All the Pretty Hominids

Back when The Fast Red Road wasn’t called that—this is late 1997, early 1998—the way I intended to write it was as a series of long answering machine messages left in this one guy’s trailer while he’s off gallivanting around with a carnival or something (he’s got pet jackals—this is the kind cool stuff you think of, first novel out, that you then don’t get to use until, say, you write a novel about a bunnyheaded zombie coyote/smuggler/father). The guy on the answering machine was supposed to be this guy named Golius, a thinly-veiled Vizenor character, monologging on and on about, you guessed it: hominids. Each message was going to be a different theory about why our primate selves finally stood up. And these messages were going to matter so, so much to Golius, like, they’re the tether just barely keeping him attached to the surface of the planet. They’re not so important to the guy listening. To the guy standing there deleting them.

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Years back, somewhere around 1997, I’d guess, I asked Janet Burroway, my dissertation director, for her advice on embarking on this whole writing thing. Janet’s answer was pretty much exactly this, from King—don’t wall yourself off from your family in order to write. Rather, write in the middle of them all.

[ original page/image is here ]

Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of great advice, but none’s finally been as important as what Janet Burroway told me twenty years ago. It’s not about lining a shelf, it’s about building a life.

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Books I’ve Read Over and Over

Just finished rereading my favorite book of 2016, Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and I realized I’m kind of getting a shelf together, of books I come back to again and again. Books I can’t stay away from. Books that just hold more and more magic for me, each time through. I’ve heard that’s one definition of ‘literary’: a text that will keep unfolding and unfolding, the longer you look into it. I’d also add that, a really good novel, it can’t be spoiled, because its quality isn’t completely dependent upon its secret, its big reveal, on whodunnit. Corny as it sounds, it’s the journey, not the destination, yeah? Here’s my stack of books I’ve been journeying through for years, and will be journeying through for many more. I’ll put them in some semblance of order, starting at the top with stuff I used to read over and over, ending, I guess, with what I just reread, and trying not to include stuff I only reread because I was teaching it. Not that I haven’t taught a lot of these. But that was just an excuse to read them again.

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Sometimes a Cool Thing Happens


and it’s shaped like a book, one I’d never have guessed could be real. Thanks so much to Billy J. Stratton and all the contributors. Honored. Amazing. So cool. Clickable here.

And here it is in BookWorks, down in Albuquerque (thanks to Amanda Sutton for the snap):

And — it’s like a gnome, photobombing, yes? — here it is on Theo Van Alst’s shelf:

And here it is again, down at Fleur Fine Books, in Texas land:

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Horror at the Stanley


Looks like this is the second Stanley Hotel post I’ve done here (the first). This time it’s for teaching, though. Also? Every single place I go on CU campus—bulletin boards, monitors, displays—I’m looking back at me:

This is that click.

And, for the media fun, here it is on the front page of Boulder’s Daily Camera, here‘s the cover story in Westword, and here‘s some video and a write-up from 9News in Denver. I would say click “here” for testimonials, but this is the first time this has ever happened. Gonna be be fun scary.

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Stories that aren’t (but are) stories

Which is really probably my favorite thing in the world: a recipe-as-story, a ransom-note-as-story. glossary-as-story. Much etc—honestly, I want to compile them all into a big book of happiness. Anyway, this non-story story, it lines up quite well with Daniel Orozco’s “Officer’s Weep” story, from his Orientation collection (and . . . was it originally in The Atlantic? seems like).

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