Tuesday, February 23, 2016

THROW THIS WORTHLESS SEWAGE INTO THE ABYSS OF OBLIVION

i moved to philadelphia for a job eleven-ish years ago. the good news is not just that i had a job for eleven-ish years -- a not-remotely-horrific and frequently-highly-rewarding job -- but that upon arriving in this glorified demilitarized zone, i started writing fiction in earnest.

mind you, well before this major life upheaval, i co-wrote a screenplay about a high school friend who made random circuit city patrons take off their smashing pumpkins shirts in the parking lot because they were "giving the band a bad name," but kids happened around the same time and... okay, i can get how that was maybe a non-starter.

anyway, the head count post-move is roughly six novels, four feature-length screenplays, and five short screenplays. i could (and do) look at that two ways: a) although the majority of my public appearances entail staring tipsily into my reflection at the corner bar, i got -- and get -- a lot of stuff done away from the ol' 9-to-5, and b) at best, if you know me on facebook or whatever, you're probably familiar with, uh, not many of those stories (the film stuff is getting there... slowly).

that doesn't distinguish me from any other self-centered wannabe-capital-W-writer moron on the planet. but for some stupid reason -- mine is that i find day-to-day, childless, non-homeowning reality crushingly boring, and nothing compares to at least aspiring to tell an imaginative, original story -- i can't stop. or learn a real, marketable skill. so, i'm going to kinda start writing about my (barf) oeuvre and (dry heave) experiences doing this stuff, if for no other reason than to anthologize -- for what remains of my ego -- that i haven't entirely wasted the last eleven-ish years of my life. if i'm alive at seventy, at least i can point out to a bunch of somebody else's annoying grandkids that, "here were a bunch of okay-ish ideas executed so-so-ly." #lifeswork.

DISPOSED OF

two versions of this bastion of excellence, too. bill and ted love 'em both. except the rail-thin amazon one (couldn't even fit the title or bylines on the spine) is obviously the crappier.

so, in case you're wondering (you're not, but i'll wonder for the understood you), i don't want every story i write to be some multiple version gimmick. i just really like the idea of handmade, limited art. this story has existed in some form or another for eleven-plus years. i wanted to tell a hardass revenge/pursuit narrative entirely via postcards, and have the corresponding imagery underscore the protagonist's wildly variable emotions. my friend coleman handled that, i think, super well, and my friend lisa did the cover just as effectively. this is all part of a way-too-depressing-for-it-being-this-late-at-night endeavor i "spearheaded" a few years back called towering achievements, which i'd love to whine about further, but HEY NOW it's synopsis time!

a depressive middle-aged woman sets off on the road. suicide looms. then she encounters a happy and adventurous couple whose relationship both parallels and distorts the memories of her own recently lost romance. obsessively insinuating herself into their lives, she chronicles the pursuit on postcards, hurtling towards a diabolical, perverse endgame.

i buried the lede, which is we put out a version of this on actual postcards (provided gratis by my friend clark, who should fly up here for like thirty free drinks) sealed in actual police evidence bags! (oooh, an exclamation point; i must be excited.) i think i have like five of them left. shawn macomber, who has been way, way, way times a trillion too cool about promoting anything i've ever written, interviewed me for fangoria about it. maybe i make more sense there than i do here. or, same idiot, different blood alcohol level.

DTV

this picture is not great, and there are better ones out there. here, my lifelong "stuffed friend" quizzy the woggin is overseeing the original version of this modern masterpiece. (even more) pointless side note: my second grade teacher gave me quizzy after i broke my femur bicycling around my folks' cul-de-sac, trying to avoid some annoying girl. yes, he is technically an owl. he is also one of the subjects of my unfinished original novel "real mature," which is now a short film featuring adrienne barbeau (the fog, swamp thing) and the music of subrosa, and that film has nothing at all to do with sentient stuffed owls later redubbed "woggins" by stupid, friendless brats with broken femurs. i'm being way too willfully tangential and seriously obliterating the very little cred i have, so let me take this moment to point out that my parents also got me shockwave after said leg-breaking. and, i don't sleep with the woggin. he just hangs next to the amp my wife got me that i'm too lazy to learn how to use.

anyway, "dtv" is my favorite creative undertaking ever, and i greedily wish it got bigger. not for me, but for the fourteen extreme music artists on the original soundtrack who selflessly committed time, energy and thought to action movie covers and bizarre originals. all of what i just wrote will hopefully make more sense when you read the synopsis, immortalized on the "second pressing" amazon version:

In the mid-1990s, Burke Knox and Pierre-Georges Philippe were second only to Arnold and Sly on the action hero food chain. Today, they’re bloated punchlines pushing 50. Surviving an onslaught of personal and professional lows, the former rivals strike up an unlikely friendship. When a mysterious opportunity for a joint comeback arises, there are only three things for Burke and Pi-Gi to do: roundhouse fate in the jaw, bend its elbow 90 degrees the wrong way, and bring the pain Direct to Video.

david hall from handshake, inc. spent way too much money generously releasing the original, which you see in this photo (paperback in old-school clamshell case), and adam hunt of graf orlock (one of the most inspired, hilarious visual artists i've ever met) did all the art. the soundtrack, which rules so hard, can be found here. we actually had a release party for this at my beloved corner bar, 12 steps down, with arm wrestling and an action-specific cocktail menu again designed by my friend amanda. hate to be needy (this whole enterprise is needy), but if you like "dtv," please drop me a line. i really want to convince somebody to do a reprint. if only for all the crazy talent involved that, to this day, i feel like i let down.

Monday, January 24, 2011

THE DREAMT AND DEATHLESS OBSCENE

a gold version of beloved autobot weakling bumblebee that i'll probably sell for at best $15 on ebay is sunbathing on the lamer of these two editions. my second book on vitriol. still love the title and the alternate layout for this (a limited "corpsepile" run, hand-bound and beaten/scraped-up by me and my way-too-patient friend amanda), but i haven't revisited it since and seriously have no idea what it's about. i was pretty into cronenberg's "shivers" and "rabid" at the time. the synopsis says:

The summer of ’75. The world struggles to endure an affliction that has transformed half its citizenry into frenzied deviants. Major metropolitan areas have been (poorly) quarantined, as the afflicted—and their even more depraved counterparts, the unsound—roam freely. In Philadelphia, a cultish grassroots organization aims to salvage some shred of humanity until a cure is discovered, but its motivations are dubious. No solution is in sight. It’s unclear as to whether anybody even cares anymore.

The Gall family is among the countless irreparably marred by the phenomenon, from embittered patriarch Walter to his sons, one an emotionally absent narcissist, the other foolishly entertaining a pregnancy with his afflicted fiancĂ©e. Trapped in a protracted purgatorial transition between societies, the Galls have no recourse but to persevere. Whether that means investigating the malady’s legitimacy, fixating on old regrets or succumbing to gruesome indulgence, all fail to recognize that the differences between their past and lurid present are negligible.

i didn't even read what i just pasted. why is that? i'll let you know when i finally consult a long-long-overdue shrink. OH WAIT, there's a BOOK TRAILER for this. i would be more bummed because, you know, book trailer, but my friend lucas cut it super-well, and my friend shane's band playing enemy let me borrow some exceptionally diabolical music. i wish i had something more interesting to say about this. i hope it's good or something?

Friday, December 11, 2009

A REGULAR

yes, the title's a pun. anyone who's seen my "work" in the last eleven years of decibel magazine knows that i've done way, way worse. this thing is out of print now (edit: just kidding), but it's the first of two novels i put out on vitriol, which is justin from graf orlock's... he would rightfully RPG me in the forehead if i called it a "boutique label." but that's close enough for the purposes of this increasingly incoherent post. here's a synopsis i barfed out a long time ago:

“A morose barfly drowns his misguided affection for barely legal trollops in crossword puzzles and wells whiskey. But Murray Baron isn’t just a regular at Seattle dive haven the Kapital — he exists in the bar in perpetuity, days and weeks bleeding formlessly into one another, punctuated only by cock-crushingly banal conversation. When he finally literally unseats himself to save a friend’s life, the decision ignites a series of overlapping absurdist confrontations straight from the id of a 12-year-old. Murray’s fate seems to have been halved into either suffocating barstool inertia or outlandish hyperactive lunacy, and only a highly dubious psychic can help him revisit the pivotal adolescent event that put him in this very literal state of arrested development.”

i dunno if that sounds good or not (evidently, at one point in my life, i felt totally okay about "cock-crushingly"), but in the interest of being the slightest bit positive about my lifetime literary output, i can tell you that without question this is the best novel ever inspired by a video from linkin park's second album.

if you're still reading, jamie leary and bruno guerreiro (both formerly decibel's head designers) annihilated the cover and layout, and were way too gracious over the years helping out with indesign formatting issues.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MECHANIKS

here's serpentor, cobra emperor, the supreme amalgamation of 10 of the greatest military leaders in history, chilling with my first published novel, "mechaniks." it was supposed to be a revenge noir melodrama set against the backdrop of '60s baseball, but i probably blew a fair amount of those good intentions. questionable southern affects, a little too much roeg worship, amateur-hour plotting. there's enough good stuff that i've since george lucas-ed it into a (i think) half-decent screenplay. i'm sure costner will be thrilled.

anyway, i teared up when i got my first copy from the publisher (mccarren, now sadly defunct; amazon has it cheap), but then again, i teared up when lucas duda threw a potentially game-ending game-five world series putout at home into the backstop, so... yeah. (i'm not hyperlinking that.) my friend julia did the cover, but i maybe should've vetoed "blood-smeared baseball." let's all be psyched i didn't reverse the "k." i was just real, real happy to have a published book.

FUN FACT: i did a "signing" at a wilkes-barre barnes & noble for this thing that was maybe the single-most pathetic moment of my adult life (saying a lot), but eating here made it almost worth it. granted, i eat totino's party pizzas these days with alarming regularity, so what do i know, but sizzle pi definitely helped the cause.

less fun fact: this story was directly inspired by this incident.