Writing Online

I’ve been writing online for a while now – mainly because Microsoft made their office products online products that you have to pay for, Google documents are free, and open office doesn’t work for me how it once did. So, I write online – at the very least, I’m connected when I’m writing and in … Continue reading “Writing Online”

I’ve been writing online for a while now – mainly because Microsoft made their office products online products that you have to pay for, Google documents are free, and open office doesn’t work for me how it once did. So, I write online – at the very least, I’m connected when I’m writing and in general – I’ve decided I don’t like that. Also, my laptop a Gateway touchscreen thing I bought a few years ago for way too much money is the worst writing computer I’ve ever owned. The point of all of this – if there is one – is that technology has become less useful for me as it has (I’m told) progressed – I did more writing on my bricklike laptop back in 1997 and my 1995 boat anchor desktop actually functioned as a better word processor, than this amazing advanced machine I use now…in fact, a typewriter in a room with no connection to the outside world might have been the machine that allowed the most creative writing productivity – all of this stuff we call technology is a distraction. My next computer is going to be a word processor first and foremost with an ergonomic keyboard and an internet off switch. I’m not sure they make such a thing any longer so maybe it will be a Commodore 64 or a Remington typewriter.

Jesus and his rainbow pooping Unicorn

I am working on a book of stories for my daughter about Jesus who rides through the universe on a rainbow pooping Unicorn called Love. They will have many adventures and meet many different historical and spiritual figures. I’ve posted the first picture we have drawn on my instagram account. At the moment, no one else has written anything on the internet about Jesus and his rainbow pooping unicorn called Love – so this is my proof of concept invention. Remember, Jesus is waiting for you – and he is going to give you exactly what you deserve.

Thoughts after Attending a Book Festival as an Author

The book festival yesterday was thought provoking. Lots of thoughts were provoked. Here are a few of them. As a young person (and today as well) I read a lot – I was inspired by great storytelling from the likes of Tolkien, Verne, Piers Anthony, Robert Heinlein, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Dickens, Twain, and London. I am inspired by well written history, thought provoking philosophy and spirituality, and approachable, practical how-to books. I like books that allow me to learn. I love books that allow me to visit far off destinations and exotic cultures and landscapes.

As a younger adult – I was also dazzled by the reckless and dangerous lifestyles of many writers. Hard drinking, hard drugging, hard loving, emotional roller coasters – like Hank Moody from Californication – I wanted to live like that.

I was never inspired by popular fiction like detective novels, thrillers or best sellers. I never wanted to be some boring baby boomer slaving away over a word processor and sitting in empty halls filled with tables behind which boring baby boomers sit eyeing potential readers with hunger.Yesterday, I found myself right there. Best selling author Philip Margolin was there too, sitting behind a table, trying to smile, signing books. I had no desire to be him. I had no desire to read his books.

I’ve not wanted to be Hank Moody or Jack Kerouac or Hemingway for quite a while now. The desire has passed. The idea of being an older Jack London type, building a ranch, hosting friends, fighting for good political ends…that appeals to me. I’d still love to write compelling stories…but they need to be stories with a purpose, stories that have more substance than a Moody-esque “I drank, I got fucked up, I got fucked, it was awful, I survived, I did it again, something awesome happened, I was miserable, I did it again”

My books previously have been a combination of how-to, travel to exotic places, introduction to exotic ideas, and fucked-upness with an over-exaggerated desire to attract attention by offending. I was using offense as a hook…which was (perhaps) novel in the 80s and 90s but now, in the age of the internet, is just boring.

I’ve changed a lot. I admit it. Enough that I can see foolishness where before I thought there was brilliance. Enough to see problems where before I thought there was quality. I was in love with my title “Douchebags, Fags, and Hags” I thought it was hilarious…yesterday, honestly, I was embarrassed by it and while I still love the novel – am pretty sure I would have sold a lot more if I had called it “The Sultanate of Baboob” or “Pig and the Sexy Nun” or even just “Pig”. There were other things I noticed and was shocked by, such as my putting of an ancient pre-Columbian artifact showing two dogs fucking on the back of my rather serious “Liminal Travel” – I remember thinking it was funny – an artifact from the MET referencing an off-color joke on the back of my book – but it has nothing to do with my book. Why did I put it there? Probably the same reason I put the horrible back cover on Smooth Living – enough to see that Slackville Road is a good idea with bad execution…and an ugly cover. I was blinded with love for my own creations…and I think the time I’ve taken off from writing has been a good thing.

The money and time I spent yesterday did not yield a financial return, but even so, I think it was well spent.

L’Exposition Universelle 1889 Heliogravure

I found this in a box at the Flea Market – unfortunately, I wasn’t the first to go through the box and many of the engravings were missing. Still, it turns out that the Smithsonian only has 31 of the engravings and the truly rare part – is the manuscript and the folio binders. Extraordinary hand colored steel cut engravings printed in a limited number for the American VIP attendees of the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris.

Edition De Luxe L’Exposition Universelle 1889 Heliogravure containing the complete text and photogravures plus 17 of the loose hand colored heliogravure/photogravure plates of selected paintings from the 1889 Paris Exposition. This De Luxe Edition was printed for Mr. D. W. Briggs of Saginaw Michigan – presumably an attendee. 6 Folio Binders – Elephant folio





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Shantaram – A Book I was Meant to Read

I want to tell you a story –

A little more than a decade ago, I was a tanned beach boy living in Hawaii. I met a tourist girl and she was looking for an island romance so she invited me to dinner. I wanted to sleep with her – I thought – so I accepted her invitation. In those days I was desperate for intimacy but I was under the mistaken impression that meaningless uncommittal sex and intimacy could be the same thing. I was finding a good bit of the former and very little of the latter – to some extent because often when I would find the latter – I would push the former onto it and likewise I missed a good bit of the former by burdening it with the latter.

What I truly sought was spiritual, emotional, and intellectual intimacy but I kept messing it up with sexual intimacy. This isn’t a story of that – it’s just the oppossite. This particular girl was on vacation and she wanted a no strings attached sexual romp but I screwed that up – over dinner I dove into deeper and heavier subjects- loosened with a few drinks I waxed philosophical/spiritual – she had a deeper nature which she didn’t want to share – I dug and pushed and finally exasperated she suggested a moonlit walk down a deserted beach – the perfect last night in Hawaii for her and now I realize she wanted nothing more than to make love on the beach before getting on a plane and going back to her real life. She had opened up to me too much though and I found myself more excited to learn from her spiritual and philosophical insights than to kiss her delicioius lips.

I think she gave up and we sat under a coconut tree in the moonlight talking until it was time to go. I invited her to my apartment but by this point, I had gone too far in finding out who she really was for her to let me see her being someone she really wasn’t. And the next day we left – and we never met again. I don’t remember her name and she most likely doesn’t remember mine. I don’t even remember all that we talked about – but I remember her saying she had started to read a book in Hawaii and was so captivated by the opening paragraph that she had committed it to memory.

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized somehow, through the screaming in my mind that even in that shackled bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them.”

It impacted me as well, but to be honest, I didn’t remember the quote or the name of the book, but only the spirit of the quote – so – later, when she was gone with no contact information and I was looking for the book that had so affected her – I was unable to find it. Instead, more than a decade later – the book found me. My aunt, the one who has given me so much thought and spirit provoking literature through the years handed me the book with several others and without comment. It was a large book – nearly a thousand pages and with a 2-year old and the struggle to make ends meet in our new home country – the USA (my old home country, by the way) – I didn’t touch it for more than a year – finally, looking for something to read I picked it up and flicked to the first page and there it was – those words – those powerful, important words.

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized somehow, through the screaming in my mind that even in that shackled bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them.”

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is a roller coaster of a book filled with hard won wisdom and insight from a man who has led a life that most people only think happens in movies – not heart warming movies, but powerful movies. This is a novel but there is more truth to it than most novels can claim. Like the protaganist, Roberts escaped prison in Australia and fled to India where he worked with the Bombay mafia and eventually was caught and returned to prison where he served out his sentence and wrote Shantaram.

I am grateful to that girl for priming my brain with his words, grateful to my aunt for delivering the book, and grateful to the universe for finding the right time to deliver it. There was so much in this book that spoke to me – not just the opening line and the theme of forgiveness but also the theme of redemption and the idea that sometimes we can do the right thing for the wrong reason or the wrong thing for the right reason. I could go on – but I won’t. I only recommend that you read it.

Here is a link to get Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

shantaram

Note: I intentionally wrote the above without having read any reviews or looked at the author’s website or even to have read more about the author than his dust jacket bio – now I’ve done a bit of digging. It’s astounding how many people HATE this book – but they have some valid points – none the less – the book is too long, the characters are mostly one dimensional, and there are some serioius prose problems. The biggest reason why most of them seem to hate it though is because of Roberts himself and how he wrote this work of fiction as a way of aggrandizing himself with an alternate fictional history – I make no beef with the valid points – but I only want to add – this is a work of fiction, not a biography. As such, I think it paints those themes of redemption and forgiveness beautifully. I would not want to live the life of Roberts nor the life of his character Lin. I still think the book is a worthy read.

Little XXX House on the Prairie

Little XXX House on the Prairie

I love this, just because I grew up watching Little House. I even had chickens named after the characters. Of course it wasn’t Little XXX House on the Prairie.

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland has rated the DVD release of the much-loved children’s television series “Little House on the Prairie” suitable for adult viewing only.

To save money, Universal Pictures decided not to submit the series to state inspection, the company’s Finland marketing manager Meri Suomela told Reuters on Wednesday.

Finnish authorities charge 2 euros ($2.57) per minute for assessing the correct age limit on films and television series. Distributors who forego this can only sell their shows with a sticker saying “Banned for under-18s.”

“Long series can get quite expensive to check, and some use this exemption in the law to their advantage,” said Matti Paloheimo, Director at the Finnish Board of Film Classification.

“Such unchecked material should not be shown to children publicly,” he added.

Little House on the Prairie, which ran from 1974 to 1983, portrayed life in the U.S. West in the late 1800s and was based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder’s children’s book of the same name.

It remains popular in Finland, and is still shown weekly on Sunday mornings on state-owned broadcaster YLE.