Monday, January 31, 2011

please bury me with it

I was talking a few nights ago on Twitter...

(I know, shoot me)

[Is it called "talking"? What is it? Because I absolutely refuse to use "tweeting." I do not do that.]

...with some blogger friends about doing these upcoming video commentaries on Boys and YA – books for, about, and by boys.

And, naturally as I would expect, something kind of interesting happened during the course of our exchange.

It went kind of like this:

Blogger XX: You mean books like Lord of the Flies?

XY (that would be me. It's a chromosome thing): [Racks his brain. Thinks to himself: Does she think I'm THAT fucking old??? That I haven't read anything published since... wait... that was before I was fucking born. Gah! Now I hate myself even more for having used an exclamation point.] Um. No. I mean, like stuff for boys, about boys, and written by boys (male writers) that is out, like, now.

Blogger XX: Wow. I didn't know such a thing existed.

XY: That's why I'd like to talk about it.

Blogger XX: Do you know any boys who blog about books and reading?

XY: Yes. For example, there's Alex Bennett, Brent Taylor, Devyn Burton... and I can think of a few others.

Blogger XX: So the score is Girls 1000, Boys 3.

Yeah. It pretty much went like that.

And this is how it goes.

You know, there’s so much talk these days about inclusion and diversity being represented in YA… but this is one of the most obvious and overlooked aspects of the discussion: Guys.

I know some of you fans of so-called YA find that hard to believe, or, at best invisible and unimportant.

Guys do read, you know. We write, too.

And I'm not just talking about guys as characters in books. Anyone can stick a token, (and frequently) stereotyped mascot of something the author IS NOT in their story. It happens all the time. When white guy writers used to do it to minority groups, it was aptly called bigoted and ignorant.

Today, though, real guys are the minority (1000 to 3, according to Blogger XX) whenever it comes to YA literature.

Now here's where I'm going to make some people angry and defensive: In the same way that I would expect to get most of it entirely wrong, and to be fairly criticized for even attempting to do so, I would be a fair target if I (as a pretty mainstream kind of average white guy) wrote a novel from the perspective of or about the experience of being, say, a Native American, a poor kid from Myanmar, or a Black teenager in the South. And I would deserve to be raked over the coals for that.

Just yesterday, I read a YA blogger's (who happened -- what a surprise -- to be a woman) review of a new novel, in which she (the blogger) wrote: This is XX's first YA told from the POV of a guy protagonist... and she totally nails it!

How could you know if she nails it or not?


How could you know?

But Young Adult males do need to hear from people who share their journey, who know (not as an observer, but as one of them) what their experiences are and have been. And the bottom line is, there are plenty of YA enthusiasts out there who:

A) Do not think such a thing exists

B) Apparently don't think it matters, because boys stopped reading back in about 1954, when Lord of the Flies bored them all to death.

I'm just trying to warm your brains up a little bit to get you to consider what I'll be talking about on the video coming up in a couple weeks.

Don't worry, I'm not ripping in to YA bloggers alone, I also have a few remarks that might make the following people feel a bit uncomfortable:

1. Parents

2. Teachers

3. Some Farmers


4. President Obama

...So just you wait. The video is coming.

There will be visuals.

I can't wait.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

here is one more for the saint

I haven't forgotten.

I have this post about boys and YA that is still hovering in a holding pattern.

But this was, like, perfect timing for my not-yet-told story:

So yesterday, a friend of mine sent me a link [I am not making any of these names up, by the way, as dumb as this all sounds -- and I am definitely not going to hyperlink to this nonsense, but I'd be happy to engage the source in a discussion of just how wrong and damaging their stupidity is to the kids and future generations of our nation.] to "bitch media's" 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader.


They could only find 100?

They must have a smallish B & N in their burg.

Besides receiving weird email that kind of stressed me out yesterday, I spent nearly the entire day watching a scene being filmed for the live-action trailer for my next novel, Stick.

It's amazing how a thirty-second scene can take, like, all freaking day to film. But it was a rare, fun, and positive experience in the otherwise black hole that is my daily writing universe.

If all goes well (and, honestly, why the fuck should it?), I will be showing the video for the first time ever at next month's SCIBA Children's Literacy Dinner in Pasadena.

I wonder if "Bitch Media" will be there.

But I digress.

So, the attendees will not only get a bunch of really great signed books, like The Marbury Lens, for example, they'll also get to sit down and have dinner with writers like me and Judy Blundell, and watch me spill food on my lap, AND they'll get to see the Hollywood-style, non-bitchy premiere of a great little film about a pretty damned good non-bitchy little book called Stick, coming out this fall.

We'll put the video on several websites after the SCIBA event, in time for the ARCs coming out in March.

Anyway, before the shoot, our real photographer, Kaija, who took some particularly unflattering photographs of me (which makes me feel rather bitchy), took these shots of our actors outside the set. I know there are only like three people who've read Stick out there so far, but these kids are really very good young actors.

Derek Deakins is playing Bosten McClellan.

Demetri Belardinelli is playing Ricky Dostal.

James Marino is playing Stark McClellan.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

go mine the sun

This is kind of meta about writing, too.

The excavator of darkness is quitting.

I had something ready to run about boys and YA and stuff, so maybe I'll post it tomorrow.

Friday, January 28, 2011

writing about writing about

Welcome to meta.

The other day, I had lunch with a friend of mine [No... I am NOT making that up] and we talked a good bit about writing, which was really nice for me because sometimes, especially when I'm sitting in places like restaurants where they have fancy contrivances such as electricity, it helps me get in touch with how regular writers must live.

There's no doubt that writing is a solitary endeavor. I mean, unless you're one of those fiction-mill type people who hire assembly line storytellers... but I'm not even going to talk about that.

Writing is something that kind of makes you a loner. Most writers I know have ways of overcoming that solitude, and I do genuinely envy them for that. But among all the solitary writers out there, I am even more of a desert island than most.

Where I live, I am 20 miles from the nearest grocery store or traffic light. There are no roads with more than two lanes, and plenty with fewer. So, I don't have crit partners or groups... there is nobody to "get together" with at the local Starbucks, because there is no "local," and there definitely is no Starbucks.

In fact, I kind of secretly despise all my writer friends (okay... I don't have many at all) who have "groups" and "partners" and places with Wi-Fi where they write and drink coffee.

Because I am all alone, and far away.

So I never know anything about what I'm doing.

I just do it.

Then I send it away, and that's when I want to kill myself.

So, more than anyone else I know who does this stupid thing called writing, I think I have the toughest time turning my work over to anyone else, which probably explains the crazy psychological plummets I take when I do finish something.

Not to worry. I have lots of other stuff to work on starting immediately.


Up here.

But speaking of turning things over, there is always a bit of a shock when I hear my words being spoken by someone else. It took me a while to get used to that, and, thankfully I was able to be a part of the audio production process of all three of my novels so far.

(And I honestly DO NOT --douchebag for using all caps-- believe that an audio version can be made for Stick, coming up this fall. You'll see why.)

Anyway, it's been kind of weird handing off Stick to the people who are making the live trailer for it, too. But it is a really cool thing to watch, and I have to say I am proud to know these talented kids.

Yesterday, for the two or three of you who've read the novel (and don't worry, the ARCs are coming), they shot a scene where Stark is hiding inside the small room on Willie's houseboat. Yeah... you know the scene. Anyway, it looked totally cool, with moonlight reflected off the water and stuff.

So I took this very grainy picture with my iPhone, to give you an idea of what's going to come out in the trailer. It shows the actor who plays Stark McClellan ("Stick") as he's hiding behind a door while Willie and Brock are outside.

The actor's name is James Marino, who not only voices the narration, he also composed the score for the trailer. Yeah... pretty freaking talented kid, considering he lives in an actual "city" with "people" and stuff.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

jack's laws (4)

Jack's Second Law of Marbury says:

Not knowing is the same as not happening.

There are lots of things Jack never knows about, so he doesn't have to feel the weight of their consequence -- to actually know what happened.

And the same is true for his friends and, especially, for Wynn and Stella, Jack's grandparents who love him. They never know what's been happening to Jack, so, to them, it's almost like every traumatic and horrible thing Jack goes through never really happens -- at least, not in their universe.

I guess I felt like that a lot when I was a kid; that if nobody knew the things that happened in my life (or universe), it was just as good as those things never actually happening at all.

I suppose in Jack's case (hmmm....) his Second Law is a kind of defense mechanism that simultaneously insulates him against feeling accountable for the terrible things that happen, and allows him to perpetuate the convincing internal argument that maybe none of this is real, anyway. This way, he doesn't have to be too introspective about things like blame, innocence, and his true feelings; and he makes it easier to play off his aloofness and justify the what-the-hell-are-you-talking-about? attitude he projects when people who care about him start to get too close.

That's how things work in Jack's universe.

[I just realized how frequently the concept of rules/law/order comes up in my books.]

So there you have it, Jack's psychological/physics laws of Marbury. You can run back through earlier blogs and see how they congeal to define his reality. So all these laws construct and bind together Jack and Conner's universe -- and give structure and boundary to the universe of The Marbury Lens.

In the next few days, I want to get back into the meta thing and write a little bit about writing, about being a guy, and guys writing for guys who read YA. I will try my hardest not to piss anyone off.

But you know how much I suck at that.

In the mean time, you may be interested in seeing this video response I made to a video-blogger's (ooohhh... how meta) post about The Marbury Lens and the idea of warning labels on YA literature:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

jack's laws (3)

I know I skipped his second, but Jack states his Third Law of Marbury as this:

When there’s nothing we can do to make things better, at least Conner and I can stop letting them get worse.

At the very end of yesterday's post, I pointed out that in The Marbury Lens, Jack uses the lens to "tune in" to another channel, because it acts as a kind of remote control, however unreliable it is for Jack's purposes. His compulsion to return over and over is equally due to his desire to "fix" things in his power (like helping Ben and Griffin in Marbury) and to escape things (like his guilt, paranoia, anger, sexual confusion -- here) that are outside his control.

The idea of escaping those psychological monsters beyond his control, in favor of a place where he feels more powerful (even if it is worse than hell, with real monsters) is also an element of The Marbury Lens that many people have interpreted in different ways, and wanted to talk about.

A lot of readers see this compulsion as an allegory for addiction. The addict escapes the unbearable reality of life and enters a more controllable state, even if he is aware of the self-destructive consequences involved. So, like I've mentioned receiving letters and comments from boys and young men who were victims of abuse, I have also received a number from young men who've lived through addiction and have also felt a kind of connection to Jack and The Marbury Lens, as though it told a story that was a significant part of their own experience.

I'm not going to talk about my actual intent with that control/lack of power/addiction relationship -- whether I purposefully made this implication or not. I think it speaks for itself, and readers can make up their own minds about it. But, nice call, those of you who have sent me letters and email messages about Marbury and addiction, and how reading the book struck a resonant chord with you.

Eventually, I'll hit up Jack's Third Law of Marbury, and I plan to include some other thoughts on the book, and on males and male-related issues in Young Adult literature.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

jack's laws (2)

So, a few people, over the past year or so since I wrote The Marbury Lens, in pursuing the Team Real perspective, have asked me to explain the physics of Marbury -- how Jack's universe is designed.

I'm not going to go too far into theoretical physics (theories from which I did swipe some ideas in building the Marbury universe), but I'd like to begin by revisiting what Jack states is Jack's First Law of Marbury:

Objects at rest are just waiting for some asshole to wake them up.

This "Law," coupled with one other thing that has always bothered me -- well, again, since I was a teenager and spent an inordinate amount of my energy wondering why some things that happened to me collapsed down into forgettable flashes and other things expanded out and grew into monsters of time that seemed to swallow my universe whole -- Time.

You will notice, dear reader [Ha! How douchebaggy of me to say that!], that time is not unified between Marbury and here -- that things that take days in Marbury may only take seconds here, and vice-versa.

That's because time is just measured motion, and that motion is linked to our universe and our perception of it. We measure the motion of the Earth's journey around the sun, the rotation of the planet upon its axis, the clicking of gears in the mechanisms of a watch... and all these distances traveled, this measured motion, becomes comparable to other events: how fast we can run 100 meters, how long it takes an egg to hatch, how many cigarettes we smoke, and so on.

But it's all relative to things moving while other things move.

It wouldn't be unreasonable, then, to presume that a different universe (and we're assuming that Marbury is "real," or at least can conform to "real" explanations) would also have different constraints on motion, dimension, and, therefore the relationships linking motion and dimension... and time itself.

[I did mention I thought a lot -- maybe too much -- about stuff like this when I was a teenager, right? And I'm not trying to do anything as douchebaggy as presenting a theory of physics or anything like that. I'm just making the structure that supports Marbury as Jack's host.]

So, yes, I will admit I have a distinct aversion to books about time travel. My disregard stems from the fact that Jack's (my) universe can not allow for time travel, but if you could "pop in" on a different channel -- skip over to an alternate layer (like Stella's nesting dolls, to which Jack pictured himself as a type of arrow piercing simultaneously through multiple shells) -- then the perception of time would necessarily have to switch and skip, too.

And you could never get back.

You might think you could, but things would necessarily have to be different.

Because things would move. Here, there, everywhere.

This is not a spoiler alert -- it's a hint, so you might go have some fun looking for this: Every time Jack goes to Marbury, something small changes. Every time he comes back, something small changes here, too. You can find those hints scattered around throughout the book (like the contents of his camera, for example).


So, Jack's universe, the nesting-doll architecture of Marbury, builds this structure where there are all these simultaneous strings, flows, dimensions, all taking place at once (in their own rhythms of measured motion), and they're all connected by Jack -- the arrow -- and his perception, which makes them all unarguably "real."

So, that's how it works. The lens Jack uses to "tune in" to another channel acts as a kind of remote control, however unreliable it is for Jack's purposes. His compulsion to return over and over is equally part of his desire to "fix" things in his power (helping Ben and Griffin, for example) and escape things (his guilt, paranoia, anger, sexual confusion) that he cannot control.

Monday, January 24, 2011

doors of perception

Yes... the title of another book I read during my messed-up teen years.

I needed to find concrete answers about what was happening to me.

But I couldn't.

As I mentioned yesterday concerning reader comments and questions about The Marbury Lens, I get a lot of people telling me they believe that Marbury is just as real as any other place, and then, maybe about half the readers think that Marbury is a delusional symptom of Jack's PTSD... and will he ever get better?

You know what's really interesting to me? It's that Team Real tends to be mostly male readers, while Team Hallucination tends to be mostly female.

It's just anecdotal, but it is heavily distributed along gender lines. My theory is that guys are more likely have the "suck it up and deal with it" attitude, while more nurturing girls recognize that Jack is damaged and hope he can eventually mend.

What's the correct interpretation? It doesn't really matter. In either explanation, the most important and jarring questions still originate from the horrible things Jack has experienced.

Will he ever get better?

Brace yourselves.

Either way, real or not, Jack isn't going to heal.

I think a big part of the explanation behind the nastiness and outrage some people have expressed to me about The Marbury Lens comes from the understandable discomfort many of us have when confronted with sexual abuse against boys -- much more so than dealing with the topic of abuse against girls. Boys are far less-likely to seek any kind of help, because boys are socialized into "sucking it up" and "being a man."

We like to play for Team Real.

This is the kind of pressure that percolates up in the form of Jack's guilt, self-contempt, and even suicidal thoughts. He's supposed to deal with it himself, or, at least, that's what he believes.

A few weeks back, I talked to a boy who'd been victimized as a child. He started off wanting to talk about The Marbury Lens, but then mentioned to me how real all the post-abduction things Jack goes through seemed to him. Then he told me his story, and why he felt such a connection to the book and to Jack's character. Well, we talked for a good long time about those issues.

I told him about a screenwriter who'd read the book and was, I suppose, interested in writing an adaptation. The screenwriter [have I ever said how I feel about screenwriters? I don't think so.] said that he stopped "liking" Jack because Jack didn't go to the police.

What a dick.


This is entirely what's wrong with these people.

Not only is he a dick, but he's a dick who doesn't understand the first goddamned thing about kids -- boys in particular.

It still makes me mad, just thinking about it.

Anyway, so when I told this boy my little "Why the Screenwriter Stopped Liking Jack" story, I could see how angry my friend got, too. Really.

So the truth is, that real or not, the most important thing going on in The Marbury Lens is the journey through all the dark places kids like Jack have to endure.


Looking for something that they can fix, and trying to hold it together for the other "real" people who care about them.

So that's my take on the real vs. hallucination perspective: It doesn't matter.

But I do want to give you a blueprint to the physical architecture of Jack's universe.

Assuming it is, in fact, all real.

Next time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

this is it

When I was a very lost and confused teenager, I read a small book called This is It by a British philosopher named Alan Watts (I still have that book today, as a matter of fact).

It's something that Jack, from The Marbury Lens -- and I -- say to ourselves quite a lot.

This is it.

Watts' book is essentially about perception and reality, the intertwined concepts that torment Jack (and a lot of readers) so much in The Marbury Lens.

When Jack begins popping back and forth between here and Marbury, he questions his sanity and wonders what is real. To him, the feeling of his feet inside his sneakers as he walks along a street in London is just as real as the arrow that injures him in Marbury, and he can't figure out how his perceptions and reality end up balancing out.

Here's a cool quote from Watts:

No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time; he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.

No doubt, the characters in The Marbury Lens go through their personal episodes of... um... inflexibility, and this becomes really the essence of the novel's most grating torment: like Jack himself, readers have to figure out for themselves whether or not what's happening to him is REAL, or if it is all a manifestation of the post-traumatic stress he experiences as a result of what a sexual predator has put him through.

It's a tough thing.

I could make some Venn diagrams about the hundreds of email messages and other comments I've received in the 10 weeks since the book has come out, but I'll save that for another time.

First, there are the readers who figure out an answer to the reality/perception issue (and the answers split among members of this group), and then there are the readers -- frustrated ones -- who send me messages begging for an explanation: is it real, or what??? The ones who need a concrete answer.

Well, ever since I was a teenager, like Jack, and before I got all into my Huxley-slash-Alan-Watts phase, I wanted to know the answer to that, too.

I still don't.

This is getting long. I'll continue with readers' perceptions and book reality tomorrow. And I do want to eventually include a little description of the physics that construct Jack's universe.

At least, in my perception.

This is it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Guess what I'm doing today?

Um. I don't know either.

Actually, a lot of things, including, dammit, still writing stuff when I thought it would all be over by now.

Anyway, if you didn't peek in at The Strangest Situation blog yesterday, you might be interested in reading the psychological perspective on The Marbury Lens and all the really smart comments posted there by readers. It is a very cool blog.

Among other things I'm doing (besides birthday-present shopping) is finishing the script for a live-action trailer we are filming for this year's release, Stick. Can I just say there are some really talented young people involved in this production?

I guess I just did.

Anyway, I'll be writing and posting about the actors and crew and the process, both here and on the Macmillan website's Year of the Book feature beginning in mid-February. It's pretty cool.

I am very excited about Stick coming out, and everything running up to it. I think there are going to be a lot of surprised folk out there.

Just saying.

Also, there are a couple of things I wanted to add on here about the psychological aspects of The Marbury Lens that were brought up on the other blog, but I'm saving those thoughts for a later date.

Friday, January 21, 2011

jack's laws

So, after wrapping it up, the documentary crew packed and left at about 1:00 this morning.

For the final bit of footage, the two fighting Dimitris incited me to launch into a tirade, which I was more than willing to do considering the extensiveness of my foul mood last night.

Still, it was a simultaneously cleansing as well as self-deprecating experience. The director, whose name is NOT Dimitri -- it's Raoul -- said the rant segment was the best footage of the entire three-day nonstop filming.

He said he's going to call the scene (after something I apparently said, but have no recollection of whatsoever): YA: Grow Some Balls.

Which is kind of catchy, even if I am experiencing a blackout over the whole thing.

And Christy, yes, I will send you the link for the HD video online as soon as they finish editing the entire documentary. That way, my special invited followers will be able to see the entire thing BEFORE it debuts at Sundance.

So. Today I am going to tweet something [I know. Never would have thought] under a mysterious hashtag I'm going to be keeping.

It's kind of fitting for the past 24 hours, I think.

It's Jack's First Law of Marbury, quoted here:

Objects at rest are just waiting for some asshole to wake them up.

So, when I woke up this morning, at exactly 2:59 [I don't know why I always remember the exact moment I wake up every day], I poured my coffee [thankful not to share with Hollywood scum] and went to work as usual. I guess around 4 A.M. I got a tweet about a blog post-slash-review-slash-analysis of The Marbury Lens, written by Sarah, a sometimes visitor here, who happens to be a psychologist.

[I know. This is like a fucking oasis.]

Anyway, I'm not going to quote the piece here. I will put the link at the bottom of this bit. But the points Sarah considers -- about the lingering effects of Jack's abduction, the depth of the relationship between him and Conner, the sexual pressure he feels bombarded by, and -- most importantly -- the question of perception and reality, are really... well... spot-on.

It's definitely a piece worth reading.

I am very pleased a psychologist read the book, and I'm going to say some things about the points she raises.

But I need to think for a while.

Have some coffee.


Clean up all the trash in the yard from the three-day-shoot.

You can read Sarah's analysis of The Marbury Lens here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

nothing like hot sloppy author and texas librarian love

While the documentary guys squabble over scraps from my garage refrigerator, they're currently filming me blogging.

It's highly irrelevant.

And one of the Dimitris did end up at Urgent Care last night, but there was little they could do for a missing tuft of hair. Still, he's a bit excessive in his concern, despite the fact that everyone assures him that his lopsided hairdo is unnoticeable beneath his constant, half-on-half-off hipster skullwear.

The other Dimitri is locked in my downstairs bathroom, which is a significant inconvenience for my kids. Good thing the documentary crew brought along a couple porta-potties [a new word I realize I hate]. If only some of those guys would use them for peeing, as opposed to smoking heroin off tin foil.

Anyway, some love news.

First off, my book, The Marbury Lens got a really nice mention on the blog of fellow author Brian Farrey, whose novel Chasers is soon to be released (it has a really cool cover). But, like a lot of people say, I think the book kind of messed him up. So, sorry, Brian. But thank you very much. (Brian has moved to the top of my authors-I-need-to-meet-in-person list. Okay, well, Snooki is there, too. And Joe Lunievicz. All four of us. Together. At one party. That would be cooler than a trip to Marbury.)

Also, my friend Amy (I seem to have lots of friends named Amy. One cousin, too. And a dysfunctional mother character in The Marbury Lens, which was NOT named after any of them. Honestly. If she were, I'd tell you.) sent me a link to a book blog with a most excellent review (echoes of Brian's disturbance) of The Marbury Lens. Thank you very much, Megan Miranda, who is also an author with a book coming out, too. It's called Fracture, and it's due out in 2012.

Nothing like author love.

You're invited to the Andrew-Snooki-Brian-Joe party, too, Megan.

Finally, as if all that weren't enough. I received news yesterday that my last-year's novel, In the Path of Falling Objects was awarded the 2011 Border Regional Library Association -- Southwest Book Award.


Okay, so now the entire state of Texas is invited to the party, too.

Just remember, do not make fun of Dimitri's hair.

And bring some food.

I do have to say that Texas has always been so freaking cool to me and my books. And I really really really want to attend the awards ceremony in El Paso (which is a city I do have some stories about), but crap! it's on the same night when I'll be speaking at the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association dinner in Pasadena. And I have a surprise for those people... let me just say that now.

You can read Brian Farrey's review of The Marbury Lens here.

Here is a link to Megan Miranda's review of The Marbury Lens.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the jesus tortilla moment

So, there's a catering truck parked out by the horse paddock.

It's for the documentary crew.

Last night, they cooked chicken for everyone working on the film. It was legs.

Then, the cook noticed that the entire bulk-package of legs he'd purchased for the meal consisted of only right legs. Every one of them was a right leg.

The cook (his name is Dimitri. I have never met anyone named Dimitri. There are THREE guys working on the documentary named Dimitri.) claimed it was a "Jesus Tortilla Moment."

I asked what a Jesus Tortilla Moment was.

He said it was like when someone finds a likeness of Jesus on their tortilla and then they frame it and call the newspapers and stuff like that.

Last night, nobody ate because we were caught up in the Jesus Tortilla Frenzy.

A documentary crew can get really grumpy when they haven't been fed.

Two of the Dimitris are having a fistfight as I type this.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

my people

Apologies for the late post.

The film crew slowed me down this morning. They drank all my coffee and left trash in the yard, too. And duct tape on the wall.

Yeah. We're doing a documentary.

About me.

It's going to be really cool. It's going to show me.


[Got to remember to either wear trousers or else have tight headshots (that's film-guy talk)]

Some parts will be about me blogging, too.

Once it's finished, we'll probably edit it down to, like, 6 hours or so. Oh, and it's going to be in black-and-white, all shot with handheld cams (duh... film-guy talk again).

It's going to be so cool.

We're planning on premiering it at Sundance next year.

I'll send you the link so you can watch it in HD.

Monday, January 17, 2011

death and the hipster (part 2)

Hipster: Okay. Fine. Death.

Death: And I have come to claim you.

Hipster: Oh. I can't be bothered with being "claimed" at the moment. It's, like, everyone does that. You know how it is. You'll have to come up with something different that nobody else does yet. Besides, I'm on my way to a Sigur Ros concert.

Death: People are going to get pissed off at Smith for writing that last line.

Hipster: Wow. Meta.

Death: I can dig meta.

Hipster: So... you want to get something to eat or something?

Death: Wait. You eat?

Hipster: Asian fusion.

Death: Fair trade?

Hipster: No, but they have free Wi-Fi.

Death: I'm on it.

(to be continued)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

meta blog


This week I am going to write a couple blogs about blogs.

Which is very meta.

And meta is hipster.

And part 2 of Death and the Hipster will be posted tomorrow.

Well... this could be a very long story, and, knowing me it probably will be.

So I was interviewed on a really cool blog by a really great blogger named Amy Stewart in Canada (The link to her blog is at the bottom... just so you keep reading).

Anyway, the way I got to meet Amy was kind of less than auspicious. It had to do with this big, hateful conflagration that took place on another blog where people who had not even read The Marbury Lens began this nonsensical thread of complaints about hidden homophobia in the book. Some of the posts were pretty mean, not just about the book, but about me, too (ignorantly enough because the commenters had so obviously NOT read the book, but were merely reacting to insinuations by other commenters who had also not read the book).

So, yeah... whatever.

Before I tell about how Amy comes in, let me just say this: homophobia does exist in the real world. If there is a homophobic character in my book... well... so fucking what? Really... think about it.

There are homophobic characters in Stick, which is coming out this year. But, guess what? There are also very heroic gay characters in the book, too. I can imagine that at a different time in America, there would be lots of complaints about openly gay kids appearing as characters in books, too.

One day, I suppose, all characters in works of FICTION will be boiled eggs, or something equally bland.

Some people have said that Conner is homophobic, but he really isn't.

Attention: Conner Kirk (from The Marbury Lens) is not, I repeat, not, homophobic.

A few weeks back, a gay man wrote a comment on my blog in which he said he didn't think Conner was homophobic, he thought the character was actually closeted and struggling with his attraction to Jack (which, believe it or not, was entirely my idea in creating the character of Conner Kirk).

So, anyway, over at this other blog where people were constructing an online bonfire and waiting for someone to present me for burning, Amy Stewart came on and posted that she was going to read the book for herself and make up her own mind about it.


A blogger with independence.

You're making that up.

Anyway, Amy and I exchanged a few emails, she read the book, and (I think it's fair to say) she made up her own mind about it -- and loved it.

I bring this whole story up, too, because someone commented on Amy's blog that she'd heard "bad things" about The Marbury Lens (and she said it made her want to read it even more... which is good).

But as far as the "bad things" go... (and this is why, like Liz, I am still kind of pissed off about the disembodied agent out there who said something about "lines" of appropriateness and The Marbury Lens), I can only wonder if the "bad things" are about IDEAS and CONTENT -- some of which, like rape, self-abuse, addiction, suicide, sexual confusion, or homophobia if you can see it there, are going to make some people uncomfortable -- and NOT about technical aspects of writing, the originality of ideas, or about the author himself.


Anyway. Fuck that shit. (as Conner might say)

Amy Stewart, you are cool. You think for yourself, and this is why I sent an extra autographed copy just for you all the wayyyyyyyyyy up to beautiful Canada.

Thanks, Amy.

You can read Amy's interview (and enter to win her contest for a signed copy of The Marbury Lens) here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

death and the hipster (part 1)

One day, a hipster was walking on a road.

Well, he wasn't really walking on the road, since "other people" walked on the same road.

He was kind of walking beside it, trying to pretend that he wasn't paying attention to it. And he also wasn't really "walking," either.

He was doing something else.

But there was a road involved, a direction, and forward progress.

Not that he was following anyone. Or a road.

In any event, just as he came to the end of that which he was not following, his path (which was unknown to anyone else) became blocked by a slender wiener dog, clutching a blood-blackened scythe in his teeth.


Hipster: Who are you?

Death: I am Death. I have come for you.

Hipster: You look like a wiener dog holding a rake.

Death: Shit. It's 2011. You're not allowed to call wiener dogs "Wiener Dogs" any more. People will label you a cylindrical-meat-o-phobe. And it's a scythe.

Hipster: Oh. Well, what am I supposed to call you then?

Death: Death. I am Death.

(to be continued...)

Friday, January 14, 2011

we are bound by symmetry

Earlier this week I was notified by my editor that The Marbury Lens made the 2011 list of Best Fiction for Young Adults chosen by the American Library Association/YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association).

Naturally, I am very honored and flattered. The list is a new incarnation of the previous BBYA lists (Best Books for Young Adults).

My friend Lisha called it a Hat Trick for me, since my previous two novels made the lists in 2009 (Ghost Medicine) and 2010 (In the Path of Falling Objects).

So... yeah. Very cool.

But it puts a lot of pressure on Stick. It's like being the youngest child in a family of superstar athletes or something. But that's okay. I have a strong belief in the little baby. His big brothers may come to hate him.

Also, I am once again honored to be nominated by the fine people at Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop, who have put The Marbury Lens on their list of titles as Best Young Adult Novel for 2011. This is a fan-selected award, which is especially nice.

You can see (and vote) the list of novels on Mrs. Nelson's Awards balloting here.

You can read the ALA/YALSA 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults list here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the marbury boys (part 1)

I realized quite a while ago that writing is not an effective way to exorcise your inner demons.

It's pretty good at feeding them, though.

There have been things that I've felt the need to say about The Marbury Lens for a very long time, now, but I shut up for a bunch of stupid reasons... like because I'm a fucking idiot.

There. I called myself out first. Now I'm going to call out some other people.

Yesterday, Liz (I don't know if that was my Liz) made a comment on one of the "bad words" blog posts that made me think for a long time. Yeah... it was one of those don't-get-any-sleep think sessions.

Because it made me wonder, too, about "lines," and if The Marbury Lens IS "the line" or if The Marbury Lens CROSSES "the line."

I don't know how I feel about either one of those GPS locations.


I do.

I don't like them. I'd rather be in an underground parking complex... and I have unsettling phobias about underground parking complexes.

Look. Here's the thing. I'm not going to skirt around this issue any longer, and I'll begin -- not only by calling myself an idiot (see above)-- by saying there are lots of things I will never fully understand.

If that makes me a sexist or some morally corrupt person, some insensitive and ethically bereft hermit, then I am all those things too. I have a wife and two teenage children (a girl and a boy); all of whom I love very much. I can be compassionate and understanding, and try to be as educated as possible about my daughter and the kinds of things she goes through in life.

I can come close to being there in every way for my wife and daughter. But I'm a man. I can never know exactly what it's like to be a girl. I would never be able to write about what a girl goes through when she's having her period.


I mean, really, what guy actually understands that stuff?

This brings me to the subject of today's title: The Marbury Boys.

You might guess what that's going to be about.

It's about the dozens of boys and men from all over the country (and even out of the country) who've written to or contacted me in the past 2 months since The Marbury Lens has been released.

And, guess what they want to talk about?

Not f-bombs.

Not Conner's sexual curiosity or tactlessness in communicating with his best friend.

None of that matters to The Marbury Boys.

They want to talk about something else.

And this was something that I never thought about for one second when I was writing the book... but then, all of a sudden, they started talking to me.

And I'm trying to figure out how to write about this without feeding some more demons.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

holy water

This is a moment of silence.

I'll either be back tomorrow, or I'll still be gone.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

labor and line

I am finished.

I had planned to finish before the start of the year, but my calculations were off by eleven days.

I wonder if other writers get a kind of postpartum depression when they finish something. I've written about it before, but not this time.

This time, I'm just done.

So I do get asked the question frequently: What would you do if you weren't a writer?

And I'm, like, what? And give up all this unending, wild, dizzying happiness???

Are you kidding me?

The longest thing I've ever written is finished, and I'm sitting here looking at my notes for the next thing.

Kill me now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

the bad words (part 3)

I write controversial books.

I do NOT think that is cool.

As a matter of fact, I hate it.


About these bad words.

And Twitter.

Okay, so I mentioned that there was some love being spread around regarding my novel The Marbury Lens from people who were in attendance at the ALA Midwinter Conference in San Diego.

A few of the mentions, apparently, came from people who'd been sitting in on certain committee meetings when the book was being discussed by librarians.

[First off, let me just say how freaking cool it is to think that people who don't even know me -- experts in their field from all over the country -- actually spent some time talking about a book that I wrote. That's un-freaking-believable. I never get over stuff like that.]

Anyway, there were a couple different posts about what one tweeter referred to as "extremely fervent fans" of my book.

[That kind of makes me swoon.]

But the poster did remark about the book being controversial.

I wanted to know why... but things like this are exactly why I get depressed and can't sleep at night. I was told that one librarian did not like the BAD WORDS in my novel.


I don't like bad words, either.

I've already listed the words I don't like in a post about a week ago.


I hate that word.

You know what other word I just realized I hate?


Think about it. The word quiche is about as loathsome a combination of phonemic utterances as any human being could possibly contrive.

Where was I?

Oh yeah.

I want to present you with two selected passages from my novel, The Marbury Lens:

First, a single sentence from the first line of Part 3 (Blackpool):

In the foothills, we rode through a forest of crucifixions.

Second, two sentences of dialogue from Chapter 34:

"You okay, Jack?" Conner said.


Okay. I really like the sound of the first passage. Don't ask me why. It just sounds cool to me. Ten words. Bam. What it says conjures some of the worst, most frightening imagery I could think of.

In fact, it's obscene, when you think about it.

The second passage is a bit where two teenage boys are talking to each other. Jack believes he's dying, in fact, and his best friend, Conner, who loves him and would do anything for him, wants to know what's wrong.

It's just how some guys (a lot of them in my life) talk to each other. It's not obscene at all.

It's no fucking big deal.


There are LOTS of f-bombs in The Marbury Lens. It's the way most of the teenage boys I know who come from California talk. There's really no other baggage attached to it at all.

But they say it a lot.

My concern -- like the big flag/small flag issue I mentioned yesterday -- is that if you don't think books should have the word FUCK in them, that is totally okay with me. We should just get rid of the word entirely.

There can't be a right number of "fucks" in a book.

You can't say that a book that says FUCK only one time -- like when a guy hits his thumb with a hammer -- is any more morally pure, or -- have to disagree with you on this concept, Mara -- less contextually gratuitous than a book that says FUCK more frequently than it says the word fajita.

For the record, fajita does not appear at all in any of my books.

I am so fucking proud of that.

And, again, I would never criticize anyone whose sensibilities steer them away from books that have... shall we say untactful colloquialisms included in the text.

But the minute you begin to insinuate that there is an appropriate amount, or too much, then you're asking for a fight from me. And you won't have a single leg to stand on.

Not even one.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

the bad words (part 2)

Cover me.

I'm going in.

Yesterday, I spent some time on Twitter.

I know.

I still don't really know how it works and stuff. My impression of it, as one who doesn't really know these things, is it's like a bunch of people taking turns, giving very short speeches. Right? You're not really supposed to talk to each other. Right?

Whatever. Like usual, I probably screwed things up and made people quietly think to themselves who IS this guy?

So, anyway, the reason I went there was that a friend of mine (yes, you Billy) told me that there was some love going on from San Diego regarding The Marbury Lens.

And that's kind of like telling me to not look at that gruesome car wreck over there.

I have to look.

And, yes, there was lots of love for The Marbury Lens going on there. Honestly, some of the things people were saying totally blew me away. There was lots of love for my editor, too, and she totally deserves it because she's, like, the best.

But, like always happens to me, there was one thing that came up in the Twitosphere that really depressed me. It kept me up all night, in fact. So much that I actually thought about just getting out of bed and writing this bit at around midnight.

But I didn't.

I stayed in bed.

Wide awake and depressed.

Thinking about Mark Twain.

Which is not a really pleasant concept to consider: man in bed, thinking about Mark Twain.

Bear with me.

Many years ago, I saw this film about a guy who posed a question to people about speech and expression. It had to do with the burning of the American flag as an act of protest. Opinion polls suggest that the overwhelming majority of Americans, despite their political ideologies, find the notion of burning the flag as a symbolic protest to be somewhat offensive.

It makes them uncomfortable.

But (at least, as of this morning) you are allowed to do it.

So the guy asked people if they were offended if he burned a really tiny American flag printed on paper (like a postage stamp), and most people said no, that it had to be a big, cloth one in order to offend them. Not a small, paper one.

Who cares about small paper ones?

They're small.

And paper.

Not big.

And cloth.

So the thing that I keep coming back to in my sleepless mind is that, rightfully so, if a form of expression is going to be expurgated from our collective lexicon, then the door has to slam shut before the first utterance, forever and ever.

While the Word Police may want to send Mark Twain's voice to literary reeducation camps to purge a word or concept from the record, they're initiating a massive undertaking if they really believe they can shut that door tight and sweep all the bad words across the threshold before they lock it.

[Cue "Battle Hymn of the Republic" background music]

Look, I don't think I'm bigger than I am. And I don't think Mark Twain did, either (but that's just a guess). I am not a big, cloth flag. But writers do tend to just set down a contemporaneous record of the way that human beings communicate with one another -- with all its music, abrasiveness, idiomatic nuance, and, sometimes, complete absence of subtlety.

It's just what we do.

Well, some of us.

Some of us, I don't know what the fuck they're trying to do.

[fade music]

Which brings me 'round to last night's toss-and-turn fest.

The bad words.

The f-bombs.

I have failed at keeping it a never-to-be-spoken secret that my novel, The Marbury Lens, contains BAD WORDS.

Let's talk about that, shall we?

[Cue bad series novel ending: To be Continued...]

Saturday, January 8, 2011

favorite son


So I know that nobody is going to read my blog this weekend, since everyone is partying down in San Diego, a city that has permanently banished me, so I figure I have two days of unrestrained honesty where I can liberally name names and tell precisely the truth about everything that pisses me off, instead of holding it in and giving myself chronic and unrelenting cheerlessness.

Or not.

So, I'm going to do this guest-blog interview coming up this week. I'll post the link when it comes around. But the interviewer on the blog asked a question that -- to be honest -- I've been asked many times before, but, for whatever reasons, this time it really made me think about things.

[Side Note: I often think about this -- how my answers to the same questions change from interview to interview. And I don't mean questions like "what was your high school mascot?" but other, open-ended questions. They have to change, don't they? In fact, I would think that any writer who continually spouts off the same canned response to these open questions probably ran out of stuff to think about and say before his book was on the page.]

Okay. So, here's the question (and don't worry, Blogger XX, I am not going to "scoop" you by putting my entire set of answers here; just this one):

I was asked, in my books, who's my favorite character, and why.

This is a tough question because I am all of my (main) characters, so elevating one to favored status seems kind of self-absorbed and ignorant to other components of who I really am. The truth is that all my main characters are totally different parts of me.

Now that I say it, I realize how self-absorbed it really sounds. Oh well. I guess I can’t “be” anyone else.

I think I identify most closely with Jack Whitmore, the narrator of The Marbury Lens, but, as a reader would know, he’s a pretty messed-up guy. Well, actually, he’s incredibly messed-up. Still, what Jack goes through in the novel is very much what I went through, and felt like, when I was a teenager.

Not a pretty thing.

Jack rants about that ugliness, in fact – how much being a teenager sucks.

On the other hand, I really admire Stark McClellan, the main character in my next novel, Stick, because he has this genuinely accepting quality about him – not just toward the things going on around him, but to the individual differences that sometimes isolate people from one another and shuts them up in small cages of fear and mistrust. I think there’s part of me that can see through the fearful us-and-them kind of trap that a lot of people fall into, and Stark, who is actually a pretty heroic kid, is damned good at seeing through the bars on the cages.

More "dirt" on San Diego tomorrow...

Friday, January 7, 2011

the spot

Yesterday, I ran a most excellent and flattering review of The Marbury Lens that appeared in this week's edition of School Library Journal.

I kind of read over the thing relatively quickly. I always do this with reviews -- it's kind of like my eyes are gill nets in the ocean of certain words. But I would like to revisit the final line of Robbie L. Flowers' commentary:

The novel is not an easy read, but it is one that will keep teens hooked and the author leaves plenty of unresolved threads for a possible sequel.

I've written before about endings to novels. And I think that anyone who's read my published works will agree that I have a tendency to avoid the spoon-feeding of readers. I like to make them figure certain things out for themselves. Actually, I have had some great "what do you think happens next" discussions with readers of In the Path of Falling Objects, but, especially with fans of The Marbury Lens.

One of these days... like, a very long time from now, I may write about the gender differences in interpreting meaning and conclusion in The Marbury Lens. It's kind of striking to me (and, by the way, purely anecdotal) that there is a definite trend evidenced by what guys think about Marbury (the place) and what happens at the ending, as opposed to what girls think.

[Side note: Is "girls" a sexist term? I figured the statement wouldn't sound right if I matched "guys" -- which nobody thinks is sexist -- with "females" or "women" or "ladies" and I thankfully ruled out "dames," "broads," and "chicks." Oh... and the gangsta phrase -- I am definitely not all about the gangsta term for the XX crowd.]

Where was I?

Okay. So, anyway, I keep coming back to this great quote from the novelist Samuel R Delaney.

Delaney said, Endings to be useful must be inconclusive.

That's one thing. But I'd like to go back to the idea of "plenty" of unresolved threads.

Plenty is one of those words that can mean any quantity equal to or greater than one. I won't spoil anything here, but in The Marbury Lens, I think there are really only two things that don't get entirely, spelled-out-in-no-uncertain-terms, wiggle-room-free shut. And that's where the different interpretations often fall along gender lines.

But readers can figure them out. It's brain exercise, which is what reading and storytelling are all about.

Now, as to the second part of the concluding comment, I am happy that there is a kind of positive anticipation for a sequel.

I have written before about my thoughts on series novels -- in particular what the obvious flaws are. And I believe very strongly that novels, including serial installments, must stand on their own (allowing for Mr. Delaney's "useful ending" inconclusivity).

Is that a word, Anne?

There's a difference between "inconclusive" and the old Batman-esque "stay tuned" drop off, though, and that's where many series exhibit their flaw.

Could I write a sequel to The Marbury Lens? Sure. But it would have to be completely detoured away from the roadmap of the initial installment.

And that would be fun.

And twisted.

And before I leave off today, I will add that The Marbury Lens made it into a couple other publications this week, as well.

Which I think is really cool.

First, and this is huge, it made it into Booklist's Editors' Choice 2010 issue.


It also made it onto the list of Library Journal's Best YA Literature for Adults, 2010.

Yay, again.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

fast and furious...

The Marbury Lens received yet another excellent review, this one coming from the January 1, 2011 issue of School Library Journal.

Yesterday, my extremely hard-working editor sent me a message to the effect that she could see a common thread among reviewers -- how the book really is frazzling their minds.

Which is, I think, a good thing.

One thing first -- an ironic snow update: Yesterday was garbage day here. The garbage collection trucks wouldn't come up because of the snow. Ha! Another sign of our collective national frailty!

Squee, Mitch McConnell. Squee.

Anyway, here's what School Library Journal had to say about my little book on Russian nesting dolls:

SMITH, Andrew. The Marbury Lens. 358p. Feiwel & Friends. 2010.

Gr 10 Up – What better way to celebrate an adventure to London than with a going-away party? Sounds good until Jack gets drunk and finds himself at the mercy of a crazed stranger who drugs him and holds him hostage. Readers will cheer when Jack frees himself from the certain death that seems to await him at his captor’s home. But once he’s out of harm’s way, readers–like Jack–will begin to think being chained to the bed of a stranger was so much simpler than being on the run from a murder rap and hearing voices in his head. It all gets worse when he finds himself in London looking through some purple-tinted glasses into a parallel world of cannibalism and gore. As Jack grapples with maintaining his sanity, he also struggles with the fact that his best friend and traveling companion, Conner, is a murderous monster in the parallel world of Marbury–a murderous monster that he must face. This title will keep readers enthralled with its well-developed characters and unique plot. The four-letter words come fast and furiously, but they’re no stronger than the violent and gruesome situations that befall Jack and Conner. Smith spares no graphic details to depict the horrific world of Marbury. The novel is not an easy read, but it is one that will keep teens hooked and the author leaves plenty of unresolved threads for a possible sequel.

So, thank you, Robbie L. Flowers, from Detroit Public Library. I have only one thing to say to you. Well, actually, I'd like to say a lot of things... but they can probably all be summed up in one word:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

it's not you. it's me.

How do you stay positive?

Do you talk to your pets?

Do you recite affirmations?

Do your affirmations include considerations about how terrifying the introspective examination of your life really could be if you'd just let yourself go?

Do you say things like Thank God it really isn't as bad as I think it is ?

Then you shudder because you realize it is, in fact, far worse?

Does that make you feel better?

Have people stopped talking to you?

Are you psychologically "snowed in"?

Is there a Creepy Smoking Guy sitting out in the dark, watching you right now?

Like there is here?


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

open wide and say ahhh...

We could never have trash piling up here where I live.

Because we have marauding herds of coyotes and raccoons here.

They should let a big herd of coyotes go free in New York City. Mayor Bloomberg, you heard it here first. That would be cool.

Problem solved.

New York would be like a dystopian snowglobe.

With thousands of bloodthirsty coyotes.

Polar bears, too.

That would be better than anything.

But here, we don't need no snowplows. Our snowplow, up here in the mountains, is called "springtime."

I'd like to let a walrus go in my lake. That would freak the shit out of people.

Next month -- February is next month already -- I am going to be *speaking* at the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Annual Children's Books and Literacy Dinner.

Oh yeah.

I'm going to speak about setting carnivorous animals free in densely-populated areas.

Are walruses carnivores?

Or, maybe, I'll speak about the words that should be banned -- like "fajita," "squee" and "dystopian." That spurred a lively response on the blog last week.

In any event, you may have to be there to find out...

Oh yeah, I have these really cool The Marbury Lens nesting dolls with scary shit on them (you'd have to read the book to get it). I may bring one there, too. I'm going to put some pictures up. Eventually.

I may put one up for swaps on Ebay (which I have never used in my life), as long as I can find someone who has a walrus they'd like to get rid of.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I am a streak runner, which does not mean exactly the same thing that it used to mean back in the 70s.

For 11 years now, no matter what, I have not missed a single day of running, despite weather, earthquakes, broken bones, and travel to other continents.

I've just come back from a five-mile run in the hills. We were the only people out after last night's heavy snowfall, and running in knee-deep snow is kind of like trying to swim in tuna salad. So, needless to say, it wasn't exactly record pace.

But it was kind of interesting.

This is the way up my usual trail.

The hills are made especially steep because of the snow, and the fact that we sometimes stepped in waist-deep holes.

Naturally, I took along a Sherpa guide. Unfortunately, she refused to carry anything for me.

This is my little town on the lake. About five minutes after this picture, you couldn't see anything because of the snow.

The town and lake behind me.

The Sherpa guide on one of the last ascents.

And finally, I summit. This is the top of the trail on my usual five-mile loop. In summers, on the hottest days, it sometimes hits 100 degrees. Not today, though.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

still not here

Things I have read this past week:

1. A really good, forthcoming debut novel by a guy named Joe Lunievicz.

2. I have read a lot of so-called YA book blogs that offer up their "best of 2010" lists.

I am not kidding about this, but on at least three different blogs (but I have a theory that most YA Book blogs are written by just one person -- kind of like James Patterson -- so the blogger can use all of the following: unicorn, sparkly, candy, and flower wallpaper -- like separate rooms of a big gingerbread house -- squee!!!!!), the blogger used variations of the following line:

I never read anything except fantasy, but I did read ONE non-fantasy this year...


You think about it.

3. I got a letter from someone asking for advice on writing a book. It went something like this: I am planning on writing a book. What font should I use?

That is all.

No Creepy Smoking Guy sighting this morning.

Maybe he's dead.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

a conversation with my dead father

ME: I hate it when I wake up in the middle of the night like this.

DAD: It wouldn't happen so much if you didn't have ghosts in your house.

ME: (sigh) I am so disillusioned about everything right now. My writing. Other writers. Bloggers... especially bloggers...

DAD: What's a blogger?

ME: Oh. I forgot. You died when I was a kid. It's a person on the internet... ugh... never mind.

DAD: Inter-what?

ME: Nothing.

DAD: See? I always told you not to be a writer, that nothing good would come of it.

ME: To be honest, I don't think you ever talked to me in my life.

DAD: Things were different in those days. Men weren't supposed to talk to their sons.

ME: Maybe I should've played football or become a soldier instead. You talked to them.

DAD: You were always taking off. Disappearing from the house for months.

ME: I can't do that anymore. I have a wife and kids. You've never seen them.

DAD: Are they Steelers fans?

ME: No.

DAD: Oh. Go back to sleep.