What if Jesus ran for president?
Before joining the campaign, think about it. Maybe after 2,000 years, society has overblown his perfection and the only way we can learn the truth is if the messiah was just an ordinary person with vices like the rest of us.
That’s the path local author and former politician DNA treads in “Memoirs of the Messiah: A 98 Percent True Story.”
DNA said “Memoirs” is a “factional” account of the coming of a messiah to Chico in the not so distant future. DNA said “faction” is 98 percent factual knowledge with 2 percent fictional narrative.
When the messiah is discovered, people treat him like a celebrity and worship him like the perfect person they believe he is.
This messiah, unlike Jesus, has to contend with the media and more than 2,000 years of hype.
“As soon as you’re built up, you’re torn down,” DNA said. “Is that the way we should relate to anyone?”
The memoir of a fictional figurehead who happens to share the name of the author seems like a self-gratifying mess. However, DNA said, he has kept a historical perspective in his book, rather than relying on fiction.
The fictional Jesus is the one in the white, flowing robes that everyone falls to their knees and worships while angels sing, DNA said.
“The historical guy is a revolutionary that you might not have wanted to hang out with,” DNA said. “He might be flipping over tables and getting in people’s faces.”
This is the first work by DNA the writer, but the second as DNA the messiah. Since this book takes place in the future, “Messiah’s Journal,” a book mentioned in “Memoirs,” hasn’t been written. DNA is eager to eventually write it.
“I can’t wait because it really does well,” he said.
Focusing on the newly released “Memoirs,” DNA sees this short novel as something for mature 15-year-olds and older, especially for people whose lives don’t allow for a 300-page behemoth.
“I wanted a quick read,” DNA said. “You might have ADD, you might be on Prozac. Certainly everyone is busy out of their minds.”
Ironically, the book was originally 300 pages long, but a hard drive crash shortened his work to zero. Luckily, he had an old copy that he could work from. As a result, DNA said this book is better because of the rewrite.
“The problem with memoirs is they can go on forever,” DNA said.
He found some of the memories that were recalled took too long to address and ended up taking away from the story.
“Memoirs” brings a new trick to the old art of book reading. At certain points there are references for information on the book’s Web site, www.messiahinc.com, and vice-versa. DNA said the Web site is being updated each week with new interviews, art, songs and even a blog.
With a name outside the typical realm, DNA is asked frequently about the story behind his name. It started in 1990 when he wanted to see one of his favorite comedians perform in a comedy competition at Chico State.
“I didn’t have any money,” DNA said. “I wanted to see the host, Will Durst. They said if I entered then I’d get in for free.”
The only thing he lacked was an act. He always knew his initials spelled DNA, so he used that to create a stage act outside of his normal life. That same year he went to the Department of Motor Vehicles and paid the $15 to have his name legally changed.
DNA’s future is fixed on writing the next two books of this series. “Memoirs” takes place in between 2005 and 2008, while the others will take it to a climax in the year 2012.
Another project DNA is currently working on is the film adaptation of a recent Blue Room Theatre play, “Jimmy Zhan and the Flying Mortician.” He hopes he can translate the experience from Zhan to his trilogy.
“One of my goals is to make this (book) into a screenplay,” DNA said.
One thing not in DNA’s future is another run for Chico City Council. He said he’s learned a lot from the experience of losing four elections.
“I don’t believe the political process is about winning,” DNA said. “I broke the mold in a lot of ways and I don’t think I’ll be running again.”
DNA also said his book will likely be as well received by readers as his political career was by voters.
He said, “I’ll either mail it to them or just hand it to them.”