Where Did it Go?
I decided to take a quick break from writing to post an update about The Ending. As a novel I’ve worked on for three years of my life, having written it from the ground up four times to this point, I made the decision to go through and rework it one more time. This is not a total rewrite, but it is significant, especially in the first third of the book.
Over the next day, the existing versions of the book will disappear from the site. I’m not comfortable leaving it up because I feel that it dramatically misrepresents what the book has become. Part 1 on Amazon will also go unlisted, so kudos if you grabbed that before I tossed its ragged, limp corpse into the swamp.
I, and a team of editors, are working hard to prepare the final book for public consumption. If you are one of the people that read the last draft of the novel on the site, hopefully the final version will surprise you. There are numerous changes throughout the book, but the first third is almost entirely new, built and restructured from the ground up. (more…)
4: Money Can Buy Anything
READ PART ONE OF NEON PULPIT HERE
READ PART TWO OF NEON PULPIT HERE
READ PART THREE OF NEON PULPIT HERE
“They say money can’t buy love,” is something people seem to throw around a lot. “They say”, of course, is how an idiot attributes a quote that can’t be substantiated—usually to make it sound like other people believe it. Replace with the evergreen “some are saying” and you have most of the 24-hour news network playbook.
Here’s the thing: money can absolutely buy love; people do it all the time. Love, as an idea, is just an intense appreciation of a person’s overall value. Kids, wives, husbands, mistresses, friends, siblings, pets—these are all relationships that start with a value inherent to them that can be strengthened or injured based on what goes in or out. We measure love in time, money, and effort appraised against how much of it a creature is willing to sacrifice for us. You can pay people to take a bullet for you; which is a weird idea when you think about it because you are buying someone else’s life so that you can destroy it in exchange for your own; a purchased sacrifice. So if money can buy sacrifice, then it can buy love; but it’s examining the whole thing ass-backward. (more…)
A Folly, In Twain
I find that my autobiographical stories lack subtlety. That’s not to say that there isn’t nuance to the way I turn a phrase, but that is to say that my life doesn’t seem to lend itself to quiet, personal moments of introspective enlightenment. It lends itself to impractical chaos.
We’ve been over the impracticality of Multiple Sclerosis before, almost ad nauseam on this blog it seems. It is unpredictably horrible, but it is oftentimes a story that we will look back and laugh … many days from today. Today I am not laughing; at least, not yet. Who knows what wily chicanery all my friends in Boston will attempt to rip a smile from my upturned maw. (In before Paul and Storm: Upturned Maw is my KISS, the sans-makeup albums, cover band.)
A few months back, I posted an essay titled: “The Most Embarrassing Moment of My Life Happened Yesterday, Sponsored by Chipotle*, *Not Actually Sponsored by Chipotle.” At the time, the internal fortitude it took to post that story on the internet was immense. Who in their right mind would share so openly, so brazenly, a story about defecating on yourself in the stairs of the place they work?
Here’s a link to that story if you haven’t already read it HERE.
3: Fourteen Seconds
A soft knock.
The shuffling of shoes.
I did not stir from the heaviest sleep I had in years.
I dreamt about my father. It was a rewritten history, devoid of circumstance. We drank from the same beer bottle on a patio of a house I’d never been to. We sat on opposite sides of a table. The ceramic tiles on the surface burned the skin of my fingers, heated in the summer sun. He was sad, monumentally so. My eyes were trained on him, but my father gaped at the worn softball mitt sitting in the chair between us.
Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” reverberated around us from a record player spinning behind him. My father held the album cover for “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” in his arms, like a child protecting their favorite toy.
The wind picked up. Black clouds lowered and overtook the bright sky. Hundreds of cardinals burst from the trees in the yard and I turned to watch the billowy darkness devour them. When I brought my attention back to the table, the beer was a bottle of sunscreen. My father did not seem to mind and drank from it anyway. Tears spilled from his eyes as he tried to speak, but sallow lotion spilled from his mouth and muffled whatever it was he was trying to say. (more…)
2: To Bed
READ PART ONE OF NEON PULPIT HERE
Kite pulled back the hammer of a Beretta 9mm. The barrel was six inches from my forehead, a learned mistake from too many television crime procedurals. An intimidation move more than a credible threat. At least, that was my thinking at the time.
What was I expecting? I looked like broken hell, strung out on Codeine, airplane tequila, and Mountain Dew Code Red. Golden rule of the drug game: never trust a junkie that shows up with your girlfriend.
Proper eye contact is important with a gun to your head. Sharona tugged on his arm, powerless begging from the sympathetic party as the stags thumped antlers. Guns create a lot of emotion when they’re introduced into a situation. If you’ve been around them enough, you know if someone is grandstanding or if you’re about to die. There’s not a lot of middle ground. (more…)
1: The Boxer
Okay, this is going to be a change of pace for people that are used to the stories I usually tell. A story like this, at least insofar that I’m the one writing it, has been bubbling around in my head for a while. I got the idea fairly recently, but I jumped into it immediately all the same.
In the interest of disclosure, here are some disclaimers: the subject matter at the center of the story is unapologetically dark. It deals with drugs, alcohol, substance abuse, and dark issues of childhood. If you don’t want to read something that heavy, I would suggest hitting the back button and find out from someone else who’s read it if it’s something you might enjoy. That I’m even writing a disclaimer should tell you how much further this goes than anything I’ve ever written.
With all that said, here is the first prose from Neon Pulpit. Please feel free to start a discussion about it in the comments.
I’ve never had much difficulty getting sober; I just never saw much value in it. Anyone can spit into a packet of Quaker Oatmeal and call it ambrosia, but I’ve taken some shit that would make you believe it. Most people don’t get it. They’re too afraid to let go and plummet into the unexplored majesty of it all. There are entire universes underneath the wilted veneer we cling to with every scrap of our being. You just have to know which pill to take. If I’m going to tell you about all this, you’re gonna need to let go. (more…)
Sponsored by Chipotle*
*Not actually sponsored by Chipotle
UPDATE: I thought it would be funny if, in tribute to my friend Don, featured in this story, if I sang his praises with an ironically chosen Simon and the G-Funks track: Bridge Over Troubled Water.
There’s a certain courageousness and honesty that comes with being an author sometimes; or at least, that’s what I believe. To engage people, to really engage them on a fundamental level requires an author to bear the wounded soul buried deep under the cantankerous topsoil. I aspire to live this life, to be this honest with my audience. Since October 2011, my life has been a three-ring circus of anatomical failings, each more outlandish than the last.
Yesterday, my body failed in such spectacular fashion that I am going to put this on the Internet, in full view of the public, to stay honest to my own goals as a writer. I have documented the ways in which multiple sclerosis abandoned tradition and found steadfast creativity as it took an ice pick to my nervous system.
The thing about “relapsing-remitting” MS, besides an overly complex title, is that it strikes at peculiar times and these episodes are certainly not something you can schedule around. Some months I’m on a cane because my left leg is about as useful as a bag of rocks and some months I can get around with relative ease.
Yesterday, was the most embarrassing moment of my entire life. (more…)
UPDATE: vena cava available on Amazon NOW
Exciting Returners related news (No, still not Season Two, yet. Sorry).
There’s actually been a nontrivial amount of work done on The Returners Season One to fix some things that have bugged me for a long time. A number of errors in the text have been fixed, as well as a few confusing turns of phrase that have always bothered me.
One of the things that has irked me about the book was actually the cover. Always dug the concept, but I thought my execution of it was kinda sloppy.
So I remade it from scratch.
When the fixed version goes up online, it will be accompanied by this cover refresh.
Hope you guys like it!
Here's everything you need to know
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions inquiring as to what’s going on with The Returners Season Two.
The short answer is: I’m not actively working on it right now.
That’s not to say that I haven’t done work on it; I’ve written a few chapters and the whole thing exists in outline form. I’ve been getting lots of people hitting me up on Twitter that just finished the first book, but it’s probably not going to happen until 2014.
The reason is really about The Ending. It’s a series that existed before The Returners and I really care about getting book 1 of that series finished up. Part 2 will be going up in the next couple of weeks (hopefully) and there’s still Part 3 is finish up. Once all of that is done, I’ll jump back into The Returners right away. I promise.
Sorry if that’s not the best news to some of you. Writing books, at least for the foreseeable future, is not my full time job, so everything takes just a little bit longer.
Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments if you want to know anything else about this.
Let’s all go out for ice cream!
An Economy of Words: Volume 1
New idea tonight. Write a story in exactly 100 words and post it. I’ve been watching Terrance Malick movies tonight so this is probably a bit poetic and dreary.
Feel free to post your own 100 word stories in the comments section! I’ll edit the post and add some of them.
Borrowed sunglasses fell from her quivering hand, nicking the curb with a noise unheard. She had no husband, nor children to speak of. Blasphemed glimpses of life’s mistakes swirled in her head as a turquoise blur screamed in stereo across her periphery. Burnt rubber of squalid tires swam into her nose and brought the flashing lights of her life plummeting downward, back to her feet; dirty toes curled in horror just behind the crimson streak of the fire lane. It missed her.
Her daughter was standing on the other side of the red paint, so she, no longer a mother.
And here is one by commenter “KynElwynn.” Very trippy ending. (more…)