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Setting up a Publishing House

I have ambitions beyond this blog, and one of these is to write (another is to start my own Cramps tribute band). I’ve been trying to write since I was 14, and I’ve always been frustrated at the sheer impossibility of making a living at it. The competition daunts the amateur: even if somebody at some house likes your book, there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever see it in a book store; and even if it is, you may never turn a profit on it. You’re surrounded by people who know more than you do and who have control of your work: a lamb amid lions.

The hell with all of that.

So I’m putting together the piece of publishing myself (and possibly anyone else I happen to like). With the advent of the Kindle and Nook, e-publishing has gained a good bit of respectability. Sure, marketing is always going to be a hassle, but that’s true in any case. I’ve got scads of stories to tell, and I’m going to start telling them. If people like them, cool. If not, I’m going to keep going. Sooner or later, someting’s bound to stick.

Check this space for further details.

Ray Bradbury is Dead

Which reminds me how much I liked Fahrenheit 451 when I read it in grade school. It was a bit much for me to process, actually. I might have to re-read it.

It was a pleasure to burn.

It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.

Whatever else, that’s a damn fine opening.

Lileks on Gatsby

I’ve always rather liked The Great Gatsby, because I find Fitzgerald’s prose far better than any of the other Greats of the Roaring Twenties, especially Hemingway, who reads the way sawdust tastes, and Faulkner, who seemed to think that Henry James wasn’t quite loquacious enough. F. Scott never forgot that writing serves the story.

However, I can’t argue with this:

I don’t hold Gatsby as some sort of Iconic Figure of the times. I never felt any sorrow for Gatsby, because Daisy bored me. Yes, yes, I realize that she was supposed to represent something, just as he was, just as the light across the water was, just as the big enormous eyeglasses represent Fate or the prevailing moral sense or conscience or whatever you please. It’s a good book. It’s a great book. It spoke to the dreams and fears of a society that was suddenly flush and young and bent on fun. It was a Cautionary Tale. It channeled the romantic flush of one’s early twenties into a story that mistook those passions for tragic signifiers of the human condition in general, and the American experience in particular.

That’s just it: Daisy’s voice is full of money, and that’s about it. It’s not just that she’s a bad person; there’s no there there. She does not act, nor engage, nor say anything of note. She is an object, a Golden Fleece with one two many Jasons in the hunt. The nice guy loses. The end.

But will I see the movie with DiCaprio? Probably. It can’t be worse than the Redford version, which is indeed “gauzy and inert”. I’ve rather liked DiCaprio’s work of late, from The Aviator forward (Revolutionary Road excluded). But the story has that touch more ambition than its structure can carry (how meta), which is why it always feels murdered at the end.