I don’t have nearly enough time to devote to this now — I’m in the early stages of a study that hopes to finally conclude whether the Bulletboy’s old “Smooth Up In Ya'” song1 (1989) really had hidden sexual overtones or not (next up: Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”) — but I feel I’ve got to say something anyway. And, I’d meant to frame this in some “Open Letter to Hollywood” or something, along the lines of that other thing I did, but then, no matter how I twisterized my brain, I just couldn’t figure out who’s consistently responsible for the poor quality of today’s trailers: “Hollywood” would seem to be the catch-all, I suppose, and I could always break it down to distributors or production companies, nevermind those few directors (I think) who insist on not farming out the trailer making, but the more I thought about it . . . I don’t know. Are we to blame — the audience? I mean, Hollywood’s a puppetmaster, sure, telling us what we like, what we don’t, but, too, we’ve got the real strings in our pockets, in the form of money. So, I guess I just don’t know. And like I said: with “Smooth Up In Ya'” cycling through my head, I don’t really have the brainpower right now to track it down.
Looks like, in pre-celebration for TURISTAS1, Demon Theory pulled two reviews this week:
Cool places each, though the reviews are kind of opposites of each other.
Anyway, it’s none other than Mike Bracken on the Toxic Universe one. Which, I mean — for my first novel, I remember telling somebody that it would only be complete when I knew that Gerald Vizenor had read it. And then, bam, it was suddenly complete before it was even published: FC2 had somehow got Vizenor to blurb it. About the coolest thing in the world.
hey, way down in that Halloweenie post I wrapped up by lamenting that there were no pics leftover of my shirt. Turns out it was a lie. There’s this one (click it to enlarge):
The farthest-back person in the room’s my friend William J Cobb, and the frontmost is Jay McInerney. I’m in the middle of an imaginary line between them, posing with a coke (there was no sweet tea). Right in front of me’s Amanda Eyre Ward. Or, hey: just look for the guy in the goofy red shirt, maybe.
and his freezer’s now spilling over with elk. which is to say dancing days are here again, all that.
and, because all this can’t seem to organize itself any other way, a list:
Bleak. Unremitting. Is to the road trip book what THE HILLS HAVE EYES was to the family vacation movie. And as far as post-apocalyptic stuff goes, Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD makes you see what a happy fantasy A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ was, how tame DR. BLOODMONEY was. That that road in THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER was gold brick.
Anyway, though this is a non-review like all the others, still, some steering if you’ll take it: read THE ROAD in five hours or less, all in one sitting. That way you don’t have to be sad and/or suicidal for the whole afternoon. Not that it doesn’t stick with you, but, just to sanitize your mind, you can try to poke holes in your memory of it anyway: if the wheelbarrow turns back into a cart for no real reason, does that make this all not real? if the apostrophes aren’t perfectly consistent, does that make THE ROAD a more constructed thing? Not really, no. It is fun to try to resist it, though, this book. To say it’s all just set-up — that, in a landscape this dark, even a spark seen from miles away can be enough to melt your heart once and forever. That it’s all about that spark, really.
everyone dreams the dream
but we are it
It’s like a word problem: If two ribbons, one gold one green, approach each other at a rate of eight pages at a time in a three hundred and sixty page book, will they ever meet? Because of course one-eighty isn’t a multiple of eight — you’re either four short or four over. Which kind of makes it a double-true middle, yeah, and, as you get closer and closer to it, can tell it’s going to be a hinge, a whirlpool, a peak, it gets hard not to cheat and page ahead. But wait if you can — it’s a weird tension to have a in book, right? Waiting to get to the exact middle? That’s ONLY REVOLUTIONS for you, though: all the conventional trappings of reading, the things we take for granted, don’t even acknowledge anymore, haven’t since never, Danielewski takes them away and then reimagines the book for us. Not ‘story’ or ‘narrative,’ but that simple up/down=>linear thing that we maybe all assumed was just the way things were, and should be.
Showed up at the wrong bookstore Halloween night to do a DEMON THEORY signing — kind of awkward when you’re wearing a Jason mask, carrying a big fake knife — but finally found the right one, had a blast (notice all the LISEY’S STORYs behind me there, yeah?). Rented FEAST that night as well, though of course had to watch HALLOWEEN instead, just because I’m sentimental, and half-trying to study it, I suppose, to see where there’s room for Rob Zombie to redo it. Of everybody out there, though, he’s maybe the one who can.
Man, if everybody doesn’t have a list, right? I’d guess, if I took the time to look, somebody’s already got one like this, I mean: things they’re tired enough of in horror to make a public plea that those things stop, lest the whole genre cave in or something. Or, really, those things we get tired of in our chosen reading areas (assuming we use the marketing terms [Western, Horror, Romance, Thriller, Mystery, Erotica, Historical, ‘Literary,’ etc] instead of just ‘Quality’ and ‘Not Quality’), without them how could the genre ever be parodied, right? And parodies, aside from being this big extended in-jokes that make us feel clever, they also tend to purge the genre of a lot of what’s become extra. SCREAM did this in 1996, say, BLAZING SADDLES in 1974, etc, though, stuff like DATE MOVIE or SCARY MOVIE, I don’t know: they’re parody, sure, but I suspect that, like with its cousin satire, there’s generative parody and destructive parody. The reason SCREAM and BLAZING SADDLES worked, I think–ie, added to the genre by critiquing it–was that, beneath the laughs, they were a horror movie and a western. Just funny, self-aware ones. This isn’t to say NAKED GUN was necessarily a parody of the police procedural, however; I’d say it’s more like just a comedy with cops in it.
For a long time now I’ve gone to bed early
For a long time now I’ve been writing “title shot” in the back of every book I read, along with a/the page number. Most, anyway. All it means is that this (page) is the first time the title of the book appears in the book itself. Just something I’ve been tracking for years and years, with the idea of going back someday, synthesing all the ratios (“if a title’s to appear in a book, it’s usually not before the seventy-fifth page,” etc). But I’ve got just thousands of books, and I’m always lending them out and forgetting where they are, so my data set here’s hopelessly jumbled, and I’d rather write stories than run numbers anyway. And, I mean, breaking a book down to numbers is pretty foolish too. Really, growing up I just played a lot of that Glass-Jawed-Joe boxing game on my old Atari or whatever, and would always get caught up against the ropes, the announcer saying over and over again, “Body blow! Body blow!” So now I scribble my book-version of that in the back of whatever I’m reading.