In this episode Todd, Paul, and I discuss the somewhat lighter side of the genre with a look at Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice and Richard Brautigan’s Dreaming of Babylon.
Monthly Archives: December 2018
Episode 5 of Bad Business will be a bit tardy Tuesday. But never fear it’ll be with us soon.
1) I’ve been working on a long essay for the last few weeks (I mentioned it in the First Saturday Report). I’m watching it slowly progress to 20,000 words. Guess I have a lot to say about literature. Well, it is a manifesto after all.
2) Episode 4 of Bad Business is out. We flap our gums about James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard. We don’t like Ellroy and he might like it that way—not that he knows who the fuck we are.
3) I had a dream about my father last night. It’s been happening a lot lately, and I think it’s a pattern of forgetting. After he died, I had dreams about finding him alive in strange places, or about him showing up alive and no one acting like anything was wrong, and the dreams were about me struggling with that incongruity. Now, the dreams have changed. There’s no surprise at finding him alive in my dreams, there’s no attempt to reconcile his apparent resurrection. In the dream last night, he simply came to visit. We got Chinese food and sat on the floor in my apartment and watched TV. We didn’t talk. It was a good visit.
In Episode 4, Todd, Paul, and I are back in the same room to discuss James Ellroy’s American Tabloid and Elmore Leonard’s Unknown Man No. 89. It’s time for a little dark mayhem and some critical snark.
Writing & Submitting:
Work progresses. Lately I’ve been focusing on an extended revision of an essay . . . a manifesto? . . . that I’ve been working on, it seems, for as long as I’ve been in Wichita. It’s popped up in various formats over the years, but I keep expanding and trimming. After the discussions of writers and social engagement that I had with Stephen McClurg after the 2016 election, and some random, more recent discussions with literary acquaintances online about literary movements in the 21st century and the effects that current market forces might have on such a thing developing.
Still making slow progress on The Poisoned Moon. Still looking through lists of agents and editors I might send Far Nineteen to, and still wondering if The Palace of Winds should simply be put in the deep dark “nice try” folder.
There was a recent article in the Authors Guild newsletter about how paper makers are causing a shortage and price spike in the high quality paper that publishers buy for their books because paper maker are able to make more money now producing cheap, disposable paper packaging. The book paper shortage is having an effect on publisher’s timetables for publication and it’s affecting their decisions on what gets published. The Article didn’t say so directly, but it basically translates to this: publishers are going to decide to publish only those books that will, they believe make the most money since it will now cost more to print the books. That means the overall quality of what’s on the shelves will actually decline because higher sales correlate to more middle brow books from already popular writers (and popular does not always, and maybe never, means great literature – don’t believe me? take a look at the annual bestsellers lists going back a century. I bet you’ve never heard of most of those books).
Episode 4 of the Bad Business series will be out Tuesday, December 4th. Just two more episodes to go. I’m not sure what I’ll do next. Might still do the book to movie series.
We’ll be recording a second Outrider Live show on December 8th, and get that out soon. Maybe I’ll just do the live shows for awhile until something grabs my attention.
Lately, I’ve been reading a few random things in bits and pieces, fits and starts. I’ve started, for maybe the third time, Anthony Powell’s A Dance to The Music of Time, John Berger’s King: A Street Story, Lawrence Durrell’s The Black Book, and Martin Puchner’s The Written World. I’ve been carrying around in my satchel, but haven’t started Jeff Talarigo’s In The Cemetery of the Orange Trees. I also plan to start reading the 58 page memo that Orson Welles wrote to Universal studio executives after they took control of his film Touch of Evil and recut it. I figure it’ll be an interesting look at how directors think, but also creative lesson in artistic vision.
What’s gotten the most attention, however, has been volumes 1 & 2 of Fred Clark’s The Anti-Christ Handbook : The Horror and Hilarity of Left Behind. They’re only available on Kindle (sigh), but they’re worth a read. They started out as blog posts on Clark’s The Slacktivist website, and they are a delight, especially for someone like me. Clark does, at least at first, an almost page-by-page breakdown of what is wrong with the first book in the Left Behind series, both theologically and structurally with the books. Reading Mr. Clark’s dismantling is at times funny and shocking. It’s like a primer for understanding the current Evangelical mind and why, even though these collected posts were mostly written before the Obama presidency, explain why the far right has embraced and forgiven Donald Trump.
So, if you’re baffled by how evangelicals can believe Trump is an instrument of God, give The Anti-Christ Hanbook a read.
A busy month for watching stuff. Wrapped up my Marvel binge on Netflix by knocking out Iron Fist and Daredevil. Watched a nifty two-part documentary called The Evolution of Us, which featured an old undergrad acquaintance from my K-State Days, Professor John Hawks, talking about human evolution. Sat some friends down to watch Flash Gordon, which they’d never seen (kids these days).
Finally got my hands on the Blu-Ray of Orson Welles Touch of Evil that was re-edited by Walter Murch according to the 58 page memo that Welles sent to Universal after screening their sloppy edit of the film. Watched it the other night with a friend. It’s a damn good film, even if it is hard to believe Charlton Heston as a Mexican cop. Janet Leigh is excellent, of course.
Also watched the latest season of The Last Kingdom.
Not much new on this front. My channels for new music seem to be shrinking.
There’s nothing really eating at me right now, except maybe my day job.
I’m waiting to see what Mueller pulls out of his hat next.
I need a bigger place for the cats to roam, but there’s not much in my rental price range and with my student loan debt crashing my debt to income ratio, I can’t buy.
After overcoming achilles tendonitis earlier this year, I’ve been able to run some-what consistently and have been getting a better handle on my diet. Now I’m down to a consistent 189 lbs. Changing habits is a challenge, especially eating and exercise habits, and it can’t be done overnight if you want it to stick. When I found out I had high cholesterol (eight years ago now?) I really disliked the idea of simply taking a statin the rest of my life, but I hadn’t exercised since I was 16, smoked for most of the time between 16 and 37, and ate whatever the hell I wanted. At 40, I was a wreck and weighed close to 230 lbs. I could have done something drastic, but it probably wouldn’t have stuck, or I wouldn’t have kept to it. All these years later, I’ve rejiggered my eating habits, created a baseline cardio routine, and given myself a shot at permanent change. Nine more pounds and I’ll be at my target weight and able to maintain it. Maybe I’ll finally sign up to run a 5K in 2019.