Interviewer: As Orl tells his pupil at the end of “Orl, His Master, and the Egg”, “One day, when your respect for me is matched with disgust, you will understand.” During the writing process, how did you construct your characters in order to properly convey this relationship between respect and disgust? Why did you choose “Eggs” as the alien antagonist, and how do these Eggs also represent the assigned emotions?
Adan Berkowitz: I thought respect and disgust were interesting, conflicting emotions to write about. I knew early on I wanted the story to have some sort of teacher/student relationship as the respect emotion, but disgust was a bit harder. Early on I thought maybe I would have Orl become disgusted with his master for some reason, but I decided I wanted Orl to be disgusted with himself over this cyclic ritual that he’s become a part of. There’s some of the naive pupil/jaded teacher thing happening, but I wanted to show a kind of more obsessive, unquestioning respect almost to the point of absurdity.
I wanted the malevolent force to be something unassuming. I thought an egg was a cool idea. I think in the future if technology ever gets to the point where it can essentially move mountains with its mind, it would probably be condescended to something that small.
Interviewer: Which other emotion would you attribute to your story, if it wasn’t your own theme?
Adan Berkowitz: Boredom, since 99% of the monks’ time is spent meditating or doing menial chores. I wanted this kind of focused boredom to be the only thing that could combat an all knowing, omnipresent evil.
Interviewer: After finishing your story, what was the single most valuable take-away from the experience?
Adan Berkowitz: That you shouldn’t stop writing a story midway through and then try to pick it up again months later and assume you’ll write with the same verve and enthusiasm you started with! But also that writing around a specific emotion can take your story to some interesting places you wouldn’t have expected otherwise.
Interviewer: Given that this is a “score” anthology, what representative piece of music would you connect to “Orl, His Master, and the Egg”?
Adan Berkowitz: “The Rite of Spring” by Stravinsky, because I imagine its building crescendo of dread as Orl and his Master approach the egg in the ruined finishing village.
Buy the Score anthology, which includes Adan Berkowitz’ story “Orl, His Master, and the Egg” focused on Respect and Disgust.