Strangers and Pilgrims

Season 1 – Death of the Prophet Joseph Smith

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These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins

I almost titled Episode 9 of my podcast series, "These Fragments I have Shored Against My Ruins."  This is a reference to the end of Eliot's wasteland.

But, I didn't.  The entire time I was writing my podcast I was constantly putting in bits and references and allusions to literature, and pop culture, and I was always taking them out.  Trying to pare the podcast down so it was just history.  I tried to limit any tangential-editorializing of the story.

But, I still borrowed two ideas from T.S. Eliot in Episode 9 of my podcast.

The first idea comes from this line -- these fragments I have shored against my ruins.

Instead of having Episode 9 be in the 3 Act structure, like all my other episodes are, I decided to just put in a lot of loose fragments that relate to one another.  You can see relics of this idea in the script I wrote for the last episode in which I actually call each vignette 'fragment one, fragment two, fragment three', etc.

George Steiner said that modern literature is incomplete.  that it adopts a "poetics of the fragmentary, of fragments shored against the ruins."  And, that a fragmentary ending is a 'convention of noncompletion."

I didn't think about all that when I was writing the podcast.  I just liked the idea of ending the podcast with fragments.

The other idea I borrowed from T.S. Eliot's poem Little Gidding.  this is the last of the Four Quartets.

That idea came from these lines of poetry:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

I figured that I might as well do what T.S. Eliot said,  and since I started Episode 1 with Porter Rockwell in jail in Independence, Missouri -- I might as well end Episode 9 with Porter Rockwell in jail in Independence, Missouri.