Welcome to the parallel universe of 12-12-12. This not what actually happened during 2012. But what unfolds is not more implausible. Nor is it less implausible. It is reality with healthy doses of surreality and comedy, spawned by the tragic absurdity of our times. It is laugh-out-loud brain food for hungry minds.
John Rachel has a B.A. in Philosophy, has traveled extensively, been a songwriter and music producer, and is a bipolar humanist. He has spent his life trying to resolve the intrinsic clash between the metaphysical purity of Buddhism and the overwhelming appeal of narcissism.
In October of 2008, while visiting Japan, he completed his first novel, From Thailand With Love. It's a thriller about the trafficking of adolescent Asian girls for prostitution in America. Unfortunately, it was hijacked by an unscrupulous New York publisher and never released in its entirety.
In November of 2009, he completed his second novel, The Man Who Loved Too Much, written over ten months, as he lived in and traveled through Japan, China, Nepal, India Thailand, and Malaysia. It follows the convoluted life of a young man from age 4 to 28, as he tries to find his place in the world. The story is set in Detroit, upstate New York, and New York City. At 800+ pages, it is an epic. This encyclopedia of white trash pulp fiction plotlines has been split into three volumes, the novel you have just read being the last book of the series.
While writing his third and fourth novels in 2010 and 2011 -- 11-11-11 and 12-12-12 -- which track two years in the life of a young man, a hapless victim born in a hopelessly hayseed town in Bible-belt Missouri, the author hopped around between Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and the Philippines. Those two efforts evolved into the short and snappy adventure, Blinders Keepers, both as a novel and a screenplay. Combining plot elements from 11-11-11 and 12-12-12, Blinders Keepers is social-political satire in the tradition of Jonathan Swift, Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller, but revved up and spit-shined to take on the historical new levels of absurdity and dysfunction of the 21st Century. Blinders Keepers was published as a novel in 2013, after which the author bounced between Japan, South Korea, the U.S., and nine countries in Europe.
He then became somewhat rooted in a small traditional farming village in Japan near Osaka. It was there, immediately after poking himself in the forehead with chopsticks, that he was inspired to plant soybeans and sweet potatoes in his small but promising vegetable garden, and to write An Unlikely Truth, published March of 2014. In this political drama, a bright, young, idealistic, Green Party candidate, in his bid for the congressional seat of a very conservative district in Ohio, teams with a beautiful, fiery African-American intern to combat the slick deceptions and ruthless tactics of a sweet-talking right wing incumbent.
A non-fiction distillation of the political strategy embedded in An Unlikely Truth appeared in June 2015 as Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy. This manifesto offers a detailed, step-by-step plan for cleaning up the corruption in Washington DC, replacing the current crop of pay-for-play politicians with progressive, independent, minor-party candidates, who will be bound by legal contract when elected, to faithfully serve the interests of the voting public. Author Rachel expects the impact of this work will result in his being put on international no-fly lists and perhaps his becoming a target for drone assassination.
With the publication of the The Man Who Loved Too Much trilogy, he now has two more novels in the pipeline: Love Connection, a drug-trafficking love story set in Japan, and The Last Giraffe, an anthropological drama involving both the worship and devouring of giraffes. It unfolds in sub-Saharan Africa.
Also in the works is a creative non-fiction work, The Naked American. It is allegedly an account of author Rachel's travels since leaving America August 2006, but more likely the product of the voices in his head which have plagued him since puberty. Several prominent publishers have declared that they will do everything in their power to make sure this book never sees the light of day.
The author's last permanent residence in America was Portland, Oregon where he had a state-of-the-art ProTools recording studio, music production house, a radio promotion and music publishing company. He recorded and produced several artists in the Pacific Northwest, releasing and promoting their music on radio across America and overseas. John Rachel now lives in a quiet, traditional, rural Japanese community, where he sets his non-existent watch by the thrice-daily ringing of sonorous temple bells, at a local Shinto shrine.
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