A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
DHARMA SUTRA has finally been released in paperback, hard back and two electronic editions. It’s taken over three years to get to this point. The original manuscript was 133,000 words long but I trimmed it down for a faster moving read. My plan was to release the book under Jeffrey Dharma’s name, as he is very much the inner me who has been trying to escape the confines of the Christian fundamentalist world I was born into. Jeffrey was released from his prison in January 2012 when I entered the Jagannath beach temple in Puri, India, one of the main settings of the novel. I was suffering from a combination of depression and suppression, not at all the man I wished to be. The simple words, ‘be happy’ from the mouth of the young Jagannath priest released Jeffrey from his cage and he filled me with his strong self-confidence. I planned to reward him by putting his name on the cover and it was to be my gift to him. All went well until two weeks before the release date, too many people were disturbed by the similarity of Jeffrey’s name to that of the Milwaukee murderer. This was deliberate on my part as I thought controversy is good publicity. In the first chapter Jeffrey’s father changes his name to Dai Dharma, a tribute to Jack Kerouac and becomes a world famous stunt motorcyclist.
“Dad changed his name by deed poll to Dharma, I was so proud of him that I adopted the name too. As my first name was Jeffrey, this decision would cause quite a few problems for me, when the activities of the Milwaukee Cannibal came to light in 1991. Not many people had the patience to allow me to explain, ‘No, he‘s D-A-H-M-E-R!‘”
I ran a Facebook poll, asking my friends whether I should publish under my own name or under Dharma’s. To my surprised 95% of them voted for David Pugh because I already had five Google pages under my own name with the suffix “comics” added. When they did a Google search on Jeffrey Dharma, Google replied saying, ‘Did you mean Jeffrey Dahmer?’ I decided that life was too short to correct Google and went with the majority’s suggestion. Unfortunately the British and European retailers were not notified of this fact. As of writing this blog entry Jeffrey Dharma has claimed the title of author of his story, DHARMA SUTRA. However American, Canadian, Australian and even Indian booksellers listed DHARMA SUTRA as written by the renowned comics artist and writer, David Pugh, which is emblazoned on the cover of both paperback and hardback editions worldwide.