Since leaving America in August 2006, I’ve traveled to twenty-six countries. A great deal has happened. I have written eight full-length novels, the most recent being An Unlikely Truth which appeared this past March 24th, have had over thirty short stories and seven poems published, and even found time to compose a number of songs. And of course I continue to write quirky, sometimes controversial, occasionally satirical essays, as an ongoing commentary on our interesting and often convoluted times. These blogs are located on my Slow Bullets page.
In my travels I have experienced quite a lot and had a few ideas along the way. This site is to share my thoughts, photos, music, writings, travel experiences, and developing political and social commentary with you. I hope you find it interesting and informative.
John Rachel has a B. A. in Philosophy, has traveled extensively, is a songwriter, music producer, novelist, and a bi-polar humanist. He has spent his entire life trying to resolve the intrinsic clash between the metaphysical purity of Buddhism and the overwhelming appeal of narcissism. Prompted by the trauma of graduating high school and having to leave his beloved city of Detroit to attend university, the development of his social skills and world view were arrested at age 18. This affliction figures prominently in all of his creative work.
While living in Japan in 2008, he wrote his first novel. It unfortunately was hijacked by an unscrupulous publisher, and never released in its entirety.
In November of 2009, he completed his second novel, The Man Who Loved Too Much, written over ten months, as he lived in and traveled through Japan, China, Nepal, India Thailand, and Malaysia. It follows the convoluted life of a young man from age 4 to 28, as he tries to find his place in the world. The story is set in Detroit, upstate New York, and New York City. At 800+ pages, it is an epic. This encyclopedia of white trash pulp fiction plot lines has been split into three volumes, released between November 2014 and July 2015.
Next came 11-11-11, his third full-length novel, a gritty tale set in America’s Bible Belt. 11-11-11 is the prequel to 12-12-12. The two are linked by characters and location, and are facetious narratives which attempt to comprehend and commiserate with the clueless and powerless citizens of Pulnick, Missouri as they try to eke out meaningful lives in a world plagued by stupidity, superstition, gossip, political turmoil, manipulation, covert social disintegration, and paranoid rumors about the end of the world __ parables for our troubled times.
The lead character for both 11-11-11 and 12-12-12 is Noah Tass, a bright young fellow in his early twenties, who is caught up in all of the ongoing insanity as he attempts to escape the bland hopelessness of his dreary life and begin a new, hopefully meaningful existence elsewhere. His is a bizarre journey of survival and self-discovery fraught with the weird and unexpected. Sounds serious? Actually there is more laughing than crying. Of course, these two novels are entirely fictional, an alternative reality. But remarkably, in many ways they ring truer than reality itself.
11-11-11 was published April 16, 2011. 12-12-12 was published March 18, 2012. While writing these dark satires, chock full unusual twists and biting political humor, author Rachel lived in Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia and of course Japan.
His next novels were Blinders Keepers (published June 1, 2013), and An Unlikely Truth (published February 20, 2014). Blinders Keepers grew from a suggestion made by a movie industry executive. Impressed by 11-11-11 and 12-12-12, this gentleman was convinced they would make a great movie, but would require drastic editing, since filming them in their entirety would amount to about 20 hours of screen time. Author Rachel combined the stories, cut the plot line to the bone, and finished the screenplay Blinders Keepers __ ‘The blind leading the blind and the rest of us directing them to the nearest cliff.’ __ fall of 2014. The novelization of that screenplay is the book (for more on this bizarre social-political satire, you can check it out here).
Before starting on the screenplay, the hyperthyroid Rachel had just completed his political drama An Unlikely Truth. Though it contains much of the biting humor which has driven his previous novels, it overall represents a dramatic shift of tone for the author. Set in lovely Dayton Ohio, it’s the story of an underdog Green Party candidate’s unpropitious fourth run for Congress against a slick GOP pretty boy favorite, a sixth-term incumbent, an ex-military guy, totally full of hot air but a walking Kodak moment with a campaign war chest that made him nearly unassailable. The story incorporates a unique and powerful strategy for defeating the sort of ubiquitous blowhards which lately have monopolized Washington DC, are owned lock-stock-and-barrel by big corporations and Wall Street bankers, vote their pocketbooks, smugly ignore the needs of the vast majority of citizens, and have mutated contemporary American politics into a play-for-pay game show with legislative votes going to the highest bidder. An Unlikely Truth’s release early in 2014 was shrewdly timed for the mid-term congressional elections in November. Several congressional candidates expressed interest in the proposed strategy.
A non-fiction distillation of the political strategy embedded in An Unlikely Truth appeared in June 2015 as Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy. This manifesto offers a detailed, step-by-step plan for cleaning up the corruption in Washington DC, replacing the current crop of pay-for-play politicians with progressive, independent, minor-party candidates, who will be bound by legal contract when elected, to faithfully serve the interests of the voting public. Author Rachel expects the impact of this work will result in his being put on international no-fly lists and perhaps his becoming a target for drone assassination.
After the writing of these last two works, Rachel traveled extensively in Japan, and went back to America twice, then went a nine-nation tour of Europe. While floating down a river in Bern, Switzerland the idea of rewriting The Man Who Loved Too Much and releasing it in more digestible chunks as a trilogy, washed over him like the chilly waters of the Alps, which unsuccessfully tried to swallow and drag him to the rocky bottom. Now we behold his most recent published novels: The Man Who Loved Too Much – Book 1: Archipelago (released November 9, 2014), Book 2: Entendre (coming out March 2015), and Book 3: Oxymoron (published July 2015).
With the publication of the The Man Who Loved Too Much trilogy, he now has two more novels in the pipeline: Love Connection, a drug-trafficking love story set in Japan, and The Last Giraffe, an anthropological drama involving the worship and devouring of giraffes. It deliciously unfolds in sub-Saharan Africa.
Also in the works is a creative non-fiction work, The Naked American. It is allegedly an account of author Rachel’s travels since leaving America August 2006, but more likely the product of the voices in his head which have plagued him since puberty. A number of prominent publishers have declared that they will do everything in their power to make sure this book never sees the light of day.
The author’s last permanent residence in America was Portland, Oregon where he had a state-of-the-art ProTools recording studio, music production house, a radio promotion and music publishing company. He recorded and produced several artists in the Pacific Northwest, releasing and promoting their music on radio across America and overseas.
John Rachel now lives in a quiet, traditional, rural Japanese community, where he sets his non-existent watch by the thrice-daily ringing of sonorous temple bells, at a local Shinto shrine.