Thursday, July 26, 2018
I've received the all clear from headquarters, so: Hey everybody, I just sold another story! Let the celebrating commence!
It's called “Those Rumors of Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice Have Been Greatly Exaggerated,” a Xicanxfuturistic romp through Wild, Wild Aztlán, inspired by my travels in the region, and certain, recent political developments.
Stay tuned for details and developments. Meanwhile, feel free to dance in the streets, and practice rituals in honor of Xochipilli.
Friday, July 20, 2018
Monday, July 9, 2018
We left the house at 6 AM to celebrate the Revolution! And it didn't really matter which one. No plans. Just go. Just do it. We both had the day off, and we felt like playing hooky.
After grabbing coffee at the nearest Quik Trip, it was off to Sedona. Hot air balloons dotted the sky. Not much traffic for a holiday, but then it was early.
Made it to the Coffee Pot in Sedona at 8 Am. Had a buckwheat pancake fix among the fabulous faux cowboy and Indian décor.
Giant squirrels scurried around the Walnut Canyon National Monument. I got a Lifetime Interagency Senior Pass—the National Parks and Monuments are now mine! We also climbed down into the Sinagua ruins, remembering Arizona's original cultures. As we left, a raven big enough to carry off small children lurked around the parking lot.
We keep running into giant ravens the rest of the day.
In Flagstaff, we hit some antique stores. Em bought the Asian painted screen of her dreams. I got a paperback copy of Bob Dylan's Tarantula, while Johnny Cash sang Hank Williams songs.
Back towards Sedona, it got crowded. You'd think there was a national holiday going on. Oak Creek Canyon was a mob scene. I said, “Nothing like getting in an good, old-fashioned, all-American traffic jam on the Fourth of July,” and scanned some of Dylan's post-beat, pre-hip-hop bop prosetry.
Beyond Sedona, the crowds dwindled away to nothing and we had the road to ourselves again, for a scenic, meditative drive through hippie country, Cottonwood, Jerome . . .
There were lots of squashed skunks and bunnies in the roads.
In Prescott, people wearing stars and stripes were swarming along Whisky Row. A ritual was impending, perhaps sacrifices were needed. We kept moving until we got to Bill's Grill, where we got burgers like good Americans.
Em had the BBQ, while I went for the Black & Blue Buffalo.
The roads were empty as we drove through the rocky, jagged, cactus-studded landscape obscured by hazy mist through the funky, pre/post-apocalyptic semi-ghost towns under saucer-shaped clouds. Sometimes the flags were at half-staff, other times they were not. Where was everybody? Had the world ended? Was the Metro Phoenix Area now a smoldering, radioactive crater? Does this continent/planet/universe give a damn why all us cosmic parasites keep torturing and killing each other?
We didn't see many political statements. A TRUMP PENCE bumper sticker on way up. A BERNIE on the way back. Both artifacts from 2016. Are people getting sick of it all?
Wherefore art thou, Trumptopia?
A Confederate flag flew in front of a fake, theme-parkish compound.
“I felt excited about leaving town,” Emily said, “and now that we're going back, I feel the same.”
The traffic never got too thick as we approached Phoenix from the west. Sun City and Surprise looked like a pre-fab Mars Colony, built in advance by nanodrones, waiting for the colonists to arrive, and argue if the first press conference will be from McDonald's or Starbucks . . .
It's all a perfect setting for Chicano/Latinoid extra-fiction--or our lives.
Before sunset our neighborhood sounded and smelled like a war zone.
Friday, July 6, 2018
How do you become a writer?
And what if your some kind of Chicano/Latinoid?
Well, Somos en escrito is having an extra-fiction contest, and I've taken on the job of the final judge:
So take your cultura and go wild:
Monday, July 2, 2018
The current generation sees Harlan Ellison as a curmudgeon who was always bad-mouthing their favorite franchise products. The don’t get why an old guy like me, who was coming of age in the early Nineteen Seventies, thinks he’s such a big deal. After all, they’ve been programmed to hate their favorite writers for not keeping all their favorite series coming at them fast and furious, as if it were possible to die from not enough of the right kind of entertainment.
It was different for me waythehell back then. Harlan was young too. He seemed to be possessed of limitless energy, like a superhero. To be in the same room with him, even a gigantic ballroom, nearly blasted you off your feet. His lectures had the intensity of rock concerts.
He seemed more like a rock star than a writer.
I started reading him at an age when most millennials were reading Harry Potter.
His name kept coming up in the science fiction magazines I was reading. Then I found The Beast That Shouted Love At the Heart of the World on the sci-fi shelf of my local public library. “Along the Scenic Route” -- “Shattered Like A Glass Goblin” -- “A Boy and His Dog” !!! Made Ray Bradbury look like an old fogey. Then when I found Dangerous Visions! And what happened when I snuck those books onto the campus of Edgewood High School in West Covina, California, and slipped them in front of the eyes of unsuspecting teenage girls . . .
I realized that being a writer could be more than my adolescent mind dared imagine.
It wasn’t just science fiction/speculative fiction/what we called the New Wave after the French filmmakers and before postpunk pop. Harlan was so hip, and cool that he was everywhere. All kinds of magazines, comic books, Star Trek, The Outer Limits, talk shows . . . He was a manifestation of the counterculture, our revolution while the war in Vietnam blazed, kids showed up to class stoned.
I started buying the L.A. Free Press (George’s Liquor Store, my main connection to literature and culture back then, started carrying it) when I found out about his Glass Teat columns that deconstructed our electronic environment. The books collecting them are one of the best, play-by-play accounts of the times--history teachers take note. And what happened when I showed those to the girls at school . . .
And to be listening when he went on KPFK’s Hour 25 and took Pacifica Radio's concept to glorious, obscenity-studded extremes!
He helped me go crazy in those days. I dared to be a rebellious, surrealist cartoonist confusing and scaring people in the high school newspaper. I dived into self-learning how to express myself through writing, because teachers never knew what I was talking about.
Thank you, Harlan. For broadening my horizons. For amping up my guts to explore that deranged world that seemed to be collapsing around me.
I may have still become a writer if I never encountered you. Maybe I would have even been more commercially successful. But I wouldn’t have gotten away with the magnificent shit that I’ve committed.
And that is what it’s really all about.