I think Bible of the Devil guitarist Nate Perry is the last of the real deal rock and roll heroes. Too dumb to live, too cool to die.
On the writing front, I've started working on a chapbook story collection/cycle using the narrator from my short story "Murmuration." That story appeared in the April issue of Jersey Devil Press. I got the idea for the story after someone posted a video on Facebook of a murmuration of starlings fucking around in synchronicity above a lake. They put ambient music in the background and probably turned it in as part of their art school thesis, but whatever, it was still pretty rad.
I finished the story in a couple quick drafts and was just sort of throwing ideas around, writing quickly and in a style I'd describe as "a shitty Amy Hempel story from Reasons to Live" meets "a really good story as told in the comments section of the AV Club website." There's a dead dog, a burn victim named Nurse Diamond (not a real nurse), pudding cups, and a bunch of sideways references to Whitesnake and KISS. I had just finished working on a story with a heavier, more labored-over tone called, at this junction, "Shoot Out the Bright Lights." After starting it a year or two prior I, with the help of the Chet Baker documentary Let's Get Lost, was finally able to really do justice to the parallel redemptions of an old jazz dude and a young widower. Needless to say, I was ready to do something a little more off-the-cuff and a little less heady after that 5500-word behemoth.
At this time I was also working on a story called "Who Wants To Live Forever" about a woman with OCD (based on what Maria Bamford multiple descriptions of her "unwanted thoughts syndrome") who keeps running into a guy who may or may not be in a Queen tribute band, as well as a story called "Devotion and Doubt" about a drunk dude. I tried to figure out something else to say about it, but that's pretty much it. He tries to fuck a pair of twins but just eats a bunch of breakfast.
Anyways, "Murmuration" turned out to be one of my favorites, and I had such a good time writing it that I'm going to track the narrator from the summer right after high school until the events in "Murmuration" ten years later. I'm shooting for 7500 words total on the chapbook. Doing a story for each year is out--"Murmuration" takes up a third of that space already, so I'm looking at about four pieces of flash fiction in addition.
As of right now, he's just wrecking cars with his buddies.
I've got some work to do. I'm looking at a friend's manuscript for her, too, and resisting the urge to do a complete line-edit on it. I'm addicted to working at the sentence level on everything, which is good for everything except issues concerning time.
The book through Jersey Devil Press is at the stage where I'm just waiting for the editor to shoot me a tentative table of contents. Once that rolls in, everything else rolls in behind it: editing, title, layout, artwork, etc. Mike Sweeney, the editor in question, and I have a lot of the same beliefs when it comes to short story collections, and so far the only problems that have arisen have come from me being overbearing and anxious. No, I can't keep adding stories. No, I can't just make up a random title because I think it sounds cool.
I'm finding out that a first book is like a first girlfriend: I don't know where to put my hands. I trust Mike and JDP head-honcho Eirik, but my natural response was to do everything. I'm used to the DIY rock and roll band mindset: write your song, play your song, record your song, design your album, press your album, promote your album, sell your album. Book the shows. Load the gear. Talk to promoters. I guess I'm just not used to having other people who will do some of those things. I'm not a control freak, but, well, I just don't know where to put my goddamn hands.
Oh well, Cool Rings +5. Silver nail polish +10.
Okay. Enough of this. I need more time to read. I've been too busy packaging up CDs to get any reading done lately, and I've got The Ask by Sam Lipsyte calling my name. And there was one other thing.
DONATE TO THE KICKSTARTER FOR THE JDP FALL BOOK RELEASES, INCLUDING MY BOOK.
I'm not above a shameless plug.
(This blog post was brought to you by Taco Bell.)
(Let's sell out, kids.)