‘Magical Nihilism’ about sums it up…

I have been busy, busy, busy writing Grind Your Bones to Dust and free time is all but a memory. I still think the book can and will be finished before the end of the year, even though I’ll probably find myself typing “The End” at 11:59pm on December 31st. And since I’m such a glutton for punishment, I’ve elected to write two short stories for anthologies I’ve been invited to. One story is rather short and is titled “Charlotte” and the other story is a bit longer and titled “Planet Werewolf” and once I am done with those bits and the rest of the book I ought to have at least a couple of strands of hair left.

Lots of things have come to pass since I last made an entry on here.

My novella, At the End of the Day I Burst into Flames, was supposed to hit in December but that seems like it may be in limbo, right now. Not a bad limbo from which there is no return, just the kind of limbo where the projected release date isn’t set, so expect it anytime between next month and, oh, I dunno, the end of next year? Or maybe next week? Who’s to say? Certainly not me.

On the other hand, my short story collection (which has had several working titles over the last year and change) has been officially picked up for release by Journalstone. The title is Nobody Gets Hurt and Other Lies and the release ought to be sometime during the 2019 summer. Contracts have been signed and materials have been turned in. Now, I wait to hear back from the editor.

Grind Your Bones to Dust is about 1/2 finished. The next couple weeks ought to be crazy, as I race against my (self-imposed) deadline. I won’t be destroyed if I blow it, but I will certainly not be happy with myself. Mostly because I have a load of other projects I’d like to work on and finish, next year.

Big Damn Monster should only be novella length, and I’ve started work on the manuscript, plus I have a pretty thorough outline I am working with, so hopefully that project will come together pretty fast. I’d like to be done with it by StokerCon, as I hope to be able to pitch it while I’m there. After that, I’ll probably work at finishing my translation of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (my title: The Transmutation of Gregor Samsa) , which is something of a passion project. I don’t think I’ll be shopping this piece around, but will likely release it through Rooster Republic Press.

After those two projects, I’ve got some decisions to make. There are a handful of books I intend to work on, but each of them will be going to wildly different outlets. Each one will present its own challenges as well as rewards. I’ve no idea which one I will tackle, first. As it seems, I will only know when I’ve arrived at that moment. Three or four paths diverged in a yellow wood, as it were, and I damn well ought to walk each of them in their due time.

But I digress . . . I’d titled this entry “‘Magical Nihilism’ about sums it up” so I suppose I should address that, now.

This weekend, Daulton Dickey–who wrote the astonishingly good Flesh Made World–was online and asking for recommendations, specifically of Magic Realism. Gabriel García Marquez is usually my go-to response when the question comes up, and initially I’d offered Love in the Time of Cholera as a must-read novel in that particular category. But I almost immediately followed that up by recommending the more obscure, but exceptional entry, The Obscene Bird of Night by José Donoso. And, as it were, I began to think of my own meager body of work.

I have only had two books published, thus far, with three more to be published before the end of next year. The available books are a slim novella and a small collection of short fiction. And though my short stories lean more toward the audience-friendly, my longer works do not, I think.

Necrosaurus Rex and the forthcoming At the End of the Day I Burst into Flames and Grind Your Bones to Dust are fanciful and absurd, and there is a black humor present in each, to be sure, however, they are ultimately very angry and very sad narratives that speak to a feeling of chaos and violence without meaning. But in each, there is a push to find beauty in moments, however ghastly, or to see miracles in utter depravity and devastation. And it occurred to me that these bleak ruminations on the futility of existence are a type of magic realism, but a distorted and shattered reflection, thus, Magical Nihilism.

No doubt some will read that and roll their eyes. That is fine by me. I encourage people to have a healthy disdain for things. I’m not writing for them, anyway.

Ultimately, I write for myself, and I write that which I wished existed in the world among the stacks when I go hunting for something to read.

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