After two years of work, Jeremiah’s Last Call has been published. But it wasn’t easy. Some people (name withheld) prefer to do things the hard way. Such was the case late in 2019 when I got the idea to write a novel about Jeremiah with the ambitious, all-inclusive title, Jeremiah. I did so only to be in compliance with the well-known, important and unwritten rule that insists that every creative effort, whether it be a novel, opera, fight song or whatever, must have a working title. The logic behind the rule is simple. It makes no sense to write something and name it afterward. That would be like building a treehouse in the garage then heading out to the woods to find a perch for it.
A good working title will set limits on a project and provide the writer with critical hints about what he or she is doing; but I chose Jeremiah, which did none of that, and began writing anyway. Jeremiah, the man, had outlasted five Judean kings. He had, in fact, outlasted Judah, and is said to have authored both the Book of Jeremiah and Lamentations. The books are also filled with personal details, so we know more about Jeremiah’s life and nature than perhaps any other Old Testament prophet save Moses.
Unafraid, I began writing with this vague plan in mind…
- Set the novel during the prophet’s last days, while he was a captive of his own people in Egypt.
- Weave into my account, utilizing clever and entertaining time shifts, the great man’s entire 40-year-plus experience and all of his numerous prophecies.
That was not a solid plan. About a year into the project I finally came to understand that the novel had to be more limited in scope. Fortunately, it had also become clear that the 43rd Chapter of Jeremiah, plentiful Egyptian and Babylonian history of that time and an amazing archaeological find in 1886 by a fellow named William Flinders Petrie, combined to provide me with more than enough natural interest and perhaps even mystery to sustain a novel.
The clincher was Jeremiah’s last assignment, a prophecy received toward the end of his life, while in Tahpanhes, Egypt, perhaps six years after Jerusalem fell to Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar.
Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, “Take some large stones in your hands and hide them in the mortar in the brick terrace which is at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes, in the sight of some of the Jews; and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am going to send and get Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I am going to set his throne right over these stones that I have hidden; and he will spread his canopy over them. He will also come and strike the land of Egypt; those who are meant for death will be given over to death, and those for captivity to captivity, and those for the sword to the sword.”(Jer 43:8-11)
The command found above, “Take some large stones in your hands and hide them in the mortar in the brick terrace which is at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes…” became the central problem of what became the finished novel, Jeremiah’s Last Call, as I explain in detail in the following video…
You may, or may not, also be interested in visiting three new websites. My new Youtube Channel about writing, InsideStories, a nearly duplicate video channel at Vimeo, and a website for writers that will, for the next year or so, deconstruct Jeremiah’s Last Call, writeJeremiah!