This website is a collage of sources that fed into The Submission — a random snapshot of my brain when I was working on the novel. Some squares correspond to characters or locations in the novel; others concern history, art, politics, religion, gardens, and memorials. This Wall Street Journal essay gives a glimpse of how I used some of this material. While the creation of a novel is an inherently mysterious (grueling, baffling, frustrating) process, no book spontaneously generates, and I wanted to acknowledge that.
As a listing of sources this is by no means complete. There were many, many other things I read, watched, or listened to — from Philip Nobel’s acerbic and insightful book about Ground Zero, Sixteen Acres; to the daily round-up of architecture news from ArchNewsNow; to lots of Fox News, to a novel called Paradise, by Abdulrazak Gurnah, in which a garden figures prominently; to many books—across the spectrum—about Islam that offered inspiration or information. From time to time I may try to write about some of the things featured on this website, and some that were left out.