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.