with Harry Sobel & Eliezer Sobel

I began my first novel in seventh grade. It opened with a description of a solitary male figure on a hillside, gazing out at the sea. He was wearing sandals. That was about as far as I got in terms of character and plot development before the narrative spontaneously evolved into an entertaining discussion of my sock drawer, and how my older brother Harry used to irritate me by opening it without my permission, and helping himself to my socks.

So early on, it seemed, first person, non-fiction accounts of my life experience flowed a great deal more easily onto the page than imaginative literature. Nevertheless, about seven years later, I agreed to co-author a novel with that same sock-thief of a brother, entitled November Under my Sole. He wrote the central story, concerning a disgruntled New Yorker named Noah Wilner who decides to wreak havoc on New York City by arranging to import massive quantities of dehydrated elephant excrement, which he manages to plant within the city’s street cleaning machines. Recalling the events occurring to Noah’s biblical namesake, the novel concludes with an apocalyptic flood that essentially drowns Manhattan in elephant shit.

My part of this epic was to interject a sub-plot about Noah’s son, Norbert, and his zany friends. I had recently been exposed to the work of Donald Barthleme for the first time, and my contribution was somewhat imitative of his style. It’s completely unreadable, but here are several snippets.

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excerpt