I know this blog is better known for screaming ranting hate and me bitching very loudly about things like cupcakes or Brad Pitt’s hair or smoke detectors and other things, but occasionally – very occasionally – I talk about things I love that are not currently being shit on by Peter Jackson and instead wax rhapsodic – or, well, as close as I can get to rhapsody at any rate – about things that bring me joy. This is one of those posts. Sorry to disappoint you guys.
Anyway, I love The Silmarillion. It’s been my favorite book since I took in the first few pages a long long time ago. I know I’m in the minority on this one. In fact, I know only one other person who agrees with me. Even people who love Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings can’t get through it at all in a lot of cases. Most people say it’s dry, it’s dull, hard to read, hard to keep track of what’s going on, etc etc yadda yadda.
I get it. It’s not written like most books. Of course, it’s not really written by Tolkien himself, since it was basically an attempt by his son Christopher to turn the vast amount of notes and work-in-progress stuff into a single cohesive narrative to share the history of Middle-Earth. But I’ve never thought of it as dry. Matter-of-fact, maybe, but there is a sort of poetry to the whole thing all at the same time. Check this out:
Blue was her raiment as the unclouded heaven, but her eyes were as grey as the starlit evening; her mantle was sown with golden flowers, but her hair was dark as the shadows of twilight. As the light upon the leaves of trees, as the voice of clear waters, as the stars above the mists of the world, such was her glory and her loveliness; and in her face was a shining light.
That’s fucking poetry, only less emo and not bullshitty like James Franco.
Holy shit. I knew it had been awhile since I’d posted anything here, but I didn’t realize that it’d been a year-and-a-fucking-half. Time really flies when you don’t have anything you want to say.
Well, I’m back now. Hopefully for good. I spent some time recently reading through some of my old posts and I was pleasantly surprised by some of what I wrote. I even laughed out loud at some of the shit that I have no memory of writing, which is always a treat. So I was contemplating a return to this place, exercise my brain and try to recapture the voice that I use here, since that voice is the same voice in Waiting on the Dead and I’m seriously out of practice with the manic foul-mouthed hate-fueled style that me and the narrator both use to dish out bullshit thinly disguised as thoughts and half-baked observations about ephemera and terrible adaptations of the things I love (fuck you, Hobbit movies) in that particular cadence that evokes the ramblings of a meth-fueled ex-child-star with a microphone shoved into his face for the first time in a decade.
OK, run-on sentence achievement unlocked. That’s a good sign.
So anyway, I have no idea what I’m going to say here tomorrow or Friday or whenever. I have some ideas – someone told me I should retell the story from the Silmarillion in plain English and in a conversational style, which appeals to me since most people would rather gargle nail polish remover than read that book, which is crazy because it’s the best book of all time, but whatever, some people have no taste, but I also realize that it would end being more words than is actually in the Silmarillion because I’ve never met a sentence that couldn’t stand to have a few adjectives and adverbs and clauses and asides shoved in there – that I may work with, or I might talk about a movie project that I’m currently involved in, or I might just bitch about the terrible sound quality of America’s drive-thru speaker system – if we don’t maintain our infrastructure, America, then the terrorists win - or some other random thing that no one but me gives a shit about. We shall see.
I wasn’t surprised when I returned about one thing, though: people still really fucking want to know if they found Sophia in The Walking Dead. You’d think three years would have gotten the message out, especially if you know who Sophia is and care enough to look up if she got found but can’t be bothered to watch the show or talk to anyone about it, but whatever. 100 visits a day to a blog that hasn’t been updated in forever is something nice to come home to.
And yes, I just spent five hundred words communicating something that could have effectively done in two, which means that I might just be able to recapture the old spirit of this whole shebang. So for the TL/DR assholes out there, allow me to give you the two-word version of this post:
Fine, three words then.
It’s a win-win, right? You do the writing, I copy and paste it, slap my name on the cover, and pay you in those most priceless of gifts, an Acknowledgement and a death in print! (It’s priceless, you see, because I will not be paying you in actual money in any way, therefore having no price for me whatsoever.) I mean, who could pass up a deal like that? You won’t find a better one – well, at least maybe a more honest one – in town!
OK, so now this is where I explain that I haven’t gone completely off the deep end, thereby invalidating the prize for everyone who had April 17th 2013 in the pool for Yep, Alan’s Finally Snapped and Needs a Burly Escort to the Rubber Room.
Ahhhh, spring. That time of natural and spiritual renewal, when life shrugs off the long cold grip of winter and embraces life anew, reveling in the rebirth and joy that the change of seasons brings. The heart lifts, the trees bloom, and smiles and good feelings towards all creation shine forth from the sense of freedom and reawakening that only Spring can bring. Read the rest of this entry →
This morning, my wife asked me to tell her a story. This is what came out.
On a farm in Northreach, a child was playing alone behind the barn. His carved wooden soldiers were crude and simple, but he loved them anyway. His father had carved some of them, but some – the boy’s favorites – had been made by his father’s father, and despite the wood being worn from two generations of loving handling, those three figures were always the heroes and kings and generals, whatever the story in the boy’s head needed them to be. The day was cold, since winter was not long passed, but much of the snow was gone and behind the barn the ground was dry and free from the mud that seemed to be the main component of the farm during early spring.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 38,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 9 Film Festivals
This is a short story, except nothing really happens in it, so I guess it’s not really a story. It’s something, anyway, whatever it is. I wrote it, so it’s not mine anymore, and reading it makes it yours. Sorry about that.
All I know is I must be a real joy to work with.
This one’ll be short, actually, not the short where I say this is going to be short and it ends up at 1,200 words which generally isn’t short by blog standards but is incredibly short by my standards, but more like the short that is short because it’s short. And yes it took me 48 words to say “this is short”, because I am still me, after all. Anyway, I wanted to say I’m sorry for the lack of updates and vitriol and whatnot. Life has been uber-crazy lately and my muse has decided to spend the last couple of months in Tahiti apparently. I probably won’t be watching The Walking Dead anymore, because the last 2 episodes I saw broke me. I will write up why at some point but I can’t even muster up the energy needed to do that yet, so it’ll appear at some point. I’ll be back to batshit-crazy-guy at some point. Promise.
Aravan, God of Transexuals
Side note: yes, I know I’m a week late on The Walking Dead Episode 3. I just finished watching it this morning since I was busy last week. Plus the events of Episode 4 were surprisingly spoiled by close to a dozen people on Facebook within hours of it being shown, leaving me ambivalent for the moment. I’ll get to them. Promise. Here’s a heapin’ helpin’ of rage to tide you over.
World War Z is a book. It’s a zombie book. It was written by Max Brooks, son of Mel, who also wrote The Zombie Survival Guide. Both of them are considered essential reading by zombie aficionados for very good reasons. They are smart, well-written, and funny while treating their subject matter seriously. They are near and dear to my heart, as they are to many. Upon finishing my first zombie novel, The Curse of Troius, my dear friend and sadly passed Carl Spicer declared simply, “I’ve only read one good zombie novel, and that was World War Z.” (Sorry Carl, you know I can’t resist telling people that even though you tried to explain what you meant. It’s too good a line. Miss you, bud.) Max Brooks’ books are the literary equivalent to Romero’s cinematic influences on the entire zombie genre.
What makes World War Z special for me and many others is its story structure. Instead of focusing on a particular protagonist, the story is presented as one-on-one interviews with a wide range of people who were involved in the zombie war that ended ten years prior to the story. This allows the tale of the war to spin out in little vignettes, from its ostensible beginnings in China to its spread throughout the world and eventual conclusion, as told by the eyewitnesses to the events. The different stories highlight bravery and cowardice, self-sacrifice and self-promotion, agony and joy and despair and hope and everything in between. The eyewitnesses are neither good nor bad; they’re people, some more sympathetic than others. Reading through the novel provides the best of both worlds: the epic saga of man’s battle against the shambling hordes of the infected dead as a whole, and the harrowing and humanizing tales of the individuals swept up in it all. It is a remarkable book. If you’ve never read it, buy it here. It will not disappoint.
It’s official. The most popular zombie fantasy novel series in Bear, Delaware has the next installment available for mass purchase. The Storm of Northreach, Book Two of the Northreach Saga (see, I always wanted to write a saga. Trilogies are for the organized. A saga, man, that just sounds epic. Had to write a saga.), is now available for purchase in paperback form. With a limited edition cover, no less, commemorating my friends and loyal supporters at The Days of Knights in Newark Delaware. In fact, DoK’s has signed copies you can buy, right off the shelf, like it’s a book or something. If you can’t get to DoK’s, though, you can get Storm through Amazon. It won’t be signed, but that’s your problem. The Kindle and other ebook versions will be available soon, so have patience, you loyal rabid followers, you.
In the meantime, the fantastic Candice Bundy has interviewed me over at her blog where I expound on literature, wine, and chocolate ice cream. Check it out, then make fun of me in the comments or behind my back or wherever, it’s all good.
Not only that, but the Coolest Man in the World - Steven Montano – has a preview blurb up for Storm today that is eight thousand times more professional and awesome than anything I’ve done for my own book. That’s because he’s the Coolest Man in the World.
Finally, here’s a link to an excerpt from the novel that gives nothing away of the main story but gives you an idea of what the books are like. Note the hilarious estimate of Storm being a 2011 release. Hahahahahaha! Still, it’s a saga.
In case you’re curious, here’s the description of The Storm of Northreach, Book Two of the Northreach Saga (you can’t tell me that when you say Saga in your head that it’s not done in a James Earl Jones-esque voice, all weighty and full of gravitas and shit. Saga. Saga.):
The storm is breaking, and the undead are loosed.
The legacy of the insane necromancer Troius lives on. Now freed from his control, the scattered remnants of his undead horde stalk the isolated hamlets of Northreach. The survivors of the destruction of Daneswall seek shelter from the oncoming storm, while soldiers of Baron Northreach are sent to investigate the strange message sent by the Baron’s son. Meanwhile, the city of Anticus, proud and insular, ignores the troubles of the backwater region of Northreach, unaware of the torrent bearing down from the north.
It’s a fuckin’ saga, man. That’s some cool shit right there.