T is for Title

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.

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A Horror Test, A Book Review, his Wife and her Lover

Just a couple of quick links:

  • Wooden Spoon’s posted a cool Demon Theory review
  • In anticipation & celebration of Halloween, that fifth page of the Demon Theory quiz-thing‘s been very updated
  • I just last night rung that 100-page bell on the novel I started a few days ago, which has a title still probably too tentative to say, as it might lock me into it or something. Anyway, about it: the rule this time around’s that nobody can kill anybody, and there can be nothing supernatural, and no body parts flying. And that it can’t go over 180 pages. Also — and this is my research for it — does anybody know what tip-off/kickoff is called in a hockey game? Like, if it were a foosball game, that moment the ball/puck huts the table/ice, and all the sticks start clattering and I’m smiling because I’m thinking again about Happy Gilmore?
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    Anatomy of a Review

    Just thinking about what I said in that last post, about how I don’t do reviews because I’m pretty sure I’d set my standards impossibly high, just so I could shoot down every book in my path. That may be a little too broad a statement, though — I don’t mean to suggest that all reviews that burn a book are similarly motivated. Granted, some reviewers just have bad attitudes (Tobias Wolff, of course, in “Bullet to the Brain,” shoots one of them in the head, while John Updike, in “Bech Noir,” chooses to just push them in front of trains, serial fashion), but, too, it is the critics’ job to take those literary bullets meant for us, yeah? Kakutani and them, they’re the bodyguards, I mean. Maybe overzealous sometimes, sure, but always articulate anyway. And, I mean, if you’re Anne Rice, you can always just log in, fight the reviews.

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    Death Boobs, or Why I Read Christopher Moore

    Well, I mean, yeah, because he’s got titles like THE LUST LIZARD OF MELANCHOLY COVE and PRACTICAL DEMONKEEPING. These are what originally got me peeling his books up from the shelves back whenever ago. Years already, I guess. Too, though, I’ve yet to read a CMoore book that hasn’t made me smile, and then impressed me too, somehow. Like this, from A DIRTY JOB, which I just finished ten minutes ago:

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    Zombie Sharks in Juked #4


    JUKED #4 (print) is out. Just showed up in my mailbox today. Very pretty. In there with a couple of people I know, even: Alan Rossi and Patrick Whitfill.

    The story is that “Zombie Sharks with Metal Teeth”-one. A story about a man and his mouse. Which, that’s not figurative language there, though I guess when you get right down to it, that mouse isn’t your standard ordinary everyday boring mouse. Who’d want to write about that?

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    Open Letter to Publisher X

    Editor Y:

    In today’s trend-oriented publishing climate, you need to either be the celebrity-of-the-moment or you need to have a bulletproof plan to plug into what’s hot, what’s guaranteed, what there’s already an audience for. And, sir/madam/etc., that you don’t already know my name from the tabloids should suggest that, while not infamous for killing or raping or stalking somebody, which is pretty much the standard for literary potential, I know, I have nevertheless, through a thorough though necessarily shallow study, come up with a story idea that’s less of a gamble than 99% of the publishing opportunities you probably have sitting on your desk right now.

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    Demon Theory footnote #522 (or so)

    Of all the footnotes I cut from DEMON THEORY, there’s an OLIVER TWIST / ANIMAL HOUSE one that I maybe miss the most. There was this fun, ceramic-pig oriented Pynchon-one too though, I suppose, which scuttled through PLAYBOY and I forget all-where. And more and more. This, though, it’s one that I never actually put to paper, only considered: getting to LOST via MILLENIUM via X-FILES or something — Terry O’Quinn seems to be in about everything I like. Either that or I like everything he’s in. However, it’s a good thing I didn’t have a LOST note, I think, as I now realize it would it have been incomplete, because just now was the very time I ever saw “The Creepy Case of Old Ironface” episode of SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU? which seems to hold, in seed-form, all of LOST:

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    Demon Theory meets Reanimator

    amazon

    Which is a fancy stupid way of saying that DEMON THEORY‘s back on Amazon, thanks to Melanie at MacAdam/Cage. not quite searchable yet, but there again, anyway, mostly alive. So, to everyone who’s been asking why the world hates them and me this much, as to bury the book in a database: we’re the favored child again, with all things available. click the Amazon banner here to go the DEMON THEORY page.

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    Home Ground

    amazon's pic of it

    Just a quick note that Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez is out. I have either twenty or twenty-one definitions in it, can’t recall (twenty-one, I think, which may be the most, who knows — my copy’s loaned out already). Anyway, click the pic to go to Amazon’s page. Also, the first line of Publisher’s Weekly’s review: “How to define an arroyo, badlands, eddy, a muskeg?” I think I did badlands, maybe. Anyway, it was a great project to work on, and great people to work with. An honor, all that, and a very unique book, I think. And, though I fully expected it to be a sixty dollar library job — I mean, it’s got all these drawings, cost Trinity just gobs of money both to produce and to market, but, somehow, it’s going for $20 or so. Which is a steal, really, because it’s a beautiful book. I’m proud to have been involved.

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    Texas Book Festival

    tx bk fest


    The schedule just posted for the Texas Book Festival, and it looks like I’m on two panels:

  • 11:30 – 12:30, Capitol Extension Room E2.026: “Literary Fiction: Texas Rising Stars?” With Ben Fountain, Dao Strom, and Dominic Smith, and Patrick Beach moderating. (DEMON THEORY)
  • 3:00 – 4:00, Capitol Extension Room E2.010: “Writers League of Texas Presents the Violet Crown & Teddy Book Awards,” moderated by John Pipkin. (BLEED INTO ME)
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