This is one of the most beautiful animated films I’ve seen in a while. It makes me want to write about short animated films for an awesome new site.
We’ll see how that goes. But watch, love, and share.
People are saying very kind things about Twilight of the Wolves.
As soon as Twilight of the Wolves begins, you know it’s music. Music made by the hands digging deep into the underground, into determined earth-dirtying of the senses. The symmetry of notes makes this crystalline, each clause engineered into mantra-like potential. “And then he fell away, his life drifted away, the vision inside him, growing, rebuilding, creating newness, wholeness out of neverness. The song, nothing but the song, and Her eyes, ephemeral and purple, galactic dust swallowing him, and he swam in that twilit world of nothings and nowheres until it thickened, viscous, and filled him again.”
An absorbing read that offers readers a grim, bleak and dark tale. It paints a word in flames, dying from within. Imagine a dark night sky, with a sole star. You know something’s there but you can barely make it out. Well that star will grow and become a brighter star and perhaps light up the night sky until it is day. Well, that star is Sao.
Sao meets a dying god:
Because Connor reminded me of high school:
AWP is always one of the most fun things to happen every year. All these beautiful and insane people I know through the internet all arrive in the same place, drink too much, talk way too much, and don’t sleep enough. This year was no different, but it was also completely different.
I think this year was my favorite AWP yet, so hopefully this trend continues.
My first AWP was pretty intimidating. I didn’t really know very many people, didn’t really know what to do, and tried to do way too much, which resulted in me missing a lot of cool things and sort of wandering back and forth. I worked at the Lit Pub/MLP table where I got to hangout with JA Tyler, Molly Gaudry, Josh Denslow and a rotating cast of others. It was probably the best introduction to AWP for someone in my position. If you don’t know what to do, where to go, or who to talk to, just latch onto a table because people will think you’re important. It also gives you a break from the insanity that is the bookfair. I also got to finally meet a lot of the Velvet/Manarchy crew. I had known them for years and it was super awesome and fun to finally get to highfive and hug them in person, instead of just through the internet.
Last year was my second AWP and it was better than the first because I learnt to accept that you can’t see everything. You’re always going to miss out on most things, so just surround yourself with great people and let them guide you. Got to finally meet the CCM people, hangout with Phil Jourdan again, and hangout at the MLP/Dzanc table with JA Tyler and Matt Bell, which was awesome, of course. Though this year was better than the first, I still felt like I was running around, trying to see/meet/talk to as many people as possible.
That’s what made the difference this year. I felt much less of a need to explore and meet all the new faces and places and books and publishers. I feel like I met the group of people that I wanted to meet in 2013, and this year I got to spend more time with them, and get to know each of them better. In addition, the cast of characters grew. I got to meet Janice Lee and Peter Tieryas who are so so awesome. I wish I got to spend more time with both of them, but I’m really glad we had a few great talks. J David Osborne, too, was the bee’s knees and sort of completely different from who I expected him to be. JS Breukelaar was the big surprise for me, since I knew nothing about her, but then I spent hours just talking to her. She made me miss all my Aussie friends and reminded me how much I need to finally get there. Then there’s Rose O’Keefe and Patrick Wensink who are just so awesome and talked with me about ballet, because I guess we all really just needed to do that for a while. D Foy and Jeff Jackson are two of the coolest guys around and I’m excited to see D in Minneapolis in a few months. Oh, and then there’s Stephen Graham Jones. Coolest and nicest guy around. I’ve been reading his novels for almost a decade now and it made him seem intimidating at first, but he’s just a great person who also happens to write my favorite books.
And then there was the core crew from the previous year: Michael Seidlinger, Kyle Muntz, Cameron Pierce, Kirsten Pierce, and Alexander Allison. Michael, unfortunately, fell ill, which was a huge bummer, but I had an awesome time with Kyle [as always] and it was great to talk more with Kirsten and Cameron, who might be two of my favorite people in the world. They remind me of two of my best friends and they’ve convinced me that I need to be in Bizarrocon this year. And Alex was very english and very awesome and just always interesting.
And it seems like I’m falling into that bizarro crowd and I honestly think they might be the best people to know. To be honest, before I met Kirsten and Cameron last year, I thought bizarro was just a silly genre full of stupidity and weirdness. But you can’t talk to Cameron and Kirsten and ignore how intelligent they are, and if you pick up any of their books, you know there’s a lot more happening there than just strangeness. But most of the people I met this year are tied to bizarro in some way, and they’re all so awesome, so down to earth, and just so intelligent. They’re all normal people, and I think they’re actually quite a bit normaler than a lot of the literary genre folks. I really dig the people, their sense of community, and I’ve come to find that I really love their odd little books.
But, yeah, probably I’m forgetting people. Molly Gaudry and Jason Cook were great too! Seeing Molly always just sort of warms my heart, and Jason wears the dopest suits. Ah–Bud Smith and Sam Snoek-Brown too! Michael Kazepis and Nick Mamatas and and and-
Okay, I’ll just leave it there. If I forgot to mention you, just know I love you privately.
There are only thirteen copies so buy them all up as fast as you can so no one else can have it early!
If you need more information about the novel, you can always find it here.
AWP tomorrow, so I need to finish a week’s worth of work tonight so I can go there and not have to worry about the world beyond.
Should be a good time. I was going to write about some other stuff today, but I’ll leave the unpleasantness alone. I think I said it enough yesterday.
For now, just love and be loved.
And buy my book! It’s the greatest book about wolves you’ll ever read.
Thought I’d just share some thoughts about what I’m seeing over and over again lately. The first part was shared on facebook a few days ago, but I thought I’d just drop it here, since nothing’s changed. But let’s look at what’s happening internationally, and let’s look at it from our perspective, or the perspective shoved at us.
I think we’re seeing some interesting and uncritical looks at current events recently, which remind me of the KONY campaign from a few years ago. The situation in Ukraine and Venezuela are quite different than that, but the reaction is similar, in that people aren’t really looking at what’s happening, or what has happened, or the context surrounding the events.
Since the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, we’ve started looking at any civil unrest as a sign that change is necessary, but it’s interesting to look at the Arab Spring and Occupy Movements in comparison to these.
Ukraine’s teetering on civil war and the opposition forces have taken Kiev. These opposition forces appear to now be controlled by an extremely right wing group. An extreme fascist group whose influence has grown immensely. If you think the Tea Party is bad, Svoboda will shock you.
In Venezuela, the far right wing and hyper-rich are calling for a coup. Western media portrays Leopoldo Lopez as a peace loving activist, which ignores that he is one of the wealthiest men in the country, trained and educated in the US, or how he was a part of the US backed 2002 coup of democratically elected president Hugo Chavez. A lot of the issues Venezuela’s currently facing are caused by these hyper-wealthy families, who are manipulating the currency and stockpiling things like food. Make no mistake, these are not the faces of democracy pounding at the gates of a tyrant. The claim that the government owns all media there is also completely absurd, since the opposite is largely true. If you think Fox News is unfair to our President, take a look at what the news casters in Venezuela said about Chavez.
People should have the right to protest everywhere, and violence, in my opinion, is always incorrect action, but I’m also a young white american man living in the midwest. I didn’t live in a country like Venezuela, which had an 80% poverty level before the Bolivarian government was elected. I never lived in a former Soviet state and have to live through all those issues. My pacifism can, in a sense, be seen as a state of privilege because I’ve never had to literally fight for my life against a government that wanted me poor or dead, and I’ve never had to fight for my life to keep a democratically elected government in power.
I’m positive people in Venezuela and Ukraine have plenty of reasons to protest. I’m not an expert on either place, but I do know that there’s more going on than what gets memed around the internet. Not all revolutions are positive, and not all students are seeking a leftist utopia.
And now let’s turn that inward, and look at who we are.
Everyone’s angry at Alec Baldwin, which is justifiable but also a big who cares. An aging actor whose relevance slides away more every year goes crazy and is given a platform. Blah blah blah.
But then there’s this:
Broadway has changed, by my lights. The TV networks, too. New York has changed. Even the U.S., which is so preposterously judgmental now. The heart, the arteries of the country are now clogged with hate. The fuel of American political life is hatred. [. . .] And this is all about hate. It’s Hate Incorporated. But the liberals have taken the bait and run in the same direction—and it’s just as corrosive. MSNBC, in its own way, is as full of shit, as redundant and as superfluous, as Fox.
[. . .] People are angry that in the game of musical chairs that is the U.S. economy, there are less seats at the table when the music stops. And at every recession, the music is stopping.
It’s something I think about a lot. Everything is hate, everything is focused on our separation and differences. There’s no thought given to unity or celebrating how much we are the same. Everything is about containing people, cutting up their identity and lumping them into one group or another, and it doesn’t matter what the group is. What matters is that the group is not ME. We see lists of things blah blah blah can’t understand. We see essay after essay that mostly amounts to the writer and his/her group being correct and fair and everyone else being incorrect and horrifying.
This isn’t a liberal or conservative thing. I think liberals congratulate themselves and pat themselves on the back often for trying [often halfheartedly] to support and give voice to the marginalised, but then, in the same breath, spew vitriol at their generalisations about the religious or old or conservative or whatever group you want to call them. Everything is hate and everyone is constantly spitting on everyone else, because they dare disagree, because they’re audacious enough to not agree.
This version of feminism is wrong because of such and such a reason, or this version of multiculturalism is incorrect because of blah blah blah or white/black/chinese/hispanic/old/young/conservative/liberal/mustlim/christian/jewish/atheist/communist/anarchist/capitalist/gay/transgender people are destroying everything we know and understand because they’re not ME.
Everything is hate hate hate and separation, delineation, cutting up, and sectioning off. Just look at all the articles and essays coming out every day from Salon, The Atlantic, the New Yorker or New York Times or Huffington Post or any other media outlet of that stature or nature, and look at how many are about separating people and delineating one other. Critique is one thing, and I think it’s extremely valuable, maybe the most valuable thing [and I'm often probably too persistent and harsh with my own critiques of the world] we have, but it often seems that we have nothing else. We have no ideology of unification, or even kindness and support.
Everyone is not ME and everyone who is YOU is always wrong.
That sounds like the new mantra of the world, and it’s not just an american or western thing, though perhaps we’re inundated more here because we’re all constantly connected to this neverending festering pile of hate and loathing.
And so we’re putting ourselves in a hole that we’ll never escape from. We spiral in this hate and we drink in its intoxicating and festering feeling, because it brings us into these tighter, though splintered groups. Social media has made this worse, I think. Everything spirals so quickly because no one takes the time to examine what’s actually happening. With the KONY video from a few years ago we had the perfect meme. It was well done, articulate, had a definite purpose and goal, and it worked. People bought into it, because almost no americans understand anything about africa, let alone a specific country in that continent. I’m guilty of the same ignorance, but I also wasn’t convinced by this youtube video calling for the US military to invade a sovereign nation to catch a single man who may have died years ago.
We don’t stop to think, we just react. We react and we react and we react. There’s an injustice here! Post about it, pretend you know and understand the history of that country or region or the context of the situation because as long as you’re saying what everyone else is saying, no one can blame you. In fact, you might get blamed for not being compassionate enough! for not decrying this hate quickly enough!
It’s a well written article and a well made video. They’re clear and concise and direct. They speak to the youth of america about injustice in a country that most of us know nothing about, though american media has called it a dictatorship for the last fifteen years [despite being consistently re-elected democratically with massive support]. So we buy into this. We love it. We see these and we think that america should go in and fix the problems of this backwards third world dictatorship, this tyrannical power holding a nation hostage.
The problem with the video is that it’s absurd and full of propaganda and complete lies. The issue that needs to be addressed with the website is that it was started and is run and funded by supporters of the 2002 coup, and has a very antagonistic representation of the Bolivarian government.
A little history lesson about Venezuela:
Venezuela is a very wealthy nation in resources. It has the largest oil supply in the world. For centuries, South America has been exploited by western powers through the collaboration of the wealthy class. The super wealthy of Venezuela used to own the country. Venezuela had an 80% poverty level and most people couldn’t read or write and had no health care. Hugo Chavez mobilised these disenfranchised millions and won the election in 1998. Over the many years he was president [in my opinion, too long, though there are reasons for that], he worked to change that situation, which infuriated the hyper-wealthy, because he was taking the economy out of their hands. The poverty level has dropped dramatically. Everyone has access to education and healthcare, and children growing up under the Bolivarian government are the first people in the history of their family to even know how to read and write. In 2002 the hyper-wealthy, backed by US money, led a coup, ousting Chavez. The new ‘president’ repealed the democratically voted on constitution and instilled a dictatorship. Within one day, the poor and the young mobilised to bring Chavez back and kick out the usurpers. The US has spent millions of dollars every year to gain control of Venezuela and its oil by funding these hyper-wealthy and training them to destabilise the nation. Chavez died, and his successor won the following election. It was closer than any election since the Bolivarian government was first elected, but it was perfectly legal, fair, and democratic.
The commodity shortages are for a variety of reasons, but a big one is the hoarding of the hyper-wealthy, who are also manipulating the currency, causing massive inflation.
Now, these students in these protests are in fact students and they’re Venezuelan, but they’re predominantly the children of the wealthy class. They were educated abroad and they speak english, which makes them perfect for packaging the message to the western world. We hear the voice of a young woman speaking english and we immediately identify.
But who tells the story of the many impoverished people who support the Bolivarian government? Who tells the story of those who don’t speak english?
Well, no one here.
But I’m getting sidelined.
The point is that no one bothers to examine Venezuela’s history or even the context of the protests. We react. We react. We react.
But no one thinks.
And when we do think, it’s only to separate. It’s only to split up the world and society, to section people into different groups.
No one is allowed to simply be a human anymore. You need to carry flags marking what your social, religious, and economic beliefs are. It’s easier for us to dismiss you or agree with you if we know that your flag is the same as ours.
But I guess I wrote a lot of words to same something very simple:
That’s really all there is to say. Be kind. Love one another. Try to understand each other. Find the places where we come together, and tie us tighter. When you see cracks, work to fill them in, rather than actively chip away at them constantly.
This will not go viral. This will go largely unread. But I also didn’t write this for marketing. I didn’t write this for an audience in mind, and that’s why it won’t succeed in a meme market. If this were a real essay, I’d structure it better and cite all the sources I should’ve cited. Several months ago I decided to stop sharing everything political with the internet, because it seemed like no one cared or no one read. But if you care about any of these things I’ve said here, look them up. Do research on Hugo Chavez, and not just what mainstream western media has to say. Look at what’s happening in Ukraine, and actually look at the result we’re seeing there: Fascism–neoNazis. Take a minute to look at all the articles filling the social media world day after day. You don’t even have to read them. Usually the headline tells you everything: 10 Reasons Why this Group or Person is Wrong about Everything, 5 Ways Men will Never Understand Women, 20 Straight Things Gays Don’t Care About, 11 Ways White Feminists Don’t Represent Me, and on and on.
That’s not to devalue critique, and many of these kinds of articles are very useful for a lot of reasons, but if we never look at society or the world as a place of synthesis, we’ll never get there.
Be kind. Live well. Be kind.
I’ve been writing for a long time. I started trying to get published at the very end of 2008 and was pretty consistently published through 2009 and 2010 in various journals. Back then I thought what mattered was being out there, no matter where it was. This is obviously untrue, especially since many of the places I was once published are no longer even websites.
But I don’t think I really took writing seriously until I finished my first novel about three and a half years ago. A lot’s changed since then, especially my style and goals, but I wanted to talk a little bit about the road between 2008 and now.
For a while there were a bunch of sites that told you who you wrote like. Probably there still are, but the point was to drop a bit of your writing or a whole giant chunk of it into this site and it’d tell you who you write like. I’ve done it a few times and always received surprising answers. I’ve also received a lot of surprising comparisons from people that have read my work.
Here’s a list of those I remember:
- HP Lovecraft
- James Joyce
- Virginia Woolf
- Edgar Allen Poe
- Nick Cave
- Thomas Pynchon
- Samuel Beckett
- Craig Clevenger
- Joseph McElroy
- Ursula K Le Guin
- Haruki Murakami
- Steve Erickson
- Steven Erikson
- Ian Irvine
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Franz Kafka
- Norman Mailer
And I can’t remember who else. I agree with some and disagree pretty strongly with others, and then there are those I’ve never read, so there’s no way for me to really compare. I think it’s good to be told you sound like those you’ve never encountered and not so great to be told you sound like your favorite authors.
As much as I love a lot of people on that list, I have no intention of being them, or writing like them. It’s something I had to discover. Back in 2008 and 2009, I realised I was just aping my heroes, and that’s the worst possible feeling to have. To think that all your hard work was just bad copying or rehashing. And so I pushed myself away from who I was.
Almost every year I try to relearn how to write. I think this is essential. Of course reading is the best way to learn new ways to do things, but so is just trying to break yourself away from who you were. I look back at my first novels and I don’t know if I could write them again for a lot of different reasons. But I keep pushing to be a different version of me.
That’s the most important thing. People tell you to find your voice and sort of cling to it, but I think that’s actually pretty bad advice. You should always be looking for new voices, for new mouths to speak through, for new hands to feel with and new eyes to see with. Certainly there’re a lot of similarities between myself and myself, but I want every book to at least feel different, if not be completely different.
Which is a struggle for me, as I rely on multiplicity and polyphonic structures. I find it almost impossible to stick with a single narrator for longer than 10,000 words. I’ve done it several times, but it’s just not normal for me to do. I need to switch directions, juxtapose people and ideas. That’s why I set out to write a novel with 101 narrators, because I wanted to do polyphony as big as I could so I could just be done with it. And since I’ve still not finished that novel, I’m still writing multi-narrator novels, but I’m working past it. I moved to third person, which gives me some breathing room, as I narrate in a sort of closed floating way, like the camera in Gasper Noe’s Irreversible. And that gives me some freedom of form and style, but my third person style, because I put so many rules on it, sort of has the same feel across novels and stories, which is not ideal, but I think part of that is because other people don’t follow my rules and so they can talk about the internality of a character while still playing at third person narration. But this’ll get me into a whole thing about the rules I make and I don’t want to talk about that.
But maybe I should, in a general way.
Make rules for yourself. If you rely on something, such as multiple narrators or jumps in time, force yourself to write a single narrator in real time. That’s actually what my second novel is. It’s a failure, but it was 40,000 words of unbroken first person present tense narration. I achieved my goal. I didn’t write a very good novel, but I did what I set out to do, and I learnt a lot in doing so.
Constantly force yourself away from your habits and your comforts. If you only write realism, throw yourself into fantasy or science fiction. If you only write genre, shoot for something literary. I’m constantly trying to write in different genres, and though I often fail, I learn something on the way. Part of it, for me, at least, is that I don’t research a genre before I write it. I’ve been trying to write hardboiled noir for a while and I just can’t get there. I could learn a lot if I just read some books, but I want to find the genre in my own backwards way. I don’t want to walk through the front door everyone else walks through. I want to climb the tree and jump onto the roof, break open the window and climb into its bedroom.
So make yourself rules, and then break them.
Find your voice, and then disassemble it.
Know who you are as a writer, and then rewrite it.
I rarely give advice about writing because I think most advice is pointless, but I guess you can consider this my bit of writing advice.
but you can start over.
We’ve had several very difficult months and it felt broken, and maybe it was–I believed it was–but we’re starting over and trying to relearn how to love one another.
In other news, I threw away about 15,000 words of my giant monster novel and have been working on it, but I’m throwing away what I have now too.
Nothing’s working the way it’s meant to so I’m going to move on to another project for now. I’ll come back to this because it’s the greatest idea I ever had and also the greatest title I’ve ever thought of.
Everything is in a state of flux, but I think we’re finding out balance, slowly. I move slow. I heal slow. Happiness isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
You shall be my roots and
I will be your shade,
though the sun burns my leaves.
You shall quench my thirst and
I will feed you fruit,
though time takes my seed.
And when I’m lost and can tell nothing of this earth
you will give me hope.
And my voice you will always hear.
And my hand you will always have.
For I will shelter you.
And I will comfort you.
And even when we are nothing left,
not even in death,
I will remember you.
I’ve been continuing my movie a day journey, but I can’t remember everything I’ve watched. I’ve done some rewatching too.
I’ll just list most of them:
The Great Mouse Detective
Adrift in Tokyo, which was really quite great.
Once Upon a Time in the West
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, I think I already talked about this, but it really is amazing.
I can’t remember what else. We’ll see what I end up watching today.
In flux, in confusion, but I like this.
Finished the first draft of my graphic novel, which is maybe too insular, emotional, and non-narrative. I’m going to let it sit for a few months and maybe rewrite it when I can see those images clearly again.
Call it a soundtrack.
Life was meant to get easier but I don’t think it ever does. It doesn’t necessarily get harder, but ease and life seem to never go hand in hand the way they should.
I’ve not made a post like this in a long time. Not since I discovered that people actually come here and read what I say. This private corner of the internet’s been opened up, and though all those old posts exist, very little of my life now goes in here. It’s a strange turn, for this to become sort of a marketing thing, or whatever a blog is meant to be. But it stopped being about me and started being about the world around me, which isn’t bad, and I probably prefer it, but this post is a reaching back, in a sense, and it’ll probably be unpleasant to read and write.
I’ve spent most of my life alone. About twenty four of the twenty six years I’ve been alive. For a long time this bothered me, depressed me horribly. I believed in love, and I believed there was some for me, somewhere. I fell in love before. I fell in love often, was reckless with my heart, with affection, with all the bits that made me up. I gave myself away, recklessly, expecting nothing, maybe even wanting nothing. But I hoped somewhere in the maelstrom of love and heartache and pain and depression and horrifying loneliness, I’d find that love, that cure for the hole inside me.
I made mistakes. Countless ones. I was hurt along the way, sometimes too deeply, and I’m sure I caused my fair share of carnage in the lives of others. It’s the kind of that makes me sometimes wonder if I’m a bad person, if maybe I’ve always been, and that the reason for all the isolation and loneliness is because I’m a trainwreck neverending, loving poorly or maybe selfishly or maybe just not really loving at all. Just taking.
And that would be the worst, to discover that I’ve only been taking from so many people for so many years.
But I believed in love, even after every heartbreak. And they hit me hard. Through high school I drank too much alcohol and slept almost never. There were weeks when I only slept a handful of hours, and there was a particular week, after I broke my heart all to pieces, that I sort of slipped into surreality and delusions, because–as I discovered–you need to dream in sleep, or you start dreaming while awake. It was a frightening time in my life, high school. I remember it oddly fondly, but I was less than happy. I was stupendously unhappy. I drank nearly every day, spent all night awake thinking so many things that only hurt me more. I was at odds with myself. I couldn’t see clearly. I couldn’t see life and light. I was in love with Death and thought I’d find peace if only I could discover what it meant to be loved, what it felt like, what it looked like.
And I thought I did, for a while. But, as is normally the case for ridiculously unwell people, things didn’t end well, and I crashed. But as time went by and the isolation remained, the loneliness festered, I found ways to channel that energy and deal with the absence. I still looked for love everywhere, gave where I could, but I really was just a nonsense ball of wreckage wandering through college. But I also began to learn. I cultivated my isolation. I stopped looking at the absence as an enemy, but as a confrontational friend, and I poured myself into myself, over and over. It wasn’t until I was nineteen that I realised that I liked myself, and that realisation was one of the happiest of my life. Not only did I like who I was, but I genuinely enjoyed myself.
I made me happy, and a lot of life became easier after that.
I mean, I had always been sort of a loner, but I’ve always enjoyed people [though I often can't stand the sight of humans] and enjoyed their company. But my natural inclination was always isolation. I enjoyed sitting in my room and reading or listening to CDs or drawing or writing or just staring at the walls for hours as my imagination created new worlds for me to live in. I was sort of impossibly in my head, and it wasn’t until I was probably seventeen that I really started to live outside it. And, I mean, how could you love someone who’s not actually with you when you’re together? How could you even enjoy their company?
I’m sort of jumping around a lot, I guess, so don’t look at this as chronological, but picture it as swirling effluvia of my brain and heart.
In Ireland I sought escape. Escape from the demons and ghosts who haunted me. Love that haunted me. The face of so many women who were so kind to me, who I wish I had been better for. But I found my isolation in Ireland and it began to comfort me. I wandered Dublin for days by myself. Often the most interesting times of my weekends were after my friends and I parted ways. All the strange people I would meet in the streets at 3am and all the strange adventures we’d go on. One off friends who carried me through the night, and I enjoyed my time with them immensely, but the best part was that it was barely ever real. Just a few hours with people whose names I didn’t know wandering Dublin in the rain and the dark, causing havoc and laughing loud, eating too many kebabs. My loneliness also struck me there as an affliction, and I realised how dangerous it could be, how missing people, loving people, and looking for personal value in them would tear the world apart, and leave you a weeping mess, afraid or unable to get out of bed and wander the streets you love.
But, once out there, the wind would hit me in such a way, or the sun would peer behind a cloud, and I’d find myself smiling, remembering that life is all right. It’s good to be alive, even if it’s massively absurd and sort of inane.
For all the ravages of loneliness and depression, which, for me, are sort of strongly linked. My depressive episodes are linked to a lot of different things, and most of them have to do with a looming apocalyptic weight that crushes me, but isolation is sort of an everpresent ghost haunting me. I collapse into it, in both good and bad ways.
I crave my isolation at times. I’ve cultivated it so long, and become so comfortable in it, that I miss it sometimes. But then I also crash into it, with existential calamity all around.
I feel addicted to my isolation, which really isn’t the same thing as loneliness, though I’m using them sometimes synonymously. I need it and I crave it, but it’s a disease. It’s no good to be alone, and I know that.
When I moved to South Korea, I sort of gave up on finding love. I had just turned twenty three, and I guess I thought it wasn’t for me. A family, a wife, children–I couldn’t even picture it, wasn’t even sure I wanted it. I still fell in love often, gave my heart away, was reckless with the person who is me, but I never thought any of it would last, didn’t even care if it didn’t. I met beautiful people there and I know I was kinder than the me in high school or college. I was a better person, more able to understand and relate to humans. And so, though I remained alone, I found shelter in the love of others, the perfect moments of love we shared in that country that felt, for a while, like home.
And then I fell in love again, recklessly, and I love her still.
But the disease is still here, and it eats at me. At us. I don’t really know how to make it better or what to do about it. But I know that this goes on forever, this isolation, this disease, that spreads and grows. The more time you spend alone, the more you cultivate that isolation, the more it grows and the deeper it becomes, until, sometimes, you’re feeling too much or not enough, like the world is exploding within you or like it’s happening in another room, behind paned glass.
My life has become strange, and I’ve grown strange inside of it. I no longer know what I want, or what I lack.
I know that the absence cannot be filled by another. Loneliness cannot be cured by love, though it seems like it should be. So this is something I need to do better. Something I need to discover.
I love you.
There’s so much going around facebook right now that I can’t keep up, so I’ll try to dump it all here.
Kyle Minor press:
All right, I think that catches us up.
Oh, and some things about me:
Cover art for my forthcoming novel Noir: A Love Story done by Ryan W Bradley.
There are days and weeks and years I want to disappear, but there’s no such thing as privacy anymore. Privacy is a modern invention and it died with the internet. I want to disappear though.
I often wonder what it means now that privacy is an illusion, a remnant only fixed to memory. Who are we without the interior world to hide in? If all must be known–I want to disappear.
I feel unwell. Unkind. Sorrowful.
It’s so cold. I fear I’ll freeze in this nowhere.
I’m writing it out. I’m writing to remember and to understand. I’m writing a novel to make you fit inside my head and understand.
I feel very confused and trapped and lost lately. It’s not the kind of thing to share with the world. It’s the kind of thing I keep mostly inside. I don’t share much with anyone.
The world isn’t what we believe it is but I started writing 13 Angels Screaming at the Mountain again, and I completed Part One, finally, only to discover the entire structure of the novel will now be quite different. Or, I’m going to write it linearly, but then I’ll cut it all up and make it actually interesting. I wanted it to be a nonfragmented novel, but I only write properly in fragments.
It’s been only a few days. I’m hungry and cold all the time. Everything is cold.
It’s an unpleasant season.
In twenty days I’ll be in Seattle and I don’t know where I’m staying.
I miss rain and Prague and Busan and Munich. I miss Dublin in 2009. I miss Lily Belle.
I miss so many people, places, and moments. I miss it all.
Makes you feel weird about yourself. Or it makes me feel weird about myself. It’s bad for the heart.
I have some work I need to catch up on. This week has been difficult, to say the least. Hearts are fragile things. It started on a pretty unhappy note, and I don’t know if it’s getting better, but I feel like I’m able to be more productive today. Hoping to finish Part One of 13 Angels Screaming at the Mountain, which has been forcibly pushed aside for a couple weeks, despite my best efforts. After that, I want to start on the graphic novel.
Let’s talk about movies, since it’s been awhile since I posted about what I’ve been watching. I’ve been keeping up with my movie a day schedule, sometimes watching a few each day, and since I’ve watched so many since last posting about them, I’ll just do brief recaps, because none of them have been very exceptional.
Rewatched the entire Lord of the Rings in a marathon with the roommates. What’s funny about watching them all back to back is that you really get to see all the problems with them. The first one is clearly the best, and only because it’s structured just like a horror film, and uses a lot of horror techniques. The problems with the following two are related to their success and the time between releases. I think Jackson probably went back in with all the new money and tried to make them more epic high fantasy in tone, which also made them sort of hokey and awkward. Some of the funniest moments happen whenever the main characters encounter any other character. No one ever has a normal conversation, or even interaction. Everything’s piled with awkward and bizarre. Legolas is constantly saying the strangest things you’ll ever hear anyone say, and it all seems so out of nowhere. And then he’s always looking around, shiftyeyed. I can’t remember what else was funny/weird about it, but there are a lot of things. Everything in those films is super weird.
The Man of Tai Chi has some super awesome action sequences intercut with Keanu Reeves proving that he’s an alien. He clearly was raised by wolves and only learnt to speak human language as an adult, and he learnt from zeroing in on William Shatner’s Captain Kirk. Stick around for the fight scenes, but pay attention to Reeves. It’s the closest we’ll get to a truly alien performance.
Project A is awesome because Jackie Chan is awesome.
Rewatched The Dark Knight and it’s still awesome, and it’s really awesome in comparison to Equilibrium, which I watched for the first time a few days after. That movie is just hilariousbad.
Thor: The Dark World is as silly as the original, but it lacks the purposeful humor. Everyone’s still always wearing armor, and really weird armor, at that, but this time everything’s so serious. It really cripples the film. It always seemed weird to me that Kenneth Brannagh directed the first Thor, but now I see what he really added to it. He knew how to handle inherently silly material, but he gave us stakes that we sort of cared about by making us enjoy the characters. This new one’s too serious and, well, silly.
Airplane is just silly in a lot of the right ways, but, I mean, it has sort of 70s casual racism and sexism, so there’s that. But it’s hard to take anything in that movie seriously, as it’s just a series of gags and oneliners.
Cutie and the Boxer is a great documentary about art, and the sacrifices it leads to. It tore their family apart, but they’re still together, sort of wallowing in misery. It’s tough to watch at times because you realise what’s happened to them and why, but it’s also full of beautiful moments. It shows love in all it’s horror and perfection, which are often happening at the same time.
I can’t remember what else I’ve watched. Mostly silly things and action movies. Sometimes you need that.
Now to get back to the real work.
I’m lagging behind.
All right, so there are a lot of things to note in here. I’ll start with other people’s business and work my way to my own things.
J David Osborne, the man behind Broken River Books, has his short story collection currently available for free on the kindle.
Jeremy Robert Johnson has a sampler available on the kindle for just one dollar.
The awesome Chris Deal has his first full length collection available for just a few dollars on kindle.
Cameron Pierce has something very cool for free on the kindle right now.
It’s been a hectic time for free things on the kindle lately, and I don’t know really how to keep up. I have lots of reviewing to do soon, which means I have lots of reading to do now.
Anyrate, onto me.
I’m sure most of you are now aware that my novel Twilight of the Wolves is coming soon. If you want to get it early, you can check out the Goodreads Giveaway, or you can review it for SF Signal or Heavy Feather Review. There are several other places I’d love to see it reviewed at, and if you’re interested in doing that, please contact me, because I have a book with your name on it! And, if you’re willing to wait, you can simply pre-order it on Amazon.
As a sort of companion piece to Twilight of the Wolves, I’ve released Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp, which is set in the same world, but is intended for a YA audience. It’s a novella available for one dollar on the kindle, for this month. I hope you love it. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve written recently.
In a few months, I’ll also be releasing an illustrated paperback version with artwork done by the amazing Jazmyn Mares. Here’s a quick sketch she did of the protagonist of Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp:
I’m crazy excited for that version to become real and alive for everyone. The story will remain the same, but it’ll have beautiful works of art inside.
Also, this is the first part of a series that’ll probably stretch for about ten novellas following her life. I’m excited to write the rest of it, and even more excited now that I have such amazing artwork to work with.
Up next, working on a graphic novel with Jazmyn and finishing my giant monster novel, which I’ve had to take a frustratingly long break from, because I need to make money sometimes.
So it goes. But, yeah, what else?
I hate winter and always have, but this month’s treated me very well. I had some short stories accepted to journals. My indiegogo campaign become fully funded! I got copies of my soon to be released novel. I got artwork for some novellas that I have secret plans for. I got the artwork for a graphic novel I’m going to be starting next week.
There are other things, too, but I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone who’s made this month amazing. By helping me with my indiegogo campaign, you’ve given me hope and security, and you’ve nearly erased the horrible situation I fell into.
I’m very hopeful this year. I believe it should be a good one.
I hope it turns out well for all of you.
Thanks again, endlessly.
Artwork done by the beautiful and awesome Jazmyn Mares. I wish she had a website so I could point you towards more of her art, but this will be out soon.
And she also did the artwork for the graphic novel I’ll be starting next week, and then we’ll have many more surprises in the future.
The start of a very cool artistic relationship.
Look out for this soon.
It’s recently come to my attention that a few people have unfriended me on facebook. It seems like this is a sore subject for many, especially considering the whole fiasco at HTMLGiant the other month. I’m mostly curious about what it is that I did that caused these unfriendings, since one of these people even gave to my indiegogo campaign, which means the unfriending was pretty recent.
That’s not to say I blame them or even hold it against them. I think a lot of people take unfriending far too seriously and personally. It’s hard for me to do that, since I used to unfriend people almost constantly. Up until 2010, I tried to keep my friend count around 300, because I didn’t see a point in having so many friends online. I also only sent maybe a handful of friend requests out until 2011, when I was living in Korea and didn’t have a phone so facebook was my only real form of communication. And so, for me, facebook hasn’t ever really been a personal reflection of my like and/or dislike of people. It was more about making space, because what is the real purpose of having 1,000 friends?
I remember judging people super hard in college when they had 1,000 friends, and I thought it was absurd when people had even more than that. I’m certain a lot of people probably took my unfriending as something personal or accusational back then, when, to me, all it meant was that we probably hadn’t spoken within six months.
Now I’m crawling towards the 1,000 friend mark and it still feels absurd. Even more absurd now that the majority of my friends are people I’ve met only once, and many who I’ve yet to meet. Such is the life of an independent artist part of a pretty vibrant community of other dummies playing at art. And the strangest thing is that I love these people. I talk to some of them more than I talk to my family members. They were there to help me when I was scammed. They were there to encourage me when I was tearing out my brain and heart and painting page after page with the wreckage.
Which brings me to something else about facebook: those people who use it for pure social interaction seem to disappear. I rarely see posts by people from high school or college, and I think it’s because most people grow past it. I actually wouldn’t use it at all, if not for the connection to all the wonderful writers and greater community. Taking a permanent leave from facebook is, essentially, cutting ties with so many people who simply do not exist within easy access, but who I value immensely as people and friends. And so I keep facebook, almost begrudgingly, but I also sort of completely love social media. It’s a tool, and it’s a tool that adapts to you. You get to design its purpose and cater it to your interests.
I would say that I use it primarily as a networking service and a collection of the day’s news, with the added feature of allowing me to keep in touch with friends who I rarely see. So facebook has become sort of a collection of resources. I get my news, I get connection, I get networking, and I get to spout off my own personal brand of nonsense.
It gives me a platform to reach too many open ears.
Which brings me to yet another point!
We act like facebook, and social media in general, is a large public forum. And, in a sense, it is. But I think it’s more accurate to think of it as millions of overlapping private forums. What I say on facebook is public, and what you say is public, but what you say on my wall, or what you comment on my posts becomes a part of my private forum. And I get to control that. And the same is true of your wall.
And this is why blocking, unfriending, whatever–none of that feels necessarily personal to me. So, if these people who unfriended me meant it personally, and that’s more than completely possible, it’s hard for me to feel insulted by it.
I mostly just felt strange upon realising it, because I’ve interacted with these people, and not even that long ago.
And people have the right to unfriend or block me. I think I’m a pretty likeable person, but I’m confident that there are people out there who despise me and all the things I do. That’s part of being alive, yeah? And my politics–those don’t exactly make me friends, if you get me. I’m a radical type, and I’m not afraid to yell it into the night. And I’m sure there are those who find my humor the opposite of funny, or my frequent updates as the epitome of annoying. I know there are a lot of people who I’ve blocked from my newsfeed because of their idiotic ideologies or their uncouth commentary, or just their annoying use of social media.
It’s life, and it’s what happens when you exist in a thousand private forums all washing together.
And so what causes someone to unfriend someone else?
Could be any of the above reasons. Hopefully I didn’t rub them the wrong way, but if I did, I’d apologise if we were still facebook friends, I guess. Not much for me to do now, yeah?
Anyrate, I’ve run out of words for this topic, but if you’ve read this, all you should take from it is this:
Don’t take unfriending personally or too seriously. There are far too many things in the world that matter. Who likes you is certainly not one of them. It shouldn’t even be on your register of monthly concerns.
Just carry on. Live well, be kind, and do good where you can.
Those who love you will keep loving you. Those who don’t will go on unloving you.
Here’s a song to carry with you.
As you can see, I have Twilight of the Wolves in my hand.
Doing marketing is rough and I don’t really know how to go about it, but I sent about 50 emails yesterday trying to get review copies in front of people who can review it, including literary magazines in the indie lit scene, as well as genre magazines beyond. But let’s talk about the films I’ve been watching, yeah? We’ll see if I remember all of them because it’s been a while since I put them down on here.
Blue Jasmine is Woody Allen’s newest and it’s decent. I dig it and enjoyed it and all that, but it’s all so white upper class narcissism. And it got me thinking about Woody Allen in general. His films are very insular, in a sense. He writes about wealthy pretentious, neurotics, narcissistic people who struggle with sex and drugs and alcohol. Woody Allen’s found his audience, but it’s not most people. It’s critics and the Academy, who are mostly neurotic upper class white dudes. That being said, I’ll probably always like Woody Allen films. I guess I’m part of his target audience as well.
The Crow is a film I hadn’t seen in probably a decade, but it’s surprisingly awesome. I really enjoyed it. It’s pretty dark and insane and campy, but I liked it a great deal. It appealed to my dark, insane, and campy side, I suppose.
Hellboy–watched this but was too distracted and confused to really understand what was happening. It has Ron Perleman and a fishman, though, so there’s that. I might watch the second one.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is hilarious. I don’t know what else I need to say about this, but it’s just seriously awesome. I don’t know how I hadn’t seen it, but I’m glad I did, finally.
Cosmopolis is not as good or interesting as it thinks it is. David Cronenberg’s great and I think whathisname does a pretty good job here, but I just didn’t really get anything out of the film. I think it’s just something to do with how focused the world and media’s become on the super wealthy white people. What could be less interesting than that?
My Left Foot is stupendous. Absolutely amazing. Daniel Day-Lewis doing what he does, which is being sort of an impossibly amazing actor.
Pieta is Kim Ki Duk’s newest film, but it’s in the vein of his stranger films, which I tend to dislike. His films are sublime when he does them right, but his films are horrifying and awkward when he does them differently. So, while this is a solid film in his oeuvre, it’s nowhere near as good as, say, 3-Iron, which is his masterpiece, I’m convinced.
The History of Future Folk is a very cool and interesting comedy about alien folk musicians. It’s awesome.
I probably watched another film or two but I don’t remember.
Oh, in much more important news, Edward Snowden was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Pretty huge news that excites me greatly. I didn’t watch the State of the Union last night because there’s only so much nonsense I can take from these jingoistic madmen.
An excerpt from Noir: A Love Story is over at Atticus Review. It’s the first chapter of the novel, so hopefully that’s enticing.
I still need to write a proper account of the novel and what it means to me, and so on, but I’ll get to that as the day for its release approaches. Probably need to start hunting for blurbs soon, too.
Watched Pieta by Kim Ki Duk today. Kim Ki Duk is one of my favorite Korean directors, but he basically makes two kinds of films: the strangely sublime and the intensely strange. Pieta falls under the latter, which puts it in the category of his films I don’t as much care for, though they’re actually much more representative of who he is as a filmmaker. His most beautiful and glorious films are uncommon, but so much better than 99% of what you get to point your eyes at. Pieta is about hate and revenge and cruelty, which is something he’s always going after. The cruelty of the world, how Korea’s changed and burdened its people with this unutterable pain and horror. It’s a good enough film, but if you’re curious about Kim, go see 3-Iron instead. It’s probably his best.
Lots of work left to do this week. Always more to do. Ended up losing most of the day yesterday, so I’m trying to make up for it now, and it’s not going so well. Having a fiercely unproductive day.
So it goes.
I feel weary. It’s the cold. The unbearable frost.
As you know, I’ve been watching a film a day, which puts me, now, at twenty one for the year. It’s really not as difficult as it seems. It just means wasting less time on the internet and doing something sort of productive with that time. I might not be able to remember all the films I’ve watched since I last updated, but I’ll try.
August, Osage County is a very strong film and also an incredibly awkward and uncomfortable one. I guess this is what it’s like to live in a family full of people who hate one another, but try to love each other. Great acting by great actors in it, but it’s about substance abuse and addiction, incest, molestation, suicide, loss, divorce, and other such unhappy topics. So, while it’s very good, I doubt I’ll ever even consider watching it again.
Prince Avalanche is pretty delightful, in its own way. I found it pretty funny and Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch are entertaining together. It says some things about life and what it means to live the life you want, and there’s surprisingly good cinematography. But mostly it’s a buddy comedy turned inside out and looked at through a peculiar lens.
Wolf of Wall Street is bloated, unimaginative, but pretty entertaining. It has some Fear and Loathing sort of comedy going on, but probably half the scenes drag on too long, and the complete and utter hollowness of the film leaves you needing a lot more. It’s very polished, well acted, but the direction is a mess. It manages to occupy three hours without saying anything, about its protagonist or about its viewers. Again, it feels sort of like a Goodfellas remake but one that drags its feet and doesn’t know where it’s going or even what it wants to do. It’s frat boy cinema, and many people will love it for all the wrong reasons that so many people love Mad Men, which runs into a lot of the same problems. They’re about the hyper-affluent living luxuriously and horrifyingly. They’re everything that’s wrong with the world. Racist, homophobic, misogynist characters full of avarice and malice, using people, destroying lives, and singing and dancing the entire time. And we’re invited to sing and dance with them, but the camera never turns to us and makes us even want to examine corporatism or capitalism or consumerism. Instead it’s just an epic comedy about the hilarious and reckless lives these idiots lived. And then they get away with it. In fact, it even turns an eye on those who caught him, either telling us there’s no reward for doing the right thing or to humiliate them for not jumping on the bandwagon. I don’t know. I’ve never liked Scorsese so it’s easy for me to just call this stupid, but I actually think it’s gross and manipulative.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a decent film. I really like Ben Stiller, though I know most don’t. I think he makes pretty good films, and this one mostly suffers because it’s overly ambitious and not willing to reach where it aims. It’s fine enough. Too long by about half an hour, considering what it is.
Total Recall, the remake, or re-imagining, with Colin Farre;l, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckinsale is exciting and all that. It’s enjoyable enough. I don’t remember the original well enough to compare, but I think I much prefer the original. This one’s full of all sorts of cool technology, and a lot of really stupid ones, and Kate Beckinsale spends the whole movie jumping off ledges and grimacing, teeth bared, at the camera. Jessica Biel sort of doesn’t do very much except be attractive and a love interest. One thing I really like about it, though, is that it never answers whether or not it’s real or just in his Recall dream. It’s very clear that Farrell’s character believes it’s real, but there’s never actually anything in the movie that gives you an answer there. I actually imagine this is just a directorial and script oversight, but that failing makes the movie much more interesting than it actually is.
Dallas Buyers Club is just great. It’s not as good as some of the other great films this year, but it’s a very solid addition to the year. I just don’t think anything’s as good as Upstream Color, but Dallas Buyers Club is still really solid. McConaughey does an amazing job, as does Jared Leto. It’s interesting and emotional and surprisingly funny, considering it’s about dying of AIDS. Definitely worth seeing.
I think there’s one more film I watched to be accounted for but I don’t remember so it couldn’t have been that great, yeah?
Lots of work to do this week. Chelsea may be buying a car today, too, which is exciting.
Back to 13 Angels Screaming at the Mountain.
Once more, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to my indiegogo. It’s officially over and I love you all, so very much.
The Revenge of the Scammed Anthology’s indiegogo was fully funded on Saturday! I’ve not been home so I haven’t been able to write something proper for it, but this is going to be my attempt. There’re ten more hours of funding, so if you feel like getting in on this, there’s just a bit of time left.
This is a thank you. It’s just the beginning of the thank yous I owe, and I’ll keep learning how to thank you all better.
Where to even begin. When I found out that my bank account was cancelled and all my money was gone, I was devastated. This happened on Thanksgiving Day, and I pretended nothing had happened so I didn’t ruin the holiday for anyone. Also, i couldn’t call the bank till the next day, so I just held on, hoping for the best. The best, as you all know, did not arrive, and Wells Fargo told me, essentially, that everything is my fault and not only will they not help me, they won’t even be my bank anymore.
So I ran all over town, talking to police, and so on to figure something out. Nothing happened, until Nate Tower decided we should do something about it and he pushed this anthology forward and I set up the indiegogo.
I honestly never imagined anything would happen with this. I thought we’d make a couple hundred dollars to make the anthology and that’d be it. It would go away and I’d keep trying to dig myself out of the hole I found myself in. Nate even asked me the first day if I thought we’d make $100, and I said maybe. Within twelve hours we had raised $1,000.
I say we, but I really mean you.
All of you have been so unbelievably amazing. None of this would have happened without the many contributors or without the funders. Some of you did both, and I can’t thank you enough. JA Tyler, Ryan W Bradley, J David Osborne and Broken River Books, Phil Jourdan and Perfect Edge Books, Ryan Werner and Passenger Side Books, Pure Slush, Sam Snoek-Brown, Susan Tepper, Alex S Johnson, Alex Pruteneau, Ben Tanzer, Gregory Sherl, and I’m probably missing someone but I hope not. These are the people who gave extra to make this happen, and then there are the contributors to the anthology. There’s no final line-up yet, but I want to thank everyone who submitted something and tried to help me out. I want to thank everyone who liked us on facebook or shared it on facebook or twitter or anywhere else.
I’m forever in your debt and I owe you all so much. You’ve given me the ability to start again and push forward without a stone around my neck called debt.
I’ve since started banking with a credit union, which is pretty awesome. Wells Fargo also decided to cancel my credit card, so there’s that inconvenience too. I’m finding new work, though, so I’m actually fine now. I would’ve been pretty crippled for the first half of this year, having all that debt hanging over me, but now I can get back to doing what matters.
I’ll be starting on the rewards that I specifically owe soon, so expect some singing and some painting, as well as a few biographies, and a novella.
I wish I could tell you all how much this means to me, how beautiful and wonderful I think you all are. It’s amazing what this community of writers have done for me. I’ll be seeing as many of you as I can at AWP, and I’ll try to grab most of you a beer, or something.
I love you all.
Thank you so much.
That video makes me lauuuuuuuugh and I like the song, too, because it reminds me of high school.
Anyrate, watched Woochi yesterday, which is sort of a Korean action fantasy comedy, which I enjoyed maybe more than I should have. It’s too long and probably not actually that good, but I liked it.
Watched Timecrimes the other day, which is basically a Spanish version of Primer, in that it’s a lowtech time travel film where unlikely people bend time around them and run into all kinds of difficulties. Very interesting film that’s almost entirely awesome.
We’re down to the last four days of Revenge of the Scammed so help us get those last $445!