As in the childhood of countless other boys and girls, one of my earliest memories is standing on the roof of my house, holding my arms up, hoping desperately a flying saucer would come and take me away. This book was born out of a dream from that time.

In a life of twists and turns, I have written comedy, stage and screenplays, and a poetry collection. I have devoted the principal hours of my last 25 years to a worldwide charitable network of drug rehabilitation, prevention, and education centers. Art photographs from my planetwide travels can be found at www.photographyofclarkcarr.com .

The dream, the inspiration and impetus for the book was, believe it or not, The Opera (Prologue to Last Wolves.) In the dream, which I remember to this day (with good reason now, I suppose), I am walking into a vast and echoey opera house chamber, carved from stone in the Great Cliffs of the Great Canyon on Mars. The most distinct part of the dream is “How unbelievably bored I am, having to go to the opera!” The humor and dichotomy of the image and emotion (opera on Mars, bored out of my brains) was enough to wake myself up with my own laughter. Hence, I remembered the dream and immediately wrote down enough details to be able to later reconstruct it.

It was many years later (decades) before I actually began to write the book. The writing took a long time because the characters kept demanding to speak with their own voice and to determine their own destinies, which did not at all align with my deliciously elegant preconsidered plot and outline. As other authors will attest, such battles do not have clear winners and losers. They end usually like World War I with a failed League of Nations and an Armistice which spells big trouble. That is, all the parties have their word, but the sum result is a mishmash, a schmegana. (If that word does not exist in Yiddish, it should.)

The Great Author intends as his conclusion — Napoleonic Wars concluded, Napoleon sent off to his distant island and the Commander in Chief of the Allied Forces in glorious command of the field and the continent.

Oh, if it were only like that. Instead, the Author (me) gets — Venusians have flown in a Mother Ship which took out the Allied cavalry, and they substituted a Venusian for Napoleon. Now what?

Thusly, our characters, our creations, bedevil us with their questions and their constant conniving for room, for limelight, for the last word.

Publication of a book at last is a kind of “binding arbitration.”

The Author (my humble self) sometimes discovers from helpful readers which ideas took flight and which were…dodos. Poor creatures, to be the icon of failed flight.

Some Last Wolves’s questions which took this author aloft or kept him awake, scribbling in bed with bleary eye on notepads, napkins, blank backsides of flyers, or on the bedsheet, were:

The Chart of Responsibilities.

When did Law flee from the boundaries of Truth to wander in the wasteland of defending oneself from responsibility-as-blame, rather than discovering the factuality of responsibility-as-cause? Most probably it fled when we stopped talking to our God because we had to answer to earthly Judges who had hemorrhoids and were in the pay of the Plaintiff (or the State).

A variant question, only somewhat explored, was – What if you had to try a dead person? And you gave him a voice?

What if you died, but instead of doing the commonsense thing (coming back in your own sweet time), you insisted on continuing in your former existence and tried to force-construct that existence? A long question.

Alternatively, what if you refused to leave, but also refused to be a ghost, insisting on a physical presence? Endless “horror” movies have made much of the half-dead, the living dead, the vengeful dead. (Washington D.C.? The Department of Motor Vehicles? The Immigration and Naturalization Service?)

Once one understands that spirit is spirit, and that spirit has at least some kind of continuity, then “death” becomes a rather foolish concept. Like going into the closet in shorts and sneakers and coming out in over-sized parents’ digs, or a clown suit, or…as a Wolf.

The subject of death / life / interruptions / continuity / skin / skinless/ zippers-to-escape-through…have occupied much of my poetry.  Advice to Fire Breathers is a book especially dignified in that it was released only to family and a few friends. I haven’t much sought out publication until now.

And then, the omnipresent story – Family. All that enforced closeness without the goo and glop of sex. The DisUnited Nations of…Family. Haven’t our best stories been about family? ‘Family’ includes ‘friendship’ because true friends become as brothers or sisters. And lucky, skillful, or saintly siblings sometimes become…friends.

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