The Accidental Terrorist : Memoir : Page 16

...and this one to 801 pages.

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Chapter 40: "Bordering on Lust"


Two chapters born at pretty much the same time, strangely enough. This one brings the total to 778 pages...

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Chapter 39: "Great Falls"


Boy, where has the weekend gone? Just finished another chapter of the memoir, and the count stands at 770 ms pages.

My agent's gonna fuckin' kill me.

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Chapter 38: "God and the Lam"


Laura's in Wisconsin, the upstairs has laid off the piano, I have Robert Plant on the stereo, and I'm starving. I've been sitting here at my desk all damn day. Time to rustle up some food and go to Laura's to feed the fish.

Oh, yeah. The count stands at 756 ms pages.

Curmudgeon and co., I'll fill you in soon on those other details. I promise. But right now I have a weekend alone to myself to write with!

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In my junior year of high school, I signed up for an advanced humanities class that encompassed history, literature, art, music, and drama from the beginning of recorded time. This daily seminar was presided over by the legendary Mrs. Vivian Beattie, an extraordinary teacher amongst what for a public school was a remarkable slate of extraordinary teachers. (Remind me someday to tell you stories about my math and computer science teacher, Lenzi Nelson. When you ask, tell me you want to hear about the teacher who threw chalk.)

We adored Mrs. Beattie, a ferocious old iconoclast whose demands on her students' intellects and attention pushed most of us as far as we'd ever been pushed by a teacher in our lives. She asked us for all we had, but in return she conferred upon us the gift of critical thought, not to mention the kind of respect most adolescents never feel from adults—the respect that says you are a worthwhile generation, no matter what anyone else tries to tell you.

That's usually how it worked, anyway.

If there was one thing Mrs. Beattie would tolerate, it was muddy thinking. I ran afoul of her cruel, casual dismissiveness in this regard one morning during our unit on 19th-century art. The topic was visual composition, the subject under scrutiny Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres's famous portrait of a nude harem girl, "La Grande Odalisque." Surely you've seen it—it's Ingres's best-known painting. The Rubenesque slave girl (the titular odalisque) reclines amid the various appurtenances of a fantastic Turkish harem—veils, silks, furs, pipes, jeweled belts, feathered brushes—with her inhumanly supple back to the artist and her face turned to gaze mildly back at him over her right shoulder. The ripe globe of one breast can be seen in partial eclipse, shadowed by her right arm. The painting was reviled in its time, but is today considered a masterpiece of French neoclassical portraiture.

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741 ms pages. Laura's in Wisconsin. Time for bed.

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Chapter 36: "Telephone by Telephone"


At the risk of sounding like a one-note symphony, 724 ms pages and counting.

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Done done done. 712 ms pages now. On I trudge.

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Chapter 34: "Reigning Buckets"


In the can. Up to 685 ms pages now. Whew!

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Chapter 33: "Dedman on Arrival"


Chapter 33 is in the can. 670 ms pages. Now the workday can begin.

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About the Book

What happens when an ambivalent young Mormon missionary is pushed to the limit in a challenge to prove his faith? Hint: the outcome is explosive. The Accidental Terrorist is the long-awaited memoir from Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author William Shunn, based on his popular podcast. Available now from Sinister Regard!