Adrift in The Artist's Studio

Adrift in The Artist's Studio
"More Color! More Color!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NYT Reader Response

December 23, 2008 7:31 am


The World Health Organization gives a median estimate of approximately 151,000 deaths for Iraqi civilians since the beginning of the current Iraq campaign. Other estimates range from 47,000 to 1.3 million. Over 4100 members of the U.S. Armed Forces have died in the war.

It is regrettable, to say the least, that Vice President Cheney is still in a position of authority. America is not supposed to be controlled by shadow governments, or cabals within government, nor is it meant to be brainwashed by Pentagon influence of television media news. In short, the profit motive behind war must not, in any way, seduce those in American government and make the waging of war a reality. And by the waging of war I refer not only to the campaign of horror and destruction wrought upon the Muslim world, but the program of psychological terrorism perpetrated against the American people by its own government.

Unfortunately, the United States of America saw all of these tragedies unfold, and quite frankly, we were too scared to do anything about it.

I would be interested in reading an interview with Dick Cheney (and ones featuring George Bush and Karl Rove, as well), but not an exit interview. I'd like to read an interview conducted through a thick glass partition in a maximum security prison, where Mr. Cheney laments his fate as he faces charges at the Hague ranging from genocide, human rights violations and war crimes to manipulation of world markets.

But that's the stuff of fantasy fiction.

Instead, Dick Cheney will ink a fat seven-figure book deal, and will profit handsomely in the private sector. Someone with his connections will make a killing in the war industry... even out of office.

Shame, Mr. Cheney, and may your arrogance be matched with a long lifetime of insomnia, guilt and fear. May history scourge your name with a black mark of ignominy.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Three miles further down the road
Lie men with sticks
Their hearts black with gold.

Seven steps leftward off the path
A gator, an emerald
A bloodhound of wrath.

Five miles higher up that hill
Are onyx, amethyst
And blacker colors that kill.

Nine steps forward along the road
His lover the Angel
Her eyes green and gold.

One step backwards off the trail:
Black grass red and slick
A green monster from Hell.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Writer: Publish Thyself!

The Legend


Jimmy Gollihue

I decided to go ahead and self-publish a limited edition of my novel. First, I'm going to do it the old-fashioned way: a commercial printer. Should I shoot myself in the foot and hobble my first novel with the stigma of self-publishing? Should I give it away for free on the web, bit by bit, like a stack of virtual chapter books? Should I self-market with bookmarks, T-shirts, impromptu book signings & interviews? Coffee mugs and matchbooks?


Not only do I plan to put up the cash up front for the whole print run (a short-run of 100), and then put up the cash for all the marketing ideas I have brewing (T-shirts ain't that expensive when bought in bulk), and expose myself to scorn by deliberately earning notoreity (media stunts I won't detail at this time)... not only all of that and much more, but I'm going to give the book away for free, once I have it in my hot little hands!

Here's hoping someone notices this maniac writer, who produces his own book to high standards (despite its sometimes-shocking content), markets it, and then gives it away like Christmas presents.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

more 2666

Still reading 2666, now up to p 350 or so. Still very impressive in terms of structure, juxtaposition of imagery, prose quality (yes, I know it's a translation, but it doesn't read like one). And very weird... and I'm only a third of the way through!

RIP David Foster Wallace

If I can't get my novel published I'm going to serialize it on the Internet, and publicize the event. I'm thinking media stunt.


Saturday, September 6, 2008


I have the ARC of 2666, and I'm up to page 75 or so. Those of you who are reading this (almost no one) and who've read Bolano (sorry for the lack of tilde) know what a big thing this is. Probably there are a couple hundred folks out there who've finished 2666 in English.


And when they said Uncorrected Proof they weren't kidding.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Individual? Who Says?

In this age of media bombardment, is it still possible for an individual to have, and express, an original thought?

I don't really have any original ideas right now, but George Orwell did, and his diaries are now available to all in blog form:

He's the guy who wrote
1984. That was the book that everyone said would come true, and once '84 rolled around, it was like yesterday's science fiction.

In the book, a man named Winston Smith is a dissident in a totalitarian society, in which thought, language, and sex are controlled by the government. That was the book that featured the original Big Brother.

In fact, I suspect there are hordes of you out there who haven't read this book, however intelligent or successful you may be, but who sometimes pay lip service to its themes. I would suggest that you drag your arse to your friendly neighborhood independent bookstore and obtain a copy, drink lots of coffee and read it, and get really really paranoid (the Brits, of course, may drink tea).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dreams Askance

Down from dreams askance
Like flags whapping in wind
He twists like
Backwards voodoo English

To alight, as a clumsy bird
Atop a square of pale sun
Awakeness the gun
That says
On your feet

I thought you might enjoy a little poem. Guess where I wrote it?
Also, in case you run into one of those smart-asses who say "Has anyone really read
Finnegans Wake?" you can say: "Yes, Seamus Golihue has!"
Who's excited about
2666? I am. I have the ARC, but I haven't started it yet. While reading The Savage Detectives, I kept saying to myself that I wish I could read this stuff in the original Spanish.
Ah, the excitement of new discovery, and how different we all are. However, plus c'est la meme chose (and here I'm talking about fiction): Writers who write about writers writing.
Is this a prerequisite of literary recognition, or the secret watermark of academic approval? Or is it an artifact of the "write what you know" axiom? Doesn't the author call attention to him/herself in fiction by revealing, e.g. through characters, that he/she is a writer, or has studied writing in a university?
Is this one definition of literary fiction: literature about literature?
Seems to me it would rupture the fabric of time/space somehow. I guess we can blame Cervantes.

Friday, August 22, 2008


There's a school of thought that says real writing-- we might think of it as Writing-- is done longhand. I guess it goes back to when Truman Capote said of Kerouac's On the Road: "That's not writing, that's typing." Or maybe it goes back even further, when Writing was done with sharpened sticks on slabs of mud, blessed by priests.

I'd like some feedback on this, if anyone is reading this post. When you write, when the original ideas flow, or are finally forced out of you by caffeine or exhaustion, when you write with a capital W-- do you write it down longhand, or do you sit and type it into the word processing program?

As for myself, when I started my current novel, I admit I skipped a step: I used pen and paper. No pencils at all to start, and none since, for that matter. Now, when I feel a new paragraph coming on like a seizure, I go right to the computer.

But for me, true inspiration (and I do believe it exists, both within us and without) requires me to stop whatever I'm doing, reach for a pen, pencil, fragment of pencil lead, hunk of charcoal, anything you can use to write with, and write down whatever words or phrases the muses cause me to vomit forth. In other words, I reach for the pen and paper, get the idea down quick, and worry about form and clean-up later.

Those of you who know what I'm talking about know, too, that writing something down longhand is also tied up in the appearance of handwritten words on a page.

Once, some artist admired the look of his words that he scratched on a cave wall, with a rock or a charred stick, and he smiled because it felt good. He decided he'd do it again, even if the words didn't yet mean anything. He might have been a She, but the point is, that person was a Writer.