Thursday, December 26, 2013

Rambling with Volunteers on the Headphones

We can be together 
Ah you and me  
We should be together 
We are outlaws in the eyes of America 

--Jefferson Airplane*

I think, what I am finding is, you have to find a place where you are happy with the content, and the style, and you just have to make sure it is nice and proofread.  It's important to understand the weaknesses and limitations of it, and focus on the strengths of it, and make the strengths genuinely outweigh the weaknesses.  And I am trying to put out a professional quality product.

I feel like I am capable of doing all of these things, and now I am to the point of ordering a proof and really going through and proofreading.  I republished my short story collection after having done so, and I feel like I have caught the majority of my mistakes.  There are still some, but they aren't as noticeable.  I think.

There is always a certain amount of insecurity, but I feel like if I focus on the quality and make both an artistic statement and also putting out something that has the guise of legitimacy, I will be success eventually.  The next thing I will have to learn how to do, as I start writing my next manuscript (and I have started.  I have about 2,000 so far, after one sitting).

I have learned a lot so far, and for that I am grateful.  I can't wait to see what the next year holds as I finish up grad school and get a job (hopefully.  I am already looking).  On top of all this I have to make sure I kick ass at school for like four more classes and my thesis.  Then I will be home free, and with a killer GPA.  I feel like I earned my grades, too.  I am thinking part of my marketing strategy will also hinge on me getting some of these papers published.  That will also take a lot of work, but if I am successful, that will only lend more credibility to myself as a writer of literature.  I am thinking I have some papers by now that if I continue to work on them and get advice on them from my professors, I will be able to get something published.  I am also going to do some conferences at the school so I can get some more experience doing that.

Maybe after I work for a few years, I can go back to school after I get my shit paid off and some credit built.  Maybe I will go back in my forties.  If I did, it would depend on my level of success as a part-time writer as I work a full time job.  If I can make it worthwhile, then I might have a justifiable enough reason to keep going, eventually.  For now, I just have to make money.  I don't want to be a selfish prick or anything, I just want to break free from my debt and start over, finally, with two degrees under my belt, and future prospects.  

Indeed, as I sit here, thinking about my life right now, and my career, it makes me feel like I have better things than I would have just by accepting things that way they were and pushing forward without a second thought.  I could easily be somewhere else, doing something else, just working hard and not feeling worthwhile.   Just feeling all interpellated and numb.  While I might eventually get there anyway --- at least I prolonged it to my thirties.  It was bound to happen eventually.  Still, some of the most significant writers of the last century worked other jobs or had other people to support them.  They weren't fucking making money doing it, either.

Maybe we are just cogs on a mechanism no one can truly understand, the only possibility being placed on the hopes of eternity past material existence --- of which proof I have seen no evidence of and can never be sure about.

Maybe I am just fooling myself, and we are all just fooling ourselves?  Aren't we all just as strong and smart and capable as we think we are, and if we admit to weakness we become it?  That is true if language is how we define our finite universe.  

So I guess that also means life is how we define it?  I think that is something I can take away from this rambling.

*"We Can Be Together" lyrics courtesy of

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I *think* this is how the cover is going to look.  Simple, to the point, eye-popping.  Although, we are thinking about incorporating some kind of graphic into the design.  I like this version because I can have the paperback printed matte instead of gloss.  Anyways, without further adieu, here is the current (and probably final) version of the book cover:

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Hipster Drinking Game!

Rather than going the traditional marketing route, I am trying out some things that won't cost either me or my potential audience to do (aside, potentially*, from obtaining my book in some fashion).  Anyways, I have come up with a new drinking game for hipsters: it's called, "Spot the Music Reference in Out in the Garage#".  First, you get as many players as you can and divide them as per the number of books one has to share between teams:  if it is a 1:1 ratio, then it is possible to play as individuals rather than as teams.  (However, if you want to share a strategy between members of a group, teams are the way to go.)  Once the books are distributed (don't worry folks, this is the hardest part), you will take turns reading Out in the Garage out loud, however you want to divide it (e.g. sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page by page...), switching reading between the teams, trading off between team members, and the first person to spot a music reference during the reading gets to either drink or distribute the drink to one of their team members.  If the person who drinks can afterwards recall from memory at least two lines in the song referenced (which you will be able to verify with my Spotify playlist, or any other way you wish to verify the two lines of lyrics[and I do encourage to you to listen to the song all the way through and continue playing the game]).  The game ends when you have either gotten all the way through the book, or you decide to give up, because one or more players are way too drunk to continue, and the team with the drunkest people (who aren't being too much of a shame, as judged by the rest of the players of the game) wins.  You also have the option to award one player between the teams as the Shame of the Game, based on criteria that you create.

*Note, you could also potentially play this game with my blog, if you don't want to purchase the book.  If that is the case, you will have to find the songs, as I don't have a playlist for that (yet, anyways --- maybe someday).  
# Which will be out January 14, 2014.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I also am going to break my rusty cage and run.

In spite of all the work I have had to do lately, I have managed to sneak in working on those last few pages of my book.  I have about... 15-20 pages left to go through.  Then it's proofreading like crazy time.

Another aspect I have been working on as a way to promote this project coming out is a Spotify Playlist of songs that inspired me as I was writing this thing.  The only thing it doesn't have is the Beatles, which aren't on Spotify.  There are many songs that I have referenced in some way in the book, and this is a chance for people to hear them and also the many others that remind me of this time period.

I am also looking forward to finishing up the cover design.  It is a work in progress.  This is my working cover, that will act as a stand in until we finish the real one.  Luckily, I know an artist or two.

I feel really good about it, and I am really looking forward to holding the final version in my hand.  Nothing beats getting a proof and knowing that you have finally gotten it all together.  I have experienced this joy with my short story collection, but this one will be even more rewarding because I have put about four more years of effort into it, for a total of seven years spent on it.  It's a long time to be working on one project, trust me.  You start to get batty after a while.

I am so close I can taste the freedom.  I can feel it on my skin and on my lips like I am standing naked in the rain forest.  "Me Tarzan, you Jane." [I look at the time, and realize that I will be leaving soon].

As I think about the approaching night, "Up All Night" comes on and it sends me back and forward at the same time.  Good times had, good times coming.

Time to go.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


I think I have it.  I think I know what I am going to write.  I get that first kiss feeling and put my fingers to the keyboard, although sometimes I prefer pen to paper.  It matters in the moment.  It's that impulse.  That naked outside by the poolside on a sunny day feeling.  Smoking a cigarette without regret of the consequences.  There are always consequences, aren't there?  I am not sure anymore.

I put my pen-tip to my tongue in my mind in my position of thinking while I type at the keyboard at my fingertips.  Jimi Hendrix and Hunter S. Thompson.  I am trapped in a different time, in another place, in my mind.  Was I really born now?  In the future that Science Fiction authors used to envision?  Haven't we at some level made it to that point?  There are resonances of dystopia all around us.  "Do you want a dystopia, sir?  Erase dystopia from the dictionary."

As the semester draws to a close, I sit here, oddly relaxed, entering in and out of oblivion.  I am watching a documentary on Hunter S. Thompson, and it is both inspiring and disturbing.  That's how Dr. Gonzo would have wanted it.  That was how Raoul Duke wanted it.

I don't want my life to be like that.  Aside from recognition, what did it get him?  I look up to him as a writer, but I can't accept that being creative and expressive necessarily leads one down that road.  Same thing with Kurt Cobain, someone should have told him (and probably did), "Buck up man, you're a rock star now."  I am sure that it's fucked up beyond what I can possibly imagine, but seriously, if you can just chill out and ride the wave down slowly, you will enter into a new sort of cognizance, which is only possible through time.  Through relaxing.  Through not letting the things get to you. You move on.

You grow up, you learn to deal with life in a different, invigorating way.  I can't imagine the type of things they went through.  Even though I feel close to them as a fan, I only know them through the things they wrote. The stuff written about them.  While some might argue that is the best way one can truly know anybody, as through language is how we define our world, I am not so sure that is even that accurate.

There has to be another middle ground other than suburbia.  Something not so soul-sucking.  I don't want to just accept my materialistic programming and try to make money as my take on religion.

That's why I write.  Not because I hope to be a bestseller, because it is what renews me, over and over again.  I sit down at the keyboard, close my eyes, take a deep breath, and I am reborn unto the pages.  That for me is enough.  Enough to keep going.  To keep hashing it out, to keep making the effort to keep going, to keep living and breathing and learning and making new connections with people.  It is easy to be pulled into the dark void that seems to be opening up below us, but, like Wile E. Coyote, as long as you don't look down, and keep looking ahead at your goal, you are not going to fall.  Whatever you do, don't hesitate, don't stop, keeping going, keep looking ahead, and breathe.