This article is really about Deadly Prey
The New Testicle is horrible and embarrassing, and some of these Sunday Archive stories are a mess (like the one coming up this Sunday), but some of the stuff has caught my eye. On Sunday May 10th I’ll be posting the first part of “The Walkers,” which is a short story that I don’t remember writing. It rips off just about every single post apocalypse story out there, but it was strangely fun to dig it out of the virtual shoebox and dust it off. I’m having the same experience with my lousy novel, which will debut on June 5th. I’ve worked through the first 35 pages so far and…well, I’m enjoying it. I see all the mistakes I made, but they aren’t as terrible as I remember them. Much of my novel was an experiment in pushing through towards the end, which I failed to do after 370 pages. I sacrificed quality in an attempt to get over that great hurdle – hitting the end of the story. More on that in the intro.
Serializing the novel has gotten my writing bug going again. There’s no money in it but, secretly, it’s an enjoyable life-long experiment. The only problem has been understanding the purpose. It’s a naïve mistake to write with publication, money, or success of any sort in mind. Quite simply, one writes because they have to. Call it a demon, a calling, or Alice Weaver Flaherty’s “Midnight Disease.” It’s not about filling time, changing your life, or distracting yourself from pain.
For many years, I’ve been saying that the purpose of Greatsociety (and, before it, Dirtyfreaks) has been to exercise (or exorcise, maybe) those “notes in the margin,” which I’m always scribbling. A place to practice the craft of writing. That still holds true. When writing (or preparing recycled material) for the front page, there is a sense of audience. Not a voice that holds you back, but rather a framework created by the knowledge that you do have to at least make a drunken, cursory pass with the spellchecker and try to make sense.
Writing for an audience is a mistake, but writing with an audience in mind is the secret to creating beginnings…and middles…and, hopefully ends.
Or it’s simply the secret to get the blood flowing again after a long hiatus, as I did with the GS reboot last year and Cass did with his own novel project. It’s hard, after life has pressed against your skull with a dull blade, to justify sitting down and writing. Why not just pop on the tube, or get drunk, or keep working, or down a few Xanax instead? Why not turn off and give up? We’re all so busy, anyway. The last thing I think of when I get home is doing anything more productive than mixing a gin and tonic and watching whatever shit I’ve recently downloaded. Which, right now, is Deadly Prey!
Doesn’t that look awesome? We all know that movies started to suck after they stopped making those painted movie posters. The Wikipedia entry features a much better poster with a comical cartoon grenade. And they even link a review!
Wikipedia, by the way, is the enemy of all production. It is the running dog ally of procrastination. I know some writers who swear by it but, Jesus, I can spend all day trapped in a clickfest as I dive deeper and deeper into stuff I didn’t really want to know.
Today’s example is Prince De. A footnote in history, and the “last Mongol prince” allegedly descended from old Genghis himself. De struggled wildly against the waves of colonists and foreign invaders in the 20th century. He’d pretty much side with anybody who could further Mongolia’s independence, and spent decades trying to keep Mongolia from becoming a Soviet puppet state or yet another province of always expansionist China, both Nationalist and Communist. His reward was to be tried by his own people for treason and placed under house arrest, then to live out his final days as the humble, eccentric curator of a museum.
I looked up Prince De because he has a big role in my current nonfiction read, Into Tibet, but then once I hit that page I was off into the pocket history of Inner Asia in the first half of the 20th Century. Which makes me want to read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle again. So then I wikipedia Murakami to see what he’s up to and, well, there goes the day.
So where was I before I attached a poster of a gay man with a machine gun? I wrote the first half of this article last night and then started reading about the swine flu (PANIC) and now I’m returning to this after 12 hours. Which completely blows the finely crafted through-line where I was trying to tie editing the New Testicle into an essay on writing. I wrote the New Testicle in two very drunken weeks during a snow storm. It’s insane garbage that makes the Old Testicle look like Dickens. I shouldn’t take myself so seriously. I should, instead, express how disappointed I am that Sesheshet’s tomb was a let-down. When they found that bitch last November, it was a big Geraldo Rivera vault of Al Capone moment. But then they go in there and it’s boring. There’ll never be a Tut in my lifetime.
Well, that’s not true. We’ll get it when they finally go into Qin Shi’s tomb.
Anyway – “The Walkers,” May 10th. I’m very happy with that one. Judgment Day, June 5th. And plenty of the Old Testicle to go…though the quality starts to peter out. Well, more than usual. But I never expect much from myself anyway.
Sometime in 2010, all this recycled stuff will be finished. Then I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll have to write another novel.