Where’s Banned?By D. R. Haney
April 13, 2010
Last spring, shortly after my novel, Banned for Life, was published, my actor friend Jeremy Lowe sent me this photo via Facebook.
It was taken at LAX just before Jeremy embarked on a months-long tour of Asia, and the title of my book supplied Jeremy with a ready-made joke, since he was himself, in a sense, about to be banned (though not for life, since he’s now back in Los Angeles). Meanwhile, it’s anyone’s guess as to where that copy of Banned is now; Jeremy left it in a hostel in Thailand, where he hoped another guest would pick it up and read it.
Not long after I received the photo from Jeremy, I received another from my filmmaker-musician friend TJ Nordaker.
The photo was TJ’s way of saying how much he relished Banned. I was so touched that I wrote a post at TNB about the nine years that went into writing the book, which was largely an excuse to show off TJ’s photo, as well as Jeremy’s.
I wasn’t anticipating additional photos, but over the next several months, my collection grew. None of the photos were requested, which I thought would be cheating; and now, as Banned closes in on its first year in print (it was officially released on May 5, 2009), I thought it might be fun to share my archive, which—who knows?—may expand.
Now, before I continue, have to say that I was surprised at the support I received from my fellow contributors at TNB, who bought the book and, in many cases, publicly vouched for it. I was surprised because I’ve spent most of my adult life working in the back-stabbing, every-man-for-himself, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately movie business. In any case, Nick Belardes was the first TNBer to embrace the book, which he did at both TNB and Bakotopia magazine. That’s Nick below, peering above a Dagwood sandwich of volumes, with Banned (meat or cheese?) in the middle.
In a second shot published in Bakotopia, you can clearly see that Banned is in the company of other books by TNBers: Everything Asian by Sung J. Woo, and Pop Salvation by Lance Reynald—a galley in the latter case. When Sung saw the Bakatopia photos, he remarked that my book looked like it could beat up his book. I’d like to think that Banned would never have such an impulse, though he’s a big boy to be sure—too big, according to publishers who refused him for that reason.
Greg Olear is another TNBer who’s done much to help promote Banned. When he was interviewed by The Poughkeepsie Journal, for instance, about his then-forthcoming novel, Totally Killer, he posed for a photo with a stack of books by TNBers in the background, including Banned, whose binding can be divined, despite being out of focus.
Greg and I soon became friends, speaking often on the phone (he lives in New Paltz, New York, three time zones ahead of me), and I told him that I was afraid Banned would be off-putting to women readers, since its narrator, Jason, has a swagger that some might take as the mark of a jerk. Greg assured me that wouldn’t be the case; his wife, Stephanie, he said, was presently enjoying Banned, and he forwarded a shot she’d snapped of herself at the Jersey shore.
I was further heartened by Nicole, an Arizona resident and TNB reader who not only posted the below photo on Twitter, but dedicated, in a tweet, a song to Banned: “Seeing Red” by Minor Threat. (Peewee, one of the characters in Banned, was, in Jason’s words, insane about Minor Threat.)
Minor Threat was fronted by Ian MacKaye, who went on to start Fugazi, and I had an exchange with TNBer Meghan Maguire Dahn about Fugazi, in which she memorably commented that one show she attended “was so loud I was inescapably aware of all my internal organs – and I inventoried them.” She kindly supplied this photo when her copy of Banned arrived. It was taken at work, she wrote me, after I asked if it was taken at home, wanting to believe that at least one writer has an office so professional and organized.
Meghan lives in Connecticut. Meanwhile, in Seattle, TNB reader Kymberlee also provided photographic proof of Banned‘s arrival, which she posted on my Facebook wall with a caption about snuggling up in bed with the book. I hope it kept her awake—a rude sentiment for anyone but an author, and even then.
TNBer Zara Potts has been a good friend to both me and the book, and she posted this still life in the View from your Phone section here at the site. It was taken in Auckland, where Zara makes her home, so, even though I’ve yet to make it to New Zealand, at least Banned has traveled Down Under (including Australia, thanks to Simon Smithson and my friend Daniel Bernardi).
Last Christmas, Zara visited her hometown, Christchurch, where she snapped a shot of Banned in a bookstore. Later, she told me, she went to the store again, and the copy seen below—the store’s last copy—had been sold. It had some reputable neighbors on display, including John Irving, Anne Tyler, Nicholson Baker, and Alice Munro. But, Zara, is that a bogan in the upper right corner of the photo? It couldn’t be, right? A bogan in a bookstore?
In addition to its international forays in Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, and England (thanks, James Irwin), I know that Banned has also materialized in South America—Brazil, to be exact—care of TNB reader Alexandre, who, in the spirit of Zara, posted the below photo here at the site. As ever, Banned shows up with Pop Salvation and Totally Killer, but this time Franny and Zooey joins them—and, interestingly, I remember Alexandre making a comment on the TNB tribute to J.D. Salinger.
Elsewhere, on TNBer Matt Baldwin‘s shelf in San Diego, Banned and Totally Killer are in cahoots yet again. I see that T. C. Boyle and Raymond Chandler are well represented—but, Matt, what is Fresh Kills about? Given my dark side, I may have to read it.
I only recently became aware the below picture, which my friend Jeannie posted at dailybooth.com, where she was maintaining a photo journal (since abandoned) of her current reading fare. In pondering the photo, I wonder if she was biting the book out of affection or, vampirically, to convert it. Or did she mean to digest the book, beginning with the letter B; or was it only the letter B she found worthy of eating? The picture lends itself to a number of interpretations.
Some have requested Banned as a gift, I’m humbled to say. My friend Connie, for example, from Bakersfield (where Nick and Jeannie likewise live), asked that one of her sons give her a copy for her birthday (which also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day), and when he did her bidding (clearly knowing what was good for him), I was rewarded with the shot below. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Banned looking so relaxed.
Then there’s my friend Jon of Providence, who received Banned from his sister for Christmas. I’ve mentioned Jon at TNB, though not by name; in my piece about the Manson murders, “3301 Waverly Drive,” he was the guy who asked me to drive him to the former home of Sharon Tate when he made his first trip to L.A. in the summer of 2008.
I’ve also written about my friend Wade at TNB, in a piece entitled “The Assholes.” He’s a musician—his band, A Thousand Dozen Gloves, is terrific—and he travels quite a bit, and at one point Banned was a frequent companion; in fact, judging from the below photo, it may have been a stowaway.
Then again, the following photo establishes that Wade took the book out of his bag on the plane, so he must have known it was there. Or maybe he was just annoyed with it for sneaking inside his bag, and so placed it in the penalty box, so to speak, forcing it to smell his shoe for the duration of the flight.
In all seriousness, though, Wade has been a steadfast advocate of Banned. He read it twice, as did my blood brother (or so we once decided we were) John T. Woods, who’s an actor. (Check him out in a webisode of Bitter Lawyer.) He’s also smart, charming, and handsome; and when I moaned at one point last summer that nothing seemed to be happening with Banned, he posted the below photo on Facebook, urging his FB friends to buy and read it; and naturally, since the recommendation came from John Woods, at least one woman complied. Dude, you make a blood brother proud!
Around that same time, I did my first bookstore reading (at Stories, in my neighborhood, Echo Park) with Brad Listi, and that night my friend Gianna took a number of photos, including the one that follows of me in action. Yes, that is a bookstore—or, to be specific, it’s the patio behind a bookstore—and, yes, I am in fact reading from a copy of Banned, though it’s a far-away blur.
Below is one of the copies of Banned sold that night. I think this particular copy is being held by my friend Charlie, who now spends most of his time in Spokane, though I don’t know if his copy of Banned is now in Spokane with him. We unfortunately haven’t spoken since a party at Christmas, when he stranded our friend James by wandering off drunk with James’ car keys—which is very like something that might happen in Banned.
Finally, the photo below was posted on my Facebook wall by TNBer Gloria Harrison of Portland, Oregon. It shows her daughter, who’s obviously pregnant, writing a valentine to her inamorato, who’s reclining with the puppy, while Banned happily plays a minor part in so sweet a scene. Gloria’s caption for the photo was as follows: “There’s a metaphor here, but I can’t quite tease it out. Something about being a pregnant teenager about to have a baby… I’ll work it out.”
You know, most novels sell well under 1,000 copies, and I think there may now be 500 copies of Banned in the hands of readers—most sold, some given away—and that’s a far cry from what I’d naïvely imagined for the book’s prospects a year ago, and yet, for the most part, where Banned has gone, I daresay it’s been loved. I’ve received wonderfully inspiring messages from friends, acquaintances, and strangers, and they’ve meant much to me, whether photos were attached or not.
Meanwhile, when I read with Brad last summer, he presented a copy of Banned for me to sign, and I remember including a message to the effect of: “If this book ever does anything at all, it will have been because of you.” I was referring to TNB, which, of course, Brad started. I had no forum for getting out the word about Banned, except that Jonathan Evison suggested that I write to Brad about becoming a TNB contributor, and Brad accepted me, based on Jonathan’s recommendation and, perhaps a little, the fact that I’d briefly met Brad at a reading in L.A.’s Chinatown a couple of years prior—a meeting I was sure he wouldn’t recall, though he did.
I mention this because it’s not just the first anniversary of Banned‘s publication; it’s also the first anniversary of my arrival at TNB, and what a year it’s been.
Where’s Banned? Banned is home, wherever that may be, or so I think as I post these words at home; and I’m grateful—and much obliged, as we used to say in my native South—to everyone at TNB who’s made it one.
One of the pleasant surprises of having a novel out in the age of cell-phone photography is that friends — both virtual and real-time — have occasionally sent me photos of my book in action (although no one has eaten or kissed TK). I always love getting those.
TK is honored to be in the presence of BFL, and to have also benefited from the support of the fine readers of TNB.
I know you didn’t intend it this way, but Jon of Providence sounds like someone who lived in the 1300s, perhaps one of Robin Hood’s less-celebrated Merry Men.
Thanks for sharing this.
I only share what others have thankfully shared with me, including yourself — egoistically on my part, no doubt — and as much as I’ve been known to bitch about the technological age, it is a pleasant surprise to be sent such photos. Meanwhile, I can promise you that BFL is very honored to be in the presence of TK.
I don’t know that Jon has ever been referred to, except by me, as Jon of Providence. Here’s hoping he approves.
Unfortunately, no photo attached to this comment, Duke. Just tons of love for you and your book. Cheers, my friend.
Rich, are you kidding me?! I don’t think I ever got a chance to talk to you after the event on Saturday night. You left the house in rubble! As if you needed me to say as much.
No! Damn it, my slow internet! You’ve made me look like a chump for the last time!
Oh, the crushing weight of this public humiliation…
No humiliation, amigo. On the contrary, you’ve saved me humiliation by adding two additional comments to what’s sure to be a low count. It’s an egoistical post, as I know and commented to Greg above.
Three additional comments.
It took me a fuzzy-headed minute before I got it, and now I’m still laughing, you knucklehead, you. (Substitute Bill Murray’s voice for mine on “you knucklehead, you.”)
Oh! Oh! I got one!
‘Where in the world is Carmen Banned Diego?’
Yet another comment that eluded me.
But, as you know, I’m powerless to come up with a fitting rejoinder. I’m destined to go through life punless, I’m afraid.
Duke– BANNED ROCKS!
It’s hard – I know –and as most on TNB know — to write a book, let alone get the hell out of your house and sell it. But this book deserves everything and then some — so — I’m glad that you — and your many, many, fans and friends, have left their houses and taken BANNED with them for the ride! ~ r
Well, Robin, I would subtract at least one “many” from the list of my fans and friends, but I’m glad that Banned has accompanied the friends I have. And I’ll never forget the surprise, and pleasure, I felt on seeing the kind words that you wrote about Banned elsewhere, to which I can now add the lift you’ve given me on this post here at TNB. I feel like moonshine being complimented by twelve-year-old Jameson, or some such.
What a surprise to see my picture of Banned for Life on the TNB site.
You deserve the “love”, BFL inspired me to research my dads aunt deceased some 40 years and the music she made. You never know how your words may effect a reader.
Indeed! Exactly as a picture might inspire its recipient, as well as any caption provided. And I’m humbled (a word I might be in danger of overusing) that BFL might have inspired you to look into your family history; I’ve greatly enjoyed the fruits of it that you’ve shared on FB. And I have a feeling that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Meanwhile, we still have to honky-tonk in Bako, you know.
We can honky tonk In the DALE (the burb I reside in) Trout’s is Old Skool , the last of the 50s honky tonks still in business here in Bako.
I am so there — when my creditors allow the trip.
money!!! the lack there of!!
Jeannie, Nick and I may just have to take a trip to LA and kidnap you.
Would you, please?
We will have to co-ordinate that. I am sure Jeannie and I can make this happen.
My bags are packed! How soon can you be here? And how long can I stay?
Do you do windows? house sit? clean litter boxes? if so..
All of the above!
To quote National Lampoon’s Animal House: Please, ma’am, can I have some more?
TOGA!! TOGA!! TOGA!!
One of my all time favorite movies.. don’t get me started mis-quoting lines.
Seeing that you so far haven’t misquoted, I’d say you’re off to a good start. But even an inexact quotation from NLAH is bound to be on the right path, and TOGA! is probably as close to exact as I personally could get.
“What am I now?” John Bs character stuffs a giant serving of cottage cheese into his mouth, slaps his hands on his cheeks and spews cottage cheese everywhere.
” A ZIT!!! “
Okay, that one I could’ve recalled if I’d had you to lead me with the first line. Otherwise I’d fail for sure. I remember most of the scenes, but not the dialogue.
I bet hubby and I saw this movie at least a dozen times while we were dating. Now he can quote entire passages, me , just the occasional lines. On a happier note, I can do voice-overs. .haha
Voice-overs in general? Any particulars?
I have a PSA on my youtube acct I did for a fund -raiser last year.. I don’t do them for money, just for friends or PSAs .
Buck Owens donated a working radio station and recording studio to the high school I attended, did the voice overs on a series of slide shows for the home ec department.
Wait, woah did I just get roped into a kidnapping plan? Nice.
I think so, too!
here it is..
Where? Does Buck Owens figure? Do I have to do voice-overs for slide shows in the EC department? Whatever it takes!
I am a dork.. let me try it again..
One of Bucks sons went to the same high school I attended, therefor Buck donated all the radio, TV, and recording equipment, was excellent voice training.
I thought you would appreciate my linking a story you shared at our workshop with a comment on TNB.
Hey, Connie, apologies that I didn’t see that link, or this thread, until today.
That’s you, huh? Wow, you really sound great. Honestly, when I watched it, I thought it was a TV newscaster or some such. I didn’t quite put together that it was your voice until a second later.
Also, I have a strange hankering for chili right abut now.
I look forward to being kidnapped!
Oh yes, I tend to kidnap people. It’s what I do.
Well, I’m not saying you ever did. I’m just saying, in this case, I would like to be. Among other things, it would provide me a great excuse for not dealing with my finances. “But I was kidnapped!”
Then again, it probably wouldn’t help in that regard at all.
lol, Duke, the story she was talking about, which I shared in the RWW, I did kidnap someone. Well, I had help. But we basically stole his surfboard and told him he had to come with us if wanted it back. So yes, I’ve kidnapped before, I can do it once more!
Have you ever seen Apocalypse Now? There’s a surfboard stolen in it, from the Robert Duvall character, and in the extended (Redux) version, his helicopter is searching the jungle for it, with his tape-recorded voice saying “Give the board back” again and again.
Anyway, that’s cool, that you’ve kidnapped somebody. I never met a kidnapper before. I did once meet a murderer, but that was apparently before he murdered the person he did, and even then all he did was hire somebody to carry out the job for him. And then he made a movie about it! That’s how he got caught, the dope.
This is going to nest funny.
No I have not seen it. I must admit my movie repertoire is not as it should be. Very little leisure time unfortunately. Even now I’m dividing my time between you and an article that’s due tomorrow. A division well worth it I assure you. I can only talk about art so much before my mind melts.
I hear you on the mind-melting front, believe me. And good luck with the article. I’ve got a number of things due at the moment, but, like you, I’m dividing my time.
Oh, and I don’t think your comment nested funny, but even if it did, funny nesting is a way of life on the TNB boards.
As professional as I sounded on the Chili cook off commercial, I read my own story last night at RWW and was TERRIFIED!! total and complete quivering Jell-o inside.
Kudos for the writers who can read their own works and not have a “nervous breakdown”.
It gets easier as you do it more often. And I bet your nervousness endeared you to those listening. Maybe Jeannie will corroborate, if she was there. I know she said she had some kind of report she had to finish.
Jeannie was there last night, lucky her she read last time so she was the audience this week.
I am usually a pretty calm and cool public speaker , however this was completely different , I was a wreck. 😀
Well, when you’re reading something that you’ve written — especially if it’s “creative” writing, and even more especially if it’s in any way personal — there’s the feeling that you’re being doubly judged: not only on presentation, but, of course, on the writing. Then, too, you feel doubly exposed.
But it does get easier, as I said. Did you notice the nervousness lessening as you went along? I’m usually nervous at first, even after having done a fair number of readings, but I relax into it at a certain point.
I did get a criticism that confused me. Was told my reading came off more as a monologue than a reading, too much eye-contact. I am still not sure what to do with that.
Well, finally, you’re addressing your writing, not your skills as a reader, so I personally wouldn’t pay much attention. When you’re ready to start reading regularly — voluntarily — that would be the time to open yourself to criticism, I would think.
Saw Fugazi at First Ave. many, many, many years ago. Back when I was 17 or 18, often much too stoned to remember much of anything, even long enough to inventory my organs. I may have tried. I would have probably lost track and forgot what I was doing. I just don’t remember.
I think King Missile opened for them. I think.
The most tangible memory-thing I have of that experience is a drawing my then-boyfriend made of me in profile, leaning against a filthy pillar, hair to my waist, biting my fingernails. Highly stylized and almost entirely in blue ballpoint.
Why he was drawing at a Fugazi show, I can’t say, but it probably had something to do with whatever substance caused me to forget to finish counting my organs.
Also, Matt’s bookshelf is way too clean. And, I think, alphabetized.
Am I jealous? Terrified? I don’t know!
Congrats on the well-traveled book.
Okay, not alphabetized. Phew.
Yeah, I’m glad you decided it wasn’t alphabetized, since I’d studied the photo a few times while preparing the piece and couldn’t see that it was arranged in any particular order aside from author groupings.
But do you still own the picture your then-boyfriend made of you? It seems worth preserving. I was once sketched in Belgrade by someone who presented the drawing to me after the fact, hoping for compensation. I provided it, since he clearly needed the bob. He must have zeroed in on me after realizing I was American.
And First Ave? A legendary place! Didn’t the Replacements play there?
Everybody has played there.
Everyone who’s anyone who has played in the TC.
The Replacements’ heyday was slightly before my time, but Paul Westerberg is from here and his wife, Laurie Lindeen (Zuzu’s Petals), is from ‘Sconny. They still live in the TCs. He probably still hangs out at 1st Ave., actually.
Lindeen is an author, in fact, and led a promotional/contributor workshop for an undergraduate lit mag I worked on. We were encouraged (though not by her that I’m aware of) to make it about her and not carry on about Paul. Apparently, she likes her work separate from his. Understandable.
I came down with a plague of some kind and missed the workshop, but I guess she’s very nice.
I do still have the picture. I’ve always liked it. Haven’t looked at it in a while. I should see if it has held up.
Here they are playing the 7th St. Entry (“The Entry” in local parlance), which is First Ave’s attached, smaller venue, separate from the main room, but still part of the same club.
How the audio is so good, I have no idea. Note that there all of about 25 people in the audience. Vintage. Srsly.
In fact, I went looking for a clip from that very show, which I remembered seeing on YouTube, before responding to your first comment, and not finding it immediately, gave up. Thanks. But seeing it again now, it’s a little sad to see Bob Stinson, who died a few years after he really died, and his kid brother, Tommy, playing bass with a band that was notorious for licentiousness even by the standards of the anything-goes post-punk era.
As a side note, the Replacements are repeatedly cited as a favorite by the narrator of BFL.
I agree that’s understandable that Westerberg’s wife would want to keep her work separate from his. Meanwhile, I’d be curious as to whether you think that picture still holds up, even though it’s hard for me to imagine you biting your nails, even as a teenager.
Furious nail-biter since I was ten years old. Started because I forgot to clip them before a piano lesson and didn’t want to get scolded, so I bit them off, and then simply never stopped.
Not until about 2 years ago, when I suddenly, inexplicably, just quit.
Nothing but nubs for 20 years. I was committed biter. Well past the tips of my fingers. Just little slivers of nails left.
Now they’re looking mostly normal. Kind of a funny shape from so much abuse, but I’m quit, anyway.
You don’t imagine me as a nail biter? I don’t seem just a little high-strung to you???
Well, with me, you’re dealing with, at least, a seeded player in your league, high-strung-wise, so your disposition in that sense is my norm. Then, too, I always think of you as being so confident. Also, do tigers and the like bite their nails? I’m sure you’re far more equipped to handle that question than am I.
No, but they do sharpen them. Maybe my nail-biting was a maladaptive, vestigial impulse…
Anxiety is one thing, but the response is generally fight or flight. Nail biting is, in part, a nervous/anxious behavior but not necessarily timid. That is, if I prefer fight to flight, I could pull my fingers out of my mouth just long enough to tell someone to eat shit and die, for example.
And I discovered it’s not just an anxious behavior. Once it’s a habit, it can be a reaction to boredom, concentration, frustration, a nicotine fit, excitement, caffeine…anything that involves the brain wheels spinning at a high rate of speed. At it’s most, most fundamental, it’s a soothing behavior, and will crop up whenever soothing is needed. The fact that I am a fiercely addicted smoker seems to indicate oral fixation as well as a tendency to need a lot of soothing. I still stick my nails between my teeth all the time, I’ve just backed off one click from biting them off.
So I don’t think I’m NOT confident, but I’m not sure “so confident” is correct, either, and I am definitely easily agitated, in a number of different ways.
I actually have a whole theory, based in personality psychology, that I attribute much of this to, but I think I’ve carried on enough. In a nutshell: I’m neurotic.
See? Batshit crazy – jumps right out.
I’m sure you’re the picture of mental health, Anon.
You know what they say about birds of a feather.
I’ll reply momentarily – I just need to finish applying this tourniquet to the stubs of my fingers. Bwwaaaaawwwwkk!
My NAILS were stubs.
Not my fingers. And they never bled. You’re doing it wrong.
Whether I’m doing “it” wrong depends entirely on which “it” I was trying to accomplish! I was attempting to take on the batshit crazy mantle by taking your example to an extreme, thereby painting your minor neurosis in a good light. However, if you insist on pedantic critique of such gentlemanly behavior, I shall take my virtual kindness elsewhere. Harumph, Madam! Harumph, indeed!
Now… where did I leave those scissors…?
I was unaware that any good light was needed since I perceived no bad light on this benign habit I no longer have. What kind of backwards charity is this where you tell me I should be ashamed and offer to relieve me of my shame in the same move?
Next, you’ll be asking for protection money lest your own thugs come and bite my nails off as a sleep!
I’m calling the feds.
Fucking typo fouling up my mock indignation.
It’s okay. I was still duly put in my place, typo or not. Although I am beyond amused at the idea of someone calling the Feds for rescue from a protection racket. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse….
Now – stop being independent so we can help you, dammit!
Fucking helpful people. Worse than valets and bellboys.
You’ll not get my $5, highwayman!
I agree with Becky about bitten fingernails. I don’t see them necessarily as a sign of insecurity, though my first comment about it made it seem as though I did. People aren’t so easily codified.
I personally no longer bite my nails (I once did), for the simple reason that doing so made me more anxious, not the other way around.
Plus, having fingernails makes picking at things so much easier.
I don’t know that it made me more anxious, but especially in my teens and early 20s, it made me self conscious. Not the act itself, but the lack of fingernails. Any time I met a new friend or boyfriend or anything, I had to go through the “omigod! Look at your nails! Let me see!” getting-to-know-you ritual, which was awkward. I never cared much about nails as a grooming/beauty issue, but it was apparent other people did.
Guys can get away with having nubby fingernails more easily than girls can.
I remember consciously biting my nails as early as three years old – I remember
thinking that they weren’t supposed to be there growing. (I also remember feeling that way
about my nipples at five years old – when they would stick out – go back in pesky nips!)
I stopped biting them (my nails – not nips) in my early twenties and then got back to it after having babies
because they just kept getting in the way. I think that nails just bother me. But, I guess, I do like when I get a mani and they look nice – for a day or so. I was always told (I guess by totally killer Greg) – that guys don’t notice nails – I guess I’m wrong? Do guys notice a nice pair of nails?
I have no point – just chiming in here.
Yeah, but it’s still gross. All joking aside, I think I’ve bitten my nails my whole life (and it certainly did start off as a neurotic affectation). Slowed down dramatically over the last few years and am now making a conscious effort to leave them be, mostly as a good example for my kids. And cracked, raggey-assed cuticles? Guy or not, in the market or not, it is not an attractive look.
Well, I’ve never had anyone dump me–that I know of–for being a nail-biter, and I suppose unless nails are conspicuously decorated, I never really notice anyone else’s, so it’s entirely possible that aside from the initial curio nubby nails present, it’s not that big of a deal. They were never noticed immediately that I can recall…usually after a couple weeks of knowing someone.
I mean, I managed to get a husband with ’em like that.
He was always telling me he didn’t care either. This is somewhat reinforced by the fact that he doesn’t seem too overly impressed by my new fingernails–beyond being happy for me, since he knew I wanted to quit biting them.
My problem is that filing my nails (or hearing someone filing theirs or thinking too hard about the sound of filing nails) makes me gag uncontrollably. Now that I have nails, I’ve had to become a surgeon with a pair of clippers.
Oh, my God, Anon, do you have pretty hands? Are they so soft and well-moisturized?
When’s your birthday? I’ll send you some nice white gloves to keep your cuticle cream on overnight.
Oh, yes. They are simply gorgeous, dainty and baby-bottom soft. Except for the busted knuckles and scars, I could be a hand model. (:
Well, I suppose you can bite your nails and not have them be too disgusting, right?
For the record, Greg has really beautiful hands. He doesn’t bite his nails, for the record either.
And I do bite mine on and off – but they’re not gross by a long shot – they’re just not glamourous…
oh my god – who fucking cares.
You and my husband can take your pretty hands for MANicures together sometime. Have a couple of mimosas, chit-chat.
I had beautiful hands, you mean, years ago, before the kids came, when we was still a-courtin’. They are haggard now.
And I pick my nails. I don’t bite them. That never worked for me. My mom picks hers, too…she used to yell at me to stop picking my nails while she was picking hers. This was ineffective.
Wait…who’s comment board is this? Oh, hi, Duke. I’ll bring it full circle. Peewee had to be a nail biter.
Duke cared, Steph! Albeit briefly. I care. Anon REALLY cares. How about the rest of our hygiene? Everyone respectably shaved, plucked, trimmed and odor-free? What’s the score here?
I’ll be honest. I’m probably due for an eyebrow plucking.
I don’t really care that much, other than to keep my kids from being little nail-biters and not… you know… damaging my wife during an enthusiastic intimate moment. But I’ve learned a lot about TNBers’ general hygiene, feelings about Brazilian waxes, et cetera. Interesting place, here.
I know. I just started to think that probably nobody cared about my nails.
I’m an insecure TNB commenter.
Which goes along with my occasional nail biting.
And I’m kind of an obsessive plucker – always on the hunt for those stray hairs that grow
seven inches long in one night. You know that kind?
I’m sorry – I keep giggling immaturely at “growing seven inches in one night”. With me, it’s more “area coverage” than a particularly long single hair. I go to bed smooth-faced, wake up looking like a belt sander.
I care about nails. In fact, I’m obsessed by my nails. Barbra Striesand obsessed.
I can tell from your gravatar, Anon – seems quite sandpapery on the square jaw there!
Zara – I remember you were one of the lamenters when I had status updated that I had just bitten off
all my nails. Dahlink – can’t wait to see yuh nayuls.
The great nails thread! How did it take me so long to discover it?
Honestly, Z., I have to say that I never noticed your nails, but I almost never notice nails, which I’ll offer as evidence to support what Greg said to Steph. Occasionally, when they’re sticking way out there or they’re painted some odd color, I’ll notice them, but generally, no.
What’s funny to me is that, for some people, the care and condition of nails are a firm indicator of character, just as shoes can be, or belts. But I don’t tend to notice those things, either. I’m apparently old-fashioned, or something, in that I pay a lot of attention to faces.
I’m nuts about my nails. Usually I keep them talon-long but when I find I can’t open the car door without using my knuckle, I tend to cut them shorter. I almost never paint them and and I am obsessive about keeping them manicured.
Nails are one of the first things I notice about people…
You see? That’s what I was saying above. But are they an indicator of character for you?
I do know that, apparently, nails give some indication as to general health; that if you have cancer, for instance, they’ll take on a certain, distinct color. Or so I read someplace.
Not so much an indicator of character.. but I do like to see a well manicured hand.
You’re right about the general health thing – When my mother was diagnosed with Diabetes her doctor made an intense study of her nails and could see all kinds of things in the shape of the ridges apparently..
Yes, I think I read specifically about diabetes, come to think of it.
But do you know what? All this talk about nails caused me to look at mine, and seeing that they could use a trim, I took a bite. I haven’t done that in forever!
The power of suggestion, no doubt.
My lovely specialist who was a world-renowned expert on diabetes, went on to write a book about nail health.
I remember him holding my hands and gazing at my nails – I thought he was just being uber-friendly.
Just don’t bite the cuticles!!!
Or as my friend’s ten year old daughter calls them – cervicals.
Certainly do not bite the cervicals! Hell, even I know that!
But there is something satisfying about biting off some of those pesky cubicles at times — or there used to be, I thought.
By the way, since I’m slowly addressing the comments in the nail thread, I just want to say, Greg, that you’re absolutely right about Peewee being a nail-biter. I had never thought about that before. You see? There’s always more to be learned about one’s own characters.
And Todd? Do you think he bit his nails? I can’t see Taylor doing it.
Taylor definitely did not bite her nails, that’s why she always used that Pocket Rocket- (because, ouchie).
I think Todd bit his nails.
I would think so, yes, although here I’m indulging the cliche that nail-biting has to do with insecurity. But it definitely tends to be a nervous habit, and you can’t have a nervous habit without being nervous.
By the way, to again belatedly address something in this thread, I used to have good hands also, but yesterday, in fact, as I was typing away on this board, I looked down and saw that my hands are starting to resemble rooster claws.
Also, my hands are kind of small, which isn’t good for guitar-playing. It makes those barre chords especially hard, y’know? One day I want to find and buy a guitar with a really skinny neck.
But I think I’ve said all this in another comment on another board some time ago. In fact, I know I have; I just can’t remember where and when.
I am inordinately vain about my hands. I always thought they were my best feature. They are thin and long – which was great when I was young, but as I get older they are getting really veiny and wizened. They are now a true age giveaway, goddamnit.
Yes, well. That’s kind of what I was saying a minute ago.
I know. You made me look twice at my hands with your rooster comment. Damn you!! I guess mine are more kiwi claws than chicken’s feet.. but still…
I guess I’m too busy being worried about the other parts of me than to care about my hands.
I’m sure you both have lovely hands. So, stop it right now!
I mean, you don’t literally have to stop it – I just mean – like if we were in the same actual
room – I’d say,”Oh stop!” after looking at both of your hands and seeing no sign of such claws.
I’m sorry, Zara, that I caused you to doubt your hands, which I’m sure are very beautiful.
My hands kind of come and go. I mean, they look fine sometimes, but the other day, they were definitely looking pretty claw-like.
But, as Steph said, there are other parts to worry about — like, in my case, my brain, among others. I’m getting foggier and foggier, I find.
Did Steph just say “Oh, stop!” again? Okay, I will.
A few very belated remarks about the above thread, which I somehow managed to miss yesterday.
*Becky, I don’t think I ever thanked you for your congrats on my book, so: thanks.
*”You’ll not get my $5, highwayman!” — great line.
*”Now – stop being independent so we can help you, dammit!” — ditto.
*This exchange with Anon about his hands reminded me of the Seinfeld episode in which George briefly becomes a hand-model. This is also known, of course, as the “puffy shirt” episode.
*When I mentioned Seinfeld to Ben Loory once, he said he was surprised, since he didn’t see me as a Seinfeld fan. So if anyone else thinks so, my apologies.
*I don’t know why I apologize, except I’m always apologizing for one reason or another.
*I apologize for missing this thread when it was on full boil.
Heh. I straightened it up a bit before shooting that photo. I wanted to be sure people could see the book spines. Usually there’s plenty of stuff sharing the shelf: framed photos, candle holders, etc.
I don’t alphabetize the books. I kind of keep them clustered by general subject matter (poetry shelf, nonfiction shelf etc.), but not religiously. Mostly I just keep things collected by author.
All of the hardcovers are sitting on that one particular shelf because it’s the only one that will bear their weight; I purchased that bookcase for $1 at a yard sale and it would probably collapse sideways if I didn’t have it situated in a corner of the room.
Mine started out with a similar loose categorization. Like items together.
Now it’s mostly organized by books, loose change, stuff I was too lazy to put away, and stuff I don’t really have a good place for.
And extra greeting cards. For emergencies.
I noticed a photograph on the top shelf, left corner. Do you mind, Matt, if ask after the subject(s)?
I, too, have a tendency to order my books by author and, to a lesser extent, genre.
Oh, sure. It’s my graduation from the University of California on June 17, 2001 – which happened to also be my 22nd birthday. The subjects in the front are my friends/classmates Michelle, Monica, Monique, and Karen. I’m still in touch with two of them.
I keep stuff ordered just because it’s easier to find something when I want to revisit it or reference it. I want to reread that short story by Author X? I know right where my story collections are. Simple.
I should point out, too, that in addition to Boyle and Chandler, you, Brad, and Greg are also sharing shelf space with Graham Greene, J.M Coetzee, Chris Offutt and William Faulkner. Though I do look forwards to one day having a shelf dedicated soley to books by TNB contributors.
I noted Greene, I think, but I’ll have to look again for Faulkner. You know how I feel about Faulkner!
Oh, and Jeannie, who’s pictured in my post, on reading our exchange on the Faulkner post in which you talked about his stories, which I’d never read, sent me a book of Faulkner’s stories, which I’m really enjoying. So, in addition to Jeannie, I have you to thank, Matt.
Did you read a story called “Two Soldiers”? I loved it.
Your book is in good company… There are some damn fine writers here at the TNB. And I’m glad to see that they’re endorsing your book. I never did get my copy – it’s currently roaming Korea somewhere. But I’ll be in Scotland in September and Taiwan in October – and they’re both great for books. I’ll get a copy eventually.
On the subject of roaming publication, I collect photos of Beatdom in far flung locations. My favourite recent copies have been to Kerouac’s grave! Having never been there myself, I was incredibly pleased to see these photos: http://beatdommag.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/beatdom-on-the-road/
Ah, David, the photo of Gramps Jones is heartbreaking, somehow.
I’ve always wanted to visit Lowell — and, specifically, Kerouac’s grave — myself one day. Here’s hoping. I owe more to Kerouac than to any other writer, when all is said and done.
Obviously, I would’ve mentioned Korea among Banned‘s sojourns if I knew for a fact that it had ever alighted there. That damned book. It’s a regular tomcat.
Gramps Jones is fantastic. That was my favourite photo, but there are others of him with his copies of Beatdom. I also have a photo of him playing football with Jack Kerouac back in the 1930s… That – plus a related interview – will appear in the next issue of Beatdom.
I’m looking forward to visiting Kerouac’s grave. There are directions on YouTube, and Beatdom‘s Art Director lives a mere five minutes away, so I can’t see it being a difficult trip to make.
I’m sure Banned is in Korea somewhere… I just hope it finds its way into the hands of someone who speaks English.
I almost mentioned that Banned was in AWOL in Korea, but I suppose I was being a stickler for fact, since I was dealing with photos and all, and there’s a chance your copy ended up somewhere else altogether.
At one point I sent a copy to a friend who works for Maxim magazine, hoping he could get the book written up in Maxim. For some reason he thought it would be better to send the book to his apartment instead of his office, so he gave me his home address. However, he’d just moved, so he was off by one number, and the book naturally was delivered to the wrong address. Then he went there, looking for it, and a Russian lady told him she’d put the book in the lobby of her building, so the postman would take it back and return to sender. But the postman never got the book (my friend asked), and it was no longer in the lobby, so someone had obviously stolen it. But why? It must have been obvious there was a book in the package — was the thief that hard up for reading material?
I’m gong to have to look for that clip on YouTube. I’ve seen many pictures of Kerouac’s grave, of course, including one of Dylan sitting beside it with, I think, Ginsberg on hand. You’ve no doubt seen that picture. And there’s also one of Sam Shepard — and that, too, may have included Ginsberg.
Yes, it’s a fantastic picture. I wonder how many times Ginsberg visited, and who he brought with him…
What’s funny to me is that Ginsberg’s relationship with Kerouac was, to say the least, difficult. During Kerouac’s last public appearance, on William F. Buckley’s show, he insulted Ginsberg, as he did numerous times over the years. They were seldom in contact during Kerouac’s final days, and yet, after Kerouac died, Ginsberg seems to have forgiven everything, though he never seemed the type to hold a grudge, anyway.
Kerouac was an asshole in the end. The period during his life when he wrote his best work and lived his most famous adventures was a brief period, and during that time he and Ginsberg were close friends.
But Kerouac sunk back into his conservative, Catholic ways and became a grouchy, disillusioned prick. I don’t blame Ginsberg for not talking to him, and I think it’s admirable that after Kerouac’s death he managed to forgive him and pass on the best part’s of Kerouac’s story to future generations.
I read the last major biography of Kerouac, by a Lowell resident, Paul Maher, and he makes a case in the book that Kerouac was justified in feeling antipathy toward Ginsberg. I forget the particulars of the case, which I think had to do with Kerouac’s (justified, to Maher) suspicions that Ginsberg was ripping him off — which Kerouac’s parents both believed. The book isn’t very persuasive, and I had the sense that Maher may have been courting controversy by way of making his biography stand out, and yet it was interesting to hear another take on the matter.
But one thing that Maher book did make clear was just how difficult Kerouac had it financially in the last years of his life, and I’d already read, in Memory Babe, which I consider the best Kerouac biography, about the trouble he had in terms of having his work taken seriously. He was crucified by critics. It’s excruciating to read the mocking reviews his work received. “He’s not a writer, he’s a typist,” is only the beginning.
So I have sympathy for Kerouac in his bitter late period, as ugly as he could be. Even on the Buckley show, his sensitivity comes through. He was terribly shy, as you know, and never meant, temperamentally, to become the sensation he did. The Maher book also makes it clear that his death was, in a way, a suicide. He provoked a beating at a club in St. Petersberg, as he’d provoked beatings before, but the final one did the trick. Somebody at that club essentially killed Kerouac, who, of course, already had one foot in the grave via alcohol.
I enjoyed one of Maher’s book on Kerouac (the Definitive Biography, I believe it was called) but I loath Maher himself. He’s a chronic user of people and a childish liar, too. But that’s the case for many people in the world of Kerouac studies. It’s a vile, dirty business. Maher isn’t even the worst of them (although he’s the only one of them to have deliberately fucked me in the ass, as well as at least one of my writers).
Kerouac’s life was sad. If you read Jack’s Book (which I strongly believe is the best of the bunch, and was written by a thoroughly decent guy (unlike Memory Babe)) you’ll see just how shy he was. He reminded me a lot of myself – and not in a good way. Kerouac hurt himself a lot by his lack of courage and his crippling guilt. His life was tragic, really.
Now, this is when I wish we were talking in person. You’ve dealt with some of Kerouac’s biographers! I’d like to know more, and one day, hopefully, we’ll have a chance to converse.
In fact, I think Maher’s book was unnecessary. There have been many biographies already, and his didn’t add much to them. His attack on Ginsberg seemed to me unwittingly anti-Semitic (Maher prides himself on his Catholicism) and homophobic, and it was ridiculous for him to call his book “definitive.” (He later changed the name to Kerouac: His Life and His Work, or something like that.)
But all I really know about him, aside from the impressions I picked up by reading his book, was that he went after someone on Amazon who’d given him a bad review, which did for a fact strike me as childish. I understand the impulse, to be sure, but, come on, man, not in a public forum.
I thought Memory Babe was really well-researched, and many who’ve been left out of previous Kerouac biographies had their day, so to speak. For instance, I learned a lot about Hal Chase from MB, and Chase strikes me as one of the most interesting in that whole circle. In every other biography, he’s briefly presented as the guy who introduced Cassady to the others. Then he’s gone.
Interestingly, though, I noted in an introduction to MB (I believe it was) that Gerald Nicosia seemed to have had a row with John Sampas. I know nothing of the particulars, but, between the lines, Nicosia was really going after him.
I have indeed read Jack’s Book. It was the first Kerouac biography I read, in fact, and was almost as much a bible to me as was OTR.
But have you ever had any dealings with Ann Charters? I’ve always liked her in interviews. Meanwhile, I can very much believe that the world of Kerouac studies is vile and dirty. It seems that a good many people want Kerouac to be “theirs,” including that one idiot, who was Kerouac’s last editor, who wrote a book in which Kerouac was made out to be gay.
I hope that we meet one day! I’m sure our paths will eventually cross.
Maher is an unpleasant character, and his online exchanges (on messageboards and blogs) do show a leaning towards anti-semitism and homophobia. He is proud to call himself “a true American” and when he does it seems to suggest that he considers Jews and gays to be quite the opposite. He also argues passionately that Kerouac was a red-blooded Catholic, and all evidence to the contrary (or rather, suggesting that he ventured into bisexuality and Buddhism) was greatly exaggerated.
I have indeed met Barry Gifford and Paul Maher, as well as a few others. I forget now who I’ve met and who I’ve not… In conducting research for Beatdom I pretty much meet everyone connected to the Beats who’s still alive. Most of them are fantastic people, who keep Ginsberg’s peace & love thing alive.
I wrote a huge article about Nicosia and Sampas for issue five, and I fully expected one of them to sue. They’re both pricks. Nicosia is a chronic liar, and Sampas doesn’t help his case by always acting like a jerk to people who aren’t in his circle. My article attacked them all pretty brutally – especially Nicosia, who tried to sue the owner of an online literary circle because someone said something nasty about him there, after he ran the group into the ground with his spamming.
I’ve not met Anne Charters yet. I was invited to speak with her at the Kerouac Conference in NY at the end of last month, but obviously I’m stuck in Korea and can hardly afford the plane fare across the world.
The Kerouac world is dirty and disgusting. As you say, everyone relates to him and thinks history should be written to fit their version of his image. His girlfriends all seem to be very approachable and civilised, but are treated like crap by the biographers, mostly. Helen Weaver is a fantastic person (and Beatdom reader) who’s book about Kerouac was just published by City Lights.
I saw Helen Weaver interviewed in a short documentary called New York in the Fifties and really liked her. I was aware that she’d recently published her memoir, though I was under the impression that it covered more than Kerouac.
Kerouac had two girlfriends named Helen. I think the other was named Helen Elliott (I could be wrong), and I always get them confused. One, according to MB, was a great beauty. Meanwhile, I can well believe (unfortunately) that Kerouac’s girlfriends have been badly treated by his biographers. There’s maybe a tendency to think of them as unimportant, except maybe for Aline Lee, who was the subject, of course, of one of Kerouac’s best novels (or so I regard The Subterraneans). I remember being shocked when I figured out that she’d married Lucien Carr — and, yes, I did figure out it, from a few clues in Memory Babe and Jack’s Book. It wasn’t until much later that I read confirmation. She seems to have wanted to keep her privacy. I didn’t even learn her real name for some time. She usually used, in interviews, a pseudonym.
I once had an opportunity, when I was living in New York, to see Joyce Johnson read, and I regret that I missed it. Of all of Kerouac’s girlfriends, I always liked her interviews best. She just seemed really cool and smart, and she’s bitch-slapped a few people who’ve attacked Jack.
As for Sampas, I would think he’s made a small mint off of Kerouac’s works, since I believe he controls the estate, and none of Kerouac’s books, so far as I know, have been out of print since the 1960s, when a few, I think, did briefly lapse. Also, they continue to sell, especially OTR.
That’s right, the book was about Helen’s life more than anything. But it was sold as a memoir of Kerouac (that was the subtitle) and featured an awful photo of her and Jack on the front.
The second Helen (Elliot) wasn’t actually a girlfriend of Jack. She was Helen Weaver’s roommate and she briefly dated Ginsberg (during one of his attempts to go straight).
Alene Lee is a fascinating character. Probably one of proudest achievements in my life was the acquisition of some of her memoirs back in January. I published an essay about her last year that drew the attention of her daughter, and her daughter informed me that I could print several pages of unpublished Alene Lee memoirs. These are among the only real evidence of her life that exists. Kerouac’s interpretation of her was very inaccurate (and some say racist, sexist etc) and Kerouac’s biographers have taken and distorted her rarely given words over the years.
Joyce Johnson seems really nice. I don’t think I’ve met her, but I exchanged a couple of e-mails a few years back.
As for Sampas, in the whole Kerouac estate battle, I think he’s in the right but he seems like he’s being an ass about it. Maybe that’s just Nicosia’s spin on the thing. But we’ll see what happens. His ownership of the estate is now illegitimate, but there’s no real way of settling it, so he’ll probably keep control.
Besides, he’s done a lot of good for Kerouac. Jack was broke when he died and now his estate’s worth (some say) around $40 million. His unpublished books are getting published or back into print, and everyone knows his name. Sampas has done a lot of good for Kerouac.
I’m going to have to consult MB to see if there wasn’t still another Helen in Kerouac’s life. I could swear there was another, because I remember getting confused as to which Helen was which. But maybe I’m just thinking of Helen Elliot.
When I said that a few of Kerouac’s books had been out of print in the (late) sixties (and seventies, for that matter), I was only referring to those that had already been published in the fifties and early sixties. I know there were other manuscripts that hadn’t yet been published, and have been in the last fifteen years or so.
I suppose, as ever, I’m willing to cut Kerouac some slack with regard to his portrait of Aline Lee, because, technically, he did write a novel after all, which affords him some poetic license. (As you know, he shifted the locale from NYC to SF in order to better fudge the shopping-cart episode, since there was a fear that it could get Allen into trouble, Allen being on probation at the time.) I don’t recall Aline Lee’s later appraisal of the book, but there was that funny story about the first time she read it; Kerouac showed up with the manuscript, which he gave to her, and she read it while in bed with, I think, Gregory Corso, and then pushed it under the door to Kerouac, who was waiting in the hall, with nary a word. I may be off on some of the particulars, but that was the gist of it, as I remember. He showed up with the manuscript apparently with the hope of winning her back, or at least of demonstrating his affection for her, but she doesn’t seem to have been impressed.
Also, I think he made her half-Indian or the like as a way of trying to placate his mother, or the racist public, or both. Of course, in the film version, she was white, and played by Leslie Caron. I’ve seen the film. It’s awful, but weirdly interesting, just because it shows Hollywood’s laughable impression of the Beats.
And here’s another comment. Since being “Anon” is akin to being Legion, please restore one of the “many”s you subtracted in your above response to Robin. You underestimate your fan base, sir.
I’ll restore a “many,” thanks, kind sir, but I still think I’m overestimating by far, though I’m greatly flattered that you cause me a moment of reconsideration.
Banned is monumental. And I’m honored to be included in this post. I feel bad for Sung’s book, which got a terrible black eye at the photo shoot.
Well, if Sung’s book hadn’t mouthed off!
But how could I not have included you, Nick? I’m honored that you’re honored, and, as ever, I’m grateful for your kind words about BFL.
I’m honored that your honored that I’m honored about a book you wrote that honors all that is sacred in American thrashing guitar sounds and love-angst…
If we were to continue, we’d find ourselves in a hall of mirrors of being honored after being honored. All I’d personally like to emphasize for now is: You were the first, Nick, and I’ll never forget it.
Aw, Duke, thanks for including the picture of my sweet, enormous girl and my son in law. I haven’t had a chance to read that copy of your book, being so busy with kid stuff. Perhaps I’m the one that’s banned for life?
Congratulations on the success of your novel. It is in great company. I love these photos! 🙂
Well, I’d only say the novel was successful in the spiritual sense — if then. But how could I not include the lovely photo you sent me?
But, you know, one way or another, I think we’re all banned for life. And I have books on my shelves by some of the greatest writers ever (or so they’re regarded) that I have yet to read, so I more than understand that you haven’t had had time to make it around to BFL.
Meanwhile, I understand that there’s a vague plan of your showing up in June for the next TNBLE. Can it be true?
I am currently eating a bowl full of crow to ensure its certainty. Which is great – after all these years, I make a fine batch of crow – grilled, fricassees, sauteed, in casseroles, in cookies…I know all the recipes.
Crow? That sounds like Thanksgiving turkey to me! Can you share a recipe?
Just remember that, when eating crow, it’s easier to swallow if you wash it down with a bit of pride.
It had better be 120 proof at least!
Now Duke, I’m not necessarily saying that it’s your fault, but I would like to point out the uncanny synchronicity of your posting this piece and my daughter calling me just now to say that she is in labor at the hospital and will be giving birth to her son today. 🙂
Sorry that it’s taken me so long to see this, but I’ll be thinking of you, and your daughter, in the hours ahead.
Assign any fault to Simon Smithson of SSE, Inc., please. I am but a functionary in the world of SSE/TNB.
Simon’s fault. Check.
Also, please watch for my next post, which will be up soon. It is called GILF.
And every word of it is no doubt GD true.
It’s always Simon’s fault, Gloria. Oh, and I see on FB that the baby arrived. Congrats to all!
Thank you, sir. He’s pretty much adorable.
Hey, nice post, Duke. Well done on a well-traveled book; readers have sent me photos with my collection, and it’s always awesome to see where the words have found their home. You nailed that destination with that single word, too.
Your comment amounts to much more than you may know, Will. One day I’ll elaborate. I can only but now thank you — and I don’t mean that glibly.
You got yourself some incredible friend people!
Including the heaven-strewn CG!
At first glance, the head and sunglasses appearing before the page scrolled further down, I thought your friend, Jeremy Lowe, was Jello Biafra. He does love the aviators.
Duke, after I read your book I’m going to make sure I find this post and imageshack a photo on here of Banned for Life either a) standing beside Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, b) sitting on the steps of The Rotunda, or c) in the grimy parking lot of where either Trax or Tokyo Rose used to be before its demise as a music venue in Charlottesville. Trax and/or Tokyo Rose had to still be around when you were living in CVille. Well, maybe not had to, but possibly. I have no idea when you began your exodus to the West.
I’m looking forward to your book. As you know, I have it but am currently knocking out Real World Adobe Illustrator CS4 because for some ungodly reason I actually enjoy books such as that.
Jeffrey, my friend, Trax has, like, unbelievable significance in BFL, so if I had any say in the matter — and that’s not to imply I do — it would have to be c). Though I would certainly accept a) or b), and gladly.
Meanwhile, I’m aware that you bought a copy of BFL — and I thank you for it — but do you know what pisses me off, through no fault of your own? That Amazon no longer links BFL with Ask the Dust! Motherfuckers!
And Jello should be ashamed of himself for wearing aviators. That’s Top Gun shit, and he’s got to know it!
Duke (and Greg, and everyone on TNB who has a book out): Is there, or will there be, an e-book version?
Everybody (particularly Will, who seems to have a handle on this stuff): Is there a decent guide to the various e-book formats available, readers, cross-platform compatibility, which publishers are doing what etc?
Amendment: Three questions.
Everybody: Do you say “Fu-gah-zi” (gets my vote) or “Fu-gay-zi” (like in Donnie Brasco)?
It’s taken me an hour to realise that this is a pronunciation vote, not an expression of disgust at the shambolic e-book scene.
I take the blame your confusion, Steve. I should’ve better moderated the discussion.
I should ask one question at a time. Or number them.
Ah, Simon has also voted, I now see, making it near-unanimous.
My publisher put out a Kindle version of my book, “Random Obsessions.” Just last week I was turned onto SMASHWORDS. I was just talking to a TNBer about starting a little e-book company. SMASHWORDS allows for lots of profits and condenses books for most e-readers, including iPad.
Steve: With regard to my book, I certainly hope there will be a forthcoming e-version, though I’m unaware of any particulars. I thank you for asking.
I’m sorry that I don’t know more, but I hope that Gloria and I have at least sufficiently addressed your question about Fugazi.
E-books (and readers) interest me ’cause I have massively reduced manual function, and the actual mechanics of holding a paperbook open and turning the pages really louse up the reading experience. If I could turn the page with a finger tap I’d read a lot more.
I’m assuming the market will settle down eventually and (as with music) everything will be available for everything. In the meantime I might pop £200 on a Sony or something and hope for the best…
Three votes for “gah”, one for “gay”.
Oh, and it’s definitely “gah,” Steve, even though Fugazi is a nonsense word. There’s a story that it’s war slang from the Vietnam era — something about “fucked and zipped,” as I recall — but I don’t think it’s true.
That sounds interesting! So you’d be a digital-only publisher…minimal overheads…lots of other things I can’t think of right now.
So a Kindle version, is that only readable on a Kindle and only available from Amazon? Ugh.
Nick may know more about this kind of thing. We had a talk yesterday about making our respective books available digitally — and I wonder now if your comment was the inspiration for his call. Oh, and my apologies, Steve, for missing this comment yesterday.
I can assure you that, if I had followed through on my promise to buy Banned yet, I would have sent a picture myself, most likely of your book in some dangerous predicament or adventure. Since I have not however, I am going to have to go through today suffering with the realization that I said I was going to do something I didn’t do. Thanks, Duke.
I’m yet to snag any TNB contributor’s book actually. Not yours, not TK, not the Richard Cox novel I also swore I would purchase… I think I need to remedy this, if for no other reason than to be included in the pictorial.
In a previous interchange you gave at least three really good reasons why I would probably like it, and I remember them involving whiskey and music. I’m not going to be able to snag it today, but I am tagging a note up on the back of my desk to do so soon.
On a separate note, I had a post all ready to go up today, but now I think I’m going to wait until the inevitable onslaught of comments subsides here. Congrats on the shots from friends and strangers with the book. That’s got to be a good feeling, no?
Slade, my brother:
I don’t think the onslaught of comments will be quite so dramatic as it has been in times past. Post, my friend. And you know what? If you never read my book, I’ll more than understand. Of course I wish you would, because, specific to what I know of you, I think you’d like it. But fuck the fucking book; let’s just resolve to get righteously drunk one day. Let’s tear this town — whatever town we happen to find ourselves in — a new asshole. I’m a fucking hellion at heart, and I have a feeling you’re one as well, and hellions are in short supply.
Anyway, post, my man. Hop to it. I owe you a James afterward.
Pour the shot neat then, so it keeps til morning. I’ll post first thing, when I have the time necessary to babysit it appropriately.
And that’s the best goddamned idea I’ve heard in a while. When you and I finally do get together and collect on all the owed shots, we’re going to need far more than one bottle. Los Angeles or wherever, I have the utmost confidence that it shall be nothing short of epic.
God help whatever city it ends up being.
Hopefully the city will be one where cabs are plentiful, or at least with readily-available public transport sans cops.
You’ve got to keep me abreast of your upcoming schedule. The asshole of a yet-to-be-determined city hangs in the balance — in ribbons that fall far short of the ribbons they will be.
Where in the world is BFL…
This is a fun post. Thanks for including me. It’s always interesting to see people with your book. I’ve gifted it to a few people and by people I mean family. Do they count as people? Anywho, they’ve loved it as well.
Your relatives definitely count as people, Jeannie. But did they really love the book? And how could I not include you? Yours is one of the most memorable images.
You know I have yet to ask them as they live up near Monterrey. You know those artistic types, they live up in the mountains with no cell phone reception. And thank you, you flatter me sir!
Initially, your comment posted out of context, way at the bottom, and I kept thinking, “Who is she talking about?” Embarrassingly so.
Anyway, do you think your relatives would be willing to kidnap me? Or is that something you wouldn’t recommend?
Oh I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I mean, you’d get along with them. Have hours on hours of musical discussions. But even I tire of conspiracy theories and talk of why music needs to be experimental all the time. I’ll leave you with them for a few days see if you survive. 😉
Conspiracy theories? Oh, gosh. And experimental music tends to be pretty boring. Yeah, I’m not so sure about this one.
Know anybody else who might want to kidnap me?
Oh, thanks, Z. You’ll get your chance, I’m sure of it.
I loved BFL. It took me thirty pages or so to get a handle on the narrative style, but once I did I was hooked. I read a large chunk of it in one mammoth session out on my balcony the Sunday after the September TNB event. I think I’ll probably revisit it this summer.
500 copies is nothing to laugh at. Hell, it wasn’t really that long ago in American history where that would have been a major accomplishment, especially for a first-time work. Poe would’ve killed for those numbers right off the bat.
Personally, I saw BFL as a cult book, in the best way: something that gains traction by word of mouth, and by being passed from hand-to-hand by people who love it. On a purely emotional level, I find that kind of book love far, far more appealing than corporate-generated interest in something that just apathetically sits there once it’s been read.
I bought three copies off of Amazon and gave them to friends as Christmas gifts. Only one has gotten back to me so far, but he dug it.
Oh, and Fresh Kills is the first of two novels published in the last couple of years by my MFA classmate Bill Loehfelm. He writes about the criminal class and working poor of Staten Island, with a particular empahsis on the way male familiar relations (father/son, brother/brother) can be simultaneously redemptive and destructive. The two volumes to the left of it are by our mutual friend Joseph Boyden, the first of three planned volumes following the members of one family of Cree from Canada’s participation in WWI through the late 20th century. These are also books I’ve given as gifts.
Fresh Kills sounds, thematically, right up my alley. I had a feeling it would be, based on the title alone. Are you still in touch with Bill Loehfelm?
I’m enormously grateful that you’ve given Banned as a gift. I can’t thank you enough. And I agree with you about it being a cult novel; I never pictured it being anything but. I suppose I simply wanted the cult to be a bit larger by now, in terms of sales — and by that, I mean readers. Yet, finally, I’m happy with the way things are. I could be happier, of course, but I’m not going to let fantasy drag me down. I have enough of that kind of thing already.
I am indeed in touch with Bill. He’s in the process of generating the draft of his third book at the moment. I’ll send you an email about him later.
I gave each person a BFL/TK set, so for some of my friends it was a Haney-Olear (or a Holear, as Simon might be inclined to say) Christmas. While only one of them has gotten back to me thus far, my close friends know I very rarely give books as gifts, and only do so when I have utter faith in the volume in question. I’m sure they’ll read it eventually – as soon as they finish working their way through “the stack” as I currently am.
Yes, the stack. I’ve got a large one myself, and it keeps getting larger. I recently took down Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America, which I’ve owned forever and could never read, and now I’m zipping through it and loving it. I think seeing, on Goodreads, that Brautigan is a favorite of Ben Loory’s made me want to take another look.
Oh, and Holear — love it. Do you remember how Greg referred to himself and Steph in his “Dear Angelina” post? Was it Grephanie?
Anyway, thanks again for gifting your friends with BFLTK — which sounds to me like a sandwich. And I’ll look forward to your e-mail.
No photo but a damned strange high level synchronicity sparked by BANNED, which made it into the liner notes of a spoken word CD I produced, but unfortunately not by name since the publisher had “concerns” about me calling it out by name. However if you read this: http://www.realitysandwich.com/sites/realitysandwich.civicactions.net/files/RAW%20Lost%20Session%20Liner%20Notes.pdf
and substitute, “On the plane, I began reading a friend’s new book for review.” with “On the plane, I began reading Banned for Life for review” you get the picture.
Great book. Said it then, say it now.
Ah, that’s wonderful. If only the jacket I’d worn as a teenager could now be found. There were two such jackets, in fact. The first is on the cover of Banned, and I have absolutely no idea what became of it. The second was given to a friend, let’s say, and I saw her wear it maybe two times, and after she tired of it, who knows?
But as I tried to say in the post, it’s messages that matter, regardless of any pictures attached, and yours is a singular message. Thanks, Joe. How did we manage not to have a drink on Saturday night at TNBLE?
Ah, that’s wonderful. If only the jacket I’d worn as a teenager could now be found. There were two such jackets, in fact. The first is on the cover of Banned, and I have absolutely no idea what became of it. The second was given to a friend, let’s say, and I saw her wear it maybe two times, and after she tired of it, who knows?
But as I tried to say in the post, it’s messages that matter, regardless of any pictures attached, and yours is a singular message. Thanks, Joe. How did we manage not to have a drink on Saturday night after TNBLE?
Ah, thanks. I was on my motorcycle with a satchel full of electronic gear so I wasn’t drinking.
But did you listen to Tool all the way home?
Loud and proud. 😉
The only thing I can imagine listening to all the way home is Die Princess Die:
(Spot me, as I know you can, repeatedly in the clip.)
LOL. Well, I did have all their albums on shuffle so it was easy. Besides, 90+ on the freeway gets you home pretty fast. ;-P
Die Princess Die sounds like good riding music. Yee-ha!
Ah, man. I’m destined to live in a world of permanent nostalgia, thanks to them. They ruined me, show-wise, for life.
and I cannot forget.. That baby is way too cute !
Ain’t he? His first name is Rimbaud, after the poet, and his middle name is Allin, after, arguably, the most controversial rocker ever, G.G. Allin.
Clearly, his dad and I see eye to eye on a number of things.
he is a cutie and wouldn’t I love to have his red hair.. sigh
He takes after his mom in that regard. She’s from Rhode Island — a true Rhode Island Red.
I love your book and I love you.
Congrats on having such a well travelled and well loved book.
Oh, and happy one year anniversary!
Oh, and thanks for including me in this piece. You know how I love to see my name in other people’s posts. I’m such a floozy.
Never! I don’t believe it! How dare you attempt to disabuse me of my pristine image of you!
(I love you, too, and can’t help but love that you love my book.)
your book has been in serbia, too. it went with sadie and dach. it had a nice time. it made them have a nice time.
Well, it might have helped, a little. But there’s always a good time waiting in Serbia, if you know where to find it.
I love you. Help!
Jesus. It’s only been a year since you’ve been here? What a year indeed. I feel like you’ve been writing for the site since the beginning. Can’t imagine TNB without The Duke.
Big things ahead for that book. Just watch.
Cat’s Cradle sold 500 copies in its first year. True story.
That’s reassuring, about Vonnegut. Shit. Thanks for telling me that.
Meanwhile, I can’t imagine myself without TNB. Which is part of what I was trying to convey.
Onward and upward, yes? Otherwise known as: the delusions (?) of Sisyphus.
By the way…the Daniel Bernardi you mention. He’s not the same fellow who taught Film Studies at UCLA, is he?
He’s not. He’s an Australian screenwriter, but he hasn’t taught, not even in Oz. I’ve tried to coax him into commenting at TNB, but so far he hasn’t taken the bait.
I thought we were about to hit a massive dose of SSE there for a second. ‘Cause I took film classes from the American Daniel Bernardi twelve years ago.
I second your *whew*, seeing that I don’t want hit a massive dose of SSE.
On the other hand, that I know a Daniel Bernardi who’s Australian and involved in film and lives in Melbourne, where SS lives, and you took film classes with another Daniel Bernardi — I think we’ve already hit at least a road bump of SSE.
Absolutely! Though I’m wondering how he’s going to respond to having his name put out there. I was more discreet in some cases — that is, I didn’t include last names.
Honestly there are more stories in this comment section than in a lot of books, makes my head spin.
Really? Because my head is a freaking egg-beater at this point!
aren’t you having fun moderating all these posts???
I don’t see myself in a moderating position at all. I’m just responding, Connie, as best I can. But I do wish I could hit a few bars in Bakersfield after I punch my card — especially if Buck Owens and the Buckaroos happened to be playing in one of those bars.
You are aware that a number of really talented folks played the local honky tonks back in the day, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and my dad could tell him about a bunch of others.
“Him” meaning me, I hope. I’m all ears.
“Him” insert YOU, I am the queen of typos.. sigh
Queen, meet king.
haha..something we share other than love of music.
Well, we also share a love of movies and mystery.
I begin to think we are related
We’ll have to compare genealogies. I appear to be English through and through, except for some Irish and Scottish blood. My dad always insisted that his side of the family is at least partly German, but I’ve never seen any evidence for it. But there may be a little Cherokee way back there. It’s always Cherokee where I come from, when people have Indian blood.
I’d take a photograph if I could, but the book is embedded in my heart…
That alone makes the writing of the book worthwhile, Jude. You’ve kind of left me speechless. I wish you were living next door to me; I’d run over and give you the biggest hug — that is, if you’d let me in your door or meet me on your porch. I take nothing for granted.
Seriously, though, I’m honored by your words.
My door is always open for you Duke. And on the porch table awaits a big gin and tonic (or whatever your poison may be…). I look forward to the day you come to visit this lovely land we live in.
Roll on with the book sales…
Well, there’s not much of a roll at this point. But, as you know, I constantly conspire to visit your lovely land.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way? I more and more think there’s wisdom in that saying.
It’s written in the stars, I think.
Where? I’m going to have to make a point of going outside tonight and reading the sky very carefully.
I’ll point out the right constellation when I’m there..
I hope it’s shaped like a really cool animal. Like — would a Kiwi be too obvious? It would, yes?
Oh Duke, thanks for including my beach picture with your book.
When I went on my beachy retreat last summer – I grabbed two books –
yours and the new Orson Scott Card (i know i know). Totally Killer Greg had told me, as he was reading your book for a week straight in the kitchen while cooking dinner, while giving the kids’ baths, while I was trying to talk to him – he kept telling me that I would love your book. Well, I’m always resistant to new books and music that people recommend – I hate having to read things that someone says I will love – because most of the time I don’t. But I took it with me. I actually meant to grab the Orson Scott Card book for my beach bag (and mind you – I had two rare days and nights to myself – haven’t even had that since – so it was my only time to really delve into a book) – but instead I found yours in my beachbag. I thought, well, ok – here goes.
I got absorbed immediately and that’s when I took the picture and sent it to Greg.
So glad I grabbed the wrong book. You know the effect it had on me – as I’ve said it 9,000 times before.
But, thanks, again.
Ah, Steph, how could I not include you? That picture meant a lot to me, and I remember a little about the circumstances in which it was taken, because we exchanged e-mails not long after you returned from the beach. However, I didn’t really have the whole story until now. Thanks for that and for all you say.
But I have to admit to Googling Orson Scott Card. That’s how little I know about the contemporary book world. In that sense, I’m kind of like an old hippie who’s still listening to the Beatles, so that when people mention Coldplay, I go, “Who?” It’s embarrassing. I barely know the names of any bestsellers or the people who’ve written them.
I’m with you when it comes to recommendations. People say, “You’ll really love this,” and often I don’t. I don’t think it’s a matter of being contrary; I just think people don’t always know us as well as they think they do. If I mention I like heavy music, I’ll get referrals to this heavy band or that one, but I never meant that I like all heavy music; it’s a specific quality that I like, and not easy to find.
Still, it’s endearing for people to play cultural matchmakers, and it’s nice to be thought of at all. The hard part is being asked for a reaction.
You are talented and published and loved by all.
You are one lucky guy.
Glad to have made your acquaintance via TNB, Dukey.
Next time, in LA.
Definitely, Irene, and thanks.
But, you know, I never think of myself as lucky. I always see a black cloud over my head. Also, I definitely wouldn’t say I’m loved by all. At the same time, I don’t think I have any out-and-out enemies, or none of whom I’m aware. That wasn’t always the case. Maybe I’ve gotten a little smarter about how to deal with people — a touch, anyway.
Hey, you know that black cloud?
Lots of people think they have them following them around, but the thing is, it’s not really there. It’s inside your head.
It’s not real. You imagine it.
So. Imagine it gone.
And have some tea with honey.
and get some sleep.
Ah, thanks, Irene.
In fact, I had some green tea earlier, but without the honey. A friend sent me some really good stuff from Oz.
I must say that your pictures were an excellent addition to the post. Thanks again, Irene. I’ll make use of those I didn’t post, believe me. So many excellent sculptures!
I will say, I really do hate when you pick your nails. But you know that.
And your toenails – which is why I bought you that fancy toenail clipper and put it in your nightstand.
Hi, Duke! See, what happens when you go to sleep? All hell…
This nested weird. She’s talking about my nails.
I got it, Greg.
But have you ever bitten your toenails? I have to confess to having done that a few times as a kid, and I later heard that it’s not at all uncommon. But I wouldn’t do it now, and haven’t in a long time.
But will there be no more hell, Steph, now that I’m back on the boards? Bring it on, I say!
Ok – here’s some more hell – Dominick always bits his toenails.
He’s super flexible, which is why. And yes, I did too, as a kid.
I’m pretty sure Greg has not, I once asked him and he said no.
This is something – do you ever forget about your toenails and then realize
how wonderfully long they have gotten and then actually look forward to clipping them?
This is me in the winter when I don’t get pedicures. I actually get a thrill out of cutting my long toenails.
I do for a fact look forward to clipping my toenails. Funny, huh? In fact, the other day, I was looking at them and wishing they were longer so I could trim them. There’s just something really satisfying about it.
I don’t think I chewed my toenails, though, until I was older than Dominick now is. I remember it seeming almost logical: a kind of well, if you can chew your fingernails, why not your toenails? Yet I wasn’t supposed to chew my fingernails, either. In fact, at one point, my mom wiped some kind of foul-tasting something or the other on them as a deterrent. Yet I quickly got over the taste.
Ah sir it is
good to see
back here again.
Plug away indeed.
Before you came along
a big comment thread was like
I have to confess, I was confused for a second, because I’ve noticed a definite trend of longer comment threads over the last few months. Then I realized that “before you came along” meant not this post but ones from last year. Anyway, yeah, I guess I’m garrulous,. but I think it was really Irene who amped up comment boards. When I arrived at TNB, her post about her car being stolen by Lenore was at the top of the charts, and I’d see it there and think, “I wish I could pull something like that off.” Which is kind of ridiculous, you know. I mean, why should it matter? Yet I have to admit it did.
I don’t think it would be awfully exciting to have a photo of “Banned” in suburban Delaware. But if you’re interested…
Hey, I’m no snob. And Suburban Delaware can’t be all that different from suburban California, except possibly (probably) more exciting.
But don’t I owe you a copy, Marni?
That’s really cool, Duke. I think most writers, when they reach that surreal stage of knowing their book is out there for public consumption, naturally wonder who the hell these strange and random people are who decide to pick up their book. Of course most of them we’ll never know, but it’s cool to at least get to see it out there. I wish I’d been part of a community like this when my first two books came out. I was so freakin’ naive back then, it’s a wonder I managed to get an agent or sell the books at all.
I will be sending you a pic soon. I didn’t make the cut for this round of photos but maybe I’ll be in Where’s Banned? 2: Electric Boogaloo.
The official title, I’ve just decided, is: “Where’s Banned? 2: You Have to Believe in Magic.” I hope you weren’t planning to use the bit after the colon, Richard. I call dibs.
I wonder if, prior to the digital age, people sent photos of books to the authors who wrote them. It must have happened a few times, yes? But nowadays, judging from my experience, it’s apparently almost a norm. And yet I don’t think it would ever have occurred to me to do something like that, maybe because I’m a thoughtless person, as some of my exes loved to point out.
As to being naive, don’t you think we all are? I had no idea what publication would bring. I thought I did, but my expectations were quickly capsized.
Your book is in some unusual situations, Dukey.
Yes, well, if only I could myself be in some of them — the locals, I mean. I’m not sure how I’d feel, for instance, about being bitten, though maybe if it were a gentle bite…
If a being only has a face, it has to use its teeth, eh?
Well, the post has now been updated to include some of your photos, Irene. Check it out, ya’ll!
I wish I’d been able to include all of the photos, but, in addition to matters of space, I also had a computer problem that made updating difficult.
Banned went to hell with the devil, but was then delivered to heaven by an angel.
Banned has been places!
It has been, Irene, and any minute now, we’re going to see some more of the places it’s been! I just had a computer problem (which I called Time-Warner to resolve), otherwise some of those new places would be up already.
Duke. You could have posted one photo, stretched this blog out to 20 blogs and got some serious mileage. Look at this. More than 200 comments. That’s awesome, bro. People love you at TNB. You are the site’s rock star. Kudos!
Thanks, Nick, but remember: you were the first guy ever to break 300 comments at TNB. Also, apologies that I haven’t been up to comment on your new piece, but I keep getting pulled away. But I’ll be there soon!
I was? I thought Listi was. I can’t remember. Next goal: 1,000 comments. I’ll go out and pass fliers for a week in advance. It will be monumental. A convergence. Stars will align. Servers will explode. The space-time continuum will curl like a wet noodle. And it will all mean $$$$ baby!
Listen, if you can find a way to turn TNB commentary into $$$$, I want in, buddy. ‘Cause I’ve paid my dues.
Oh, and you were definitely the first to break 300. Brad was at 291 before your piece about the magic pig eclipsed his at 303. It’s embarrassing that I can recall the numbers, but I can.
“Where Banned has gone, I daresay it’s been loved.”
Duke, that is seriously the best and the most and the deepest that any writer can hope for.
I am seriously knocked out by this collaborative photo essay of Banned’s life in the world. And totally envious! What a wonderful treasure to have.
Ah, thanks, Gina. And it’s grown even with the last couple of days. But don’t be envious. I bet you start to amass a collection when Slut Lullabies is published.
I just spoke to Ben Loory, by the way, who said he really enjoyed meeting you in Denver. Also, I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your talk with Joe on Cup of TNB. It was one of the best interviews that I think Joe has done with TNBers so far.
Thanks so much, Duke! I have not listened to it. It was great fun doing the interview, and Joe is awesome (we went to the same high school, oddly enough), but I never listen to recordings of myself, so now that it’s out in the world I must avoid it like the plague . . .
Ben is the bomb. SO cool about his recent good fortune! That voice, too. Wow, Irene Zion could really write a post about Ben’s voice . . .
On the phone, I think he sounds like Warren Beatty.
And I hear you on not listening to recordings of yourself, but I force myself to listen because I want to learn how to get better at that kind of thing. I’ve learned that I say “you know” a lot, which, you know, isn’t good.
I say “You know,” “like,” and “um” constantly. We are inarticulate Gen-X-ers. It’s unavoidable. I’d like to be eloquent, but honestly, I’m from the Chicago ghetto and anyone listening to me is lucky I don’t still say “ain’t” and “yous guys.”
That general improvement in my grammar over the years, though, wouldn’t stop me from having a total anxiety meltdown if I heard what I really sounded like on a podcast. So if the price of improvement is the torture of hearing myself . . . talk . . . I’m gonna have to skip it. I’m squirming just thinking about it!
Duke, you heard me, though, so you can give me pointers if you want =)
Once I’ve acquired a few pointers, I’d be more than happy to share them.
I did a radio interview — or what was supposed to be a radio interview, since I’m not sure it ever ran — a few months ago, and I started off stiff, wanting to be well spoken and so on. Then I threw caution to the wind and expressed myself as I usually do, which may have been a mistake, and started to think of the interviewer as a friend, which may have been even more of a mistake. I concluded with the sense that I’d blown it, and, as I say, I don’t know what happened with the recording. I’d been in regular contact with the interviewer by e-mail up until then, and when I wrote him a couple of times later — the first time to thank him, the second to send a picture I’d promised — I heard nothing.
I think doing a good interview probably requires experience and even practice of a kind. But, believe me, you did well, and I didn’t hear that many “you know”s, and the few times I did, they fit. You had a lot to say about the publishing industry that was worth hearing. I told Joe, when I saw him at TNBLE, how much I’d enjoyed it, and he agreed that you were a great subject. So there.
Yikes, yeah, I did a couple of those radio things too when my first novel came out in 2006. Since I was hugely pregnant at the time, radio was the best medium for me. But it’s nerve-wracking as hell. On 848 on WBEZ, my interviewer asked me to read part of my novel, opened it to a random section she had chosen without telling me in advance, and handed me the book. I had never read that section aloud before and it was really difficult to just read cold, live, on the fucking air. I did not do a good job at all. I didn’t have a hard time with the “talking” part, but the reading part kicked my ass. I don’t like reading aloud anyway, but doing it in a studio like that, something I hadn’t even chosen, felt paralyzing.
But the best interview I think I ever gave was with Donna Seaman of Open Books, on the radio. She was an outstanding conversationalist and questioner. The interview lasted an hour and I was not the least bit nervous. I could have gone on all day. I had lost all sense that anyone was “listening,” which is as it should be in an ideal world.
The Joe interview wasn’t scary for me because it’s a lot easier talking about my work as an editor, and about the industry, than it is talking about my own writing/books and doing “self-promoting.” He asked me a lot of questions in that vein, and I can prattle on endlessly about the publishing world, indie presses, etc. Been doing this work 15 years and am pretty passionate about it still, or increasingly, so that part is just fun to me. (Not sure if it’s that interesting for anyone else to hear, but I appreciate your saying it is!)
But let someone even ask me, “So what’s your book about?” and I draw a complete blank. (This is why it’s nice to have the word “slut” in the title. I can always say, “It’s about sluts, of course!” and that seems like a really fun answer, even though it is not the real answer . . . )
Well, people generally find sluts more interesting than they do punk rockers, so that’s my cross to bear.
I can’t imagine being handed a section of my book to read on the air. However, the interview I mentioned started immediately, with no preamble, nothing. It was conducted on the phone, and I had no real idea as to the personality I was dealing with or anything along those lines, so I felt thrown in that way. I like to know more in advance. But, hey, I suppose that’s true for many of us.
Two thumbs up to BFL travelling the world. I’ll see if I can book it a one way ticket to South Africa sometime soon.
Oh, I’m sure it would much enjoy that. It would be very grateful, as would I, and maybe it can even accompany you on your travels abroad, which I know are forthcoming.
wow, I can feel the love in this place . . . I almost feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing that someone vilifies me with such rabid intensity. What I think you need to do as soon as possible is go to the store, buy a box of prunes and take a good shit for yourself. You’re all pent up inside . . .
“I enjoyed one of Maher’s book on Kerouac (the Definitive Biography, I believe it was called) but I loath Maher himself. He’s a chronic user of people and a childish liar, too. But that’s the case for many people in the world of Kerouac studies. It’s a vile, dirty business. Maher isn’t even the worst of them (although he’s the only one of them to have deliberately fucked me in the ass, as well as at least one of my writers).”
Most every writer gets vilified. Should see the stuff written about me.
But that’s the thing about comment boards. I used to bother defending myself. But what’s the point? Sticks and stones and all that.
At least people are talking about you.
Prunes are tasty.
I sometimes forget that the comment boards here are in the public domain… What’s said, I sometimes feel, is read only by those to whom I address my comments. Oh well, live and learn.