Sunday, December 31, 2006

Geeking Out

OK, everyone is looking back at 2006, but I'm going to glimpse at one really cool thing coming up in 2007: THE RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER! Yes, the first Fantastic Four movie was just barely watchable, and I have no doubt that its sequel will find its way to mediocrity as well, but it will have the Silver Surfer on screen! Will they screw up the story? Most definitely, but it will have Norrin Radd riding that cosmic surfboard - that's all I'm going for and that's all I'm expecting. And lucky me, the movie's trailer is nothing but a race between Johnny Storm and the Surfer. Download it in HD and watch it over and over again, like I have. If I watch the trailer enough times, maybe I won't have to subject myself to two hours of sub-grade comic book movie.

Friday, December 29, 2006

What Did I Miss?

Wow, I've really been out of the loop. I haven't caught up with anyone, I haven't really been checking e-mail, and (worst of all) I haven't done too much writing. I've missed a few things, like the demise of Flashing In the Gutters - man, that was a shock. Others have been publishing their Gutters stories on their blogs, and I'll get around to doing that as well, but it really sucks that the site won't be around. Poor Tribe. I can understand his exhaustion with running Gutters and I really really appreciate his efforts. He should be proud of his achievement.

Anyway, I need to catch up with some people - I have a lot of e-mails to sift through. I think I even had a short story published in the past month.

I promise to update this more often and keep in touch with my net friends - it's actually one of my New Year resolutions. So, I'm off to catch up with websites and blogs.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's Been a While

I've been ignoring the computer lately, well, other than Sudoku, of which I'm addicted to; but since the election I haven't paid much attention to blogs or websites (other than gambling, porn, buying Viagra and Oxycontin, and pretending I'm a reporter for Dateline in NAMBLA chat rooms); so I'm slowly getting around to reading everything that I've missed. It will take a little time, but since I'm completely stuck on what to do with a few stories, I'm looking for anything that will distract me.

So, I'm off to find out what's been going on in my absence.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Why the Dems Won't Win as Big as They Hope They Will

Oh boy, election season! OK, living in Maine has its advantage this year because all of our races have been pretty much decided way in advance. There's no down-to-the-wire contests this time around. Senator Olympia Snowe (R) is safe, as are the state's two representatives (both Democrat). Personally, I wish the Republicans had come up with a good challenger to our current governor (cousin to writer David Baldacci [just keeping this within the crime fiction theme]), or the Dems had someone else in the primaries. Instead, we're left with an incompetent dufus and a medieval moral inquisitor. It sucks, but I'm going with the dufus, who is going to win. There was never any danger that he would be voted out.

So, the real drama will be elsewhere. Actually, that's fine with us. We'd rather have boring elections than the circus freak shows the rest of the country is having. The only anxiety for us is the balance of power in Washington. The Dems are riding high thanks in equal parts Katrina, Iraq and Jack Abramoff. Every pundit out there is saying that they will win back the House and maybe the Senate as well. But I don't think the Dems will win as big as they are thinking they will for a couple of reasons:

1. The Dems are cashing in on the Republicans' mistakes. It isn't that they have a better plan, or any plan; they're simply not Republicans - that's what they have going for them. The talk of the election season is not about the Democrats' ideas, but how the party in power fucked up. Do the Dems even have a cohesive plan? That one thing about the Republicans in power now, they may be corrupt, hypocritical liars, but they've been consistent about it.

2. Despite the corruption, bungled foreign policy, racism (of some) and lies; the Republicans are still in the race. There's no way they should be neck-and-neck with their Democratic challengers. Has there been a more bungling idiot Senator out there than George Allen? Macaca. Refusing to admit he's Jewish (even going as far as to insist that he eats pork whenever he can). Dedication to the Confederate Flag. Free usage of the word 'nigger.' As of this morning, he was trailing by 1 percentage point. One! Now, don't get me wrong, besides his failings as a human being, the man is a terrible senator - that alone should be qualification enough to get your ass kicked out of office. Another great senator is Conrad Burns. He has the stink of Jack Abramoff all over him, but Montana is another close race.

3. Borat. Yes, that's right, the fake journalist from Kazakhstan played by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. There is no better proof of America's continually misguided (to say the least) views of race and sex than this weekend's #1 box office hit. Kazakhstan has gone on an aggressive PR campaign to challenge the fictional depiction of their country, while it should be the U.S. that should be on the defensive due to the factual depiction of our country. Racism and sexism are alive and well in America, despite our best efforts to deceive ourselves. Take the Tennessee Senate race. The attack ads against candidate Harold Ford, Jr. have been rightfully categorized as racist. (As a Mainer, I'm pretty proud that one of our former Senators, Bill Cohen, a Republican, was one of the first people to call the ads racist.) Oh no, Harold is single and he's looking for a white girl with jungle fever! Despite the genuine outrage, I think the ads have actually worked. Look at the current polling numbers: Ford is behind by 12 points. This used to be a tight race. Attention Obama, this is the kind of uphill battle you're going to have on your hands.

4. The bankruptcy of Air America. This was a grand, and ultimately unsuccessful experiment to battle against conservative radio. But while they may have had a small, dedicated following, it wasn't enough for large corporations to act against their own interests and advertise on the liberal network. If Al Franken was able to attract enough of his own 'dittoheads', then the companies may have bought more ad time. Now, prepare yourself, I'm going to give you the general stereotype of a typical conservative radio listener: they're called 'dittoheads' for a reason, they have no mind of their own. They are nothing but drones that laugh or scowl at whatever Rush or Hannity tell them to. OK, this doesn't describe all republicans, only those who don't think for themselves. This is a huge advantage for Republicans - voters who will do whatever they say. But the Dems will never be able to count on that. Sure, there are plenty of Democratic dittoheads out there who will do whatever the Dem leaders tell them to (but since those leaders are usually at odds with themselves, it's a wonder that those dittoheads haven't lost their heads all together); but the Democratic party is full of people who more often than not, think for themselves - a difficult condition when a party is trying to manipulate the herd. Now, that isn't to say the GOP doesn't have its own problems with independent thinkers. Case in point: New England Republicans. They are typically fiscal conservatives who don't give a shit what you do with your life (the reason Olympia Snowe (R) will get my vote) - an opposite opinion of the current GOP in power who are outspending every Democratic administration and Congress in history and will do whatever they can to stop boys from kissing.

5. The New York Times Best-seller List. The same week that State of Denial, Bob Woodward's fairly objective account of the Bush Administration's handling of the war in Iraq, came out in bookstores; Bill O'Reilly's latest ignorant rant against liberals was also published. Woodward's book hit like a bomb. There were a ton of juicy tidbits in the book. Pundits were talking about how Bush was fucking up left and right. Other than the O'Reilly Factor, there wasn't much airtime for Bill's book. Even Bill himself said that Woodward's book was overshadowing his own. And when the NYTimes list came out for that week when both books debuted who do you think was #1? Yes, Bill was. So, more people who went to the bookstore that week to pick up a book on current events bought Bill's rehashed garbage over Woodward's cause celeb. What does that tell you about the general public?

Will the Dems win the House? I think so. The House of Representatives is full of populists anyway. Whichever way the wind blows, the House will follow right behind it. It's the chamber's purpose in our government. It represents the current mood of the population, which is why all reps need to seek re-election every two years. And it will sway back the other way in two years, when the Dems screw up as much as the GOP has.

Will the Dems win the Senate? I doubt it. They need to pick up six seats to control the Senate. It won't happen. The Senate doesn't bend with current attitudes. It was designed to move slower, more thoughtfully than the House. It is the wise sage to the rambunctious House reactionaries. That's the reason only a third of the Senate is up for re-election every two years and Senators serve a six-year term. If the Senate does move toward the left, then that would be a real indication of how the country is moving in the long run.

With all that being said, I hope like hell the Dems do win back the House and the Senate. Our government is set up with such divisions for a reason. If one party rules all the parts of government (Congress, Executive and Judicial) then the checks and balances the Framers worked so hard to establish is diminished. One party, one idea was never meant to run the entire country. I believe in a divided government, with one party in control of the Presidency and one party in control of both (or at least one) chambers of Congress. In an ideal world, the Court would be above politics, but we all know that while Justices like Thomas, Scalia (or as his friends call him, Beelzebub) and Ginsberg are on the bench, that will never ever happen.

So, I'll be glued to the television all day Tuesday, switching from MSNBC to CNN to Headline News, and finally to Fox News and Comedy Central for the laughs. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens in the next 48 hours. I can't wait because this is the time of year when I can actually use my poli sci degree for something: annoying others!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Departed

I saw Scorsese's The Departed last night. Definitely one of his best. If he doesn't grab the Oscar for this one, then the Academy is a bunch of idiots. And I'll even go out on a limb here and say that this film may be better than GoodFellas. Go back and watch that movie; it's not as good as you remember it being.

And all of the actors did a fantastic job, even Marky Mark. This is the best work he has ever done, even better than when he whipped out that 13" muppet in Boogie Night.

I've been thinking of this movie all day. As a matter of fact, I'm been playing The Dropkick Murphys's I'm Shipping Up to Boston constantly. I hope like hell that this film wins Best Picture this year. It would make up for that Crash over Brokeback Mountain bullshit from this Spring.

After seeing this movie last night and thinking about the Sarah Weinman's post the other day about who writes what types of violence, I've been thinking about the depiction of violence and the reasons why people watch or read about it. More on that later.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Back In the Groove

OK, it has taken me a few days to get back into the writing groove. (Granted, most of that time was taken up by a sick three-year-old and a constantly hungry baby.) After hitting a snag on Sunday with the current short story, I couldn't find enough energy to rewind and restart, even though it only involved about 750 words. The problem was that I realized that the main character had turned into something he is most definitely not: a uber-hero capable of taking down Schwarzenegger. It was a little too much. It was like Dan Brown's Angles and Demons where the college professor is able to fight with one of the world's greatest assassins and is able to hold his own. Yeah, right. So, I turned it around and had the character get the shit kicked out of him. But now that I've been able to make the fix (and grumble that I had to throw away about 700 words), I was able to move forward. I've actually written over 1700 words today. I'm finally in the home stretch. As long as I'm able to keep going, I should be done with the shitty rough draft sometime tomorrow. I had originally thought that I'd be able to finish on Monday, but an extra few days isn't that bad. Now I have to find some kind souls to read this draft and tell me what's wrong with it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Brick Wall

I hit a brick wall today. Not literally, of course. I'm talking about the writing. I've been sailing right through this latest short story, but I came across a problem with the character's development: he suddenly became some Jack Reacher, uber-hero. So, now I have to backtrack, which I hate. So, basically it will take me most of tonight and tomorrow to re-write the last page and a half, and then grumble about it for at least a half-day while watching re-runs of Flava of Love. FLAVA FLAV!

Patrick Bagley is the Dawg!

I have to say that Cartman in this clip looks a little like this guy.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I am having a great writing day. It is only 2:00 in the afternoon and I've done over 1600 words already. I think the current short story will end up being around 8000 words, so I'm halfway there. I have no idea where I'm going with it, but it feels right. Nice and moody and violent. Gotta love it. I've stopped for now because I'm starting to realize that I can only go in spurts. I feel like I write myself into a tight corner and the story doesn't go anywhere if I push myself. It's suffocating at times. But taking breaks between 500 or 1000 words is working really really well. I'll probably finish the shitty first draft of this story by Monday morning, if I keep up this pace. Not bad considering I started writing it Wednesday night.

Another factor in the productivity is finding an internet radio station that plays nothing by trip-hop. It's funny that such a moody, and thumping genre is bringing out all the good noir stuff out of me. And the story is most definitely noir. Sometimes I'm a little selfconscious of the name of this blog and wonder if people think I'm a little presumptuous with calling myself a noir writer, and declaring it in such a way. To tell you the truth, I never expected anyone to read this thing. I have no problem deluding myself - I do it everyday.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sacrificing for My Art

I haven't taken a shower yet, but that isn't the sacrifice. No, that's more of a waiting for the baby to go to sleep long enough for me to jump in the shower. I have a character in a new short story (because I wouldn't want to finish anything I've started) who is a little hygiene deficient and I needed an honest description of his...aroma, shall we say. So, I did a Mary Katherine Gallagher. Very method. To my surprise, it didn't smell like roses.


I've set myself a goal (reasonable to be sure) of 500 words a day. Not a hell of a lot, but when I only get two hour stints between bottle times, most of which I use for sleep, I thought it would be a motivator. In fact, it is now 1:00 a.m. and I have already written 500 words. 508 to be exact. So, I've reached the goal for today. Anything else is pure gravy.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What Do You Mean Flash Gordon Approaching?

I have another flash on Tribe's Flashing In the Gutters. And That Ain't the Liquor Talkin' is part of Tribe's Twanging In the Gutters. For the last two weeks in October the only flashes he is publishing are those inspired by a country song. Mine is based on Why Don't We Get Drunk (and Screw) by Jimmy Buffett. I love Buffett, even if he is on Ecstasy.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I just flew through 1200 words in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Not too bad. Of course, it wasn't for my novel or any of the stories I'm currently in the middle of. It was something new, but it came out pretty quickly. Too bad I don't have any more time to work on it today, but it definitely has gotten the juices flowing. Who knows, maybe tomorrow I'll actually work on something I've already started. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mr. Mom

Today is my first full day in my new role as Mr. Mom. I'm exhausted already. Much of that has to do with the fact that my three-year-old's pre-school is closed today. He loves his sister, so he won't leave her alone - and he won't stay out of trouble. Oh well, I'll feel better when my wife comes home from her first day back to work; then I can go back to bed. I'm going on two hours of sleep.

And, of course, this means no writing today. Well, except for this little post and some e-mails.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'd Pay Money To See This

It's just a matter of time before movie studios start putting this together.

White & Nerdy

OK, fanboy rant. X-Men 3 sucked ass, big time. I'm so glad I didn't see it in the theater. Brett Ratner should be taken out and shot. Stay with the Rush Hour movies you dumb shit. He completely destroyed the Mutant universe. Arrgghh! 20th Century Fox better not fuck up the Silver Surfer next summer, or I'm gonna be really pissed. OK, geek post done.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Takes on the Bush Administration

Insurgencies, suicide bombers, torture,secret prisons, denial of habeus corpus, bad guys who use religion to further their evil efforts. Hmm...seems like some sci-fi writers having been reading the news. Now, is it just me or is this the first time someone has had the balls to tackle these subjects in fiction, of any kind? I mean, taking the suicide bomber and making him a good guy? That takes some serious balls.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Call Me When You're Sober

Jesus, I have that song in my head all the time. Is it me, or is Amy Lee like the cutest goth chick ever? I think it's the dimple. Plus, she's an epilepsy adovate. I didn't know that until about ten minutes ago. I think it's funny that people still need to know that people with seizure disorders can live full and happy lives. Huh? We're like everyone else, except the flopping on the ground part. You know who I feel for is those poor bastards with no arms and no legs. :)

Anyway, update on the head. Meds are now in the system. The pissing match is over.

Also, I have to say that my wife was not pissed at me, but simply frustrated. So I deleted that part of yesterday's post. Sorry, honey.

As for the insecurity rant, well, that happens from time to time with writers. Doesn't it? Or am I the only one? It's only me, isn't it? Man, I'm such a loser.

The 15,000+ word limerick: That's going to be my masterpiece. I'm going to be like Milton with Paradise Lost.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I'm so fucked up right now

OK, it's not even noontime, but it isn't what you think. No alcohol, no drugs - actually that's the probably, the lack of drugs. My nuerologist and my primary care physcian are in the middle of a pissing match about one of my meds, and while they duke it out, I get to go without. Yippee. The trouble is that now that my system is washing this shit out, all the fun stuff my brain tumor does is reeking havoc on me. Basically there are little nueronic (is that a word? Should be) explosions going off in my head - sort of a brief spark of an anxiety attack, but they don't amount to shit. Actually, it feels pretty fucking neat - but it wouldn't be good if I drive a car right now. I'm a little off balance. SO until they stop and I get back on the meds, I'm pretty much going to be in this weird -whats the word?- paradox of pleasure and anxiety. Could be a couple of days - who the fuck knows. Brain tumors are fun!

OK, I still have my regualr seizure stuff in my system, so that's good. No fun convulsing on the floor while chewing your tongue up. No fun at all .Believe me. But I'm really messed up. I'm surprised I can type this. That is if I am typing this. Could be I;m just hitting the keys and posting something illegible.

[Deleted text] I want to listen to Pink Floyd or watch Parker's The Wall. Maybe The Doors - awesome movie. See, she wants to do all these errands, but I'm not gong to be much help this adfternoon, because of the thing here. Well, too fucking bad, nothing I can do. I di have a while bag of Buffalo wing falvored chips for breakfast.

So, what else is fun and exciting. Thank god no one reads this friggin' thing, I'm not even sure anyone reads anything I write. Delusions of publishing grandeur (is that spelledriight?). Should be working on thebok, but that;s sort of been on the back burner right now. I have it in a gray binder looking at me right now - constant reminder that I'm a loser because I'm not doing shit about it.j

As much as I need the meds, I wish I didn't need any of them. They certyain cost a lot and I have to have them on me at all times, cause you never know when the seizure fairy is coming to visit. And surgery is not a real option becuase of where it is - left porital cortex, or something - do you know what;s in the area of the left porital cortex? The comunication section of the brain. One slip and oops, I'm trapped within my own mind with no way of connecting the the outsdie world. Of course ont he bright side, no one would be exposed to anymore writing. Should have gone to law school - but imagine me in the current state while arguing a case in court - disbarment! Christ, I can't even be a pretend lawyer without this thing fucking thngs up.

I should try a story. I wonder what it would be like? SOmething fucked and weird and incomprehensible. I'm sure there's some literary jourtnal out there thta would love that. How many words should it be? 5000, or go fuc king bat shit and write somethign like 15,000 + of illegible "post-modern" literary fiction. Start witha Limerick:

There once was a man named Steve,
Who couldn't write with his brain on leave,
words he teased and lured,
but they ened up being turds,
and now he's in a state of grieve.

How about 15000+ word limerick, like over and over - but a different limerick that will tell a whole story. There has to be a MFA jerkoff who'd think that was a good idea (I mean besides myself) And it's nice to have the piece of paper, what doesn't mean I'm good at this shit. Is there a Master's degree program for limericks? OK, MFA waste of money, or waste of time? Gerry form Illinois!

G:"Well, Steve, you seemed to make a lot of neat friends.
S:You;re right about that. I love them all and I really wish they were closer
G:You were exposed to some great teachers
S:Roland and Jim, Dennis Lehane and Joyce Maynard. That's true
G:I'm thinking worth it.
S:Yes, but the admin of the program sucks ass. I mean really
G: They don't care about the students or alumni. Unless you're up their ass, or at least I should say up the director's ass. Clueless and incompetant to say the least.
S: Good point, Gerry. Are you sure you;re not me in disguise?
G:You got me, buddy
S:Where did I come up with Gerry with a G? Is that part of my MFA pretension?
G: I think it is
S:OK. Talk to you soon, Ger
G:Anytime, any place. I'm in your head after all. More room in here without the extra meds.

What time is it anyway?
Gonna watch something on DVD or something. Or something really fucked up and trippy, like Fox News. Too bad O'Reilly and Hannity aren't on durint the day. I need a good laugh. Maybe download their books from itunes - sort of like watching Reefer Madness - funny in an ironic kinda way.

OK, not that anyone has gotten this far in this post, but I gotta go and do something. Don;t know what yet, but something. Bye bye. Talk to you again when I'm sober - or drugged up - or whatever it is I'll be.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Keeping Gutters In the Gutter

I have a new flash on the Flashing In the Gutters site. Election Day Liability is complete fiction that may or may not have been inspired by something in the news. If you watched Fox News this morning, you probably didn't even hear about it. They were too busy talking about the world's shortest horse, steriods in baseball and a six-year-old video of Al-Queda terrorists. I swear to god, that's what Fox & Friends focused on this morning while all the other news outlets were concerned with something a little more...well, disgusting. I think there was even a story on Mark Foley on Nickelodeon.

Anyway, enjoy my sick mind at work. Let me know what you think.

Books, Movies, etc.

Some of the books I've read, re-read, or finally finished over the past few weeks:

The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
Lemons Never Die by Richard Stark
When the Sacred Ginmill Closes by Lawrence Block
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Burn by James Patrick Kelly
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
Conversations With Great Moviemakers of Hollywood's Golden Age by George Stevens, Jr.
The Truth With Jokes by Al Franken
The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes

Books at the top of the TBR pile:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
WInter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
Neon Noir by Woody Haut
Damn Near Dead, edited by Duane Swierczynski
Best Mystery Stories 2006, edited by Scott Turow
Pale Immortal by Anne Frasier
The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

Recent movies (with stars!):

The Wedding Crashers ***
Brick ****
The Proposition ***1/2
The Matador *
Inside Man **1/2
Gun Crazy **1/2
Curious George ***

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The shitters

The following is a comment I left of Ed Champion's blog in response to his encounter with some people a Bouchercon who dismiss literary fiction. This is not a new phenomenon, but one is more apt to find a lit fic person being the dismissive one. He commented on the reaction of his question on whether or not there were other mystery writers, besides James Ellroy, who have used experimental prose in their work.

I have to admit that one of my pet peeves is “lit fic” folks who shit on genre - drives me up a wall. (As a mystery writer in a MFA program, I encountered this a lot. A lot.) But I have met pop fic people who shit on lit fic, which I find completely idiotic. There are varying degrees within each story that pushes them toward different genre walls, including the mystery/literary divide. I say divide, but I guess what I really mean is a gray neutral zone where many books stand - Pete Dexter’s “Train” or Daniel Woodrell’s “The Death of Sweet Mister” are just two examples. But the thing one has to admit is that there are far more lit fic shitters than pop fic shitters, and that will create an anomisity among many people who will go to the mat to forward the progression of genre. Those in the extreme of both sides of this issue can be compared to the extremists in the political divide; people with blinders on who can only see one point of view, and will dismiss the opinions of others to the detriment of the entire cause of literature. What one has to remember isthat the extremists may have the loudest voices, but they do not represent the majority.
As for others within the mystery field who have tried an experimental style, I think you will find that there isn’t a large place for it at this time. A major reason Ellroy was able to execute the style of “White Jazz” was because he was already successful - and the novel worked. But if you had a mystery genre equivalent of John Barth, I don’t know if that writer would find an audience. Personally, I would love to see a new section of the mystery genre emerge in the same way that Slipstream has invigorated the Sci-fi genre. Will that ever happen? I guess that depends on how many people embrace the gray zones of genre.

I've enjoyed Ed's posts on Bouchercon, as much as I've enjoyed the updates of everyone else I've had a pleasure to read while I take care of a very colicky six-week-old. I think in all the pediatrician journals, colic is defined as "can't do shit about it."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Don't Count On a Hurricane To Do a Man's Job

That's the teaser for my story in the latest issue of Thuglit. And I'm with some great company, including Patti Abbott and Bryon Quertermous. Jesus, this is a great mag; and to be apart of the first anniversary issue is pretty friggin' cool.

If There's a Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go was written for a workshop in my MFA program - and it was written really fast. It was a pretty shitty draft that was part third person and part second person (hey, it's an MFA program, I had a right to be pretentous). It's the pop fic secret cabal (and our fearless leader) who deserves the credit for kicking me in the ass and making this story much better than it was destined to be. So, thanks to Alex Jackson, Lyman Feero, Sandra MacDonald, Dr. Dave Page, Debbie Smith, Rebecca Longster, Alice Luxton, Marie Hannan and Jim Kelly.

If you read it, let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Tess Gerritsen

Just got back from a book signing for Tess Gerritsen's latest book, The Mephisto Club. She's such a nice woman and was kind enough to sign the book for my wife and me. I really liked Vanish and can't wait to start this one, whenever my wife lets me have it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I'm Pissed

My fucking e-mail account went down again, so fuck 'em, I'm changing. Of course this means a whole hell of a lot of work to change everything, but it will be under my own domain name. Once my registration is complete, I'll post the new e-mail address. So, if you want to get in touch you can either leave a comment below or wait.

In case anyone's interested, the new domain name will be There isn't anything there right now, but there will be in the next couple of days.

The Killing

The latest issue of Spinetangler Magazine is available. Along with the usual great reviews and features, the issue also has some wonderful short stories, including one that I wrote entitled The Killing. Being published in such a noted magazine as Spinetingler is a complete honor. I'm glad that this story found its way there.

The Killing is very special to me. It started as a writing exercise in a creative writing course I took during my undergraduate studies. I had written a horrible short story for my final project in that class, but after reading it, I determined that it was utter crap and deleted it. This was about three days before the project was due. Unsure of what I would write, I started going through all the short stories I enjoyed, especially the work of Hemingway. The extra reading revved me up and I was just waiting for the words to fly. Of course, they didn't. I must have written 2000 words before the opening sentence came to me. "Charlie followed Billy into the field of their youth." Boom! The rest of the story rushed out.

This story's evolution reinvigorated my desire to become a professional writer. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I was never completely dedicated to it. In fact, before I entered this creative writing class, I was getting ready to take the LSAT. Man, I would make a terrible lawyer, but what the hell else do you do with a bachelor's degree in Political Science? But after reading this story, my writing teacher (who is now the current Poet laureate of the State of Maine) pulled me aside and told me I should pursue an MFA degree in creative writing. So, why the hell not? I filled out an application and attached this story as a sample of my writing ability.

Throughout my graduate work, The Killing had been read by some great teachers; including Roland Merullo, James Patrick Kelly, Dennis Lehane and Joan Connor.

But the sweetest morsel was the story's final step: publication. Sandra Ruttan sent me an e-mail message only a week after I completed my MFA creative thesis (and just a few weeks before graduation) that informed me that The Killing was accepted my Spinetingler. Suddenly, everything that I had been working for found some validation. I felt like I was on the right path - and I still do.

I hope you enjoy the story. Please drop me a line to tell me what you think of it. Thanks.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Crack Myself Up Sometimes

Since John Rickards stole this idea for his blog (read his post here), I guess it's OK for me to steal it from him. What if you changed one letter in the title of a book?

Here are my deranged titles:

BRIGHTON COCK: The study of an evil teenage boy in the porn industry.

THE DAVINCI COME: World famous professor uncovers shocking secrets of Christianity using the DNA code found in Leonardo DaVinci’s semen.

A DRINK BEFORE THE WAX: PIs Gennaro and Kenzie do tequila shots before getting Bikini waxes.

SHITTER ISLAND: An investigation takes place on a rathy stinky island in Boston Harbor.

THE LAST GOOD PISS: PI C.W. Sughrue takes a leak.

IN THE CUM: I think the title says it all.

Other entries can be read in the comment sections of John's blog and Sarah Weinman's post on the subject.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Why I'd Never Be Able To Write Pretty Woman

Warning: Possible spoilers for a book I won't mention and also Pretty Woman.

Just finished a great book that had, in my opinion, a major flaw. One of the characters, who is killed before the book really starts, appears to be a crooked cop through most of the novel; but it turns out the guy was undercover and he was nice the whole time. Now the reason I think this is a mistake. The realization that this cop may be dirty takes a harsh toll on the main character of the novel. The guy is just destroyed. It's really heartbreaking. You don't want the character to go through his misery - and the writer knows this. So, he makes sure the seemingly dirty cop turns out to be a good guy. I think this negates the impact of the protagonist's struggle. If I had written this novel, the cop would have remained dirty, it's more interesting. To me, ensuring the cop is a nice guy is almost equivalent to the ending of Pretty Woman. There's no way a rich guy like Gere is going to sweep Julia Roberts away to marital bliss - but that's what the audience wants. If the movie ended with Gere saying, "Relationship? Are you fucking nuts? You're a whore. I picked you up on Hollywood Boulevard. I kiss you, all I taste is dick," well, it wouldn't have been as big of a hit. The difference between me and the writer of the great book with the major flaw is that I'd write the "taste like dick" ending, while he'd be much smarter and write the fairy tale ending.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

800 Words

I wrote 800 words today. Big deal. I should have written a hell of a lot more. Hell, I should be writing right now, but instead I'm checking e-mail and blogging between commercials during the U.S. Open. However, I did take back all of my bottles today - $16! Oh well, tennis is back on. Gotta go.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm Not a Very Good Pimp

Totally forgot about this.Anne Frasier has asked everyone in the blogosphere to pimp her new book, Pale Immortal. So, check out the book's trailer below; it's really good.

And just to rub it in a little, I'm getting an autographed copy. Yippee!

Recent Reads and Viewing

Here are some of the books I've read over the past couple of weeks:

Crusader's Cross by James Lee Burke
Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessell
Coronado by Dennis Lehane
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
Drive by James Sallis
The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard

And some DVD's (with ratings):

House: Season One ****
The Dukes of Hazzard (the movie) *
V for Vendetta ****
Underworld: Evolution ** 1/2
Blade: Trinity *** 1/2
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang ****
Nobody's Fool ****
Angel Heart ***
Rescue Me: Season Two ****
Mulholland Drive *** 1/2
Little Einsteins: The Adventure Begins ***
The Wizard of Oz ****
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie ***

Friday, September 01, 2006

Holy Crapamoly!

Hey, I actually won third place in the Clarity of Night flash contest for The Tree Doesn't Fall Far From the Apple. How friggin' cool is that? I have to thank Jason and Anne for thinking my writing was good enough to place. The sky's the limit from here on out, baby!

If you get a chance, check out the other winners.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

All-American Reject

I received a rejection yesterday. Not the first time, won't be the last. But what's different about this one is that it hasn't phased me. It could be the lack of sleep, but I don't feel anything. Other rejections have always put me in a pissy mood. I wasn't fun to be around for the first few hours after receiving a rejection letter. Last night and today - nothing. I'm just going to print out a new copy of the story and submit it somewhere else. Am I reaching a new point in my writing career (as young as it is)? Am I getting callous? I haven't sent out as many submissions as I should have over the past year, but has it been enough to reach this indifferent phase? Is it a good sign? Who knows? But being this comfortably numb sure makes it a lot easier.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Baby Steps Back Into Writing

I wrote my first new piece of fiction since I graduated with the MFA degree in July. It's a flash entitled The Tree Doesn't Fall Far From the Apple and appears on The Clarity of Night website. It's actually entered into a flash contest that's being judged by Anne Frasier. Wish me luck.

Another short story of mine will show up (hopefully) within the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why The Hell Not?

In a delusional bout of hubris, I just submitted a short story to The New Yorker. The New Yorker? Yes, The New Yorker. Why would I do something like that? Because I like rejection, that's why. Plus, it would be cool to get a form letter with The New Yorker letterhead on it.

OK, so everything points to complete failure for this gamble, but what the hell? Maybe they haven't received anything good lately. Maybe the fiction editors just pin stories on a wall and throw darts at them to pick the stories that go in the magazine. Maybe it's monkeys-take-over-the-magazine day and some primate chooses my story - and then decides to fling poo at Anthony Lane.

I can see it now: toast of the town; the literary event of that week; respect from some of the biggest writers today; the strippers!

I guess I can always blame this on the lack of sleep.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Doing the Dad Thing

I am so goddamn tired it isn't funny. Lorelai is so cute, but my god the kid can't sleep for more than an hour at a time before she's hungry again. Right now I want to fall asleep at my desk. My eyelids are at half-mast and I have large dark circles under my eyes. Why is it that I've forgotten how sleep deprived I was with the first one? Of course, next to his little itty bitty sister, he seems like a giant; like he grew three feet on the day Lorelai was born. But he is so great with her. He gives her soft kisses and really gentle hugs. How long can this last before they're fighting? Is it too much to hope that they'll wait until college?

But new baby means no writing. I originally had an extra couple of weeks before she came, but she was impatient and wanted out last week. Oh well, that means I'll be back at it sooner, I guess. I did try to write last night, but ended up watching movie trailers on the Quicktime website (The geek in me can't wait for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and browsing itunes (added Jane's Addiction and Sonic Youth) - all with the baby in my hands. I glanced at a couple of stories in progress, but that was about it. I also have to get off my ass and apply for some adjunct faculty positions (have MFA, will travel).

I guess I'll take some kind of a nap this afternoon and force myself to do some work today.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hot for Teacher

I received the student evaluations of my graduate seminar on anti-heroes in noir fiction in the mail yesterday. They were pretty good with little complaints. Most of the comments on the weaknesses of the seminar were about my nervousness. I have to admit that I was not in prime form at the beginning of the seminar, but as it went on I think I was more comfortable. Another criticism was the limited time, which I've been complaining about since the beginning. Student seminars are only an hour long, while the faculty seminars are an hour-and-a-half. (And the student ones are usually more in depth, so it doesn't make sense - but then again, that's the logic of the program, by which I mean there is no logic) I really wished I had an extra half-hour so I could have gone into how to develop anti-heroes more.

People seemed to have liked the use of clips from The Untouchables. Anything to avoid reading. And apparantly, I seemed to know what I was talking about. Thank god I was able to fool everyone.

The funniest comment was my use of curse words. "Clean up the language." What a fucking load of shit. I read some lines from a couple of books and quoted a few people. My favorite was a quote by James Ellroy who said he "wanted to give crime fiction back to the shitbirds of history." Someone didn't appreciate Mr. Ellroy's comment. Too bad. Earlier in the semester there was a huge exchange on the MFA program's listserv about people swearing in postings. That really pissed me off, but that's another entry for another day.

The second funniest comment was someone's objection that Phillip Marlowe can be seen as an anti-hero. The names on the evaluations are cut off, so we have no idea who wrote what; but I have a good idea who wrote this. That little exchange during the seminar was unbelievable. But more on that later. Yes, Virginia, Phillip Marlowe is an anti-hero.

But, like I said, they were all pretty good, so I'm happy.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Here are some lines from recent reads:

"No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted."
- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

"For this my mother wrapped me warm,
And called me home against the storm,
And coaxed my infant nights to quiet,
And gave me roughage in my diet,
And tucked me in my bed at eight,
And clipped my hair, and marked my weight,
And watched me as I sat and stood,
That I might grow to womanhood.
To hear a whistle and drop my wits
And break my heart to clattering bits."
- Dorothy Parker, Fulfillment

"But there was a single can of condensed milk, of a richness and sweetness Jim had never remembered. He drank the milk, sitting at the desk in the dentist's study as the teeth smiled at him, and then fell asleep in a bedroom upstairs, between the silk sheets scented by the body of the woman with the face of a film star."
- J.G. Ballard, Empire of the Sun

"In most cases, people, even the most vicious, are much more naive and simple-minded than we assume them to be. And this is true of ourselves too."
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

"Myers giggled.
'If you were a real writer, as you say you are, Mr. Myers, you would not laugh,' Morgan said as he got to his feet. 'You would try to understand. You would plumb the depths of that poor soul's heart and try to understand. But you are no writer, sir!'
Myers kept on giggling."
- Raymond Carver, Put Yourself in My Shoes

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta."
-Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ms. Right Now

Apparently, the blogosphere is a buzz (three people equal a buzz, right?) about a report of my alleged affair with Ann Coulter. I am here to annouce that yes, I have been with Ann Coulter - and she has impregnated me with her demon seed. Our "child" now grows within me and we will unleash it upon this world by the end of the year.

The Save Harry Potter Fan Club

Why do I find it so funny that John Irving reads Harry Potter? According to a Reuters article, both John Irving and Stephen King are urging J.K. Rowling not to kill off Harry Potter in the seventh book of her popular series.

"My fingers are crossed for Harry," Irving said at a joint news conference before a charity reading by the three writers at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

I knew King read the series (bits of Potter's universe show up in the Dark Tower series), but Irving?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Did I Mention I Was Related To Edgar Allan Poe?

Well, sort of. When my family came over from Scotland in the late 1700's, some settled in the north and some settled in the south. One of those Allans that settled in Virginia, John Allan, took in the two-year-old Edgar after his mother died; hence the Allan in Edgar Allan Poe.

So, what does that make Edgar and me? Well, probably nothing. But it's a cool family story, none the less.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Miami Vice

Fuckin' brilliant. Michael Mann can do no wrong. I went to the first matinee on opening day, which I haven't done in a long time. As I sat there all I could think of was how little I go to the movies now. I used to go twice a week, sometimes more. Now, it's like once every two months. Until today, I had seen only two movies this summer: Mission Impossible III (sucked big donkey dick) and Superman Returns (sucked less, but still sucked).

But Miami Vice reminded me of how good movies can be. In today's New York Times, film reviewer A.O. Scott wrote that "Miami Vice is an action picture for people who dig experimental art films, and vice versa."

Is it too much to hope for a sequel?

Monday, July 24, 2006

How To Waste Time Getting a Master's Degree

Here is one of the reasons I really dislike the administration of the MFA program I graduated from: Graduating students aren't allowed to workshop. Now there was a "master" class workshop, but I doubt it would do a genre writer or a creative non-fiction writer much good since it is focused on literary fiction. I've done my share of workshopping genre stuff in lit fic workshops - not pretty. There was also a master class for poetry, but then again, the program is pretty poetry centric. (They just hired yet another poetry faculty member - soon they can get rid of all the fiction instructors) So, one solution of grads getting what they need would be to place popular fiction and creative non-fiction students in with (duh!) regular workshops within their genres. While that seems like a no-brainer to you and me, the administration thinks this would be too hard on us. The legitimate reason given in the student handbook is that graduating students are too busy during their last residency to do anything. OK, I had my reading (twenty minutes) and my seminar (an hour) and graduation rehearsal (45 minutes). That's just over two hours worth of stuff to do in ten days time. Averaged out, that's twelve and a half minutes of each day. I don't know about the other graduates, but I really needed that 23 hours and 47 minutes of rest each day. Thank you MFA admin for thinking of us.

OK, so what did I do with my time. Slept. Drank. Hung out with friends. Ate. Showered. Urinated a time or two. Saw Superman Returns. Went to readings. Went to seminars. Read. Went on a day trip to Cape Elizabeth. Watched Season 1 of Rescue Me on DVD. Wished I was home.

OK, so I didn't drink everyday of the residency - maybe three or four...and not until after noon. We're writers, what do you expect? For the talent show, which is held every residency, we got a keg - and we drained it in just over two hours! Not too shabby. One of the prouder moments of the residency.

One of the best time wasters was the brainstorming session with a couple of friends about starting our own writing conference. Well, let's hope that really wasn't a waste of time.

Back At It

So, after the graduation residency (of which, I'll blog about later) and a death in the family, it's back to writing. I have the rest of the novel's plot figured out, I just to write the last third. I also promised someone a short story, which I need to complete. And I have edits to do on a story that will be published this Fall. Maybe I'll write a little flash fiction to get the juices going. Those are usually fun, and I feel so productive once I have finished one.

And then there are the books I want to read. I glanced at John Irving's Until I Find You while I was at the residency, but it didn't capture my attention enough to plow through it. I've started Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov on the advice of my friend Sarah (I forgot how fucking long that book is. My god, it will take me forever to finish). But I've hit the pause button on that book so I can read Scott Smith's The Ruins; which kept me up late last night. I've waited about 13 years for this book. Loved A Simple Plan.

So, I have to find my groove again. Just a matter of discipline and dedication. No problem.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Don't you hate other people's vacation photos?

It's been nearly two and a half weeks since I last posted. During that time away I was earning a degree. See below.

I also spent time with some real scumbags...err...I mean friends.

I wish I had a lesbian gym teacher grab my man boob.

All masters of fine arts, except the bald-headed prick. He was just some weirdo we caught lurking in the women's bathroom. He was pretty pathetic.

And here is a photo of my reading from my point of view. It only covers half the room. They're scarier than they look. I have zero memory of this event. None. I could have gone up there and pissed myself for twenty minutes, and I wouldn't have known the difference.

I guess I offened a couple of people with my writing. It's a crime novel people, there are going to be a couple of foul-mouthed characters - get over it. But there's a small part of me that's just happy to shock a couple of prudes. It feels like victory.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Today is the birthday of Ringo Starr and Michelle Kwan! Why can't I share my birthday with someone cool?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Karl Rove Has Found His Next Boss

Here is a viable candidate for President in 2008. He couldn't be worse that what we have now. At least he's honest about his tendency for evil.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How To Pad Your Thesis With Bullshit

This is a piece from the preface of my creative thesis. We were required to come up with something that explained our influences, blah blah blah. I'm pretty proud of this, even if it is poorly written, because it is some of the finest bullshit I've ever had the priviledge to write. Enjoy.


I became interested in nor fiction when I discovered the films of Humphrey Bogart. I remember renting Casablanca and The African Queen from the local video store when VCRs first became an entertainment phenomenon. My folks would get whatever new movie Burt Reynolds was in, while I, for some unknown reason, headed for the classics section. And it was there that I found the films that would spur my love of storytelling. It was the tough guys, like Jimmy Cagney and Bogart that grabbed my attention. As a young boy I found something in their on-screen personas, something I wish I had.

It was during this period that I discovered two of my all-time favorite films: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Maltese Falcon. To this day, I’ll watch them at least once a year. And while Paul Newman and Robert Redford were terrific, it was Bogie and his quest for the black bird that captured my imagination. There was something adult about the film, themes of greed and lust that were taboo to a young kid. Themes that I didn’t quite understand, but they were something I sure wanted to know more about.

At this time in my life I was also discovering a love for reading adult fiction. Growing up around the Bangor, Maine area, it was difficult to avoid the local phenomenon of Stephen King. By the time I was old enough to carry one of his books out of the Bucksport Public Library (somewhere around the fourth grade), King had been a success for about eight years and was already an international sensation.

So, my first step into adult fiction was horror. Taking suggestions from this adult author, I soon read stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury and Robert Bloch. All of whom appealed to a young boy’s sometimes gruesome imagination; a trait that continued as he turned into an adult. But as satisfying as these stories were, I was always concentrating on the premise, the gore or the scare; never on the interaction, or internal struggle of the characters; until I discovered the more complex dramas at the video store.

Love, lust and greed were waiting for me within those videocassettes. Bogart taking on Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, while bedding Lauren Becall and Mary Astor. There was a natural curiosity as to why Fred McMurray would kill someone for a woman. As a boy growing up playing soldier with toy guns with my friends, murder was easy enough to understand; but it was the motive that pricked my attention. One may say that I was going through an early transformation out of that Freudian latency period, discovering females for the first time. But these weren’t the girls on the playground you secretly wanted to kiss; these were different creatures all together. I had graduated from a crush on little fifth grade Heather Parsons to discovering an aching desire for these sexy and seductive women. It would be another five years before I officially lost my virginity, but my cherry was popped long before that.

But along with the attraction, came the wanting of being a man like these tough guys. These women found them attractive and I wanted to be one of them. They fascinated me and I wanted to learn more about them and what they did. So, as I watched all the tough guy movies available at the video store, I went to my other entertainment love: reading. I went from Stephen King’s Carrie to Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe. This was a man. He wasn’t like Superman, all-powerful, able to accomplish anything. This was an everyman, yet also extraordinary at the same time. He had faults; he wasn’t the typical good guy. He’d just as easily punch another guy to get what he wanted.

From Chandler, I went to Hammett, then on to Gregory MacDonald and John D. MacDonald. But it was more than the mysteries I was after. I read other books in the genre, Agatha Christie, for one, but I found the stories weren’t that interesting. Sure, the puzzles were neat and the solutions of the typical locked room mysteries were entertaining; but they did not compare to the darker side of the genre.

Like any childhood interest, reading these mysteries subsided as adolescence took over. There was little time for reading, as other interests demanded my time. The general malaise of the teenage years descended upon me like it did for many of Generation X. Granted, I was still reading, but not as much. And nothing will kill the reading bug like English Lit classes. Between the excruciating experience of high school English and then university literature classes, it is a wonder that I ever picked up another book. Then somewhere in that primordial muck I call my twenties, I rediscovered my love of books and remembered my desire to one day become a writer. I went back and re-read the classics of the genre: The Postman Always Rings Twice, Red Harvest, The Big Sleep, The Grifters. Soon, I branched out to the newer writers: Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos. Settling into these books re-captured my imagination with the world. It re-invigorated my curiosity with the darker side of human character. So once I received some encouragement from a former writing teacher, I realized that my psuedo-goal of going to law school was only a blurry suggestion and that my true calling was to become what I have always wanted to be since I first grabbed Stephen King’s books off the high shelves at the library: a writer.

The outcome of my efforts is this book. The idea of its plot and characters may have come to me only a couple of years ago, but its true beginning was nearly twenty-five years ago. This is the product of a young boy who was fascinated with the dark side of the world and hasn't lost that fascination.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sweet Jesus, Do I Hate The Wiggles

For the uninitiated (and incredibly fortunate), The Wiggles is a children's television show that the Disney Channel insists on airing in the morning, every morning, twice. And since I have a soon-to-be three-year-old (that's him on the right), that means I have to watch the Wiggles in the morning, every morning, twice. Since I'm not a morning person, I can't even begin to tell you how happy this makes me.

The Wiggles are a group of middle-aged Australian guys with constant five o'clock shadow and look hung over in every episode. They look like they should be on some Amber Alert poster. According to a New York Times Magazine article, they formed this musical group after failing as rock musicians. (Thanks to my friend Jenny for pointing out the article. She knows how much I love The Wiggles.) Jeff (Purple), Murray (Red), Greg (Yellow) and Anthony (Blue) - I hate that I can name them all and match their colors, for each one has his own color to wear. These guys are heading for their own special edition of E! True Hollywood Stories. They epitomize those weirdos we tell kids not to take candy from.

But watching the show the other day I saw something that was reall really funny. Every episode has musical numbers (perhaps you've heard "Hot Potato, Hot Potato"?) where there are dancers in the background. Most of these dancers have fake smiles that hide the utter disappointment of their careers. Years of acting and dancing lessons leading only to one-two choreography on a cheesy kids show. But there is one guy who gives it his all. He has as much enthusiasm for dance as Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls. He thinks he's auditioning for Bob Fosse. I wouldn't be surprised if he ended each number with jazz hands or spirit fingers. This guy has so much unwarranted self-confindence. While the others are phoning it in, he's giving 110%. And it is so fucking funny.

So, what does this have to do with writing? I'm glad you asked. Actually, this has to do with my own insecurities as a writer. Dear God, please don't let me be the writing equivalent of that dancing jackass. I don't to go out there with unjustified pizzazz and embarrass myself. I try and avoid going through the motions, but I hope like hell I'm a better writer than that guy is a dancer.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I have to give a twenty-minute reading from my book for my graduate residency in a couple of weeks. As a matter of fact, I have less than two weeks to perfect my delivery. I hate my voice, I mumble a lot, stammer, slur my words, stutter on occasion (especially when I'm nervous) and sweat uncontrollably. This is going to be the best reading ever!

And I'm the first one to read. No pressure there.

So, I'm practicing, which seems a little weird. If anyone was within earshot, they'd think I was talking to myself, like some crazy person. And since this is a crime novel, they might call the cops as well.

To make sure people will stay and listen, though maintaining an audience isn't a requirement for graduation - thank god, I need to spice it up. Do the voice and all that crap, otherwise it will be a terrible monotone. We get a performance workshop, but it's the day before my reading - a lot of fucking good it's going to do me.

So, I just need to prepare myself for the inevitable boos and thrown tomatoes. I can't wait for this public humiliation.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Flash...He'll Save Everyone of Us!

I have a new piece on Tribe's Flashing in the Gutters website. Stay-at-Home Mom. It's a sweet story of a son and his mother. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

My two-cents on the ITW nominations

Oh please.

And are guys the only ones who enjoy burgers and beer? I don't think so.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I finally finished the bibliography for my thesis. It consists of all the books I've read since I started the MFA program a couple of years ago. They're all listed below.

Allison, Dorothy
Bastard Out of Carolina. Plume, 1993.

Azzarello, Brian
100 Bullets, vol 1: First Shot, Last Call. Vertigo, 2000.

Ballard, J.G.
Crash. Picador, 2001.

Chris Baty, Chris
No Plot? No Problem. Chronicle Books, 2004.

Baum, L. Frank
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Del Ray, 1985.

Benedict, Elizabeth
The Joy of Writing Sex. Owl Books, 2002.

Block, Lawrence
Telling Lies for Profit and Fun. Harper, 1994.
Eight Million Ways to Die. Avon, 1993.
When the Sacred Gin Mill Closes. Avon, 1997.

Bradbury, Ray
Zen in the Art of Writing. Bantam, 1992.
The Illustrated Man. Specta, 1983.
Something Wicked This Way Comes. Spectra, 1983.

Brombert, Victor
In Praise of Antiheroes. University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Brown, Dan
The DaVinci Code. Doubleday
Angels and Demons. Pocket

Bruen, Ken
The Guards. St. Martin’s Press, 2004
The Killing of the Tinkers. St. Martin’s Press, 2005
The Magdalen Martyrs. St. Martin’s Press, 2006
The Dramatist. St. Martin’s Press, 2006

Bryson, Bill
A Walk In the Woods. Broadway, 1999.

Bukowski, Charles
Run With the Hunted. Ecco

Burgess, Anthony
A Clockwork Orange. W W Norton and Company, 1986.

Burke, James Lee
Purple Cane Road. Doubleday, 2000.

Burroughs, William S.
Naked Lunch. Grove Press, 2004.

Burroway, Janet
Writing Fiction. Longman Publishing, 1999.

Butler, Robert Olen
From Where You Dream. Gove Press, 2006.

Cain, James M.
Double Indemnity. Vintage
The Postman Always Rings Twice. Vintage

Chabon, Michael
Wonder Boys. Vintage

Cheever, John
The Stories of John Cheever. Ballantine Books, 1985.

Coetzee, J.M.
Disgrace. Viking, 1999.
Waiting for the Barbarians. Penguin, 1982.

Connelly, Michael
The Lincoln Lawyer. Little, Brown
The Black Echo. Warner Books
The Black Ice. Warner Books
The Concrete Blonde. Warner Books
The Last Coyote. Warner Books
The Poet. Warner Books
Angels Flight. Warner Books
A Darkness More Than Night. Warner Books
City of Bones. Warner Books
Chasing the Dime. Warner Books
Lost Light. Warner Books
The Narrows. Little Brown
The Closers. Little Brown

Connolly, John
Dark Hollow. Pocket Books, 2002
The Black Angel. Atria Books, 2005

Corrigan, John R.
Bad Lie. University Press of New Engalnd, 2005
Cut Shot. University Press of New Engalnd, 2003
Snap Hook. University Press of New Engalnd, 2004

Crais, Robert
The Monkey’s Raincoat. Bantam
Stalking the Angel. Bantam

Creating Fiction: Instruction and Insight from Teachers of the Associated Writers Program. Story Press Books, 1999.

Crumley, James
The Wrong Case. Vintage
The Last Good Kiss. Vintage
Dancing Bear. Vintage
The Mexican Tree Duck. Warner Books
Bordersnakes. Warner Books
The Right Madness. Viking

Cunningham, Michael
The Hours. Vintage

Dahl, Roald
Matilda. Puffin Books, 1998.
James and the Giant Peach. Puffin Books, 2000.

DeLillo, Don
White Noise. Penguin

Dexter, Pete
The Paperboy. Random House, 1995.
Train, Doubleday, 2003.
Paris Trout. Penguin, 1989.

Dickens, Charles
Great Expectations. Penquin, 2002.

Dorsey, Tim
Hammerhead Ranch Motel. Harper Torch, 2001.

Durham, David Anthony
A Walk Through Darkness. Anchor, 2003
Pride of Carthedge. Anchor, 2005

Ellroy, James
Hollywood Nocturnes. Delta, 1998.
White Jazz. Fawcett, 1993.
L.A. Confidential. Warner Books, 1997.

Ennis, Garth
Preacher, Vol. 1: Gone to Texas. Vertigo, 1996.

Estleman, Loren
Writing Popular Fiction. Writer’s Digest Books, 2004.

Eugenides, Jeffrey
The Virgin Suicides. Warner Books, 1994.

Fielding, Helen
Bridget Jones’s Diary. Penquin, 1999.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Tender Is the Night. Scribner, 1995.
The Great Gatsby. Scriner, 1995.

Ford, Richard
The Sportswriter. Vintage, 1995.
A Multitude of Sins. Vintage, 2003.

Franken, Al
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Dutton, 2003.

Gardner, John
The Art of Fiction. Vintage, 1991.

Gaiman, Neil
Marvel 1602. Marvel, 2005.

Gerritsen, Tess
The Sinner. Ballantine Books, 2003

Gischler, Victor
Gun Monkeys. Dell, 2003.

Goldman, William
The Temple of Gold. Dell, 1976.

Gran, Sara
Dope. Putnam, 2006.

Greene, Graham
The Quiet American. Penguin
The End of the Affair. Penguin
Travels With My Aunt. Penguin
Brighton Rock. Penguin

Grisham, John
The Runaway Jury. Dell, 1997.

Haddon, Mark
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Doubleday, 2003.

Hammett, Dashiell
The Maltese Falcon. Vintage
Red Harvest. Vintage
The Thin Man. Vintage
The Glass Key. Vintage

Hemingway, Ernest
The Sun Also Rises. Scribner
The Garden of Eden. Scribner

Highsmith, Patricia
The Talented Mister Ripley. Vintage
Ripley’s Game. Vintage
Ripley Underground. Vintage
The Blunderer. W.W. Norton and Company

Hillerman, Tony
The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century. Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Hornby, Nick
Speaking With the Angels. Riverhead Trade, 2001.
About a Boy. Riverhead Trade, 1999.
High Fidelity. Riverhead Trade, 2000.

Huston, Charlie
Six Bad Things. Ballantine Books, 2005.

Irving, John
A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound. Doubleday, 2004.

Ishiguro, Kazuo
The Remains of the Day. Vintage, 1990.

Jones, James
From Here to Eternity. Delta, 1998.

Kelly, James Patrick
Think Like a Dinosaur. Golden Gryphon Press, 2003
Strange But Not a Stranger. Golden Gryphon Press 2002
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King, Stephen
Cell. Scribner’s, 2005
The Colorado Kid. Hard Case Crime, 2005
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Everything’s Eventual. Signet, 2003
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The Dark Tower V: Wolves of The Calla. Donald M. Grant/Scribner, 2003
The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah. Donald M. Grant/Scribner, 2004
On Writing. Scribner, 2000
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Beginnings, Middles and Ends. Writer’s Digest Books, 1999.

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Absolute Friends. Little, Brown, 2005.

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Darkness, Take My Hand. Harper Torch, 1997
Sacred. Harper Torch,1998
Prayers for Rain. Harper Torch, 2000
Gone, Baby, Gone. Harper Torch, 1999
Shutter Island. William Morrow, 2003
Mystic River. Harper Torch, 2002

Leonard, Elmore
The Hot Kid. William Morrow, 2005.
When the Women Come to Dance. William Morrow
Mr. Paradise. William Morrow

Lethem, Jonathan
Gun, With Occasional Music. Harvest Books, 2003.

Lewis, C.S.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Harper, 1984.

Lippman, Laura
Baltimore Blues. New York: Avon, 1997
Charm City. New York: Avon, 1997
Butchers Hill. New York: Avon, 1998
In Big Trouble. New York: Avon, 1999
Every Secret Thing. New York: Avon, 2004
By A Spider’s Thread. New York: Avon, 2005
In A Strange City. New York: Avon, 2002

Ludlum, Robert
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The Bourne Supremacy. Bantam, 1987.

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The Chill. Warner Books
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A Game of Thrones. Spectra, 1996.

Martin, Steve
The Pleasure of My Company. Hyperion, 2003.
Pure Drivel. Hyperion, 1998.

McBain, Ed
The Gutter and The Grave. Hard Case Crime, 2005

McCarthy, Cormac
No Country For Old Men. Knopf, 2005.

McEwan, Ian
Enduring Love. Anchor, 1998.
Black Dogs. Anchor, 1998.

McGrath, Patrick
Asylum. Vintage, 1998.

McMurtry, Larry
The Last Picture Show. Penguin

Merullo, Roland
Revere Beach Boulevard. Owl Publishing Company, 1999
Revere Beach Elegy. Beacon Press, 2002

Moore, Christopher
The Island of the Sequined Love Nun. Perenial, 2000.

Mosley, Walter
Big Bad Brawly Brown. Warner Books, 2003
Little Scarlet. Little, Brown, 2004
Fearless Jones. Little, Brown, 2001
Fear Itself. Little, Brown, 2003
The Man in My Basement. Little, Brown, 2004
Walkin’ the Dog. Little, Brown, 2000
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned. Little, Brown, 1998
Cinnamon Kiss. Little, Brown, 2005

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The Tattooed Girl. Ecco, 2003

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The Things They Carried. Penquin
In the Lake of the Woods. Penquin

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A Prayer for the Dying. Picador, 2000.
The Speed Queen. Grove Press, 2001.

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Fight Club. W.W. Norton and Company, 1996.

Parker, T. Jefferson
Silent Joe. Hyperion, 2001
Cold Pursuit. Harper Torch, 2004
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Parkhurst, Carolyn
The Dogs of Babel. Little Brown, 2003.

Patterson, James
Cat and Mouse. Warner Books, 1998.
Jack and Jill. Warner Books, 2003.

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King Suckerman. Dell, 1998
The Sweet Forever. Dell, 1999
Soul Circus. Warner Books, 2004
A Firing Offense. Serpent’s Tail, 1999
Shoedog. Serpent’s Tail, 2003
Shame the Devil. Dell, 2001
Right As Rain. Warner Books, 2002
The Big Blowdown. St. martin’s Press, 1996
Hell To Pay. Warner Books, 2003
Hard Revolution, Little, Brown, 2004
Drama City. Little, Brown, 2005

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Little Children. St. Martin’s Press, 2004.

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The Ice Harvest. Ballantine Books, 2001

The Republic. Penquin

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Spunk and Bite. Random House, 2005.

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The Light Fantastic. Harper Torch, 2000.
The Color of Magic. Harper Torch, 2000.

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Resurrection Men. Little, Brown
Fleshmarket Alley. Little, Brown
A Question of Blood. Little, Brown

Read, Cornelia
A Field of Darkness. Mysterious Press, 2006.

Rickards, John
Winter’s End. St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2003.

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Empire Falls. Vintage, 2002.
The Whore’s Child. Vintage, 2003.

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Celebrities in Disgrace. Graywolf Press, 2001.
A Four-Sided Bed. Graywolf Press, 1998.

Sebold, Alice
The Lovely Bones. Little Brown, 2002.

Sedaris, David
Me Talk Pretty One Day. Back Bay Books, 2001.

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Last Exit to Brooklyn. Grove Press, 1988.

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Where the Wild Things Are. Harper Trophy, 1998.
In the Night Kitchen. Harper Trophy, 1995.

Shea, Suzanne Strempek
Shelf Life. Beacon Press, 2005
Selling the Lite of Heaven. Atria, 1994

Siler, Jenny
Flashback Henry Holt, 2004
Easy Money St. Martin’s, 2000
Iced St. Martin’s, 2001
Shot. St. Martin’s/Minotaur, 2003

Silet, Charles L.P.
Talking Murder: Interviews With 20 Mystery Writers. Persea Books, 1999.

Stark, Richard
Payback. Mysterious Press, 1999.
The Man with the Getaway Face. Mysterious Press, 1998.
The Mourner. Mysterious Press, 2001.

Stewart, Jon
America (The Book) A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction. Warner Books, 2004.

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Amy and Isabelle. Vintage, 2000.

Swierczynski, Duane
The Wheelman. St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2005.

Thompson, Jim
After Dark, My Sweet. Vintage

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The Hobbit. Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

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Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Gotham, 2004.

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Personal Injuries. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999.
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The Songs of the Kings. Nan A. Talese, 2003.

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Villages. Knopf, 2004.
The Witches of Eastwick. Fawcett, 1985.

Kurt Vonnegut
Bagombo Snuff Box. Berkley, 2000
Mother Night. Dell, 1991.
The Sirens of Titan. Dell, 1992.

Walter, Jess
Citizen Vince. Regan Books, 2005.

Wells, Rebecca
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Harper, 2002.

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What’s the Worse That Could Happen. Waner Books, 1997.
The Hot Rock. Mysterious Press, 2001.

Willeford, Charles
Miami Blues. Vintage
New Hope For the Dead. Vintage

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Description. Writer’s Digest Books
Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing. Writer’s Digest Books.

Woodrell, Daniel
The Death of Sweet Mister. New York: Plume, 2002
Tomato Red. New York: Plum, 2000
Give Us a Kiss. New York: Pocket, 1998

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Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by Mystery Writers of America. Writer’s Digest Books, 2001.

Yates, Richard
Revolutionary Road. Vintage

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dangerously Close to Wanting Nothing

This past weekend I sat and stared at trees - giant poplars and evergreens swaying in the breeze like the ebb and flow of ocean waves. I didn't want to write, or read or do anything. I forget how refreshing it is to do nothing.

Most people see me reading and think I'm relaxing. I am to a certain point, but for me, as it should be with all writers, reading is work. I cannot simply shut my mind off, I'm constantly analyzing the story. How well does the author develop the plot? Do I care about these characters? How is the writing? I know there are literary junk food novels out there, but since most of them are incredibly bad, I can't enjoy them. It's the same way with movies. I think this is the price writers pay. In order to develop as the best writer he/she can be, they give up some of that escape reading used to give them. That doesn't necessarily mean I don't enjoy what I read, or unable to lose myself to a certain extent; it just means that the experience is no longer a total and complete recess of the mind.

Right now I'm planning on taking a drive down to Acadia National Park. I love it down there. I just want to watch the ocean and enjoy nature. The only hectic thing will be chasing a three-year-old around, which can be extremely tiring; but it will be worth it.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Drug Years

VH1 is currently airing a four-part documentary on the American drug culture from the 1960's up to today called The Drug Years. So far, the documentary is rather good. It doesn't take a stainless steele drugs are bad attitude, but it also doesn't turn away from the destruction drugs can cause. It is an interesting and mostly objective study on this subject. The Sundance Channel is also airing the documentary.

But Steve, why should you care about the drug culture? Well, duh. I think that quite a few crime stories deal with drugs and I think one needs a better understanding of their meaning to society in order to write about crime. It's not enough to know that drugs are bad; one needs to comprehend the social impact drugs have. And that doesn't simply mean crime statistics. Certainly the ramifications of drug use often lead to crime, but I seriously doubt anyone started taking drugs so they could commit crime. What I'm looking for is motivation and societal definition. Knowing why drugs exist at all and why people take them will lead one to better understand not only their own society, but also allows the writer to better develop his or her characters and the envirornments they inhabit. One cannot effectively comment on society without first understanding it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bye Bye Circus

John Rickards just announced he is shutting down the Mystery Circus website. Man, I'm going to be fucking depressed for the rest of the day. Checking the Circus has become a daily ritual. I've made some really great internet friends on the forums. The posting have always been helpful, inspiring and sometimes really fun and silly. But, I guess the web traffic hasn't been that great. Granted, my little essay probably didn't bring in many readers - or any for that matter. Sorry.

But, I'll try to take it like a man *sniff*. Oh, why? Why? Is it something I did? I'll do anything. I'll be a good boy, I promise. I'll clean my room. I'll eat all of my vegetables. I'll stop it with the booze and strippers. I can change. Don't leave me. I'm all cold and alone.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy Apocalypse Everybody!

6/6/06. Day of the Devil, or not. USA Today has an article in today's newspaper. I've been drinking goat's blood all morning, and so far no sign of the anti-Christ. George Bush must be upset that the Rapture didn't happen - he thinks he's going to Heaven.

The most disturbing thing happening today? The Church of Satan is holding some kind of the Steve Allen theater in L.A.!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Creative Thesis Done

E-mailed my creative thesis out to my readers this morning. It hasn't hit me yet that it's done, but that didn't stop me from taking the day off. I actually took the time today to read the Sunday paper.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I only get it for the articles has compiled a list of 25 sexiest novels of all time. It includes some brilliant books like J.G. Ballard's Crash and In the Cut, along with some good trash like Peyton Place (Maine: The Way Life Should Be) and Judy Blume!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Future Crimewriter

Picture of baby Lorelai. You can see a fist and a leg - and little bit of her butt. The little stinker wouldn't cooperate enough to get a shot of her face...she's going to be just like her brother.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back In the Saddle

Took some time off. Feeling rested. Actually had to force myself not to write a couple of times. I only checked the e-mail and glanced at various websites for short periods of time. Read a few books: Gun Monkeys by Victor Gischler (fucking brilliant); A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read (what a wonderful protagonist); Winter's End by John Rickards (awesome setting - considering it's in Maine); and Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (is there anyone better?). I also watched the greatest movie ever: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Also got a haircut. Now, I have to get back at it. Already looked over a short story I had started last week. I have a pretty good idea how I'm going to change it since I didn't quite like the ending I had originally thought of. Then onto revisions of the thesis. Originally the end of last week and this past weekend were scheduled to be revision time, but since I was under the weather and needed to rest, it was all pushed back on the calendar. No biggie I guess.

Goals for the week:

1. Finish revisions of thesis
2. Write bullshit introduction to said thesis. Also bullshit bibliography, heartfelt acknowledgements.
3. Finish the first drafts on the two short stories I have going right now.
4. Maybe write another flash fiction piece.
5. Try not to burn candle at both ends.
6. No seizures.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Physical Dangers of Writing

Little sleep plus brain tumor = seizure. So, I may have to take it easy for a little while. Nearly went into full convulsions - while holding a knife! I fought it, and it stopped, so no EMT over me with an oxygen mask. I hate that, almost as much as I hate waking up with an IV in the back of my hand. Just thinking about it makes my hands itch.

I guess I'll take a little time off and just read for the next couple of days. I have new books from John Rickards, Richard Yates and Robet Ferrigno. Or I'll watch Metal Month on VH1. But no late nights writing. I shouldn't have even come into work today, but oh well.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Baseball Flash

My baseball themed Take Me Out to the Ballgame is up on Tribe's Flashing In the Gutters. As you can probably tell from the story, I'm not a big Yankees fan.

Pulp Fiction Week

This week Slate magazine is doing Pulp Fiction Week with numerous articles on various popular fiction topics, including Patricia Highsmith and Richard Stark's Parker novels. There is also an article with various authors about their summer beach reads. The coolest tidbit is what's on Rick Moody's list: The Diviners
The Dirt : Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band
by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, and Neil Strauss.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Working full-time and writing full-time makes Stevie a sleepy boy. I would love to take a nap right now, just lay my head down on the keyboard and go to sleep. And I can't have too much caffeine because it will cause seizures with so little rest. Oh well, unless I win the lottery soon, this is going to be my permanent state for some time to come.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Are you among the technorati or literati?

I guess the big thing at this weekend's Book Expo in Washington, D.C. was the controversy of what technology means for the publishing world. The catalyst of all of this was an article that appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine entitled Scan This Book, which discussed the developments in technology in regards to publishing. Some see it as a great boost to the publishing business (the technorati), while others see it as a decline (the literati). The most prominent critic of the looming technological revolution was John Updike who warned against embracing these changes because they threatened the pure definition and integrity of the industry. Ironically, Updike's speech on the ills of technology will be available as a podcast from the Book Expo website.

Updike stated that "books are intrinsic to our human identity." True, but is it the corporeal existence of that book that is intrinsic or the content?

I have to say that my opinion is somewhere between the technorati and the literati. I can understand and embrace the advantages of technological changes, but at the same time I just enjoy having a book. Sure, I spend enough time on the internet reading, but I prefer hold a book; reading print on paper. (Plus, just about my entire family is in the paper industry.) I read the NYTimes on-line, but I much prefer getting ink on my fingers. I think my personal preference is for the printed page, but the advantages of reaching more people and stop the hemorrhaging of losing readers are too great to ignore. Besides, books will always be around, no matter the future developments of electronic paper and reading devices.

Human identity is not threatened here. If anything, the continuing development of new media only broadens our identity.

Overall, I think the technorati are onto something, but my heart remains with the literati.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I'm only here for a muffler

To the old guy in the Midas shop: What is it about me holding a book and reading says "Please tell me about your life"? Wow, your wife once locked your front door and had to have someone take it off the hinges to get back inside? That is un-fucking-believable. I can't wait to tell my friends that story. I'll be the hit of every party I go to with that little narrative gem.

So, let me point something out. If someone is in a waiting room (no matter where it is) and they have their nose in a book, it means they don't want to talk. The only acceptable interruption is to ask what they are reading and what they think of it. Beyond that I don'’t care.

Alright, I'm being a little harsh. I guess it would be acceptable to say one thing to see if someone is interested in conversing, but if the reaction is just a simple "ayuh" and then going back to reading - that'’s not an invitation.

No, I don"’t think Bush is a great president. As a matter of fact I'm one of those idiots who think he should be kicked out of office.

No, "those people" in New Orleans didn'’t get what they deserved. And yes, they should rebuild the city.

No, I don't think illegal immigrants are the real problem. Sending troops and building a huge wall seems a little too East Berlin for my taste.

And no, I did not think the war is worth it.

Let's recap:

Book = no talk
Bush = bad
You = idiot