Death of the Author


So, this is fun:

Okay, so, the author no longer exists once the work is published and out there in the world -- to be read and interpreted.

Heck, even the writing of the book (which was seemingly an original act) is suspect because everything the author has ever read, seen, or experienced potentially informed the work, and it's merely a slap-dash combination of all these influences that produced it.

Furthermore, without the author there to walk each and every reader through the text (and probably even if the author WAS there to do it), the reading becomes a kind of attempt to decode its meaning...

But, of course, meaning isn't the meaning of the text, but rather whatever meaning the text offers the individual reader, what is memorable about the text to that reader, what the story becomes, the lessons that stick -- if even any!

And the process is every bit as ephemeral and individual for each and every reader...of each and every book! All of it filtered through our own perceptions (-aka- prejudices and predispositions)

So there you have it, writers and readers: none of it matters, and nothing is real!

Considering the current state of affairs, I find this all very comforting! It dovetails nicely with my "pale blue dot" philosophy/approach to living...which is to say most of what we do doesn't matter beyond whatever tiny little circle of folks we have, that everything we do has value only in the doing, and in the giving of it, rarely beyond that, and that chances are all human effort, save whatever space-junk we blast beyond our tiny galaxy, will eventually be devoured by the expanding, exploding sun...(if not by humanity before that!)'s be as happy as we can, do our best to live lives we can be proud of, love as many people as well as we can, and do our level best to try not to worry too much!

Now go watch THIS, and laugh! And think.



Toxic Masculinity

With recent films like Goat, and Moonlight, and so much pre-election discussion of the real world dangers of toxic masculinity, I felt sure that now was the right time for my debut novel, Chinese Gucci. It seemed we were finally on the verge of a meaningful cultural examination.

Post-election, though...not so much.

After the election, I stopped submitting queries to agents, and seriously considered shelving the project indefinitely. It seemed that the mindsets the book set out to indict (toxic masculinity, flippant racism, sexism, white privilege) had not only re-emerged but were once again running rampant. America's history is stained by exactly these same mindsets -- a fact that deeply compromises our nation's otherwise glorious aspiration (however imperfect) of democracy and greater equality.

In short, I didn't feel like fighting.

Hell, it didn't feel like it was a fight that, as a species, we were actually interested in winning. Humans, I think, don't actually care about the "pursuit of happiness," or "liberty, and justice for all." No, no...most just want "happiness" and "liberty" and "justice" for themselves...and maybe a few other folks they know.

And that's dogshit.

I foolishly expect better of us. So, like it or not, feel up to it or not, we have to fight. Not eventually...we have to do it now. And however that fight looks for you, embrace it, do it, push yourself beyond your comfort zone, and help your part. Lock arms with those who share your vision, and stand up for the world you foolishly believe might one day exist.

To that end, I sent out another query last night. I'll keep pushing on Chinese Gucci, and everything else -- hoping to offer up something new for you all to read in 2017 and beyond.


P.S. -- For anyone interested, here's something of a sneak-peek at the kind of kid Akira (the character at the center of the novel) is. Or at least who he pretends to be...

Calling All Independent Filmmakers!

It seems, in big publishing, the book itself is a big, beautiful product and (unless we're talking one of writing's giants) the writer is just the means. As The Atlantic wrote recently, publishing is paying more and more to it's own 1%, putting all its eggs in fewer baskets. It's the same mindset responsible for the blatant rehashing of familiar franchises we see lining the interstates of American life, packing the shelves at big bookstores and choking the gigaplex with more god-awful summer movies. To put it bluntly: big publishers must stick to the formula if they hope to break even -- or so the thinking seems to go.

Independent presses are, according to the article, the place where biggest risks are taken. I very much agree. Of course almost none of the independent presses I know get the same coverage as even the most tepid rehashed chum. Which is a crying shame...but there it is.

So it's abundantly clear: we cannot make many waves alone. However...

I'm certainly close to last to this party, but if you haven't seen it...I've recently been really jazzed by Vimeo. Filmmakers of all stripes, cranking out all kinds of work (of various quality - to be fair), makes for a pretty great rabbit hole to fall down! From live-action, to animation, to documentaries, there's certainly something new and interesting to see here. And if you dig independent filmmaking, you should find a way to see some of this stuff.

And it got me thinking... I'd wager independent filmmakers are constantly looking for material, and probably gut-sick from hoping for a stray table scrap to fall from big publishing's lap. If so, I'd like to cordially invite them to plow the back catalogs of all the tremendous independent presses -- ones that have been publishing interesting and unheralded work and are certainly worthy of (and overdue for) some wider recognition.


Surely some of the massively intriguing small press novels I've read over the years could be developed into longer scripts...COULDN'T THEY?

So, for anyone who hadn't yet figured out this angle -- VIMEO, meet the independent press; independent press, check out Vimeo!

It's a wondrous time to be creating, and the simple truth is, if we want to do work that stands out, we have to do professional-level work, and take risks the establishment can't or won't. This may well be the antidote to the all the CINE-MUCK.

Still THIRSTY After All These Years...

Shochu in Korea

Way back in 2013, when THIRST first came out, some of you might remember all the DrunkSkull stickers and sundry that made its way around the world. Well, just this yesterday, another sticker landed in another faraway locale -- and here's the photographic evidence (with many thanks to Jocelyn!!)

File Under: Reading
If you've ever wondered why all the best TV ain't on network TV...well, it's the same reason all the exciting beer comes from microbreweries, and all the dangerous books come from the small press! CONNECT THE DOTS HERE.

File Under: Getting
William Taylor, Jr's To Break the Heart of the Sun -- the man hasn't written a bad book yet!

File Under: Watching
Hail, Caesar! - The breezy Coen Bros. romp hides the subtle soul-searching at the core.


Truth or Consequences...

The launch of AND TURNS STILL THE SUN AT DUSK BLOOD-RED gets closer every day. Have you signed up for the GIVEAWAY at GOODREADS? You should. The book wants you to read it as much, if not more, than you do!

In other news...

File Under: Rolling
A weekend getaway to Truth or Consequences, NM

In response to a challenge from the radio quiz show "Truth or Consequences" in 1950, this small New Mexico town changed their name from Hot Springs. Why Hot Springs? Because the town sits over a geothermal hot spring. You can rent kitschy little rooms, some with their own private tubs inside, and spend a weekend walking to a handful of cool restaurants, unique shops, and the like. Rumor has it Geronimo even soaked there...the only time in his life he was unarmed! Maybe not the top of the list for first time NM visitors, but a place worth visiting if you ever get the chance.

File Under: Watching
Tangerine - Great little film shot with 3 iPhones!
Ex Machina - Creepy & cool, Oscar Issac continues a solid run.
Love Streams - Rowlands & Cassavettes - I mean, doesn't anyone make charmingly enjoyable and imperfect movies anymore?

File Under: Bragging
Lori at the Spark, is looking forward to AND TURNS STILL THE SUN AT DUSK BLOOD-RED - Can't wait until you read it, Lori!

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