★ The ideas seem from a different realm of non-reality, but they are so immaculately constructed that each work becomes a little treasure to visit repeatedly. -Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Reviewer
★ Dark, intense, entertaining, thought-provoking and emotional, these short stories each hold their own brand of magnetisim that lasts long after the last word is read... A wealth of depth in few words. -Dii, Top 500 Reviewer
From the Author
The first story in this book is a spin on the Book of Job. Job is in the center of a monumental bet between God and Satan, who inflicts unthinkable pain on Job. His wife, who like many women in the bible remains nameless, spurs him to put an end to his torture. Because she suggested, 'curse God and die,' she is condemned to a nameless existence in the afterlife, and so she is on a mission to recover her identity. But the price she would have to pay the Prince of Darkness for it may be too heavy for her. In my story she also seeks to restore her own life into the pages of history.
"Lying still in a corner of the cave, I try my best not to rattle, not to betray my fear. I figure, as long as they think me unconscious, I am safe. I have jolted awake because of the voices, only to discover they are incoherent and muffled. In between the gusts of wind, I can hear them hissing. Each phrase plays out in some verbose foreign music, which I cannot decipher for the life of me. Sigh. This is not Aramaic for sure, or any of the other languages spoken by the locals in my village or by the merchants traveling through along the Jordan river.
Thinking about the struggle between the light and dark side in our souls, which finds it visual symbol in heaven and hell, directed me towards the bet between God and Satan over the soul of a man. Someone made a comment to me that 'Job's wife is not important enough for Satan to engage in conversation with her.' And I thought, really? Why not?
So the first meaning of I Am What I Am is finding a way to accept her fate, the fate of a nameless woman. The second meaning is a play on the explicit name of God, which in the biblical Hebrew means, I Shall Be What I Shall Be.
Here is an excerpt:
He turns a page, which has been earmarked, and from the top he quotes, "Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die."
"Yes," I say under my breath. "This I said."
"A clever woman you are! Job should have listened to you."
I shake my head, No. No.
"Had he cursed God, I would have won this bet, this maneuver, as you call it," he says. "Ah, sweet victory! How close it came to be! Too bad he denied you, denied me..."
"What did I do?" I ask, as if I were innocent.
"Woman, you must have known," says Satan, pointing at me, at the cavity around my heart, "you were my accomplice!"
"No," I refuse to agree with him. "I was feeling sorry for Job. My only sin, sir, is impatience. Anything--even death--is better than this hurt, this unrelenting torture. I wanted it to stop. Let it stop, stop already!"
"Don't lie to me now," he says. "The truth is simpler. You wanted to be free."