cooler than

with a book like cooler than, where the themes are very political, it is very tempting to do the obvious, especially from the point of view from an independant publisher/writer. you know the type: using the old typewriter font, making the cover look "underground" and tragically punk. but if there is one thing about writing that i've learned, is that steering clear of the obvious has always been more rewarding and interesting.

sure i've done the obvious and the cliche at times, i've called myself on it too, and i'm not afraid to admit it. sometimes the obvious, the cliche, is what a story needs. that being said, i try not to do too much of the obvious. for instance, there will always be a love interest, because that's what i seem to be obsessed with these days. but not only that, a love interest is what makes the center of the universe. sure it's particles and matter and stuff, but really, it's the disneyland gooey center that gets people, and there will always be an element of that. not only beause i'm obsessed by it, but beause i generally believe women are worth it. more than worth it. beyond it. that's not to say that i won't ever include a gay love interest. however, it seems writing a gay character almost feels cliche these days...

anyway, steering clear of the obvious has been very worthwhile for me, and it's made my books that much better. this is most apparent in this is hardcore, where there are cliched thriller genre elements in it, explosions and all, but there are some obvious areas where i had chosen to do the opposite of what was expected. the last half of the book really comes across that way. in desert sessions, i fell into the cliche trap a little too often. still a good book, but i was still trying to find that fine line between original thought and reinvention. reinvention is really nothing more than window dressing. it's a front. just admit it. they say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. and with desert sessions, i had a problem. but with everything that i've written since then, it's been a project of mine to shed away those early, amateur writer habits.

with cooler than, you won't see a dodgy, raw, punk-like story. what you will see is a polished, minimalist, and as a result, smarter political twist to the whole thing. from the cover, right on down to the font. there will be no rants, no finger wagging, no winking at the camera. this is hardcore was an exercise for me; not that i wasn't invested in it; far from it, for the first third of the book, i was incredibly invested in it. so much so that i endured a bout of real depression for two weeks beause of how close i felt to some of what the characters were going through. with that book, i basically wrote it beause i wanted to see if i could write a thriller. and i feel it was a success. cooler than, however, will be my attempt to stretch myself; to see if by writing less, i can say more. a lot more.

i've been reading hemingway's farewell to arms, and my eyes have really been opened wide. i realized that it's all there; the story, the characters, the themes... you don't need a couple dozen words. sometimes all you need is one. the right one. that's the rub. choosing the right word can be... painful at times.

in other news, i recently spoke with my model for the cover of this is hardcore, and she would like the pictures done sometime soon, most likely in january. for reasons that are personal, i was pondering switching models, finding someone different, but she seems genuinely interested to give it a second shot, which is a good thing. when i was making the decision to possibly switch models, perhaps going for a different physical type, i realized that i had two problems: 1) where was i going to find another model that would be as comfortable with her own body, as well as being comfortable enough to have me photograph her, as well as publish it into canada's national literary archives? short of me paying for a professional model, it would be tough, especially since i had a specific look in mind. she trusts me, and that, regardless of anything else, must be worth some thing. right? and 2) when i wrote the book, i had her in mind for the cover, and to change that, seems sort of disingenuous to me. from the first sentance that i wrote, to the last, she's been on the cover from the start. i know no one else will know the difference, but i wrote the book, and i'll notice the difference, and i couldn't be proud of that book if i somehow lied to myself about it. i can lie like the best of them; i just can't lie about my writing to myself.

at any rate, i'll probably have the cover to this is hardcore done sometime soon, and then i'll debut it here and on conquerednationpress.com. maybe i'll debut multiple covers and have people vote. and by people, it will most likely be just my friends. but whatever. i am going to try a different approach to the pictures this time; last time i had a very stilted, posed, almost fake bunch of shots. this time, i'm going to make it more fluid and dynamic and all around natural, which should make the pictures really great, because women look the best when they're just being themselves.


revolutionaries no more

something just hit me. it's a revelation that has sort of fucked things up for me, but in a good way. and by fucking up, i mean fucking up revolutionaries wanted. revolutionaries wanted is no more. at least not in its original incarnation. something came about when i was admiring how much i loved digital film. just how it looked, how grainy it was, how undeniably cool, visually that is, it looked. the movies that came to mind were 28 days later, collateral, and the upcoming Michael Mann reworking of the cheezy 80's show, miami vice, which actually looks really fucking good for a hollywood blockbuster.

i just loved how those movies looked and felt, and i've decided to try to capture that feel. that icy tone. it's what i want, more than anything at this point. so revolutionaries wanted, a political book that was supposed to be underground and grim and vicious, has now morphed into... get ready for this... cooler than, a book which will be just as political, but completely icy and grainy white and cold. each part of the book will have a colour theme - the first being white, and the second being blue. i can't believe i haven't stumbled upon this earlier. it just makes sense. the wintermen... the politics... the short, simple prose... it was all just working together, one by one, to slowly reveal itself, and i believe the whole picture has revealed itself to me. i just love it when a plan comes together.

this is the first time that i have changed the title to a book. i have never done that. i always start with the title first, then the rest. this is a first. and i believe that cooler than will be my best book yet. this is hardcore was head and shoulders above desert sessions in terms of story telling. cooler than will seek to combine the story telling of the first, with the ideas of the latter.

it has also occurred to me that i've been talking too much about the details of this new book. so for the sake of the story, there will pretty much be a blackout on any news on cooler than. that's not to say that i won't update this site with snippets of the book. stay tuned...


mr. mcnamara

"i think the human race needs to think about killing. how much evil must we do in order to do good."

robert s. mcnamara is a man forged in war. if you don't know him by now, you really should. this is a man responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, all under the tent of patriotic duty for the united states government. he has been considered evil, manipulative, coniving, arrogant, immoral... but at the same time, he's also been called brilliant and a mastermind. whatever, or whoever he is, one realizes that this is a man who has made decisions, good and bad, and now must live with them. and funny enough, he seems to be doing quite well.

the documentary, the fog of war: eleven lessons from the life of robert s. mcnamara, is an incredible film that some have criticized as being a platform for more of his egotistical blubber, while others have praised as being quite insightful and incredibly fascinating, if only as a character portrait of a man who not only helped engineer some of the military strategy behind the allied firebombings of japan, but also a man who helped president kennedy steer through the cuban missile crisis, as well as being at the forefront of the u.s. participation in vietnam. if you haven't seen this movie, go see it. it is infinitely fascinating. i did not think that his words would be so compelling, but when a man admits that he would have been tried as a war criminal had the united states lost the second world war, you tend to sit up and listen.

this is a good movie. a good documentary. what documentaries should be like. not the circus side show that michael moore's documentaries tend to be. a documentary is supposed to be about the subject, not its director. some say that errol morris, the director, was out-gunned, out-manned and out-witted by mcnamara. that mcnamara used him as a vehicle to relieve his own conscience. i don't necessarily think this is true. i think morris did what a film maker is supposed to do in this situation, which is to navigate, while letting mcnamara drive.

the reason i bring this up is because of the influence mr. mcnamara seems to be having on the writing of revolutionaries wanted. it's sort of unintentional, but not entirely unwelcome. don't get me wrong, i believe mr. mcnamara is as amoral as a human being can get, but there is merrit to his words, his life. for good or ill, he helped shape u.s. history. i just find myself thinking more and more about what he's said in the past few days.

revolutionaries wanted, i believe, will be a two part book. the first will be called wicked days, wherein you'll see a terrible war being waged. the second part will be called lay me down, and as the title suggests, will be something of a personal odyssey, which begs to answer the question, is it better to be forgotten than be remembered for giving in? i personally have an answer to that. to me the answer is very simple. but i'll leave it so people will read the damned book.

ps: music to write to: duran duran and elbow.


things that make you go "hmm..."

iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad just keeps the quotes coming. he's said a lot of things in the past month or so, most of them of the strictly pushing people's buttons type. for instance, he said that israel should be "wiped off the map." the latest thing he's said, is that the holocaust was "a myth," and that this myth is held even higher than the very belief in religion and prophets. as an example, he uses the fact that if a person expresses disbelief in god, nobody objects, but if a person rejects the holocaust, that person is condemned.

well i have news for Mr. Ahmadinejad; the holocaust happened, and god doesn't exist. how do i know? because there is physical evidence of the holocaust, as well as outright admittance of it by those who were privy to those crimes. so far, there is no such proof of god. i'm sorry, but someone writing some stories down on some paper does not constitute the proof of the existence of god. if that were the case, stephen king's cycle of the werewolf could be used to prove the existence of werewolves. that's all i have to say about that.


so i've been writing a bit more on revolutionaries wanted and i've come to the conclusion that it will be an extension of desert sessions. not to say that it will be the same, on the contrary, it will be the political book that desert sessions didn't end up being. to clarify, when i started writing desert sessions, it was actually called platform and it was intended to be a very political in-your-face book. well, the problem was, i didn't really have anything too solid to write on, so the book then morphed into a very personal book that ended up being the monster that desert sessions is today.

revolutionaries wanted on the other hand, will take off pretty much where the other book left off, politically speaking. as mentioned in the previous post, i am feeling in a very vicious mood, and the book has already started off pretty vicious, and i fear, will only get worse as things start to piss me off more and more. writing while angry, much like writing while under the influence, or any influence for that matter, is always bad for me. so i've got to learn to step away from my writing in order to prevent myself from infusing too much overt emotion into the book. it's gonna be nasty and grizzly.

at any rate, i have not yet "broken" the book. and by broken, i mean that there comes a moment when, after weeks of pondering, i suddenly crack the book wide open, and i can start writing as a flood of ideas just come pouring out. so far, that hasn't happened. i am still stuck on some of the major plot points, as well as the ending. as it is, the book is just a string of ideas and scenes. i have a feeling i won't break this book until the spring time.


three war films

ideas are dime a dozen. at least they are where i'm concerned. things just pop into my head, and i really have no idea how they will end up. for instance, this is hardcore started out as 100 pages to 1/2 a book. the other part was supposed to be i still love the bomb. this is hardcore was supposed to be a fantasy romp with the devil and with only two real characters. it turned out to have much more depth and realism than the first idea, even though it still contained some bizarre events. for the most part though, it became a thriller.

now i have an idea for yet another book. no, not revolutionaries wanted, although that one is starting to shape up quite nicely, with some solid ideas forming (i actually think it might end up a horror book. with real live vampires. imagine that: a political opus on human rights with vampires. actually, that's not so farfetched when you think about it). no, it is not live acoustic (open fire), my experimental piece in deliberately deciding against preperation - that one will probably never see the light of day. nor is it i still love the bomb, my modern epic / sci-fi piece. the new idea is actually called three war films. i don't really have a clear idea of what it will be about, but what i do know, is that it will have nothing to do with war in the conventional sense, because let's face it; i'm a lazy fucking writer. having to research for revolutionaries wanted is bad enough. if i had to map out a battle plan, i think my head would explode. seriously though, i have no idea what three war films will be about except that it will involve three seperate stories, each involving a specific colour. at this point in time, i have white, white, and black.

at any rate, i have completed the first chapter to revolutionaries wanted. with this book, i am trying a new twist to my writing; it seems that my writing gets more and more concise with each book i write, so now i am at the point where i use a lot of sentance fragments and one word descriptions. i have also grown tired of writing, he said and she said, so now i've dropped that altogether for a more point-form sort of dialogue. i think it will take a bit of getting used to, but it should become easy to follow. i've already posted most of this before, but here it is anyway...


Her arms are tight around him. Her face, buried close against the nape of his neck. Her chest tight against his back, her legs draw up behind his with her knees snug, locked into the back of his. Her long, wispy blond hair is in her face, with her eyes fluttering behind closed eyelids. The eyelashes are long and black and thick. Her skin, pale and lightly freckled with golden spots. Her nose is small. Her lips are pink and slightly parted, breathing evenly, warmly against the back of his neck. She’s soft, young, her body still clinging to what little teenage fat she still had left. The room, white, bright, and empty; she clings to him amongst the white sheets, an island amongst a sea of rough, worn, hardwood floor. Four in the afternoon, babies don’t sleep this well. The pursuit of pleasure is tiresome. In the warmth of the room, the blinding whiteness, she stirs and opens her eyes slowly. She sits up and looks at him, with his slightly long, shaggy black hair. She slips out of the bed carefully, the bra she’s wearing stands in striking black lines that cut through all the whiteness. Contrast. Stand out. She goes to the washroom, long white legs and all, and sits herself down on the toilet. She finds her black panties hanging from the towel rack and slips them on when she’s done. She wanders back to the bed and snuggles up behind him. The pursuit of pleasure. It’s tiresome.

He grabs the clear plastic jug and rinses it out in the sink. He starches his bare stomach. He goes into the refrigerator and grabs a can of frozen raspberry concentrate. Opens the can, he spills the contents into the jug. The log of juice splatters against the bottom of the jug and there’s blowback. He flinches as the red stuff flies up to splash him in his eye. He blinks rapidly and rubs the back of his hand into his eye, smearing the juice around further. He glances at his reflection in the stainless steel silver toaster. There’s blood in his eye. After mixing the drink, he wanders back to the bedroom where she’s still sleeping. He pours himself a glass and sits down on the bed, causing it to shift slightly. This is enough to disturb her. She opens her eyes and turns to him. Gazing. He accidentally spills some raspberry juice on the white covers and watches with dismay. The red splotches grow deep and expand. Circumference increasing. Fight the fabric. Winning. Here’s to all the rivals. She just looks at him, watching the expression change on his face.

Free space. Sean touches her face and examines the large image framed on the wall behind tepid glass and boxed in by clean, black lines. The image is white. The image is three feet by two. The image is blank, with the words, ‘free space’ inscribed just off centre. In block. Like this - FREE SPACE. She buttons up her shirt, his shirt, charcoal grey with pin stripes, and touches the clean glass, leaving fingerprints. She gathers up the shirt that hangs bulky off her slender frame, and wanders across the ocean of hardwood and takes a seat at the table. She watches John drown the little brown coco bits. A tsunami of white, creamy milk. They bob in the fluid liquid and it makes her smile. Obviously. Man overboard. One of them pops its head up over the milk and she reaches over to plunk it back down. John pours her a bowl of cereal and then peers inside and pulls out a shrink-wrapped prize.

- Pass the milk? – Sean says. What’s the toy?

- A truck.

- That’s nice.

- Got a winch on it. – John touches it.

- What’s it do?

- Winches.

- It’s red. I don’t like red. – She scrunches her nose.

- It was free.

- With a purchase.

- So?

- At least you can eat the cereal.

- So?

- Never mind.

- What are you doing today?

- Gonna dream of a world beyond diamonds and gold. – She smiles.

- That’s nice.

- You?

- I was hoping we'd fuck again.


musings on a muse

so i was in love with a girl. or i thought i was. i know now that it wasn't love, but more like obsession. fine line, that; between love and obsession. love is about giving in. obsession is about taking. and that's what i got confused with for a long, long time. i couldn't tell the difference, because, well, i had never felt it before. it was all new to me.

at any rate, i was obsessed with this girl. she will remain nameless - not that she reads this blog. every female character that i write, is in one shape or form about her. usually the character will take on her physical attributes or adopt some of her qwirks that just make her original. really though, if she were to stand in a crowd of girls her age, you probably wouldn't be able to pick her out. still, i loved her, or i thought i did. i spent too many long nights thinking about her, when in reality, she barely ever thought of me. what resulted was me basing the character of james in desert sessions on her, as well as the character of cassandra in this is hardcore. now i am in a predicament of writing a new character, sean, in revolutionaries wanted. it's odd, because i have transfered my interest from this girl, this sole girl, my muse if you will, to others. yet she still resides as the standard, to whom i compare all girls to. no one is ever as pretty as she is, or as likable as she is, even though the truth might be the opposite. when people get into your head, it's pretty tough to get them out, i find. and it really isn't her fault at all; it's funny how some people can just destroy you, just by failing to realize that you exist. and that's what this is hardcore was mainly about: the confusion of love and obsession and failing to realize the existence of others outside one's own pained world view.

obsession is a bitch. don't be a slave to it, because it's unhealthy. (if you're gonna be a slave, be a slave to rock'n roll!) it was unfair to her, because it placed her in a position in my mind that she could never live up to, and it's unfair for me, because i shouldn't waste my life on someone who isn't interested. do i still think she's gorgeous? you bet. do i still think she's amazing and incredible and intelligent? definitely. but do i crave her? not so much. still, for better or worse, she will be my muse. i am endevoring to write another female character into revolutionaries wanted who will be everything that this girl is not. it's a tough task, but i think i'm up for it. they say the first step is recognizing that you have a problem. well, i have a problem. and i'm going to do something about it. that seems to be my mantra as of late: recognize my problem, do something about it. just call me action jackson.

hey, i just got an idea: since rubber bracelets seem to be the fad these days (eg: the one campaign), i think i'm gonna start passing around rubber bracelets of my own. they'll say, "free loring." how's that for indulgence? at any rate, i already know now that revolutinaries wanted is going to be vicious, and cruel, and just a downright mind fuck. i'm in a vicious mood. can you tell?