Saturday, July 27, 2019



Jules—former beatnik, hippie, experimental therapist, and now editor—is having one hell of a year. First, an old friend dies. Then his wife announces her retirement (and without her income, they’ll have to leave New York). Finally, Ralston—lifelong friend and devil’s advocate—shows up at their door in the midst of his own existential crisis . . . and apparently considering suicide.

Jules has no idea how to deal, so the two men set off on a road trip—to find a new home for Jules and Ritz, and possibly Rals.

Monkey Temple is a coming-of-old-age adventure about two best friends and rivals making one last attempt to rectify past failures and give meaning to their futures before it’s too late.

Book Details:

Title: Monkey Temple

Author: Peter Gelfan

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Adelaide Books (February 2019)

Print length: 325 pages


A Day in the Life

When I was asked to write about a typical day in my life, my first thought was that it would make for awfully boring reading. Get up, breakfast, sit down in front of my computer and write or edit. Read a bit. Answer emails, talk to a friend or two. Ho-hum. My publicist calls about my appearance on the Tonight Show? When pigs fly over the moon. Clearly that sort of blog wasn’t what I was being asked for.

Which brings us to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. You probably read about it in your high school physics text (or were supposed to), but W.B. Yeats explains it much closer to home and heart:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre  
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . .

As we grow up and then older, entropy’s relentless pecking takes on very personal meaning, especially when the things falling apart begin to include ourselves. There’s no escaping the process, but you can counteract it by putting things together. So I try, in every one of my boringly typical days:
•    To learn something new about writing. This often comes from tackling a problem that I or an editing client is having with a sentence, paragraph, character, or story. It’s rarely an isolated case, and usually there’s a general principle at work.
•    To learn something new about another topic I’m interested in. For me, this often entails reading scientific research or philosophical insight into the workings of human cognition—which of course ends up relating to writing.
•    To strengthen my bond with my wife, Rita. Pleasurable routines are part of it, but we also try to discover new things about each other, not so much by talking about ourselves as by discussing something different we did, saw, heard about, read about, remembered, or thought that day.
•    To contact, often though email, far-flung friends.
•    To go somewhere new in or around the city or meet someone new (tough to do every day).

Sure, there’s also travel and vacations, but building new order against the encroaching chaos hits me as something I need to work on every day.

Yeats’s falcon is long flown. But injecting atypicality into a typical day is one way to fledge some new ones.


Peter Gelfan was born in New York City, grew up in New Haven and the New York City suburbs, and attended Haverford College until he turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. He has traveled widely and lived in Spain, England, Florida, and Vermont. Found Objects, his debut novel, was published in 2013. He co-wrote the screenplay for Cargo, les Hommes Perdus, which was produced and released in France in 2010. He lives with his wife, Rita McMahon, in New York City, where he continues to write, work as a freelance book editor, and tutor writing in a public high school as part of PEN’s Writers in the Schools program.

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