Monday, May 13, 2019
I sold another story! It's called “PeaceCon”--a slapstick comedy about social unrest and mind control starring my post-cyberpunk masked luchador, Steelsnake. It'll be in Unfit Magazine Vol.3.
Some of you may remember Steelsnake from my story “Novaheads” that can be found in the anthology Super Stories of Heroes and Villians, edited by Claude Lalumière.
And you can read a sample of “PeaceCon” now!
Meanwhile, stay tuned. I'll let you know how to get the whole thing as soon it's available.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Thursday, May 2, 2019
While the cactus were blooming all over Phoenix, Emily and I went to another LepreCon, at the Doubletree, next to the library where I work, across the street from Hooters.
The hotel looked like the set of a sci-fi flick from the Seventies.
There was a Lyft station our front to remind us what century we were in while I took Kubrickian snapshots.
The con was small. A good thing, because so was the hotel. Most of the time you could walk around and not notice that there was convention going on.
The attendees were mostly older fandom. Our g-generation.
But there were younger folks, too, in costumes that seemed more eclectic than tributes to favorite franchises. One young woman showed off a shield she was making emblazoned with the word “fuckface” that was inspired by her baby, who she pushed around in a stroller. It was a flash of the old days when all this was considered a threat to polite society.
We had to talk about where the whole damn SFF kit and kaboodle is going. We can to the conclusion that it was all getting bigger and more diverse. We’re in for an explosion.
Later I got to talk about what the new classics could be (beats the hell out of me), and bullshit about creativity.
Nobody had anything for me to sign, so I doodled at the signing. Note to writers: Unless you’re super famous and know there’s going to be a long line with stacks for stuff for you sign, bring along something to amuse yourself.
The audiences were small, were actually interested in books and wanted to talk about them. This got me thinking on the last day, Easter Sunday, while most folks were celebrating in honor of everybody’s favorite zombie: Just what is SFF/Fandom all about these days?
This was not just an excuse to eat at Chino Bandido.
Has it all been totally commandeered by big publishers, and corporate media franchises? Where are the new ideas coming from? Is anything important ever discussed at the newfangled “comic cons.” (Corporate lawyers please note the lower case letters, no hyphen, and quotation marks, no copyright infringement is intended--I’m just trying to say something so that people will understand it, godammit!)
People still find out about new and unusual books, and other interesting cultural phenomena at small, independent conventions, like Leprecon. We need them, but keep your funky subcultures going.
So support your local conventions!
Friday, April 26, 2019
Thursday, April 18, 2019
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
Monday, April 8, 2019
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
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
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
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.