Genre & Literary

Using the ampersand there because I’m tired of seeing the “vs.” Too? I keep thinking I’m done with this discussion, this rabbit-hole, this time-suck. But then I stumble across something like this, and it rings true in a way I’d never considered:

That’s from American Grindhouse. And, that freedom Jonathan Kaplan’s talking about there, that’s exactly what I get the sense of, every time I’m reading PKD: that he’s ringing the bells he has to in order to do all this other stuff. Which, really, Elric Kane at Shockwaves podcast kind of said a few eps ago, talking George Romero:

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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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Desks

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

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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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