the most important existential questions of human being. And that's what you and I do every single day. That makes me very happy--because the questions it asks and attempts to answer are the same that we each confront when we ask the most important questions of our lives; when we make promises to one another; when we try to come to terms with what it means to be human in the time and place we accidentally find ourselves existing.
In short, we ask: Who made me? Why? Why did I come to belong to the family in which I found myself? If the meaning of my life is meaningful, then does that mean that my meaning is knit into some larger meaning I am supposed to come to know and appreciate and participate in? And, if so, in what way?
In the beginning and the end, these questions are best answered in particular ways. Not in universal answers that seem to fit every situation. At the end of David Mamet's "The Edge," a reporter asks the protagonist's wife, "How did you feel during your husband's ordeal?" At which point the husband raises a hand and stops his wife from answering. He says, "Uh. We are all put to the test. But it never comes in the form or at the point we would prefer..." This is the wrong answer. Because it fits ever story ever told ever. But there is a follow up: "Your friends, sir." "My friends?" "Yes sir. How did they die?" "My friends. Uh. They died...saving my life." That is the real answer and the one that gives the character Charles Morse hope that he can, indeed, change his life.
The issue is the possibility that our own lives mean more than we might ever make of them--and the anger we might come to feel that this is true and we had no choice in the matter. Well, there's the rub, no? Godel posits that every complex system includes statements that are true but unprovable. That what is true but unprovable seems a real vexation for the human condition--one which the greatest writers and thinkers have attempted to mine and explain explains the failure of philosophy and the triumph of art. "The Incorruptibles," as it turns out, is the beginning of the attempt to explain a mystery: But the question it seeks to answer is not the one that first occurs to us. It is not "Why is there evil?" As St. Augustine recognized, it is "Why is there good?"
Stay tuned. I'm very, very excited.
Gregory Borse, author,