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There will be books

Sunday 8/2/20

I apologize in advance because things are going to get a bit confusing with books. There will be a number of them coming out. Some will come out near the same time. It's pretty rare for this to happen. What usually occurs with an author is they take a long time to write a book. That book will be like their other books. If they write on twentieth century American history, the book will be on some facet of twentieth century American history. If they write so-called "literary fiction" in which they fictionalize some portion of their life and call it invention, then that is what they will do with each book. Every few years, they'll have one of them come out. Maybe more than every few years. Every seven. Ten. Whatever the number is. When that book comes out, places and people will shill for it. The book will be favorably reviewed, often by people who have made up their mind what kind of review they'll write before they even have the book, it will be featured on websites, included in lists of "books you must read this summer." There will be promotional efforts behind the book, interviews will set up for the author. The coverage will be widespread, the reviews of the puff variety, because that author is not blacklisted by an entire industry. They'll have the right agent, the right background, the expected level of mediocrity, the right identity politics, and on the basis of these things you'll be told that their work which has no value has great value. You might buy it, you won't like it, you'll read less. Many times bitten, many times shy.

As readers of these pages know, things are a little different here right now. You'll hear me bemoan the fact that I keep getting better. I had mentioned when someone astutely said to me that it takes so much time and effort to even begin to understand what I am. There is no historical precedent. In one way that person was talking about the range. That the best writer on sports could be the best writer on music could be the best fiction writer and do all kinds of fiction at that so that you don't understand how it could always be them. I find that I keep expanding. That's part of what I mean by getting better. There is more I learn I can do and then do do. I keep growing. Is that good? It often feels like it isn't, when I was already so much, arguably too much, for that many people to have an inkling of what I am. Then again, there are no pieces written on me, there are no segments about me, there are no interviews pertaining to me, no coverage, no awards, no lights shone upon me. And I think that were those things in place and/or happening, understanding would come easier. I believe they will be in place at some point. The sooner the better, obviously. In the meanwhile, I try to move forward with a different approach than anyone has.

The approach is in large part dictated by my ability. Also my productivity. And my range. What I have elected to do is create all the books I can create right now, and get them out there. Get them out there as fast as possible. Each one is unique. Each one has no overlap with any other. By me or by anyone. There isn't going to be a publicity campaign behind a book of mine right now. Consider Buried on the Beaches: Cape Stories for Hooked Hearts and Driftwood Souls. The essence of that book is its humanness. I would say that is the essence of all my books, even with their variety. Dark March is very far removed from Buried on the Beaches stylistically. Tonally. It is a death-in-life nightmare that has a lot of animals in it, a work not just of the evening but of an agonal portion of night, this space between endurance and death, where things can go either way, but with a nudge to the former. No work, I believe, better encapsulates what it feels like to be broken and experience the removal of one's heart from one's body. To help sugar the pill, it's also funny in parts.

Buried on the Beaches is not that way. The characters are faced with real challenges and we see how they perform and come through, allowing that they come through, but you could read it on the beach on a day like this one is shaping up to be, could recommend it to many people to also read on beaches. It's pure pleasure, but with the life inside of it still being real, and a form of a vacation in a book. Do you know what I mean by that? I don't mean a getting away. Think of the best vacation you ever had as a kid. Maybe you experienced nature like you never had, and that formed this magical memory for you of walking down paths with your friends and eating wild blueberries or going out for the first time on your own after parents dropped you off and getting pizza and kissing this boy the last night before he left and you never knew if you'd see him again. Those vacations. Buried on the Beaches is that kind of vacation in a book. You could live in Anchorage, Alaska and love it because of the humanness.

But on Cape Cod, this would become the official book of the region. Every Cape Codder would love this book. Every store would stock it, now and indefinitely. The non-bookstores would stock it. Christmas Tree Shoppes would stock it. Everyone who vacations there, used to go there, passed through their, worked a boat there, docked there, what have you. But no one on Cape Cod knows about the book. The Cape Cod Times not only won't cover it, they won't even write me back. The person who has been in every magazine there is. Pretty messed up, isn't it? Further, this is someone from Cape Cod, who was born there. To know about the book, you'd have to know what I do. If you, for instance, experienced my Beatles work, you would perhaps assume that that is all I do. Because why, really, would you read something you thought was from the world's leading Beatles expert and think that maybe they wrote excellent fiction, too? You wouldn't. If by some chance you learned that, you'd never allow that they were sports expert, too. But say you did. You'd never then allow that they did polarizing op-eds. Film writing. Were an art expert. You see how each thing you learn about me can also make you stop learning anything else? You'd have to do some work, look around, spend time on this site. People tend not to do anything. They do what they're told. They like what they're told to like.

No one, right now, is going to tell you to do anything on my behalf. If someone tells you to check out my work, that will be via word of mouth, not any official organ of this industry. Can that change fast? Sure. In theory. Will I work with you if you've shat on me for years? I will. Because I don't look at it as working with you. I don't have feelings when it comes to this. All I care about is getting the work to the people it is for, who would care about it. That's it. That overrides all. Everyone who comes here can see what I am, at least in part. Everyone can see what I do and achieve every week. There is no comparison to what any other author in the world is doing. That is fact, that is truth. Just as anyone can see what this industry is doing as a result, a reaction to someone being the way that I am. You know what matters, too? Genius lives. I know discrimination. I live with nothing but discrimination. Buried on the Beaches would be a bestseller just with the Cape element. But people inclined to be into that element have no idea the book exists. That's but one example.

Who hasn't known a pain of heartbreak and loss that they think is unique? Singular? Endemic to them? A pain so great that they were unsure if they could carry on, or could carry on in such a way that someday they might have a vestige of happiness?

Everyone has thought that. Dark March and The Anglerfish Comedy Troupe are the books for those people, the books that speak to them as though that pain was endemic to them, unique to them, and these are the books that best understand that and are there for you. They get it. For you specifically. I give a lot to my work. I give everything I am to my work. Between you, me, and the lamp post, I gave even more--the most--to those two books. Let that be our little secret. I gave so much to those books, and they were in turn so potent, that those two books changed me more than anything in this life ever has. More than my family, how I grew up, more than what Molly did, more than the love I thought I knew, more than betrayals I've experienced, more than hopes I've had, hope I still try to have.

This person of these pages owes more to those two books, this artist who does what he does now, than anything else. And they were not even written for me. They were written for you. Whomever you might be. Is that not universal? I think they are the two books in which the most people can find themselves, see themselves, help to be made to feel whole again, or simply be moved and inspired by the potentialities of the human condition for endurance and the human imagination.

But no one knows they exist. You're not going to buy something you don't know exists. People are also less inclined to buy something that's not talked about. The reasons why an industry makes sure there is no public mentioning of my work are quite plain, I think. If no one wrote about the Beatles, they could have been a band that made Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper, and Abbey Road, and those could have been rare vinyl collector's items that no one knew about. We're just more apt to say something--now more than ever--when others saying it. We're much more apt to look at what others are looking at.

Get the books out there, I thought. Just get them out there. Have them available for people for when this changes. If they won't be covered now, what difference does it really make if two come out around the same time? Or three in a year? Or four? Or five? If someone knows about one book that came out, they're going to assume that is the only book that came out. I know this. That's one reason I'm trying to be clear here. Because a lot will be coming out. I know there is a devoted pocket of people right now who will read it all. Spread the word, please. Explain. Elucidate. "This guy is not like anyone else, you need to read this, you need to watch what he does."

I'm not playing for right now. I'm not playing for the moment. I'm playing for soon. Ideally soon. What will have to happen in my story, for this to work, for me to get where I'm going, is that people are going to go back. They'll understand, be made aware, that here are all of these books, and they weren't books you didn't hear of because they weren't awesome. They were books you didn't hear of because this man was blacklisted and hated by some very evil people in a backwards, twisted, discriminatory, anti-reading system. The upshot of this is, is that you now get all of these diverse masterpieces at once. You don't have to wait seven years for another one to come out, the floor under the Christmas tree is fully stocked. It's loaded with the gifts. The best gifts. Just come down from upstairs and unwrap the presents.

This is a unique situation. When someone has a work of art you love, and you read about an earlier album or book or what have you that they did that either didn't come out, or came out to little fanfare, you get that record or book if you're a diehard, but you get it expecting it's not going to be that good. You're a completist with that band. (Let's just call it a band. If you really like Joy Division, you've probably heard the material they made as Warsaw. Nowhere near as good as Unknown Pleasures, right? You didn't expect it to be--it was shelved--and people didn't talk about it that way when it did come out, and it turns out it wasn't near the same level. That's how this normally goes.) So, again, one will need to think differently here. Because this is like only learning about the Beatles in 1969 and discovering on that same day that they have these records called Rubber Soul, Revolver, and the White Album, that you have not ever heard of, and maybe they're pretty good, too. That's what's happening here.

I am always moving forward. There is always more work, new work. New art. New entertainment. But there will also have to be an element of going back. Five books, newly discovered, by one person, are going to fill the top five slots on bestseller lists. They'll span a lot of years. That's how I see this happening. People being here with me in the present. People being there with me in the future as new works come out. People being there with me in the past, as that which I wrought becomes new and of the moment to them.

So, this is my little preface for some of the book stuff and news that will be rolling out soon. Stay with me. Come with me. I have a lot to give you.


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