Out of the closet and onto the shelf—dead tree or ether. That’s where I’m headed. It’s a trip I’ve been making in my nightgown for four or five years, up between 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., sitting in front of my computer, sipping coffee, trying to get 90,000 words right and figure out a marketing plan for my book Adrift in the Sound. I’ve been working on the manuscript since 2007 and it has been hard to come to the letting-go place with this project. But, last night I shipped the whole shootin’ match to Create Space for interior page design. However, I’m still dinking with the cover.
They say writers should never design their own cover and now I know why. I’ve created at least 30 designs, e-mailed them to my closest friends, who are now simply saying “WHATEVER!” I can’t decide or figure out what fairly represents the story conceptually and what will entice you to go inside and read the tale I’ve labored over for so long. What will get you to stop and take in what I’ve got to tell you?
I got my daily e-mail this morning from Stephen Elliott, publisher of The Rumpus and author of The Adderall Diaries. He’s in Germany for a film festival. His new movie “Cherry,” a pornish take on 20-30 something sexual angst starring James Franco, is having its world premier. I love Stephen, want to throw off the shackles of journalism and emote like he does, go pig wild, write whatever I want whenever I want. I want to say “shit” out loud because the word feels warm and brown in my mouth, go to coffee houses and talk about my damaged childhood and Charles Bukowski.” Stephen always ends his e-mails like this: Keep us going, donate to The Daily Rumpus.
I covered a meeting Friday on flood issues, attended mostly by people like me with gray hair, some of them slept through the meeting. I'm sure the snorting guy in front of me had sleep apnea. A TV crew showed up, looked around, listened. Nothing going on that could be explained in a sound bite. They left. I got up and stood for two hours, leaning on a wall, so I’d stay awake. What they talked about is very important to California, but the presentation was less than riveting. Listen up, people: It's time to get a row boat!
On the evening news last night, they reported that an SUV tried to beat a light rail train across the tracks. Two adults and an 18-month-old baby were killed Saturday afternoon in the collision in south Sacramento. A fourth person in the SUV suffered serious injuries and was taken to a local hospital, police said. Regional Transit officials said it was possibly the worst light-rail accident in the system's 25-year history. Seventeen passengers on the train were hurt, though most of the injuries were minor. Read more from the Sacramento Bee. Sickening!
Stephen wrote in his e-mail this morning that someone wrote to him they were worried he'd stop being so open as the Daily Rumpus becomes more well known. Stephen said, "It doesn't really work that way. But I do think about Charles Bukowski and how frequently he wrote about being a writer. You write what you know and he was no longer a postman. Almost everything he wrote was about identity. I never wrote about writing before The Adderall Diaries and when I was younger I thought it was a cardinal sin. But here I am. And anyway, there are no rules about what you should and shouldn't write about.”
Easy for Stephen to say. I have rules and requirements, standards and styles, lengths and slants. Deadlines. Yesterday the furnace didn’t come on. I was so cold I skipped yoga after writing and called my friend Kevin at Royal Breeze. He’s a crackerjack HVAC technician. The recession has been hard on him. He had seven guys working for him, but had to let four go. He’s doing more work himself these days, has a couple of kids and a great smile with square, white teeth. Gives great hugs. I’m grateful he’s still hangin’ in there, but Like Stephen, keep Kevin going. Donate to Royal Breeze as soon as there’s a problem with your heating and cooling in the Sacramento area. Oh, the problem—my natural gas igniter went out. $150 for a Saturday house call, about the cost of getting Create Space to design my book cover for me. But, there I go obsessing again—with warm feet, however. Thanks Kevin.
And, speaking of soft porn, my friend David Henry Sterry has a new novella out on Kindle: Confessions of a Sex Maniac. It's old-school noir meets the new millennium in a story of obsession, murder and the underbelly of San Francisco. A low-level, underling, bagman sex maniac will stop at nothing to get the thing he longs for most--a prize as beautiful as she is deadly--the Snow Leopard. His search takes him deep into the seedy groin of San Francisco's notorious Polk Gulch where he must choose: sex or death? $1.99 download.
A Henry Miller Award Finalist. Confessions of a Sex Maniac is a tribute to Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, James Elroy and all those hard-boiled, tender-hearted noir writers Sterry holds dear to his heart, brain -- and other essential organs.
"Sterry's prose fizzes like a firework. Sex, violence, drugs, love, hate, and great writing all within a single wrapper. What more could you possibly ask for?” The Irish Times
P.S. Keep me going: Watch for the debut of Adrift in the Sound, about April, I’m thinking. Buy it. I need some help here. The stove just went out, and I’m not shitin’. The battery in my car went dead, but my son, Mark, replaced it. (Thanks!) The light table at work shorted out when I plugged it in to check slides, bout singed my eyebrows. I just bought a case of light bulbs -- every flippin' light in the house has burned out. The ballast on the fluorescent light in my dressing room went kaput, too, and I'm putting on my makeup by desk lamp. And, suddenly the outdoor lighting system won't turn off. I feel like a hot wire ready to pop. At work, they're calling me "Sparky." Swear!
P.P.S. Thanks for your continual inspiration, Stephen, and the nearly 1,500 of you folks who visit The Word Garden each month and make blogging worth the effort. Your interest means a lot. I love you guys. Swear!
P.P.P.S. See you in the garden. My white camellias are heavy with bud. Photos later. Swear!