Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Have I Got in My Pocketses?

I promise you, things are really turning around.

Egypt and Tunisia are on their way to becoming more democratic than the USA. Libya is on its way to being powder keg for WWIII. The US is on its way to becoming a third world hellhole (and aren't I glad I don't have a Government job now?). Fates are really turning around.

And I've got some really solid ideas for a short story collection that could put my cozily at the bottom of the sellers list. See, short stories are not very popular - at least, not when compared to novels. In this day and age it's sort of paradoxical. People are very busy and have less time, so short stories would seem an easy option. But people's lives are also pointless and meaningless, so novels offer a deeper escape, full immersion. ("Full Penetration" you might say, once you've read my [proposed] short story collection.) I remain a man committed, at least in the short term (the next year at least, the remainder of my life at most), to the short story. As I've commented on other men's blogs, I rarely have read a perfect or mind-blowing novel, but I have read dozens of perfect or mind-blowing short stories. I will produce many shorts even if it means I wallow in obscurity doing so. (A promising note: writing only short fiction works for Kelly Link.)

But the unpopularity of short stories is not the only commercial obstacle to my success. Yes, there's my race of course, but this isn't about the white man holding down the white man. My writing is failing to cement itself in a solid marketing category. This is both good and bad. Good because there seems to be a demand for this sort of weird, interstitial fiction and it leaves me more flexible in terms of branding. Bad because its harder to find a convenient conduit to channel my work to those who would really dig it. There's not a good word for the writing that am I am currently doing, but I am not alone in the style. You know those fellows who combine elements of mainstream and genre fiction with the brush of the surrealist/irrealist/absurdist. Bizarro has attempted to provide a label for the 'movement,' though I think Bizarro has failed to encompass all aspects of the weird. Plainly put, Bizarro attempts to be the literary equivalent of the Cult Movie Section of the video store, but makes no real distinction between the weirdness of Eraserhead and the weirdness of Surf Nazis Must Die. For me this is a problem because I don't think I have a Surf Nazi appeal in my writing, and that seems to be more and more the direction their movement leans. See Mellick's Zombies and Shit or Donihe's Night of the Assholes for more on this point. (If you are interested in a more general sort of weirdness check out the Dreamwidth community I've started with Mr. Nihil - Pan-Weirdism.)

I suppose I should also mention my lack of discipline. Were I to work harder at planning, revision and self-editing I would also stand a better chance of being published sooner, by bigger publishers willing to take greater risks on a newcomer. But that's like something way out of my control, man. Give me a break.

Now, if you'll excuse me, 5 hours of Horatio Hornblower isn't quite enough for one day. Adieu.

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