Posts Tagged ‘book’

New cover art is in! Here it is kids!

Changes from the last draft you may notice: Anglicized spelling, added some word stuff on the back part, for some reason the previews responded poorly to the color, so green it is. And yes those are antlers you see.
The printer has the art and should have the proof for me to look at in about a week.
As Ever,

A

[originally posted here]

I figure now that American Gods has come out, I should start teasing the second most anticipated premier of the season.

So take a look:

There will be changes to this. I’ve already sent my notes in and the final version should be posted soon.

As for the insides, formatting is complete and as soon as cover art is done we’re off to the races.
As Ever,

A

[Originally Posted Here]

Today. Printers.

Not the kind you have in your house, but the kind that is a company made by people who have, well… fancy printers.

This is one of the big hurdles we tackled last winter. I’ve been through several over the past year that did not work out for one reason or another. Luckily one of my dear Emmy winning friends, Meghan Gedris (a brilliant artist and all around good human -well mostly human anyway – who just launched her latest project here and who’s work you can check out here. Snigger Warning: NSFW.), connected me with the outfit she used for her most recent books and they are fantastic.

This begins the process by which a mess of ones and zeros becomes a flesh and bone book.

The first step is figuring out formatting, then making decisions on things like physical dimension, materials, and what kind of blood sacrifice we need to make to which gods. Y’know, all the things a proper publisher usually does for you.
And a bit of art,

In the meantime, I reached out to a few people about cover art and have finally settled on a designer. We’re throwing ideas at the wall. I will give you something to look at in a week at the outside.
Oh also, the title… It’s floating out there somewhere on the internet, but you’ll see it when the art comes in.

 

As ever

A

Well Guess What

Posted: 25 April, 2017 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

[Originally Posted Here]

So, here’s an announcement I’ve been putting off.

It’s happening.

Like absolutely for sure as anything can be considering the state of the world happening.

And it’s happening soon. Like counting in weeks soon.

Over the past few months backstage things have been taking place that I’ve been dying to tell you. I wish I’d been able to keep you all more in the loop, but after all the delays, I wanted to be sure it was a real before getting hopes (mostly mine) up.

In the coming month, expect to see me posting updates about twice a week. I know I’m being vague at the moment, but details will arrive much sooner that N. Korea’s ICBM’s.

As we get closer to release I will be busy working on fulfillment and planning the release. So to be sure information gets out regularly, I’m setting this page to pretty much run on autopilot. This means information will lag a bit from real-time. Many of the things I’ll be telling you have already happened, so don’t be surprised when something I say will take three weeks happens in one.

Thank you all for your support and patience.

See you soon

As ever

A

 

PS: If you don’t know what I’m talking about, follow the link at the top of the page.

In compassion to other texts on its subject, Open is not particularly informative or ‘helpful’. as far as I’m concerned.  I’m sure it could be to someone to whom the concept of openness is entirely alien. it wraps it all up in a soft digestible narrative that can be breezed through fairly quickly. the writing is not terrible, nor is it marvelous, though that’s not its aim.  It’s rife with clichés and half-assedness; filled with “hands going everywhere” and “we talked about nothing and everything”. The root of the book’s problem is that it can’t pick a foxhole. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m all about blending Genres, but here it becomes detrimental. It’s part cautionary narrative, part textbook, part manifesto, part memoir and it carries weaknesses from each and few of the strengths.

What kept me disconnected were the characters. they were weak. In a large part because they’re so uselessly flawed and despite being ‘real-life’, which is never conveniently story shaped and she tries to cram it into one. As a result it is fairly predictable. The problems the author faces are self-created, have very little to do with openness or polyamory and everything to do with her being not self-assertive enough to take care of her own shit.

I don’t mean to condemn her for being human, looking at this as a book, the fact is that I have limited sympathy for someone who self-admittedly grows up with every opportunity to express herself and continually don’t take them. This woman grew up with a liberal mother and feminist father (trust me on the distinction there) who encouraged her to be herself. she had a pretty great run of sexual partners, both male and female in high school and college, who gave her satisfying sex and helped her to understand her own desires, but for some reason she settles for a guy with whom she has little to no sexual chemistry (who is a an asshole to her about it) and then she gets upset that she is unfulfilled, when it was clear that she never was from the beginning of that relationship.She opens up to her husband and instead of standing her ground, she becomes a fucking Stepford wife. Even after she tells her father (a Rabbi) about everything and he validates her concerns.

Throughout the story she  attempts to make it also an academic work by using poignant quotations from a bunch of feminist  texts to make it feel a little more valid. If it wasn’t for the fact that this had been recommended to me and I felt compelled to read it for them, I would have lost patience and tossed it.

Again and again she says the same thing: that this is all the fault of society and women being sold on a contradictory message . Furthermore, she feels the need to restate this yarn each time she has a new metaphor for it “saint on the street/freak in the sheets; virgin/whore complex; kitten in the kitchen/tiger in the bedroom; mother/slut;” and so on… Actually it turns out that her father is the most sensible person we meet in the whole 260 pages.

OK, let’s not be totally negative, especially because I can see why people could like or learn from the book.  About halfway in (page 140ish) they finally open their marriage and at that point shit gets real. from there on out the ‘characters’ feel more human. There are a lot of conversations and discussions about fears, questions, hopes, and desires. There is something people  – especially people new to these concepts, though the lessons can be applied to any relationship – can learn; namely, don’t be a prick, keep an open mind, and listen to what your partner is saying, and keep everyone informed especially  yourself…also don’t be a prick.

(So I guess now you don’t need to read the book)

many of the points she brings up, while important in the grander scheme of things, seem haphazardly thrown in [so I was fucking this young guy and isn’t rape culture terrible] or [so my husband and I were trying to define our boundaries LGBTQ people should have equal rights] oh and here’s a quote.

Once  her marriage is open, there’s a deal of good information and musing on topics like morality and parenting, which by far isn’t very original, but not unworthy of rehashing.  One of my problems with some of her issues is that she is often comparing herself to worst case scenario type situations. Juxtaposing what ends up being for her a relatively tame ‘open’ marriage with radically Christian Right ideals of a woman’s submissive, servile styled marriages and violent homophobia.

The benefit of her story however is in the ‘tameness’ of her relationship. It serves ultimately to make the story far more acceptable or approachable than something that shows the extremes of polyamorous relationships like The Ethical Slut.

Shuffle Says: “Marry You” B.B. King and Eric Claption Ridin with the King.

So, awhile ago I wrote about my last road trip back up here (that was before my plates expired and I ended up with 500 dollars in parking tickets in two weeks while keeping it in the exact same spot on my street) and how wonderful the drive was. This was in large part due to the pleasant company of Neil Gaiman and friends and the new full cast recording of  American Gods. 

For anyone who doesn’t know, Gaiman is a huge fan if audio books and I’m sure he went through a great deal of effort to ensure a fine production. Before the tenth anniversary of Gods Gaiman’s last novel to take an aural turn was The Graveyard Book and before that was The Wolves in the Walls both of which were for children and both of which were read in their official capacity entirely by him. In American Gods (the first version did not feature the dulcet tones of the author’s voice) Gaiman takes a bit of a back seat opting not narrate this one as he believes it would be inappropriate given his accent (an admirable choice). Instead he takes on the “Coming To America” passages, all immigrant stories, which makes far more sense considering he is one himself.  Even for those brief moments, his voice as always was a wonderful, sexy addition to the joy of the story itself.

This book is certainly on my top five and I believe, especially considering its sheer epic nature, is one that always stands for a great reread.

The new edition also features 16,000 more words than the original U.S. version. It gives it a bit of a ‘directors cut feel’, though not changing the story all that much. Gaiman admired that the “original” version has long since been lost. After half a dozen rewrites and numerous edits and editions after the majority of that text was cut, it couldn’t simply be shoved back in without negative repercussions on the story. So Gaiman says he actually did some minor rewriting to slip some extra material in and calls the new version his “preferred” text.

All things considered, however, the added content was so well blended in I had to often ask myself if maybe I had forgotten something or remembered it wrong. Luckily I was driving and couldn’t pull out my old copy to check. There additional scene with Jesus (and I wont tell you any more about it), he doesn’t put back ‘in’ at all, but leaves it as something like a deleted scene at the end. This one was interesting was… nice, a bit queer, and I can see why he left it out.

The cast is stellar, the only actors I had issue with were Shaddow’s wife Laura – there was some strange stop start cadence to her speech that just kept bothering me – and… some other woman (Sam Blackcrow I think and for the same reason)

OK so not much of a review today, but I’m feeling lazy and I really want to get this one off the shelf

Also, after spending this precious time with the book, I feel it is worth giving a half sleeve’s worth of ink to. Anyone who feels like volunteering to design it, feel free to volunteer.

Shuffle Says: “Gentle Violence” The Black Lips, Let It Bloom

Mark Z. Danielewski’s recentish novel Only Revolutions is something that has been sitting on my shelf for about half a year now without much progress.

Here’s a quick summary to start. Only Revolutions follows the journey of two sixteen year old children (herein referred to as Sam&Hailey/Hailey&Sam) as they road trip across the country over a two hundred year span of time (yes, they are sixteen for the whole time). The first hundred years are told from Sam’s perspective (1863-1963) and then the next century through Hailey’s.

There are an infinite number of ways to read any book, but some seem to lend themselves to a certain setting. There are very specific books that are meant to be read in an airport, which are completely different to ones that are meant to be read in an attic, or an armchair with a glass of scotch, or under a tree on a sleepy summer afternoon. The way I really enjoyed reading House of Leaves was waiting for late in the evening, turning out all lights save for the bedside lamp, closing the door and tightening the blinds, sitting up in bed so there was nothing but me and the book and the darkness. I’d let myself get pulled into the book; become part of it, not just read, but experience it and let it affect me, my emotions, my thoughts, my dreams.

This is possible because the book is self-contained. Yes it’s thick. Yes at times you feel like you are having to fight your way through the pages, only to feel like the author is just fucking with you, that whole chapters are nothing but a sick, post-modern, literary joke. It is also certainly a piece that merits re-reading. Reading the piece after studying it would certainly yield a very different perception of it than a single raw run through of the story.

Of course coming from a background of BA or academics you’ll get the book it another way. and while you may flip the book upside down or sideways or continually jump back pages at a time to catch up with the foot/end notes.  but this is part of what makes the book a physical experience. and there is still a compelling narrative to follow that makes you do a mental junkie shuffle to find out just what the fuck is going on. Despite all of this you can follow along without having to consult the outside world. Such is not the case in Only Revolutions.

In Only Revolutions, the whole of the narrative is mired in the historical context which appears in verse form in the margins. Take note that these are not headlines, not explicit summaries, only carefully worded clues, enough for you to search for them as keywords. This suggests that the book was written for a generation who came of age at a late enough date so as to be used to having constant access to Wikipedia.

Danielewski himself commented in several interviews that the book requires some knowledge of what was occurring on the particular date the page takes place. For instance, there is a passage which refers to “sentinels of the pale forest”  staring at them as they passed. This is nothing but a fine piece of imagery unless you know that the day this is occurring happened to be a major turning point in the rise of the Klu Klux Klan.

I am not complaining that the book is simply too difficult to read, moreover that it is overly and unnecessarily complex. between deciphering and researching the history, flipping between the narratives, and attempting to understand the archaic language of two protagonists in can take hours just to trudge through a few dozen pages (keeping in mind that each page is only 180 words).

The result is something that feels less like a story and more like an academic exercise. Some explanation, I would posit might be garnered from his process. Danielewski disclosed that the novel consumed nearly a decade of his life. He describes working twelve hours a day six days a week; many weeks’ hours reaching three digits. According to him, the effort strained ties to his family and wreaked havoc on his romantic relationships. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for sacrificing for your art, but spending this much time shut in a room with nothing but your words, I know from experience, distances you from reality to such an extent, it harms your work. I can only imagine the effects maintaining such a lifestyle for that amount of time. Part of writing is living and it is an important one, I believe.  Letting the world affect you is important and it is not possible when you live chained to a desk.

The poetry of the book is beautiful. This I won’t argue with. So it is all that much more unfortunate, that the rhythm of the text is constantly broken due to its context.  The purpose of a novel is to tell a story, or to educate, or engender a feeling, promote a way of thinking, or simply to be beautiful and while it is unassailable that Mr. Danielewski is a phenomenal writer, his great efforts to create a grand design have only resulted in a form which will drive people away from his work.

Neil Gaiman recently was asked  in an interview about why he believed his work was so popular. To address this he gave his thoughts on post-modernism and its effects in contemporary writing. Gaiman suggested that generation of authors have become so wrapped up in the form and method and stylistic ideals of what it is supposed to be that we are losing our grasp on the simple aspect of storytelling. His own work is popular because it stands in total contrast, by focusing on telling a good story and telling it well.

Only Revolutions suffers a real weakness in this regard because while it may be a good story and it may be extremely deep, and well structured, and all those other wonderful qualifying academic things, it is not told well.  This argument may come under criticism, called un-academic. So allow me to humanize it a bit, can you imagine someone telling a story(a parent, a grandparent, babysitter, teacher, friend, Carney, troubadour, etc… ), but having to stop every thirty words to spend five minutes on a seemingly unrelated tangent so you could “enjoy” it better?