Twenty years ago I decided to write a book about a world in which the book I was writing played a part. This “book-within-itself” would tell its own story and be essential to its own plot. I wasn’t sure what would happen from there.
I was in India when I got the idea, and I ended up writing most of the first draft in Mumbai. When I got home, the first thing did was try to learn more about the country I’d just spent six weeks wandering around in. At the time, I knew little to nothing about Hindu mythology, so I started there. Among my first discoveries were uncanny similarities between Periphery Stowe’s story and the popular tales of Vishnu. Here was a god sleeping and dreaming the world. Within his dream he would manifest as another form—the form of an “avatar” or hero destined to rescue reality from itself. These very same layers and loops occur inside the parallel and overlapping adventures of Periphery Stowe and Riggs Bombay.
Had the narrative fabric of India somehow come up through the earth to wriggle into my subconscious? Had my desire to create a story which would so unabashedly fold in on itself somehow attracted a tangled connection between my life and the mythologies of my environment? Were these just the egotistical, mystified ravings of a foolish author?
Either way, it’s been twenty years and I still hold Stowe’s story and the story of its emergence dear to my heart. I hope the little fellow finds his way into yours.