Not talking about the Jeremy Robert Johnson story, although it’s one of my favorites of his, but the kind of endurance running we hominids used to use (used to use more) to run down prey. I mean, of course we did that—it’s what my “Chapter Six” story argues. Also, I’ve read accounts that, in the Great Plains, long before Kevin Costner got there, it was kind of a Sunday sport for white guys (I specify because in the accounts I know, it’s only ever white guys doing this) to find a wolf, put on some old-timey running shoes, and take off after that wolf. Trick is, that wolf’ll always stay just ahead of the runner, and after a while it just dies. This always struck me as half made-up, since we all see the helicopter footage of wolves bounding through snow for half a day after an eventually foundering elk. And they’re not dying then, are they?
Surely I’m not the only one who keeps pics/cartoons/memes/whatever around to look at every day just because they compel immediate, involuntary happiness? I had said they ‘elicit,’ but that wasn’t nearly aggressive enough.
Here’s the one I’ve been laughing at for a few weeks now. It’s never lost any of its punch, so far. It may in fact be perfect:
That right click you can do in Pages, when you finally get tired of seeing those Charlie Brown lips under all the words you make up? Well, I guess it’s Charlie Brown lips in MSWord, but I despise having to open Word, like, a little piece of my soul dies each time I have to (and I have to a lot, for trackchanges purposes), so here’s a grab of the highway dividers (hashmarks? Indian Jones map-in-action lines?) Pages plants underneath the words it doesn’t know:
So, if you need a bio from me, here’s the basic one, which I’ll try to keep updated. Can’t seem to get the titles to go properly italics, but surely you can fix that:
Stephen Graham Jones is the author of sixteen novels and six story collections. Most recent is the werewolf novel Mongrels, from William Morrow. Next are the comic book My Hero, from Hex Publishers, and Mapping the Interior, from Tor. Stephen lives and teaches in Boulder, Colorado.
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.
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.
All courtesy of Kyle Mares and Orrin Grey:
Top row: Nnedi Okorafor, Kij Johnson, Steven J. Mariconda and Peter Straub
Bottom row: some dude, Ellen Datlow, Richard Stanley and John Jude Palencar
Artist: Michael Bukowski