Interview on the Surreal Grotesque Podcast

Surreal GrotesqueA few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Jeremy Maddux on the Surreal Grotesque podcast. It was a great experience, and I regret that it has taken me so long to post it here. As belated as it is, if you click on the image to the left the link will take you to the interview.

Among many things, we talked about people marrying inanimate objects. Here’s a link to more information on that: CLICK HERE

We also talked about the Philadelphia Experiment, which you can learn more about that business if you click to the right, RIGHT HERE

We also talked about butts, which you can learn more about HERE

 

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

So a while back the wonderful Julianne Snow asked me to participate in a blog tour for writers. We were to answer four questions and then tag three other authors at the bottom of the post. I asked Gabino Iglesias, Grant Wamack, and Mike VanKennen. I figure they’re cooler than me, so I’m putting them up front, and then I’ll answer the four questions they’re going to answer next week after that. Click on their pictures to visit their blogs.

GabinoGabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth (Eraserhead Press) and a few other things no one will ever read. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Verbicide, The Rumpus, HTMLGiant, The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, Z Magazine, Out of the Gutter, Word Riot, Red Fez, and a other print and online venues.

 

 

WamackGrant Wamack is a writer, rapper, traditional artist, and Navy journalist. He is the author of the bizarro novella Notes from the Guts of a Hippo. He currently lives in Spain where he dances in the streets with beautiful ghosts and dodges bulls.

 

 

 

Grown-Up MikeMike VanKennen is a poet writing for friends’ kitchens who will have on multiple occasions read words to actual people. He has provided some nonsense for a Quirky Love Interest record he’s not sure will ever see the light of day. Full-time college student part-time wage slave with aspirations of pokemon mastery. He has also overcome his fear of writing about himself in the third person with the publishing of this bio.

 

 

So below are the questions these dudes above are going to answer next week on their blogs (see check in with them and follow them). Here are my responses to the questions:

1) What am I working on?

First, I’m getting read to promote my next book, Journey to Abortosphere, which is out on kindle, but hasn’t hit yet in print. It could be described as a bizarro romance tale about a man who loses his first love (a shoehorn), finds unrequited love (first with a boiler, then with a machine that warps space-time) and then finally meets the woman of his dreams. Really, it is just a story about the absurdity of existence . . . and butts. For example, some conspiracy theorists believe the Philly experiment scattered the body parts of sailors across space time. Legs, arms, sometimes souls. But never, ever are there any discussions of butts getting strewn through time. I figure it’s about time we talk about these butts. Where are these butts now? Is there some ancient hieroglyphic evidence of sailor butts in ancient Egypt, perhaps?

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I guess I should return to my bizarro roots to answer this question. When working in any genre other than bizarro, my bizarro roots make me stand out. There’s always an element of the weird in my work, and that’s been the case before I even knew that what I wrote could be identified as bizarro. When I write bizarro, my work probably differs from others in the genre because it doesn’t always comfortably fit the high concept model that is really popular right now. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. I re-read a review of my first book, Uncle Sam’s Carnival of Copulating Inanimals, tonight. The reviewer described the themes as cluttered, which I can see in retrospect. There’s too much being packed in there. I think it is something all beginning authors contend with. We finally get that chance to publish, so we try to pack it all in. It takes a while to learn how to slow down and address one issue at a time.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I let my passions guide me most of the time. Something sparks my interest and I keep diving in. The book I’m revising right now started with a YouTube video clip about the history of FCC regulations. I was intrigued, so I went to the local university library and started digging anything I could up relating to this subject. I branched out and branched out until I had the idea completely formed. Then I started writing.

4) How does my writing process work?

The process I describe above isn’t usually how I work best. I often come up with an idea and then just start writing. Often, if I know the end of my book I’ll stop writing. I’m a storyteller at heart. Once the story is completed it my head, I don’t feel the urge to get it out on paper. So I tease the story along. I usually end up cutting about 1/5 to 1/4 of the work afterwards because the approach I take is a bit sloppy and a lot of cutting is necessary to make the story concise and neat. But the last book I had outlined pretty well. I’m growing more disciplined now that I’ve grown up a bit as a writer. The book I’m working on currently had a mystery element to it, so I had to outline it more carefully than I normally would outline a work. I’m pleased with the results so far.

My New Book is About Butts

AbortoBookAfter almost four years, one of my books has finally hit the shelves again. This one is about butts. It is about time-traveling butts, and gluteomancy, which allows people to see the future by reading the patterns of hair growth on butts.

Of course it is about more than just butts, but I know that’s what you want most, so that’s what this book aims to deliver.

You can laugh at my sales ranking by clicking HERE

Or you can send me straight into the bowels of hell by clicking HERE

You could also save the world from environmental destruction by clicking HERE

 

Introducing the blog space for Imperial Youth Review. I was invited to join the ranks of this project a while back, and watching it build momentum has been awesome. To kick things off, they’ve offered a story from the mind of Nikki Guerlain, who was just nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She also has great taste in films. Rock on, IYR. Rock on, Nikki.

Summer Reading List

I’ve been reading some good shit this summer, but I don’t have time to read everything I want to. That’ll have to wait for August or September. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out some of the ass-kicking books that are on my summer reading list. Here’s one I will be reading in the near future.

Steve Lowe’s “King of Perverts”

Dennis isn’t a bad guy, but life circumstances have rendered him a complete waste. The only way to redeem himself is to engage in a shit load of raunchy sex acts for prize money. This book delicately splices two of the biggest fantasies in male narrative:

1. sex that is not only condoned, but absolutely mandatory.

2. riches to rags to riches (via sex, no less!)

The idea of finding redemption through mandated sex acts on a reality television show  is a brilliant idea. It’s essentially what we’re confronted with on reality television shows today, in a manner of speaking. People display their most primitive and base characteristics–the part of ourselves we normally consider private and tuck away from the judgmental public–to draw in viewers and to acquire some degree of redemption in the public eye. Networks don’t even have to request this. It seems to be a natural human folly: people act stupid once a camera is on. Additionally, the moral parameters maintained by the middle class (because morality is the easiest way they can weigh their self-worth against others, as it is the form of capital easiest to acquire) are thrown out the window.

Dennis, however, is a reluctant participant. He needs the money. The entire dynamic has shifted. Instead of a willing participant and a normal setting conducive to our autonomy and psychosis, here we have a setting that forces proclivity and a hesitant performer. Dennis becomes an underdog working against the network, against the system, to get what he needs. It’s the pornographic version of King’s Running Man.

This is the future of network television. Hell, it could just be the future. I declare Matt Good’s “The Future is X Rated” the official theme song of this book, even though I have no authority to do so.

 

Satanic Book Teaches Children How to Commit Suicide!

A Scathing Review of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, aka The Children’s Guide to Passive Suicide

Before we go any further, a little context:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWpzxzDGxr0&feature=related

There are plenty of children’s books about self destructive impulses. In The Cat in the Hat, the children are seduced into destroying their entire house, which they know full well will result in mother’s unbridled scorn. Franklin the Turtle is always doing stupid shit and then whining about it when he gets caught. I don’t have a big problem with those books. They make sense to me because they follow three core principles: it’s ok to depict kids doing dumb shit, because their mistakes are generally inadvertent. The mistakes characters make should teach children about human folly and the lessons we can glean from the err of our ways. Finally, rarely, if ever, are the parents depicted as condoning the child’s self-destruction.

Not so with this piece of shit. The parents lead their children gently by the hand right to the threshold of death’s door. They take them to a bear’s cave as he is, presumably, in the midst of hibernation, when bears are at their most pissed off and hungry. There are only two options that come to mind when I try to discern author intention here: this book is either a treatise for parents “tactfully” trying to get rid of their kids, or the first in a failed series of books, the overarching theme of which is “let’s do stupid shit!”

Yeah. They’re going on a bear hunt. Just like this zebra is going on a “lion hunt.”

Then there’s the artwork. The artwork is impressionistic, evocative of my youth, particularly the memories I have of using the excrement in my diapers to paint on my bedroom walls. Much like the drawings in this book, I couldn’t distinguish between the characters in my own imagery either. Only two things could be said of it with absolution. It stunk, and you can’t bleach the images away once they’ve been burned into your memory.

How cute. She’s going on an alien hunt. What a beautiful day!

Then of course there’s the suspension of disbelief. Our characters traipse across the four seasons and every environmental variation at every altitude possible, meet a bear, and then react in the most inappropriate manner possible. They’ve come equipped with absolutely nothing but ignorance and stupidity. They cross rivers with potentially dangerous undercurrents. They walk through snow in summer clothes. This book is a treatise on everything you should not do while hiking. And for all the reasons mentioned above, by the time I got to the end of the book, I f*cking wanted the bear to eat the characters.

Except the baby. That’d just be cruel.