Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dark Gloves, Bleeding Hearts

Art of Darkness: The Cinema of Dario Argento is one of those books you have to have if you are an Argento fan. I have the oversized softcover, which is overflowing with beautiful color pictures and examinations of the man and his movies. I reviewed it on Amazon a couple of years ago, and I stick by that review. It's not light reading, and it's not meant for the casual Argento fan.

Film books are a bit hit and miss with me. I have a section of my library devoted to them, but I'm fairly picky about what I keep. I'll read just about any one, but if I don't think I'll reference it or read it again, I put it on eBay. I've never put a FAB Press book up for auction, and don't think I ever will. Art of Darkness is why.

When you read this book (and most of the FAB books are much the same in this regard), you don't just read about the films being covered. You relive them. You see them in a brand new light. You learn things, and those newly discovered tidbits make you want to go out and see the movies all over again. And this time you will view them with new, but educated eyes. Few film books can do that. FAB books almost always do.

I can't recommend these tomes enough to fans of cinema. The price and depth of the books means you have to enjoy the director or films being covered, but if you do you will get your money's worth and then some. More importantly, you'll get an education on par with a college course.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Manuscript is Out

I sent out my manuscript last week. A hope and a prayer, right? The word count is less than what the publisher is looking for, but if the story wows it, the word count can be worked around. If it's an "on the fence issue," then the word count will mean rejection.

I could add a few scenes, but it would change the story and the flow. I crafted it carefully. It moves like I want it to. It is short, but sweet, and at this point any additional scenes will probably do a disservice to the overall experience.

We shall see.

I finished Selfish, Little. It was far from pleasant. Gave me two nightmares. Got to hand it to the author, Peter Sotos, for that. His work is not easy to read, but he does have some valid points on the media and how it handles child sex crimes. I've written about it before here and on the Cancerous Zeitgeist blog, so I won't delve into it again. Needless to say I'm onto more pleasant books now. I'm reading about the rise of the Fourth Reich in Jim Marrs book of the same name. From child murderers to Nazis. 'Tis the season, right?

A friend asked me what I would like to come of the manuscript. First and foremost is the book. I want it published. In the past I thought I would never let my books be optioned for movies unless I had some say over them. (Hey, I can dream.) I have since changed my stance on that and have gone the James Ellroy route. Just give me a check. I don't give a fuck what you do with it. The book exists and no movie can change that. Books a book. A movie's a movie. Pretty simple. Ideally, I'd love to get enough to quit my job and write full-time. That would be the dream. Of course, it's been years and that hasn't happened, and I don't expect it to, but I'm trying to think positive. Writing is what makes me happy. It is therapeutic. It can inspire. That's all good stuff. That has meaning. That gives me a legacy to leave my daughter.

(On a related note, John Lithgow was on television last night. I pointed him out and said, "See that guy? He wrote a short story at the same time I did. Amazon published both. Mine outsold his." She told me that was pretty cool that a "normal" guy outsold a "famous actor guy." Damn straight.)

It's a good dream. A positive one. If it happens -- great. If not -- I'll keep trying. I know the story has merit. I would not have wrote it otherwise. I know there is an audience for it, and I know it would make a great movie (I would put Rob Zombie in place as director).

I'll keep you all posted.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Selfish, Little: The Annotated Nightmares

Transgressive author Peter Sotos' Selfish, Little: The Annotated Lesley Ann Downey is what I would describe as not being for the faint of heart. I actually blame it for a horrible nightmare I had ... and I can't stop reading.

It would be easy to dismiss Sotos as a racist pedophile (descriptions that are, I believe, accurate), but you can't dismiss the fact that Sotos has a keen eye to how the media eroticizes missing and abused children. He's candid about his desires, actions and thoughts. The media is not. For him to call the media on this is not only brilliant, it is also a fascinating insight into the mindset of Sotos.

This book was given to me as a birthday present from Mirror. She has wondered if it was the right thing to do. It was. It was actually on my Amazon Wish List, so no complaints. Can I recommend it to anyone? No, not really. After all, this is not I Stand Alone, which at least has artistic merit. That's not to say Sotos' work isn't artistic. It is ... but for a very select few.

Chris Hansen from To Catch A Predator (a show I think is very guilty of the exact things Sotos describes) needs to interview Sotos. I'd love to see the two of them go at it.

Consider yourself warned.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Is This the Future?

I'm currently reading Art to Choke Hearts and Pissing in the Gene Pool by your friend and mine, Henry Rollins. My friend Blue noticed I was reading it and asked why. I explained that I had read Rollins a lot in my teen years and early twenties and was now just reading it to read again. It's always good to revisit the books you like. She knows some of the stress I'm under, some of the problems I'm having, so she asked if maybe I wasn't reverting back to those years. I stated I wasn't and couldn't; I'm a different person now.

At the same time, Celebrity Watchdog George Anthony Watson commented on a comment I left on Mirror's blog (all these names -- sounds like The Usual Suspects). He said my comment sounded like a bad chapter out of one of Rollins' books and then added that they were all bad chapters.

I haven't read much of Rollins' later stuff. I imagine it is in the same place as before. Isolation. Hatred. Rage. Introspection. Questioning society. I don't think those are bad things to write about, as they are constants in society. Yeah, it may show little progression, but should we really progress beyond these things?

I read Rollins now not because I have to in order to stay centered, but to remind myself of where that center is. I don't feel all that he feels. I don't relate to all of it or even most of it, but I relate to it enough and always have to know that reading Rollins can put the world back into the right light for me. It's not about reversion. It's about navigation.

I believe that in 200 years from now, Rollins' books will still be in print and still be relevant. There may be college classes focused around them. It seems insane to say that now, but I do believe it. I believe that his writing touches on something in a set group of people (larger than anyone can imagine) that isn't being written about today -- and definitely isn't being written about in that way. One of the closest things I can think of that came close to capturing some (not all) of that spirit on a mass level was the film Fight Club. Too bad most of the people who saw it misunderstood it, but that doesn't dilute the message.

And that is why I'm rereading him. The message got diluted. This clears it up.