The Making of SCAPEGOATS

My late dad and I shared a favorite bible story, the story of Dina.  To sum that up, Dina, Jacob’s only daughter, takes a walk from the herder camp into the big city of Shechm.  The prince sees her, decides he needs her, and takes her.  The herders and the burghers negotiate terms so that the rapist could marry his victim and the two sides would have a trade deal.  Then after a mass circumcision, two of Dina’s brothers killed all the men in the town.  I thought the story would make a great musical comedy, even though I had a tin ear and knew nothing about writing a musical, but I got beat out by Anita Diamant and her “The Red Tent,” an excellent book.

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My second favorite snippet was the story of the Scapegoat.  Every year, the Isaraelite High Priest would select two goats.  The priest laid all of the sins of the camp on the head of one goat and drove it out into the wilderness. The other goat was dinner.  SCAPEGOATS is the story of how these goats organize to relieve their terrible burden of bad deeds.

 

Naturally, I was busy with a career, and never got further than a few pages.  But speaking of my career, it turned into an incredibly fun chance to concoct mathematical models to do deep analytics (jargon term) on data mining (another jargon term) and get paid far more than a former troubled inner-city youth might ever be worth.  And surprise, surprise!  By 1997, there was a flood of new information about our world and the universe as a whole which, to me, seemed to line up with some seemingly oddly-placed technical details within the text of Genesis.  I used my modeling skills and found out some very unusual and interesting information lurking within that ancient Bronze Age text, information which could come in handy today. The goats, at least the first thirty pages of them, egged on by my wife, Melody, demanded that the information be included in their story.  How could I refuse?  The goats were witness to it all.

In 2015, Melody decided to attend a Masters program in writing, and of course, I lent her all the assistance I could muster.  And then glommed all of her new contacts.  When I drove her to D.C. for a writers conference, she was manning a table for her school, and I wondered around the tables, all 1200 of them, looking for a publisher that might be interested the goats.  And there, at the very back, in the last row, near the fire exits, I met Kate and Julia of Golden Fleece Press.  They had a bridge table with a pile of animal books on one side and science fiction books on the other.  I handed them my sample pages.  And then back in New York, the email arrived: “Send us more goats!”  The rest will be, with any luck, history.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

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Andrew Grell

I am an accidental writer, having camped onto my wife Melody's Masters Degree program in writing. We are in our 50s and live in a park in Manhattan, Stuyvesant Town, with our brandy-new puppy, Cyrus King of Persai.

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