“The book American Gods wishes it was.” --Despina Durand

Thursday, April 18, 2019

SPRINGTIME IN AZTLÁN


The world is awash in political turmoil. Not just Washington, but the whole planet. It’s reaching out into orbit. And I have writing to do.


But, it’s springtime in Aztlán, the Wild West, the Southwest, my native region, my homeland.


There are those who see it as a vast, hideous wasteland. I feel sorry for them. They do not know what beauty is. Their lives are poorer for it.


It never really got cold this winter. Now the brighter light and warmer temperature snags my attention as I sit in front of the computer, trying to take care of business. I find myself getting out of my chair, and wandering out into the visual delirium.


My wife, Emily Devenport’s garden glows. She says I have a way with capturing light on flowers, but the truth is, it captures me. I see it, do a WOW that’s sometimes audible, then run to get my phone. I've learn that if I wait, the magic configuration of planet and star are lost.


Sometimes surrealism just happens.


Sometimes I find natural occurring abstract art. As Jackson Pollock once said, “I am nature.”


And people keep forgetting the cold, hard fact that flowers are plant sexual organs in a state of arousal.


Again, it's spring. Plants, lizards, and motorcycles are in full mating display.


Throughout Aztlán, as the chaos brews.


John Wayne stands guard over a Men’s Room, and a two-dimensional cowgirl hang with a bloated saguaro, as mythologies battle over the fantastic landscape.


And the world still grows more apocalyptic. Like the “In the springtime” at the end of Un Chien Andalou, with a man and woman buried up to their waists in the sand, being devoured by huge insects.


We need be like cacti who refuse to die.

Friday, April 12, 2019

CHICANONAUTICA MEETS QUANTUM SANTERIA


Chicanonautica reviews The Assimilated Cuban's Guide to Quantum Santeria, over at La Bloga.
From roots in Cuba:


We get quantum:


Throw in some Santeria:


Heading for new frontiers:

Monday, April 8, 2019

ERNESTO ART AND MONARCHS FLY TO KANSAS


If you squint your eyes, or enlarge the picture to ridiculous proportions, you can see three of my drawings and copies of High Aztech and Cortez on Jupiter.


Monarchs: Brown and Native Contemporary Artists in the Path of the Butterfly has taken wing again and landed a the Nerman Museum of the Contemporary Arts, on the campus of Johnson County Community College, in Overland Park, Kansas.


My stuff is there courtesy of Josh Rios and Anthony Romero. Once again, thanks, guys!


Meanwhile, here's a look at the drawings to whet your appetite.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

INTERRUPTIONS IN MY WRITING


People often ask be, “Have you been doing any writing lately?” as if it’s something I only get to on rare occasions.

I answer, “Yes, all the time.”

Yeah, I work, I have family, and live a world of things that are forever demanding, or even commandeering my time and attention, but I am never far from writing.

It’s a never-ending battle, like the one for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. And it took me years to get to this point, I tend to stay on track, and always have a writing project or more crashing around my brain. I can’t help it, leave me alone, and I start taking things I’ve experienced and encountered, mixing them up, and making them into stories.

It keeps me from getting bored.

Also, you can’t be a writer unless you write. Funny how a lot of people don’t get that.

It does mean that I tend to write the scattered, jagged fragments, on the run, sessions at the computer augmented by bits done on my phone, on Google Drive.

There is the fear that my work will turn out too disjointed. Now and then the barrage of interruptions is so intense that I lose track of what I was doing. I’ve forgotten all about unfinished projects, only to find them much later while looking for something else in my files. I’ve found that a notebook--spiral, with lined paper, what used for on the run stuff in my pre-cyber days--works for reminding me of all that I’m juggling.


Like the short story (for an anthology, but I’m not saying anything about it right now, because it’s way too early in the complicated process) I just reached the end of. No, I didn’t “finish” it. I laugh folks who go on the social media and crow about having just typed THE END. That usually just means that a different kind of work has begun.

Looks like I left out a few things in this story (once again this is complicated, and would take too long to explain), and some scenes and dialogue could use some fleshing out.Now that I’ve read what I have, I can get to the final pick and shovel work.

It also turned out a lot more coherent than I was afraid of, considered the fragmentary way I wrote it.

The same can be said of my novel-in-progress, Zyx; or, Bring Me the Brain of Victor Theremin. In reading it over, I was glad to see that the story-making machine I’ve been building in my head every since those hours in grade school that spend daydreaming instead of paying attention to the teacher, works just fine, maybe it’s even getting better as I tinker with it into my old age. It’s not the big mess I was afraid it would be. It’s crazy, but has a structure, and I may even be able to finished by the end of 2019.

Ah! Delusions of grandeur! You can’t really be a writer without them.

But that’s another story.

And another interruption.


Friday, March 29, 2019

CHICANONAUTICA GETS INKED IN DYSTOPIA


Chicanonautica reviews Sabrina Vourvoulais's novel Ink, over at La Bloga.

It's about a society that uses tattoos for identification:



They can also can be used to for self-expression:


But it can get dystopian:



And your dystopia can be someone else's utopia:

Thursday, March 21, 2019

MORE SCENES FROM HACIENDA HOGAN


As a writer--also as an artist—I spend a lot of time sitting. They used to say that was to way to succeed, nail your ass down, and write, write, write. Unfortunately, I've known a lot of people who took that advice, ruined their health, and dropped dead just at it looked like all their years of hard work (and sitting) were going to pay off.


I can't really sit for very long. I've always been restless. After sitting and typing for a while, I get the itch to get up, and shake out my creaky skeleton, that get creakier as time goes by. And sitting too long actually hurts these days.


So, I regularly get up, and take a few laps around the inside of house. I also do yoga, stretches, some light weight work. Somehow it turned into an exercise routine. And it must work, because my doctor said I'm in “tip-top” condition for my age. Maybe I'll live long enough to see my hard work pay off.


But now, and then, the weather gets too nice to shuffle around inside, so I go out into yards, that here at Hacienda Hogan, are the gardens of my wife, the fabulous Emily Devenport. They are chock full of plants, artifacts, and geological samples. Wandering among them fires my imagination. Often, I end up grabbing my phone, and taking pictures.


I never liked traditional photography, with all it's fussing over settings and chemical complications. Digital with it's point-and-shoot simplicity is more my speed. “Photography is Zen Buddhism,” as William Burroughs said.


Maybe it's my art education, but where other people see snapshots, I tend to see more than ordinary reality. I come up with surrealist compositions, poetic statements, even cartoons.


It gets me in trouble when I try to do documentary realism, nonfiction, or mainstream anything, but it makes my life so much better.

Friday, March 15, 2019

CHICANONAUTICA MEETS KAIJU MEXICANA

Chicanonautica reviews Lords of the Earth, the first Kaiju Mexicana novel, at La Bloga.

Kaiju being the Japanese monster movie tradition:



And there have been Mexican monster movies:



And Hollywood monster movies set in Mexico, old:


And recent:

Thursday, March 7, 2019

A SUNDAY IN TUCSON


The crescent moon and Venus blazed over the predawn glow as we left Hacienda Hogan for the Tuscon. Soon the sun rose as we made our way down the I-10, sipping coffee with donut fallout all over our clothes. Emily was scheduled to be on two panels, about “Spaaaaaace,” and “Rebellion,” at the Tuscon Festival of Books. And talk about Medusa Uploaded and it's soon to be released sequel Medusa in the Graveyard.


We arrived early at the campus of the University of Arizona (for a guy who hated school, I keep ending up on campuses), as settled in to the Author's Hospitality Lounge in time to hear a distinguished professorial-type refer to the President of the United States of America as “that fuckhead.” 


The Student Union Area, a campus in itself, was like mall. I've been having dreams about college/mall hybrid places. Could this be the next step of post-urban evolution now that traditional, twentieth-century mall culture is crashing? The education and entertainment industries do seem to be merging . . .


The classroom where Emily's panels took place was at the bottom of an subterranean labyrinth with a lot concrete stairs leading to an underworld left over from another era.


The desks, really a long, bar-like structure, had electric outlet/internet jack fixtures built into it. Students asked questions about philosophy and morality. Another brave new world.

The festival was gigantic. Good to see thousands of people milling around in the sun, looking at displays of all kinds of books. Kinda civilized.


A even found an interesting statue to photograph: “Another Martyr #4” by Fritz Scholder. The ghostly native American figure loomed over the festivities. 
 

Afterwards, in anticipation of the two hour drive back to Phoenix, we cruised Speedway Blvd. in search of food. Strangely there we saw more Asian joints than Mexican restaurants—one was empty abandoned shell. What's happened to the Old Pueblo?


Finally we went to La Parrilla Suiza (“Authentic Mexico City Food! CALL OR STOP BY ANY OF OUR LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT ARIZONA!” according to their website). There were a lot of customers, most of them “Mexican.” And the tacos were good.

Like I've said, when I smell tacos, I know I'm in civilization.

Friday, March 1, 2019

CHICANONAUTICA GOES BEYOND THE SFF LATINX BUNDLE



The SFF Latinx Bundle deal is history, but Chicanonautica  goes on, at La Bloga.

It is the end of one trail:


But the journey goes on:



Latinx cultura keeps on selling:


And the future is looking good:


Thursday, February 21, 2019

SCENES FROM A NATIONAL EMERGENCY


The inflatable dinosaur, toothy mouth wide open in a silent scream, tried to attract business to a gigantic car wash. It made me smile. I took a picture. Put it on Facebook and Twitter.

Maybe it’s the spirit of the times, or some kind metaphor. 

Mostly, it's kind of funny.

Is this what a national emergency looks like?
Forget the wall. The monsters are already here.

Silly, but here.


A week later, the dinosaur was deflated, a pile of rumpled fabric with teeth and claws.

Maybe that’s what a national emergency looks like.

What could have happened? Random gunfire? A switchblade attack? Orders from headquarters?

Everything becomes extinct eventually. Even silly national emergencies. Hopefully, it will at least provide us with some interesting artifacts to look back on.

Maybe it's art. At least it's amusing.