Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Interpreter: A Literary Group

George and I:

Shah Sight
George Polley, let us welcome you to this group first, and then Seiji, is it the name of a place or a character, tell us a little bit about the story if you want, why did you name this book Seiji, is it finished, when will it be published, tell us anything you want us to know about this book, please?L

Pauline Edwards You must check out George's books The Grandfather and the Raven and The Old Man and the Monkey. Wonderful stories!

George Polley Thank you, Pauline.

George Polley Sorry for taking so long to respond, Shah. The novel is finished, except for some rewriting suggested by my Sapporo editor, Derek Chamberlain. Since meeting with him, I haven't written a line, as my mind has been a blank. Now what needs to be done, and how to do it are clear, and I'm able to write again. So here is the story of Seiji.

George Polley Seiji is the name of a fictional Tokyo artist named Seiji Matsuda, whom I wrote about in a short story published in "A Rainbow Feast: New Asian Short Stories" (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2010), edited by Mohammad A. Quayum. I liked the character so well that I decided to expand his story into a novel.

George Polley Seiji's story begins with the Tokyo firebombings in March, 1945 that totally devastated about 17 square miles of Tokyo, including the Asakusa district in which Seiji and his mother and little sister Setsuko lived. They were among the few people who survived the attacks, with Setsuko, age 3, dying a few weeks afterwards of typhoid fever from drinking contaminated water. The story begins when American Army sergeant David Sakamoto notices a little boy sitting on his haunches in near a small cobbled-together house, drawing on a piece of scrap cardboard with a lump of charcoal. An artist, Sakamoto stops his Jeep and approaches the boy.

George Polley ‎"What are you doing?" he asks him. "Drawing," the boy replies. "You draw very well, son." "Mmmm," the boy replies, looking up and squinting at him. From there begins a lifelong friendship between this boy, his mother, and David Sakamoto and his family. Seiji is a survivor, and is much more than that. An amazingly talented artist, even at age eight he is able to see beyond what is to what can be.

George Polley The book is written as a biography, authored by his wife, Molly, David Sakamoto's daughter. "Seiji" is a love story, the life story of a man who becomes a famous artist, a respected member of Asakusa's Nakamise Street shopping arcade, a loving husband and father, and a strong advocate of compassion, lovingkindness and peace.

George Polley My two previous books, "The Old Man and the Monkey" and "Grandfather and the Raven" explore similar themes, focusing on the theme of friendship. Once "Seiji" is off to the publisher, it's on to other writing projects, of which there are a number waiting, patiently or not, in queue, drumming their fingers on my skull.

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