Memory Is Palimpsest

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I am taking a (short) break from OCTOBER ANIMALS, but then it is back to work. It feels like I have taken a lifetime to work on a book so short. I even had a (for myself) pretty detailed outline to work from. But the narrative started mutating right out of the gate and anytime I tried to force the outline it simply wasn’t working. The narrative wanted something else, and I have stopped fighting. Instead, I am giving the narrative what it wants and letting it go.

“If you love something, let it go” says the old adage. Except, i don’t expect this thing I love to “come back” and be mine “forever” or what have you. I intend to let it go, piece by piece, word by word. Every sentence, this story grows nearer to completion, and further away from me. As it should be. Someday, soon, I will let OCTOBER ANIMALS go and it will be yours, not mine.

And then, over time, my perception of the book will become foggy, as it has with works I’ve previously written. Narratives are like memories, in that way. An experience so utterly involving that shatters apart with passing time, to become hardly more than idle thoughts, half-remembered details.

Memory is palimpsest.

So are books.

I write a story to be half-remembered by myself and you read said story and you bring your own life and experiences and this perception of yours is grafted onto to certain words and passages, and so the story conjures thoughts and feelings and narratives within the reader, all of which is beyond my control. And that, is a kind of magic. I may put down the words, but it is the reader who gives life to the story. In their own way, every book is a spell.

And now, I must return to OCTOBER ANIMALS. I have spells to cast and creatures to conjure.

Thanks for reading.

GOODNIGHT KAFKA

I mentioned having written a riff on the Margaret Wise Brown classic GOODNIGHT MOON, focusing on Franz Kafka. It is, as of yet, not illustrated. I may get around to that sometime in the future. And I have been picking away at my own translation of Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” for the last couple of years. Perhaps, once finished with both projects, I will collect them together and release them. Anyway, no reason not to share this, as I have no plans on shopping it around. Enjoy.

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GOODNIGHT KAFKA

In the great gray gloom

There was a kafkaroach

And a bug cocoon

And a painting of—

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The opening to OCTOBER ANIMALS

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Hello! It has been an awful long time since I last wrote anything here on the ol’ website. Let’s chalk it up to being busy, being massively depressed, and being generally fucking shocked by the state of things. BUT… it’s a new year and a new year means new projects. Mostly, I have been working on acquisitions and editing, with some production art thrown in for good measure. And, in my spare time, I have been plugging away at my upcoming novella.

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Making up for Lost Time is literally impossible. It’s just gone, forever.

My last post was on June 30th, and three days later my father died, just short of his birthday. He would have been 67. I tried making it out to Illinois every year, but because of the pandemic, I had yet to make it in 2020. My brother and my mother were with him when he died, and I find some solace in that. Turns out, the last time I would ever see my father was the morning of August 6th, 2019. The last picture I took of him was in 2018. He was playing with a dog at an animal shelter. He loved dogs.

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“Life During Quarantime”

“This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling arooooound…”

Well, there’s been a bit of fooling around, if I’m being honest. Which I am. There’s been birthdays (mine, included) and cake and presents and those are all lovely things. There hasn’t been much disco, though, that part is true. There’s been loads of work, though, that’s for sure.

Fun, however, that’s the real important shit. And, sometimes, fun is delicious.

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“Hello, I Am Very Tired and Here’s A Blog About That” (plus a look at art for Andrew James Stone’s latest book)

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I’m not one to normally share correspondence, but I received back-to-back inquiries that are closely related, and in the spirit of artistic transparency, I decided to turn both of my answers, slightly edited from their original form, into a post. This type of thing keeps me accountable to not only my work, but the work of others. And there’s the likely event that others, especially indie press publishers, feel the same way that I do, and I believe a little solidarity goes a long way.

So, to the first question(s) I received: “How are you? How’s the biz?”

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What Is The Best Time To Start Promoting Your Book?

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photo courtesy of Kevin L. Donihe

I recently posted about GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST selling quite a few copies since its debut (500+, as of this writing, which is not too shabby for a newbie micro-press and a debut novel), and I have had more than one person ask me for “tips or tricks or secrets” that I might be able to share, so… here I am, sharing.

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New Projects Post-Grind Your Bones to Dust

Fun fact: my first published short story was released in a 2009 issue of Morpheus Tales. And now, here I am, ten years later, looking at seeing the publication of my first full-length novel. And that’s not to say I never worked on a novel before. No, no, no… I worked on a handful of books and they were all terrible piles of shit.

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