I was in New York with friends in the early 90’s shortly after I cranked out the second half of the Boble. At the time, I was running a tiny little publishing company called Purple Publications, where I put together homemade chapbooks and sold them for around $5 a pop. The Boble was my top seller, bringing in over $500 a year (shockingly), so I had decided to split it into two sections, selling them independently. A plan that I’ve now resurrected, with slightly more vim and vigor, and a decade’s worth of lessons, for a proposed 2015 release.
Then, as now, I was editing The Boble in an attempt to wash it clean of the childishness. I’d originally started writing it as an angst-filled teenager, so it was a challenge to come at it with book sales in mind. In 1993 or so, I had a pretty simplistic frame of mind when it came to book sales. Make a few bucks and call it a day. It’s a bit more difficult now when you juggle the concept of a worldwide release and a much larger investment. In a way, the “soul” of the work is sacrificed. It’s no longer a ranting screed written by a troubled boy, it must now be whipped into shape.
In 1993, as I struggled with edits, a friend cautioned me about losing that soul. He leaned in close and he told me to “stay angry.” He told me that only my anger would fuel my writing.
Staying angry, of course, is no problem. If there isn’t the legacy of my goddamned father to obsess about, there’s the troubled life of my mother, my own angry childhood, and the knowledge that, there in 93, I was adrift and directionless. No one was helping me through any of this… Hell, I was angrier than anyone. And when that anger started to ebb, as we neared the year 2000, I was struck down by Trigeminal Neuralgia, the brutal death of my mother, and then we all watched the silent skies as the new millennium dawned on a world forever changed. There’s never been a break from the anger.
So, I have no worries about re-editing The Boble if, indeed, it is fueled by anger. A part of me wants to start from scratch. A condensed, abridged Boble in the style of 1066 and All That. I probably won’t do that because, ultimately, I’m a lazy fuck.
What concerns me, though, as I dip into the project, is the true value of that anger. The depth of it. The fact that it’s been a part of me for over 30 years. There’s a desperate sort of neediness to it, as well. I’m always reaching out to try and dispel this anger and, of course, always failing. As I start work on the updated Boble, the lesson is not to stay angry, I think. I think this idiot screed from my teenage years is less about expressing anger and more about the rejection of anger. I think my friend, in 1993, was wrong.
When you go back over The Boble and read it, it’s not some sort of screaming attack against everything. It’s a clumsy comedy about a blind watchmaker sort of god and his always self-obsessed subjects. Calling something “a parody of the Bible” is a good way to be labelled as angry, I suppose. But, even when I was scratching down the first chapters in 1988, there was a sense of the absurd in the whole thing. Perhaps anger was the fuel, but it seems to fade before it hits the page.
This alter ego — the dreaded Nacho Sasha — comes from the same era. Another specter born in anger, I suppose. But, over the last 25 years, an alter ego that has changed quite a bit. Just as The Boble must. If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that the only way to defeat the evil things in life is to shove them into the light of day, talk about them, and make fun of them. Nothing is ever sacred.