Saturday, January 19, 2013

T.C. Boyle

“I do feel that literature should be demystified. What I object to is what is happening in our era: literature is only something you get at school as an assignment. No one reads for fun, or to be subversive or to get turned on to something. It's just like doing math at school. I mean, how often do we sit down and do trigonometry for fun, to relax. I've thought about this, the domination of the literary arts by theory over the past 25 years -- which I detest -- and it's as if you have to be a critic to mediate between the author and the reader and that's utter crap. Literature can be great in all ways, but it's just entertainment like rock'n'roll or a film. It is entertainment. If it doesn't capture you on that level, as entertainment, movement of plot, then it doesn't work. Nothing else will come out of it. The beauty of the language, the characterisation, the structure, all that's irrelevant if you're not getting the reader on that level -- moving a story. If that's friendly to readers, I cop to it."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

And Now For Something Entirely Different...

Well shit.  Things have slowed down pretty good and I've got more time on my hands to actually get a bit of writing done.  However, I'm not back in the swing of things just yet.  The brain's like a muscle and all that jazz.  The fiction-writing portion of my brain has gotten a bit flabby of late, but I don't wanna keep neglecting this blog so it's time for an experiment...or a compromise if we're being accurate.  I've got a part of story that I'm satisfied with.  I like the story idea, I like the portion that I've written out, and I'm gonna post it and pretend that I've got enough followers to actually get some feedback on it in hopes of spurring me forward and toning my brain back up.  If any of you ladies and gentlemen care to feed my delusions then please lemme know whatcha think of this introductory excerpt and this experiment as well.  If this little experiment actually pans out (and who the hell actually expects that it will?) I'll prolly give this another shot--and even if I don't get any feedback I'll prolly still do this again if it tickles me right.

Soul Food (excerpt)

The sin-eater was tall, almost a head taller than anyone else in the room, and a malnourished-looking skinny.  His biceps and triceps were thin slivers of overly tenderized skirt steak glued to either side of his humerus.  A cheap fleece-lined hunting jacket hung across his too-thin shoulders.  It was probably green, but filth and exposure had rendered it a vague shade of dark something and gray-nothing bits of stuffing poked through the various slits and holes.  Underneath the jacket was a white t-shirt with a capital ‘A’ on it that could have been the anarchy symbol or a poorly drawn pentagram or even the beginnings of a mediocre attempt at Aerosmith’s logo.  His jeans were in shambles, worn through in multiple places and so thoroughly caked with dirt as to look like they had been brought straight from the sweatshop pre-dirtied.  His boots were almost entirely covered in various dark shades of duct tape.  Creased, dirty, and sun-baked, his face matched his clothes.  His crooked nose was too flat, his cheekbones pressed against his skin too hard, and his chin came to a point.  His eyes were small and dark and hid beneath heavy brows and his hair stopped at his jaw line as if raggedly sheared by the sharp edge kept by his jawbone.  He leaned against the wall and flurries of dust shotgunned off.


Half the room started checking their shoelaces and the other half checked the wallpaper for tears.  One person made eye contact and offered a nod and a strained facsimile of a smile in return.  Mary Whitaker was the stout head of the Whitaker family and was determined not to show superstitious fear in front of anyone.  She was not so determined, however, that she would offer the sin-eater a handshake.  Whereas the sin-eater could have been hung up on a wooden post in a cornfield, Mary Whitaker could have been rolled down the hallway like Violet Beauregard—if the roller was willing to lose the hands with which they rolled and then be strangled with them.