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Amazon’s announcement that it has begun offering opportunities to riff off of the work of Kurt Vonnegut on its fan fiction licensing site, Kindle Worlds, has caused a stir. Rightly so. Amazon is The Man and Vonnegut tilted against The Man, as all great artists do.

I never thought I looked like James Dean, as people used to say I did, especially after I moved to New York to study acting. We shared the same coloring, but I was tall and lanky, while he was short and muscular. My face was round, and his was rectangular. Moreover, I strove as an actor to be as natural as possible, and Dean’s acting struck me as excessive, which is now what I most enjoy about it. His excess wasn’t of the soap-opera sort; it was quirkily personal, as when he rolls a cold bottle of milk over his brow to calm himself in Rebel Without a Cause. His character in Rebel is lacking the love—that is, milk—of his shrewish mother, and the symbolic way it’s expressed is one of many Kabuki-like gestures in Dean’s performances, particularly in scenes involving parents. His biography speaks to the reason. His mother died when he was nine, and afterward his father sent him to live on a relative’s farm in far-away Indiana.

 

Stepping away from the distractions of genres, Felony Flats is one of the most exciting releases of 2012 and the beguiling Anya Marina continues to establish herself as one of the decade’s most interesting musicians. Her latest batch of sonic narcotics bring together a number of styles, anchored by her sultry whispers, serrated wit and impossibly addictive melodies.

Marina’s savvy pop has decorated the scenes of numerous films and television shows, with her biggest placement on the New Moon soundtrack, catapulting her into the heart of the Twilight franchise maelstrom. Although that album boasted the likes of Thom Yorke, Bon Iver and Deathcab for Cutie, it was  Marina’s sparse, haunting “Satellite Heart” that hijacked the attention of the film’s obsessive fan base.

In case the tiara hasn’t conveyed it, I’m not exactly the sporty type.In fact, the extent of my non-sportiness was the subject of my story that appeared in Stymie Journal of Sports and Literature and ESPN the Magazine for sporty types who needed a good laugh.Let me quote a close friend upon learning of its inclusion in ESPN in particular:“…. What?”Indeed. My name in its pages was so miraculous, I framed the cover featuring Roger Federer.He plays tennis. (According to Wikipedia.)

The last words in my book Living in Twilight were written last night. I celebrated in a not-very-bold statement on Facebook, tempered by my wuss-tastic addition of “I think” preceding “I’m done.” This raises these points:

The book isn’t done.

I have a lot of laundry to do.

My son is not impressed.

My skills as a writer will now be tested to pen a really excellent cover letter to faceless people who will judge whether or not my book is a worthy book or just another book.

If it’s deemed just another book, I will be depressed. Then I will look at the bookshelves in Powell’s and weep because there are so many “just another book” books being sold in great numbers.

If my book is a worthy book, it will be a very long time before I hold a copy in my hands.

Also, people will read all about my family and what a bunch of heathens we are. I fear a great backlash from the Religious Right.

On the other hand, nothing speaks to PR like backlash. Maybe I’ll send a copy to the Religious Right.

The title has nothing to do with vampires, Edward, Bella or werewolves. People who look at my book because they associate “twilight” with “Edward” will be gravely disappointed when they read a book about my Dad.

Dad really liked vampire stories though.

Maybe it is about vampires!

No, it’s really not. It’s about cancer.

The New York Times Book Review already hates my book because it’s about a parent with cancer. They said so in a column written last month. This is disconcerting.

Who the hell is The New York Times, anyway? Some old Grey Lady? Whatever. My book is a Four-Color Diva with attitude, bitches!

Speaking of color, because my book has full-color paintings and drawings on almost every spread, it’s going to be an expensive MF to print.

iPad.

Wait. Am I cheating on my beloved books if I recognize the value of digital bytes?

Damn. This book really deserves ink and paper.

This is just a subjective opinion, of course.

Though the correct one.

The book is done in one sense: I wrote the last line. Now I have to find all the dimensions of all the art featured in the book. There’s a lot of it. All the titles. Dad was pretty crummy about writing titles on things. Re-shoot pictures which are blurry. I’m a fairly crap photographer. Thank god my brother is a pro – he shot everything else.

Oops. There are two unfinished chapters.

Lucky for me the last line of the book is, “There is no last chapter.”

With the stunning WikiLeaks release of hundreds of thousands of confidential or secret State Department cables, the website’s detractors have argued that America’s global bargaining position is immeasurably weakened, and that our diplomatic allies are imperiled by the sometimes damaging and damning revelations of behind-the-scenes decision-making.

At the same time, researchers at The Nervous Breakdown have discovered a treasure trove of information that will force a complete reassessment of the postwar literary climate—and perhaps forever change our notions of authorship. Samples:

With Dracula in Love you take us back to the very dawn of vampire literature, namely Bram Stoker’s groundbreaking novel Dracula from 1897. What inspired you to revisit this old classic and recreate the horrible events of 1890?

I’d date the dawn of vampire literature to John Polidori’s short story, “The Vampyre,” written on that fateful weekend in 1816 when Mary Shelley began Frankenstein.  But you’re right, it was Stoker’s Dracula that gave birth to the vampire novel and spawned hundreds, if not thousands of incarnations and variations.

And what our collective unwillingness to insist these bands legally change their

names before we’ll listen to another note says about us as a nation of enablers

When I was in sixth grade this new restaurant opened up a few towns over and everyone was excited because there was almost nothing else in the area except Friendly’s, a well-known purveyor of inedible slop. So my parents slicked back our hair and loaded up the Impala wagon for the grand opening of The Mis Steak. It was covered with balloons. Laughing families shook hands in the lobby, coming and going. Our waitress was poured into her uniform like a perky butter pat. Dad ordered a second beer. There were free cupcakes. Mom left a big tip and said we’d be back soon.

Of course, the place went out of business in about six weeks. The Mis Steak had been doomed even before the workmen finished lowering the sign into place. Friendly’s is still there. Moral: names matter.