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Thursday, June 7, 2007
A Vilka FAQ

What is The Chronicle of Vilka? Why is it here at LocalCommentary.com? And other earth-shaking questions.

Here at LocalCommentary.com I recently posted Chapter 1, then Chapter 2, of a curious creation, The Chronicle of Vilka. Chapter 3 will shortly follow. Then, if I am not run out of town or laughed out of the blogosphere, and if I don't lose interest in the project, subsequent chapters may appear as they become available.

Here is a recent interview with the author of the Chronicle, in which said author answers questions which might arise in the minds of the six people who will ever read the Chronicle.

Q. You will tell us the truth in this interview, will you not?
A. Yes. In fact, almost all my answers will be true.

Q. Very well. Is the Chronicle a work of fiction?
A. Yes.

Q. Is it inspired by the small, sometimes charming, unevenly modern city of American Fork, Utah?
A. Yes and no. Yes in the sense that American Fork and its people and leaders form part of my broad experience with and observation of people and their governments. No in the sense that it is not intended to be a satire of American Fork specifically or of particular individuals or elected officials in American Fork or any other specific municipality. Not Spanish Fork, either.

Q. But it is a satire?
A. No, not really.

Q. Or an allegory?
A. Certainly not.

Q. Then what is it?
A. It is a fictional exploration of the common foibles of self-governing humanity, somewhat comparable in its approach and intent, if not in depth and quality, to Plato's political dialogues and some similar works from the Russian philosophical tradition. The editor's notes are a sort of "frame narrative," such as one observes in The Princess Bride and many other works. You might also think of the Chronicle, in some sense, as a sort of West Wing for local government -- grounded in common and sometimes current issues, but fiction. Fiction.

Q. You're kidding, right? You don't think we'll realize that vilka is the Russian word for fork?
A. Actually, I expect one or two of you to know that. But understand that ancient towns usually arose near rivers, for the sake of water, and frequently near the forks of rivers, for the sake of trade. Pittsburgh comes to mind. So don't make too much of vilka, okay?

Q. Didn't you really go to Chicago recently?
A. Yes, and I ate a Chicago hot dog, but let's not confuse art and reality.

Q. Earlier you suggested that one of your answers is not true. Which is it?
A. This one.

Q. Was that last answer an obscure tribute to Star Trek?
A. Yes! How erudite of you to notice!

Q. Seriously, which of your answers is not true?
A. The title really was inspired by the name of the city in which I currently reside. But the inspiration for the work as a whole is much broader than that -- that much was true.

Q. So why would we, your readers, run you out of town?
A. I can't say.

Q. You don't know, or you can't say?
A. I can't say.

Q: Did you notice my allusion to the Kevin Kline comedy Dave in the previous question?
A. Yes. You're a very clever man. But get rid of the smile. You look like a schmuck.

Q: Thank you for your time. May we interview you again sometime?
A: Sure.

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