The Thesis that begins in Alcatraz
Sometimes, to write a good book…you have to go to prison.
Wearing a suit to Alcatraz…apparently some people are caught off guard by such a maneuver. As I stood sandwiched between the corroded metal bars that seal close the notorious 5 by 9 cells of Alcatraz, I was pummeled by unsure looks from my fellow Alcatraz enthusiasts. They all stared at me, as if alarmed, by my unfitting apparel.
Apparently, there was a meeting regarding the appropriate apparel at Alcatraz…I guess I never got the memo. In place of a suit they opted for cheap fuzzy headphones. The wires for these personal boomboxes wiggled down their fronts, creating a cacophonous knot, but somehow the strings reorganized themselves just as they reached the plug ins of the the 1980’s box recorder. They wore an array of sweat shirts, most of which serving to proclaim their love for a particular city (Usually San Francisco). They even wore accessories such as baseball caps and would even tote their practically packed fanny packs. All those articles put together made a very clear and cohesive uniform…evidently, I was not following protocol and deserved to be on the other side of one of the rowed metal bars.
The real reason for my venture to Alcatraz is because of my book, The Phoenix Cycle. The Phoenix Cycle is set in San Francisco sometime in the future. There is a new government where San Francisco stands alone as a city state, ruled by The General. In The Phoenix Cycle, Alcatraz has been reopened as a place to jail philosophers who have views which oppose The General’s. But Alcatraz has been secretly taken over, and now the philosophers are heading a rebellion against The General.
So instead of being the last stop for America’s worst criminals, Alcatraz is now the jumping off point; towards a brave new world.
The Phoenix Cycle
by Bob Collopy
New San Francisco is the last city standing on a world ravaged by storms of ash and debris. The city survived by putting the ideals of the American dream on steroids and inspiring its people to persevere, though they have become ruthless in the process. Its citizens are ruled by the General, who has made sure that his people understand that gentleness and pity have become weaknesses that nature no longer tolerates.
Now Steve and Leslie must choose whether they will apply for the General’s once in a lifetime opportunity to “Rise from the Ashes” and join the Inner Circle that rules the city. If they don’t, they will be damned to spend the rest of their lives in the ghettos of Edingburg, a place where virtual reality has become a government-subsidized addiction.
For Steve, the choice is easy. His loyalties lie with the IRA, a revolutionary army led by a voice only known as “Mom.” They are trying to overthrow the General and free the people of New San Francisco from the cruelties of the City Guard. Steve’s mission is to broadcast a recording of a speech that a famous philosopher died to tell. Many thousands have and will perish to get this message out, but is anyone willing to listen?
Journal Entry #3
I guess I should make something clear to you. I only write this because I know this diary isn’t actually personal and I‘d hate to ruin your reading experience, you lying piece of shit.
With the passage of time people come and people go. That I can deal with. The only thing that's passed me by that truly hurts are the people who never came.
Part of me is sorry. Another enraged. I have so many years left. It seems like I’ll never run out. But somehow, on that single day, I lost an entire lifetime. And no matter what I do...I can never get it back.
I just want you to know. I blame myself for not stopping you. For not putting you in this cage instead the other way round. But at this point it really doesn’t matter who enchains who. It doesn’t matter that you’re now the master and I’m the slave. We’re both miserable and nothing we do to each other can ever change that. This fight we’re having, this hatred for you that still keeps me warm at night, it’s all just a distraction from the fact that we both failed to sculpt this world into something resembling the beautiful.
For now, I think it’s best I tell our story. Perhaps once I tell it to ourselves, we will finally get from our actions what our soul really wanted: transcendance. Don’t scoff, allow me this final ember of hope.
This next part is the only truth I’ve found from what we’ve done to each other and to our world. It is important to remember it always.
I am not made of one, I am made of many.
Each and every person is made up of many smaller people. Everyone has a saint. Everyone has a lover. Everyone has a sinner. Everyone has a monster.
What defines us is not what people we have within us, but which people we develop most and how great those people become.
Bob Collopy was raised on southern values. A world of rigidity and blind faith. He was then
moved to Sedona. A near cultlike world, grown from 1960's flower children. He was then moved to Scottsdale. A world of extreme wealth and vice. He then went to college and joined a fraternity so notorious it was on national and world news multiple times.
Due to these shifts, Bob always found himself the the semilucid observer; constantly confused and adjusting to new and opposing sets of norms few cultures would ever call normal or even acceptable.
The city Bob has created is a blending of these intense and opposing cultures and the people trying to survive and conquer them.
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