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AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE for 05/29/2006
Vol. 2, #185

The Bill Finger Award

First, my gratitude to the Committee that selected me for the Bill Finger Award. I believe I knew Bill in ways that no one else did, was vouchsafed a true interior look at his suffering which was considerable and learned through him above any other how to turn my prolix literary prose into the pictorial language of comics. But I knew Bill and was close to him in many other ways. Among the back columns listed here, open the one dated 11/1/99. It's a story about a lot of people, but most particularly, Bill and me.

When you've done that and digested it, turn to column 11/8/99. In these two columns you will find the full essence of the Bill Finger story as it has been told nowhere else. And you will come away, knowing Bill Finger in all his greatness and his weakness, and perhaps even loving him as I did.

Alvin at Comic-Con 2001 So, because Bill meant so much to me, this award brings me a doubled pleasure as well as an opportunity to comment on the event itself. The first thing that struck me was that strange photo of me in the upper corner of the announcement. In fact, I don't show very well in it. It hides more than it reveals. But let me tell you first that in this shot, I'm wearing a genuine Tibetan jacket, hood turned up against the weather. In the shot of the same jacket with the hood turned down that graces the back cover of the new edition of my book, AN UNLIKELY PROPHET, I look more normal. But in any case, how I got that jacket in the first place is a story worth telling and belongs quite properly with the whole range of remarkable experiences fully detailed in AN UNLIKELY PROPHET and its soon to be published sequel, A GATHERING OF SELVES. If the word has already reached you that PROPHET is an absolutely "unputdownable" book, you will have heard correctly. The events it describes certainly changed my life completely and set me off in a new literary direction that subsequently produced the soon-to-be-published sequel, A GATHERING OF SELVES. Can I guarantee that these books will change you? Judging from the mass of correspondence I've received, I would venture to say yes, in most cases. Not so, however, the first publisher of this work who, despite his fascination with it, was fearful of being led too far from the well established scientific paradigm built on Descartes and Newton, and so neither provided enough copies or proper distribution to allow this book to find its audience, following which, this first publisher went out of business and left the work stranded for a few years until it was taken up by INNER TRADITIONS (under the DESTINY BOOKS imprint), the largest publisher of metaphysical and mystical works in the world.

But this is all history.

I only want to say here that having spent a long lifetime as a writer, the experiences I describe in the pages of PROPHET and GATHERING will open the universe for you and invite you to become reacquainted with your soul. I state this without hesitation. Dozens of reviews suggest the same thing despite the fact that the first edition received such poor distribution before the publisher folded.

An Unlikely Prophet

In the words of several of my readers, "Don't let this one pass you by." As I write this, PROPHET is just becoming available on Amazon (right here) and from INNER TRADITIONS whose market is world-wide. It is one of those landmarks that are beginning to pop up all over as the new paradigm edges the old one out, along with such events as the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know!?" and many others. But, oh yes, that Tibetan jacket I started to tell you about. You need to hear that story.

I had just finished doing a reading at one of Toronto's leading bookstores and found myself strolling down Bloor Street with my wife Kay when we were drawn to the window of a small shop featuring Tibetan goods, artifacts and clothing. Somehow, it was impossible to pass this place by, so in we went. After browsing around, the proprietors, an elderly man and woman, obviously Tibetan, called us over. The man was holding in his hands the Tibetan jacket shown in the photograph sent out by the San Diego Con.

"You are Alvin," the man said, although with his accent, the name sounded more like A-a-rrveen."

"Yes," I said. "Alvin."

"This was left here for you," the Tibetan explained.

"For me?"

The proprietor nodded eagerly as he pressed the jacket into my hands. "From man named Thongden," he explained.

I couldn't have been more astonished. "Thongden?" I repeated incredulously.

The proprietor nodded.

"Thongden, the, tulpa?"

The Tibetan shook his head. "Not know tulpa. You take jacket, yes?"

I took it and tried it on. I'm small and not an easy fit. This strange beautiful jacket seemed molded for me. It looks a little funny with the hood up when it's raining. But the picture of me wearing it on the back cover of the new edition of PROPHET really looks quite nice. You'll see.

--Alvin

<< 04/24/2006 | 05/29/2006 | 06/19/2006 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Round Table.


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