Radio Silence...

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I have been quiet. Well, quieter.

This has been intentional.

In the 2nd half of the year, I will probably not be as quiet.

Consider this the calm before the storm.

I've been working hard on a couple projects and have wanted to stay out of your social media feeds, and mostly off the radar in the hopes of currying enough social-media-favor to not annoy you all in future months.

If you want to know what's in the works before it is officially out, and get in on pre-orders when they are announced, the best way is by signing up for my NOTIFY LIST.

Okay...back to my radio silence...for now...

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!)...so...let'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.

 

 

The Novel as Cultural Criticism

The first thing I want novels to do is entertain. Ask the Dust. Post Office. Hangover Square. All terrific. I smile as the pages flip.

And after that, I want them to make me think...call it novels as cultural criticism. It makes for a pretty fascinating lens to read a yarn through. Beyond the narrative, Catcher in the Rye can be seen as post-war distrust of "traditional American values," or a rally-cry of individualism in the face of conformity; Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath as an anti-capitalistic screed; To Kill a Mockingbird as the not-so-color-blind scales of "justice"; On the Road as the bellwether for the American counterculture; The Sun Also Rises as a study of PTSD and the wounded masculinity of life post-war.

So, without overplaying my novel's hand too much, let me just say that THIS INTRIGUING ARTICLE has much to do with some of the underpinnings in what I hope is Chinese Gucci’s subtle cultural critique. It was a pleasant surprise, moving from draft to draft – learning that I’d started out writing about someone fake, only to discover just how much it all had to do with me personally and my life’s experiences. See, when I first tried writing novels, I figured you just made up a bunch of stuff.

Not so.

If you're doing it right, I now think there’s no way to avoid writing about yourself. Hopefully not in an obvious way – as the characters in the book are nothing like me. And yet: there is something familiar in all of them...something my Jungian shadow responds to, those rusty little hooks hiding in the subconscious! Novels are nothing if not an extraordinary vehicle for both learning about ourselves, and for exacting revenge in some literary way! On the surface, hopefully it’s a story that is unique and surprising enough to keep you turning pages – and beneath that, a deep, cold ocean. Think of it as a long-form debunking of all those lousy things about the world that I’ve foolishly always hoped I could fix!

5 Questions...

File Under: Blathering
Jared Carnie asked me 5 questions. I blathered on about indignantly about corporate publishing greedheads and bean-counters and the primal insult of work. Enjoy!

File Under: Mad Props
X-Ray Book & Novelty Co.


File Under: Listening
"Mean Old World" - Tina & Ike Turner - Ugh, so good!"
"Old Man Down the Road" - John Fogerty - You DO got to Hidy High-dy Hide!


File Under: Reading
Fierce Bitches - Jedidiah Ayres
Transit of Venus - Nancy Pogue LaTurner