Meeting writers is always so disappointing. I got over wanting to meet live writers quite a long time ago. There is this terrific book that has changed your life, and then you meet the author, and he has shifty eyes and funny shoes and he won’t talk about anything except the injustice of the United States income tax structure toward people with fluctuating income, or how to breed Black Angus cows, or something.

Stories start in all sorts of places. Where they begin often tells the reader of what to expect as they progress. Castles often lead to dragons, country estates to deeds of deepest love (or of hate), and ambiguously presented settings usually lead to equally as ambiguous characters and plot, leaving a reader with an ambiguous feeling of disappointment. That’s one of the worst kinds.

Jerusalem has a way of disappointing in tormenting both conquerors and visitors. The contrast between the real and heavenly cities is so excruciating that a hundred patients a year are committed to this city’s asylum, suffering from the Jerusalem Syndrome, a madness of anticipation, disappointment and delusion.

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