Things lately


This was originally written as a letter to go out with the book, to explain what has happened since the time of the book, which was January 27 until February 11, 2011.

There were two animals loose in my neighborhood. One was a goat which was separated from the herd around the time of Eid. Ordinarily it would have been sacrificed, but it slipped away from the others and from the stick of the robed man that was guiding it. I sometimes heard it in the evening making its bleat, the rare voice of a liberated Egyptian goat. The other is a bright green parakeet with a red spot on its chest. It was brought in a cage to the home of a formerly wealthy European expatriate who lived some number of buildings away from me. It escaped. Once a bird escapes there is rarely such a thing as getting it back.  

The two animals are an okay way to explain Cairo, I think, and perhaps also the Egyptian revolution, which is the subject of the book which you have now received.  

The goat is interesting because of its inevitable fate. After several days on the lam, someone cornered it and slit its throat. Its skin was taken off, and the meat was divided up. It was butchered on the street, as is the custom.  

After the timeline of the book I have written, the Egyptian army turned up in a square here in Cairo and killed at least 638 people. The possibility of such an action is discussed in the book, but only as potential. At the time, no one knew that it would happen. In retrospect, it was inevitable. Some of the weapons used, we were told, were robotic guns affixed to the top of large machines, which were piloted and controlled by human beings. 

The bird supposedly remains free but is rarely seen. The people around me often discuss the bird, its potential whereabouts, and the red spot on its chest. It is as close to magical as anything we have encountered in the real world. For some reason, perhaps out of human necessity, it occupies our thoughts.

That is the point of this book, I think. It is the battle of the goat and the bird. Thank you for looking at it. I hope you enjoy it.  

It's here!

Copies of It's Time to Move have arrived freshly printed from our friends at Conveyor Arts. We'll have details on how to buy shortly. Stay tuned!