These are the projects that I have lined up next for completion and publication:
The Distance Between Them
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote that “Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.”
Two longtime family friends of mine, whom I knew as Harvey and Dorothy Burt, discovered the truth of this in May 1955. For at that time they were lovers married to other people and had been conducting a clandestine affair since 1951. Dorothy, who had no children, was ready to leave her second husband, but Harvey, who had a young daughter, was deeply torn about breaking up his family. In frustration and despair Dorothy decided to leave the situation behind her and fled to Europe, where she joined their friends author Malcolm Lowry and his wife Margerie. A torrid correspondence between Harvey and Dorothy began; they quickly realized that they could not live without each other, and they wrote to each other almost every day for the next year.
This correspondence survives almost in its entirety, and was bequeathed to my mother, Frances Vitols, before Harvey’s death; she took on the task of typing the letters. Now I am editing them and will bring them out as a series of books. Here is a large collection of love letters written with passion by two people who were educated, candid, and well spoken. As far as I know, nothing like it exists in the history of literature. It’s exciting to be bringing such a powerful and intimate document to the world.
The Age of Pisces, episode 1: The Mission
The Age of Pisces is an epic series of novels about the events leading up to the birth of Christianity, experienced through the eyes of a number of passionate characters. Each novel in the series forms one episode.
Episode 1, The Mission, opens as the civil war that is shaking the Roman empire arrives at a turning point: the leader of the conservative republican side, Pompey, is killed in Pelusium as he flees his adversary Julius Caesar. This event sends a shock wave through the whole Mediterranean world, including the little state of Judea, where a shrewd and ruthless man named Antipater rules under Roman suzerainty.
The action brings Antipater’s ambitious son Herod, aged 26, into conflict with a charismatic magician named Menahem, a leading member of the austere spiritual community known as the Essenes, who have a secret agenda of their own: to restore the ancient monarchy of David.
Watch me talk a little bit more about The Age of Pisces in this short video.