Thursday, January 11, 2018

Follow Up Interview with Late Mitchell Warren, 2006, Song of Solomon Failure

In The Song Of Solomon, experimental novelist Mitchell Warren paints a radical new portrait of King Solomon, following the life of the legendary king not only during his early reign, not only towards the end of his luxurious kingdom, but even some two thousand  years into his distant future, where King Solomon’s reincarnated self continues to  pontificate.

The spiritual journey the author takes us on is an uncomfortable one, filled with great passion and aching truth. Solomon is not only detailed in the work but violated; his psyche is invaded, his innermost thoughts revealed and his ultimate mystery solved.  Even while Solomon desperately tries to confound us with existential questions, the riddle we finally answer is the King’s own: If Solomon really did gain the world at the end of his reign then what, in the beginning, caused him to lose his soul?

Warren has repeatedly said that this book will never be released. He has admitted only two copies were ever made and that both have disappeared. He regrets their release and hopes they have been or will be destroyed before they cause “serious damage.”

One book was given to his relative but later misplaced and lost forever. The other book was last seen in California but could literally be anywhere in the world at this point. One source states that the book makes no sense and might well be incomprehensible to human beings.
“The Song of Solomon will never be released in my lifetime. I might release it 100 years after I die. The Song of Solomon destroyed three previous relationships of mine. It is a book that ruins lives. Both my parents stopped reading it a quarter of a way through because they said it was too depressing. Who knows what might have happened if they had finished? Why am I mentioning this then? Because I am building anticipation for the 100 year anniversary re-release in 2116.”


“Greetings, I am King Solomon of Israel.  I, the king of all Israel, kindly ask for your undivided attention.  This I ask kindly now, whereas in generations past I had only to lift my arm and my whole kingdom would stand in adulation.  It has been an arduous experience to adjust to the twenty-first century and become acquainted with the English language, as well as “American” culture. The dominance of the Anglo-American race has been difficult to accept as well. I was of the tribe of Judah, the chosen people of God, an Israelite with lineage linked all the way from Abraham to my father King David and  even to the one called Christ.  Today, you attach the term “Jew” to many men of similar ethnic background.  But we first originated from the two tribe kingdom of Judah, the divinely approved nation of God.

Yes, I have been called the greatest king in the history of mankind.  Books have been written in Hebrew, Greek and English as well as many other languages detailing my riches and wealth.  Furthermore, countless numbers of people have heard of my wisdom.  They have read the Proverbs, the Psalms and the Ecclesiastes.  Why many people alive today remember my sayings by heart, the ones inspired of God.  I was even poorly portrayed by the actor known as Yul Brynner in a movie based on my affair with Sheba in the year 1959.

The truth of the matter is this: every man, woman and baby knows who I am, what I was, and what my name signifies.  But they do not understand the underlying story.  They do not comprehend the truth of what I have written.  They know of my reign and the great things I accomplished while alive on earth.  But they, and even you, do not know my heart, nor do you hear my one superlative song playing in its flawless melody.

O, but you wonder not of such contemplative things.  Only the vanities of the surface concern you.  The stubborn minded questions, like how is King Solomon, though deceased in the flesh for nearly three millenniums, speaking to us today?  Cannot a King in spirit communicate through the world wide web just as a living man does?  Can the man who is limited in form exceed the abilities of one who is shapeless and without physical law?  Have confidence in your King, that even while in death he continues to instruct you from beyond Sheol.

After you dismiss the peripheral thoughts of men such as, “How is the King alive but dead?”, you will then move on to the next cluster of fairly obvious questionings like, “Where has the King gone, if he is truly still alive?” Has he been resurrected, as my own descendants would say?  Or has he been caught away to heaven at the request of the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit of Christianity?  Has he been reincarnated into the body of a sheep, and has his Jiva and soul survived death as the Hindus say?  Perhaps his sins been forgiven by Allah and is he now resting in Jannah?  This is the truth of the matter: It matters not where his body is or from where his thoughts do emanate.

What truly matters is that you are, at last, listening to my words.  Somehow a communication between our minds has been established that defies the concept of shape and distance.  The message I have is being delivered clearly, in a timeless, sempiternal way.

And what is this message, you ask?  What is the significance behind my Song Of Songs and what does it really mean for all of you?  I will not answer the question you seek.  Rather, I will present to you a riddle.  A mystery that you alone must solve.  For in your solving of it, you will have taken the very wisdom of Solomon and deposited it in your own heart.

 While giving sacrificing in Gibeon, Adonai appeared to me in a dream by night.  I knew he was willfully exerting pressure upon me.  I, a young boy barely prepared for any responsibility much less that of an entire kingdom, what was I to say?  Surely He would scrutinize my answer and judge me strictly and according to whatever I asked.

So I took my time in replying.  I paused, I reflected.  Perhaps Adonai read my mind, and was able to see the initial requests of power, women and riches being suggested by my young mind but then quickly dismissed.  For this is the Most High, I reminded  myself.  I have but one opportunity to impress the almighty One of my forefathers.  If I had asked for riches or women, he would have given them to me.  His word is true, and he did offer me whatever I requested.  Perhaps I wondered at the time if a man did weakly ask for such obvious things, would He forgive him for being weak?  Would He have granted me those things I wished for only to punish me in other ways for my selfish choices?  Perhaps if I had wished for riches and power and sensual pleasures, I would have received those things only to discover that a hedonistic life was hardly worth living.

Yet, that is not what I was considering.  Rather than ponder over the luxury of such material wealth, and rather than focus on the lawful details of such a dangerous request in the face of divine pressure, I chose to think of the matter on a much deeper level.  Scoff though you might, know that I did in fact look into the future before answering.  I saw the end of my life though many years ahead.  I saw all that I had amassed and I heard my own dying thoughts.  How was I able to do this?  At the time I did not know.  I called this uncanny ability I had “discernment”.  One who wisely discerns what is not in the present, nor necessarily perceptible.  What was apparent to everyone and what was tangible to most were no longer of my concern.  At that moment, I started to analyze life for more than what it appeared to be or even what it should be.  I saw His creation as something fleeting, with every beautiful and collectible feature  amounting to nothing more than a man’s vanity.

“Ask what I shall give thee, young Solomon.”

And so I answered Adonai carefully.  Not cautiously, but in deep thought.  “You have shown David my father great mercy.  And now you have made me King in his place.  But I am but a little child.  I know not how  to go out or come in.  And I am to command your chosen people?  A great number of people that cannot even be counted?  Therefore, what I truly request of You, is to give me an understanding heart so that I can judge your people as you would.  Let me discern the differences between Good and Evil, the truth of the matter that Adam and his wife were unable to comprehend.  I request only the wisdom of God.”

And Adonai seemed pleased by my request.

“Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.  And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.”

And I awoke and beheld that it was a dream.  And upon waking, I had only one thought in my mind.  “But Adonai?  I did not wish for riches or glory.”

Confused at why we’re wasting all this time talking about King Solomon in a book that’s not for sale or published? Why not have a laugh? Visit the Urban Legends page to read absurd rumors and even crazier truths about L. M. Warren’s books.

 “A Portrait Of The Mitchell As A Self-Published Writer”
(Originally published 2006 at the TLMW Museum)

I trust you have met his majesty, King Solomon by now. Let’s now introduce you to the other half of this perplexing collaboration. While he doesn’t really believe he is King Solomon’s reincarnated self, author Mitchell Warren certainly finds parallels between his penniless poet life struggling in North Texas and in Solomon’s opulent reign during ancient Israel. Madness, you say? Warren doesn’t argue.
“I do believe I’m going mad. It’s no great coincidence that the sooner we find total  incoherent lunacy, the closer we come to occupying a world that is not  our own. Sanity is one of the sacrifices we must make in order to inhabit that new plain, that entirely new level  of thinking. While I don’t literally believe I am King Solomon, can anyone prove to me that part of Solomon’s soul doesn’t still live inside me? That I, and any number of us walking about the earth and pontificating at any given moment, have not assimilated pieces and fragments of his timeless mind? Where does all that wisdom and information go when the body dies? Even if it’s not stored somewhere safely, it is escaping somewhere and subject to whoever can catch that spark of inspiration.”

Is he for real, you ask? This we must ask of a man who marketed his first book so brazenly as a “a libelous and sacrilegious novel doomed to hell.” With a writer so self-deprecating and personally elusive as Warren, we must wonder just how much of his gospel is exaggerated and how much of an illusion he casts even in his most “personal” work to date. Warren is quick to reveal at least one honest and uncovered truth in this magic show-marketing campaign; The Song Of Solomon is the first ever PG-rated book by this vitriolic novelist, once notorious for his foul-mouthed dialogue and exorbitant love scenes. “I don’t know if God is proud of me, or just ashamed that my sexual drive is waning,” he quips. As for whether or not Warren truly believes in inherited destiny, parallel worlds, and nonlinear reincarnation, or if he’s just confounding us with perplexing, unanswerable questions for his own amusement in the true Solomonic spirit,  is up to the reader’s discernment.

While this illusionist has often called himself the elusive butterfly when it comes to real human relationships, the webmaster has gathered at least this much information  on him. Mitchell Warren’s father was a minister in Texas and for a time it seemed as if Mitchell was following in the family tradition. He has admitted many times to being a former minister. One who actually gave sermons on the pulpit every week and who once, ironically, preached against too much freethinking and guarding against unchristian doctrines. However, it was soon discovered that the young would-be King of a spiritual kingdom lacked certain qualities required for such a weighty responsibility. As for what those lacking qualities were is anyone’s speculation. Though it’s a likely scenario, that if Warren brought the same restive theatrics to the pulpit as he now brings to his books, he was simply too much too soon for churchgoers to absorb. Dejected, he left the ministry behind to pursue his writing career. It is of little wonder then that the rebel minister sought isolation instead of attention, living directly in the heart of the bible-belt community. A community he once helped to shape and then suddenly abandoned. “While I have not yet reconciled the guilt, I have successfully managed to stop constantly obsessing over it. And that of course, is a lie. A lie I feel guilty about telling.”

Tragically, Mitchell Warren remains unmarried even at the age of twenty-eight. Many of Warren’s colleagues and co-workers are often surprised to learn that such aged and cynical profundities are coming from the mind of such a young man. And a young man who, as he himself admits in very unbiblical terms, never gets laid. “I don’t try at all. Sex seems to be a monumental waste of time. Even upon first leaving the ministry, I never felt the desire to go explore the world and bed a hundred different women. Solomon would be ashamed, I know. But love and sex thrive in the fantasy world, in the literary world. In real life they are very scientific notions, complex like splicing atoms, and hardly romantic at all.” When asked if there exists a mistress anywhere in the world capable of stealing him away from his one true love, that is Writing, Warren replies in painful honesty. “I am a love agnostic. I can believe in something powerful and destructive like God. But something as fanciful and idealistic like true love? We love what is constant and unfailing in our lives. Women and religion are two things that have proven to be fallible and untrustworthy.”

Warren continues to live in DFW, Texas, more busy than lonely, and with far too many domesticated birds to speak of comfortably. “Another parallel between Solomon and I. He collected women, I collect birds. The similarities astound me,” he giggles. (Laughing with us or at us?) He is also known for wearing stylish hats whenever venturing out into the cold world that waits outside his writing room. “I have a hat for every mood as I’m sure Solomon had a crown for every occasion.”

Finally, we asked the master illusionist Mitchell Warren the ultimate question; stripped away of your many facades, silencing the voices in your head that come from your many colorful and outspoken characters, and even forgetting the wisdom of Solomon that drives this book campaign, who really are you?

Stroking his chin where his long flowing beard would be if he were king for a day, he replies cautiously, even while wearing an impudent smile. “I am Mitchell Warren, my pseudonym. None of us are really ‘ourselves’…we become people in our past or in our present, or at least we try to become who others expect us to be. We become whoever we have to be in order to survive. Anyone who says otherwise cannot comprehend the complexity of the mind, the uncomfortable truth about life, much less the wisdom of Solomon.”

IN: Are you satisfied with the notion that The Song Of Solomon is a love story? Does it concern you that the book is associated with genre pieces?

MW: At first it did concern me. I felt it was vulgar to call a book about so much more than just love and lust a “love story”, as if it were about an unhappily married woman and her shirtless amorist. The preconceived idea seems to be that good books are not about romance. They are about life, grief and progression. In theory, I agree with them. Love is an emotion. It is a man’s attempt to encapsulate one moment for a lifetime. Therefore, in a way it’s about the exact opposite of progression and overcoming the challenges of life. I wanted the book to be called an experimental novel at first consideration. But the more I dwelt on it, I reasoned that love is such an intrinsic part of this book that it would be dishonest to call it anything but a lyric of love. At the very least, a song devoted to the definition of the ideal…that is, what love can or should be to every person.

IN: Would you describe your protagonist, King Solomon, as an idealist who becomes cynical?

MW: That’s one viewpoint. However, it could also be reasoned that he went into life already cynical, met with the cynicism and failure he set himself up for, and then in the end, became the idealist.

IN: And Solomon’s love interest, the legendary Shulammite. She is certainly an amazing character. One might even say, sure to be misunderstood by the vast readership. After all, for the entire book — not to give anything way — Solomon sees her one way, and thus he compels his readers to see her in the same way. But in the end, because of his clouded view, isn’t it true that the Shulammite becomes to Solomon, and your readers, an effigy of sorts?

MW: Yes. In the beginning she is shown to have form and exudes the essence of fidelity. But by the concluding chapter, she is shown to be a flawed woman in spirit.

IN: One could argue that the story is not so much about the Shulammite’s flaws, as it is about King Solomon’s own skewered perception of romance. Would it be fair to say, as Solomon himself foreshadows in the introduction, that one that cannot even define love doesn’t deserve to have it?

MW: {Pauses} Well, not necessarily. As several characters in the story prove, one can easily attempt to define love and yet not have the slightest notion of what it really means. I think of it more along the lines of, what Solomon thought was supposed to be love–that is, the ideal and quintessence–he could never find with one flawed woman. What that says as to the universal ramifications of romantic love, is best left up to the individual to explain. It would presumptuous of me to dogmatically expound to my readers what love is and what to look for.

IN: Much like King Solomon was presumptuous in his courtship of the Shulammite?

MW: {Laughs} Well, I wouldn’t purposely compare my readers to Shulammite. Though in theory, if romance is writing, and the writer is the lovesick suitor, then I guess a book appealing to a mainstream readership would be the unattainable woman.

IN: In one sentence, what is The Song Of Solomon really about?

MW: Into one word, better yet, I can paraphrase it. Idolatry. We all see true love as a simulacrum of something greater we long to feel but will never find. But haven’t you heard? Real life is not fiction. We have no choice but to live in the real world, accept its finical standards, and leave our dreaming to fantasyland.

IN: What drives creative thought? What makes a work brilliant?

MW: As far as creativity goes, suffering. If you talk to two people in a normal conversation, one who has enjoyed a fairly pleasant existence, and the other a survivor of nationalistic atrocities, of course the one who suffered the most will be the most interesting. Perhaps it is the competitive drive in human beings. “I don’t wish to talk to you, or to read your work, unless you’ve proven yourself a greater human being than I.” As far as brilliance goes, I think ambition is what makes a work brilliant. No modest man has ever won the world’s favor. It’s scientifically contradictory to want glory for yourself and then wait for others to glorify you. Only by claiming to be the Son of God, was the humble man Jesus accepted as the greatest man who ever lived.

IN: Final question. What does love mean to you? Not to King Solomon, but to Mitchell Warren?

MW: Love is an evolving quality. Love cannot be defined or felt equally by a young man and an old man. A man cannot feel love the same way a woman does. A person who has suffered deeply cannot love in the same way as a virgin would. Then national and religious policies come into play. A man who loves God will never explore the perilous boundaries of romantic love at the request of the church. And a man who would sacrifice his life for his country, does not love his wife in the same way a widower would miss her husband. I also believe that in every lifetime, there is one true love that will elude us. But love will not cease to be at that moment of loss. Rather, it shall wait for you, and be shaped further by your experiences and views. As far as what to look for, or what I would look for? You have to think of a soul mate, or a true love if you will, as a bridge. A bridge is built to transport a person from one destination to the next. It would be impossible to cross a watery gap without a sturdy structure; one that you trust is secure. To me, a true lover would be a bridge in that she would connect you from your past to your present and safely to your future. Love should be a very coherent thing. It’s the same essential elements that make a good story. A beginning…in order to love someone, you would have to know that person for a long period of time. She or he would become a protagonist to you, a central character in the novel of your life. It’s very important in a good book to establish a strong protagonist within the first few pages. It establishes trust and trust is really the most important quality in love. In a good novel, to be considered a lead character or even an antagonist, a character has to appear frequently and have plenty of dialogue. What is that? That’s friendship. People underestimate the value of friendship in a romantic relationship and substitute less important qualities like mystery or spontaneity. But mystery is often times a cover up for the rebarbative truth. If you marry a friend, you will receive friendship. If you marry a stranger, you might receive more mystery than you can handle. In short, a true love in the idealistic sense would be someone who has watched you from the very beginning to the middle and to the end. She or he spent time with all of the same characters you did. Someone who has experienced the exact same memories that you have. That way, she or he comes to the same logical conclusions as you do. All human beings are secretly desiring to marry their opposite sex clone. That is, someone who knows your life, perfectly understands your viewpoint, and not because you bore her or him with the picayune details, but because she or he lived it too. My ideal love, if I believed in such a fanciful thing, would reassure me, stop my all-encompassing speech short, and say, “I know what you’re talking about. I was there.” It’s what all of us truly feel deep inside. I’m the only one who admits it. Everyone else, never speaks of it and just marries the closest thing they can find to ultimate compatibility.

IN: That was a mouthful.

MW: Well, that was a loaded question.

IN: That’s a very unique view of love. I guess it’s safe to say your ideal mate would have to buy a copy of your book.

MW: Well, unfortunately the novel I speak of is unpublished, undocumented and exists only in my head.

IN: Isn’t that a bit extreme to say people are going on a never-ending quest to find and marry themselves?

MW: That is the very concept of compatibility. Shared experiences, what you have in common with each other, similar behavioral patterns, etc. Small differences in hobbies and in mannerisms we rationalize are proof that “opposites attract.” But that’s not true. Incompatible people who have completely opposing personalities and who react to situations in totally different ways, cannot stand to live with each other. On the other hand, isn’t every healthy relationship the result of compatibility? True, we occasionally desire conflict from a mate, just as we hate and punish ourselves every once in a while. It’s an ego maneuver, a way of not taking for granted all that we have. But couples who get together and stay together, you’ll notice, beyond the peripheral differences, are remarkably similar.

IN: If that’s your view of love…will you ever find it?

MW: Am I required by law to find it? The more friends we have and the less lovers, the better. Besides, we can never get too attached to something we’re bound to lose someday.

IN: Okay not you, but let’s say someone well-adjusted and normal. What if that person never finds true love? What will happen to him?

MW: {Pauses} He will become incapable of loving. And lastly, incapable of showing love. He’ll become addicted to the pursuit and the never-ending quest to claim an unattainable prize. Those personality types often become philanderers or marry multiple times only to see separation. In the end, not only they deprive their women of happiness…they expropriate their own.

IN: Sounds familiar. Like King Solomon. The man of a thousand wives and a kingdom of riches who could never find true happiness.

MW: Yes, well…not everything in real life is so closely colligated with works of fiction.


No comments:

Post a Comment

A short parable

Once upon a time, there lived a fun, loving, passionate and compassionate prince who was fair and very sure of “Happily Ever After.”   ...