The Oldest Word by Johnny Firic
“Plural identity is where respectful practice begins.”
Who are you? Just the one body and mind? Does your story begin with your birth? Or how far back would you go?
The Oldest Word spans ten thousand years and more than a dozen settings. Human contradictions are reconciled time and again, with tragedy and humor feeding off each other. From the twin mirror mazes of history and psychology, amid ever-shifting social and natural landscapes, enduring patterns emerge.
The story opens with the discovery of a mysterious box from the distant past. Its makers are five orphaned friends who hope to help civilizational knowledge survive disruptive climate change centuries in the future: the ending of the Ice Age. The bar is continuously raised as the box travels through space and time to the present day. Readers are tacitly encouraged to partner with the author and fill in the blanks by considering their metaphorical boxes, lessons for the future from their past.
Targeted Age Group:: 17+
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 4 – R Rated
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I made no effort to publish the two novels and about two dozen stories I'd written because I realized my debut effort must be something more ambitious and unconventional. I decided to try and write a story that doesn't have human protagonists at its heart, but instead traces an object through successive historical settings, thus indirectly portraying the universality of the human condition.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
One of the aims for The Oldest Word was to pay a tribute to all that I love. Many historical characters are based on either individuals or, more broadly, periods and themes I admire, for instance Stone Age Goddess worshippers or the syncretist thinkers of Al-Andalus. No one is truly admirable, a hero or heroine, and all my characters are a form of criticism.
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