Truthful speaking would be a simple way to tell the truth, if the truth were simple and could be told.

25 March 2009


This is all over the blogosphere, I'm sure, but goddammit, Warner Bros. just put up the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are and it looks...amazing. Click here for the hi-def trailer, or just watch the YouTube thing, which who knows how long it'll last?

18 March 2009

A Book I Want to Read

I haven't actually read anything by John Wray quite yet -- he only has two books out thus far: The Right Hand of Sleep and Canaan's Tongue -- though I have been meaning to and there have been times I've been at the library and had copies of either of those under my arms, which were shoved out of the way for some other thing eventually, but his newest novel sounds incredible. Starred review from Publisher's Weekly, the top of the list of Amazon's best of March '09.... Here are some reviews, reprinted without permission or MLA format:

I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last reader to herald Lowboy
for the subtle homage it pays to one of the best-known
in 20th century fiction, or to envy and delight in its masterful
vision of New York City as seen from its darkest, most primal places. What's
most seductive for me about John Wray's third novel--and arguably the one that
puts him squarely on the map alongside contemporary luminaries like Joseph
O'Neill, Jonathan Lethem, and Junot Diaz--is how skillfully it maps the mind's
mysterious terrain. This isn't exactly uncharted land: John Wray's Will
Heller--a.k.a. Lowboy--is a paranoid schizophrenic who, certain of both his own
dysfunction and of the world's imminent collapse by way of global warming, could
easily remind you of Ken Kesey, but Wray handles that subtext delicately and is
careful to make Will's mission to "cool down" and save the world feel
single-minded without being moralistic. Wray invokes all the classic elements of
a mystery in the telling, and that's what makes this novel such a searing read.
As Will rides the subway in pursuit of a final solution to the crisis at hand,
we meet (among others) Will's mother Violet, an Austrian by birth with an
inscrutable intensity that gives the story a decidedly noir feel; Ali Lateef,
the unflappable detective investigating Will's disappearance whose touch of
brilliance always seems in danger of being snuffed out; and Emily Wallace, the
young woman at the heart of Will's tragic odyssey. The novel moves seamlessly
between Will's fits and starts below ground and Violet and Ali's equally
staccato investigation of each other above. This kind of pacing is the stuff we
crave (and we think you will, too)--the kind that draws you in so unawares that
before you know it, it's past midnight and you're down to the last page.

Atop that, I found, via YouTube, a great reading, very blogotheque or whatever that is, where John Wray reads his book on the actual subway (it was apparently written there, too; a romantic guesture, I presume).

I also like the further premise of this video:

15 March 2009


So I'm back in Colorado Springs for Spring Break (the ultimate travel spot; I mean, seriously, I pity all of you who went to Chicago or Mexico or San Francisco or France, because Colorado Springs is where it's at, baby) and suddenly have gone through a couple remissions. Recently I suffered through one remission when in a week I watched the entire 30 Rock series, which, because Pushing Daisies has been cancelled, is now the best show on television. Funny, smart, rounded characters (I have a friend who tried to argue with me, saying that I was looking at them on the surface levels, and blah blah blah; yet this is a kid who thinks Family Guy is funny and entertaining and is a biology major and reads Ways of the Peaceful Warrior, so it's really difficult to judge anything he says about characters and stories and effective storytelling seriously), great cast, and just spectacular joke after joke. That was all fixed up with last Thursday's episode.

You know, lately I've noticed that I've been watching a lot more TV, yet I don't actually watch it on my television set, but more on the Internet. is a wonderful Web site, and I seriously found the original Addams Family sitcom from the 60s -- all 64 episodes. Movies are just sort of flying back and I'll watch one occasionally, though I haven't seen anything in theaters since Coraline, which if you haven't seen, I'm very very sorry, and I don't think there's really anything interesting coming out till . . . all right, I'll be honest and admit that I do want to see that new Star Trek, which looks like it'll be a boatload of fun. The Boat that Rocked looks like the right kinds of goofy too, though is it difficult to do a radio movie? I haven't seen Talk to Me yet, but I wanted to. I haven't actually attempted a radio based story quite yet, bizarre considering I work at a radio station. Anyway, I refuse to see Watchmen because I hate both the comic and Zack Snyder, and God knows if anything good was released this week. Scorsese has a movie coming out at the end of this year; that new Michael Mann film looks interesting; and yes yes I'll admit it, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince looks fairly wicked awesome. Seeing as we got detracted from the original point, I'll sum it up at this: at the moment I'd rather watch a season or series of a good TV program (and I am picky when it comes to TV, moreso than movies or books or music) than a single movie.

Another story: I watched the very first Star Wars last weekend, you know, the one from 1977 (though it was the special edition because that's what I have on DVD; honestly, outside of some of the obvious fakeness, it doens't really bother me) and, let me start off by saying that I really enjoy those movies, that though none of the Warss match the heights of the Indiana Jones pictures (especially w/r/t Raiders of the Lost Ark), they're really a lot of fun. But that first one (Episode IV or whatever), dammit, is such a handjob to Joesph Campbell! There was a lot more exposition in that thing than I initially remembered. They don't even leave Tatooine until an hour into the movie, and the picture's only like two hours long. And there's still a lot of talking and plot to get through! Regardless, I like those movies and Han Solo, again a more flattened less badass version of Indiana Jones, is, spell it out, a.w.e.s.o.m.e.

All right. There's this nice break from KCSU, though I do like getting new music. Benjy Ferree released a concept record called Come Back to the Five and Dime, Bobby Dee Bobby Dee, which traces the lift of one Bobby Driscoll, who you might know from giving the voice of Peter Pan and playing Jim in the original Disney Treasure Island. His story is the quintessential child star piece, the epitome of what happens and it goes: as a kid, Bobby Driscoll was given all the attention, actually taken under Walt Disney's wing and was living the life . . . until he hit puberty and his roles dropped off. He starred in a bunch of smaller, more adult (i.e. R-rated things, not pornography) pictures, dabbled in drugs, and in fact devoted most of his fortune to keeping up with the heroin. He ended up dead at 31, his body buried in a pauper's grave because some kids discovered his remains and they had no identification, and there's this legacy all about him. And there's the story for Benjy Ferree's record. "Fear" is a great song, looped in the doo-whop tradition and totally appropriate for what's going on.

The best release so far this year, however, I feel is still the Andrew Bird, which isn't even his best record, but still! Really, I'm holding out for the new Wilco, due out in June, and apparently (through the grapevine I've heard) returns more the the layered structures of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born rather than the jam band sessions of Sky Blue Sky, which was of course the followup (a decade later) to Being There. Wilco in any incarnation are the best band from America so I'm really excited.

Yesterday was the first day I had gone without any form of caffeine in some time -- no coffee or tea or anything -- and I had a headache by the end of the day. Today I had some and it feels wonderful. Like New York in the spring, or so I hear.

I want to share this with you before I go, it's a link through a blog that offers the a transcript of the brainstorming sessions that went into making Raiders of the Lost Ark. I guess if you're making something with somebody this might be the best way to start the writing a major sort of project. If I still wrote scripts and movies and stuff, this would be a lot more revelatory, but now it's just sort of interesting.

Story/fiction/prose writing is a lot more fun anyway. And you don't have to rely on anyone else other than yourself in order to get something done. And budgetary issues are never a problem. Of course, you get another batch of problems which at times have driven me super super crazy, but still, it's all on you to finish the drafts, before you show it to other people, and you don't have to worry about them, while reading the typescript, not showing up for the appropriate times or goofing off too much so production gets pushed behind and then trying to interject to do things that don't match the characters and blah blah blah. Egotistical and God-complexed? Sure. But I should admit that everytime I've finished a story, I've felt more accomplished than any movie.

One more thing: "Ojitos," a short story I wrote and which won me 1600 bucks through a competition has so far been rejected from three of the five magazines I've sent it to (Southwest Review, McSweeneys, and The New Yorker). I'm expecting another couple rejections in the next few weeks, but at least these editors know I exist and one of them did offer me to keep trying. Yay.

02 March 2009


It's no secret that I really really hate the Watchmen comic book. Jason Moses, a good friend, introduced it to me my freshmen year of college and I just didn't like it. Yes, I may be in the minority on this, but regardless. It left me cold, not in the sense that it was Moore's intentions to leave me cold, but that the story deteriorated in on itself, that it got lost within its own ambitions and couldn't find a way out so it pulled the fastest punch it could think of (though this ending was obvious, the clues toward it were sprinkled in later and sometimes felt out of place). The characters want to be rounded, but were flattened in their Technicolor conventions; Moore's desire of vengence and undergrad politcal sprouts overruled any real message that they had; and it just went on and on and on and on and on and on and on, seeming to glorify the fascisim contained within more than the actual questions of watching the watchmen or whatever.

As everyone knows, there's a movie coming out at like the end of this week, and the New Yorker put out a nice little review of it, featuring a passage that ultimatley describes my feelings toward the comic book:

“Watchmen,” like “V for Vendetta,” harbors ambitions of political satire, and,
to be fair, it should meet the needs of any leering nineteen-year-old who
believes that America is ruled by the military-industrial complex, and whose
deepest fear—deeper even than that of meeting a woman who requests intelligent
conversation—is that the Warren Commission may have been right all along. The
problem is that Snyder, following Moore, is so insanely aroused by the look of
vengeance, and by the stylized application of physical power, that the film ends
up twice as fascistic as the forces it wishes to lampoon.

For all I care, people can have their Watchmen, it seems to be the kind of story you love at a certain point unconditionally then outgrow (see: House of Leaves), but, come on, why read that when you have much fuller, much more impactful and important and wonderfully complete graphic novels and comic books like Maus and Blankets? In all, I still think that it's just a dreadful piece and hearing people talk about it incessently, freaking out about it as if it were to be the greatest thing this side of divinity, is getting old and silly.

Also at the New Yorker this week, a couple pieces about dear departed David Foster Wallace. There are plans, rumors brewing, that the segments and notes of his last, unfinished novel are going to be put out sometime next year, which is expected. I bet there's another short story collection in there too.