Monday, February 8, 2016

Tank design obsessed me

This is a short excerpt from my novel of Sri Lanka, "The Longest Tweet." Part of this novel is how design can be perverted for nefarious purposes. On the other hand, well-intentioned design may have unintended consequences. 


Tank design obsessed me. I wrote about it, vaguely, for years. Wrote about it in notes and posts, in short essays, in emails, in applications. How did these beautiful bodies of water come to persist over time, serving the descendants of ancestors dim in the smoky past? How did the tanks evolve so that nature was incorporated into them, their bodies an organ in the forest, with which they were one, they themselves composed of organs, valves, circulations, inlets and outlets? Were they seen as human-like to their builders? Were they godlike? Their names, their legends, their shapes. Did it occur to me to ask how they came to be? Only vaguely. And the questions were answered with the vague fabric of gossamer tales. Pregnant goats, bells round their necks, lowest spot and all that. Mythologies within mythologies embodied in a mythological landscape. The landscape as self-sculpture of the community, a model of the nation.  

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