Meeting Jackson Guild
There’s only fiction left to spread the truth.
I know Jackson Guild, although he is a fictional character. Really what I mean is that a writer comes to know a character in ways he might not know his own wife. That’s why I left Jackson alone to narrate his story, a dangerous tale of intrigue that rose from the rubble of the former Soviet Union.
War and money turned out to be wed.
I should explain how I got to meet Guild.
I’ve always been a journalist, although I started out, as young men will, as a poet, and there’s a book of poems out there I wrote entitled The Last Beat. I quit poetry when I left New York and the job I held as associate editor of Junior Scholastic Magazine. (Yeah, the Harry Potter people, Hunger Games).
Magazines were my passion, and I began doing deeply researched stories, first about arson in Newark for New Jersey Monthly; and, soon after, stories about the war in Vietnam. I turned to Rolling Stone to write about a couple of guys who lived on a roadside billboard month after month in order to win a single-wide trailer home. To me, it was a hard knocks story about the Reagan economy.
War and money turned out to be wed. Aircraft were the nation’s top export, and the U.S. lined up a weapons deal that offered the Japanese a chance to buy up the source code — the internal reasoning, the whys, and the wherefores — of one of our most advanced military missions systems. The F-16 is a plane rich with potential civilian applications. I spent three years studying that one and published the Keys to the Kingdom, for Doubleday Books. A few years later, still concentrating on money and corruption, I became a Fellow at the Center for Public Integrity, and contributed to a book entitled, The Buying of the Congress, published by Avon.
Having children changed my priorities. I wanted more at home time.
I started writing for television, mostly scripts for National Geographic Explorer. I was fortunate that I was able to write about environmental issues for the program’s natural history unit.
From my experience at the White House and on Capitol Hill for National Journal magazine, I was able to bring depth to a story about an American woman who spied for the British during World War Two. It was the Brits who modeled the American spy system and helped create the Office of Strategic Services, which would later become the Central Intelligence Agency. At Cambridge University in England, I researched the histories of these organizations. It was there in those papers that I discovered the truth Jackson Guild carries around with him: that everything’s a lie.
Here’s the part of the story where Jackson would elbow himself into my little bio to remind me to step aside and point out that here in the transactional world there’s only fiction left to spread the truth.
I am prone to typos. That’s the truth. Please let me know in the comments area below should you find any. (There’s no comments area.)