Category Archives: Books

His Name Was Writ In Water

Here lies a poor bastard who died never finishing David Foster Wallace’s book Infinite Jest, though this bastard tried, so hard. Ahh, rest in peace, sucker.

Was entirely prepared to have that etched onto my gravestone. Oho, but what’s this? Behold, do not call me ‘moof’ anymore; I now answer only to the title “Lord of the Universe, Eater of Worlds’ because….

I finished it. I finished it.
I motherfucking finished it.
::dance dance dance dance dance dance dance::

I have been reading IJ, on and off, for what seems like at least half a year. ‘The truth will set you free, but not before it’s done with you,’ an addict old-timer says on an AA podium–he was talking about addiction; hah, he was talking about this book. He was talking about everything, I suspect.

Warning: Coherent review will not follow.

‘What is that book about?’ Legitimate question, as I am always lugging this enormous brick around. I mutter lamely. I make gestures…

‘There’s this virtuoso junior tennis player… who also happens to be a sort of weekend-genius… there are two spies, an American, and a Canadian paraplegic, talking in the desert… there is a half-way house of drug/alcohol addicts, their handlers, caretakers and overseers and their mysterious ways… there is a horribly addicted girl who covers her face with a veil… and a movie (what they call in this strangely North-Ameriparallel but not QUITE North American modern world ‘an entertainment’ of such supremely sublime pleasure value that one glimpse of it will leave you drooling and foaming for more more more until you die.’

Let me start over.

Infinite Jest is about addiction. Addiction to highs, natural, synthetic, emotional, psychological–addiction to excellence, to top performance, to weed, to horse, to tennis, to killing animals, to DILAUDID, to love, to work, to sex, to fame–addiction to lows, and when Foster Wallace goes low, he goes really low, like rip out your eyeballs low, like can you please remove that last five pages from my memory banks low, because you write so VIVID, it’s like I’m having a false memory now. Like I was there.

This is a book about entertainment, like ‘entertainments’–what is entertaining, why do humans crave to be entertained, stimulated, sometimes, at any physical and emotional cost; why, just on this book, you will find many reviews of readers, perhaps rightfully complaining, that a book so long winded, so unorganized, so hard-to-finish has no right–to what? Exist? Be lauded as a genius masterpiece creation? Does an entertainment fail when too many people don’t ‘get it’? And speaking of those annoying fucking air-quotes to let you all know I am too hip to use a phrase as pedestrian as ‘get it’, are we as a society getting strangled by our insistence of always being more clever, more jaded, more issue-laden, more washed-out, more fact-oriented and more cliche-conscious than the next guy? Is David Foster Wallace asking that question, or is he demonstrating, by shanghaiing me into reading 1000+ pages of codswollop, that that is, in fact, what is happening here? I will plow through this because I don’t want anybody to think I did not quote unquote get it??

Sometimes, this book is just one big joke and you, as in I, are the personal hairy butt of it. Because (and addicts often have this mentality too) I am at the center of the universe, correct? Well, my universe, at least.

I was offended by this book. So deeply. Multiple times, I said fuck it. I can only be jerked off for soooo long. Thank you David Foster Wallace for making my wiener bloody, thank you.

Sometimes, ‘Infinite Jest’ and I were on hiatus. But a book and our interface with one is a metaphor for many things, a relationship amongst others, book to reader, and then author to book to reader, and if I think of it that way, that David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest and I were engaged in an on-and-off metaphysical threeway for the last six months… well then I’d say it was totally worth it. ~_~

My advice is hang in there. Getting frustrated by the SAT vocab bombs? You were not alone… You’re starting to chaff after a 20+ page description of a tennis match? Grab lube, keep on. Getting queasy after the tenth page intimately describing a father nightly raping (or was she enjoying it?) his severely physically disabled daughter and her present adoptive sister’s reaction to it? Skip it. But try to hang in there. Haha, like at an AA meeting.

One day of sobriety at a time. Sometimes, I crawled along, eye-balls pulsing, one measly page at a time.

Absurd, uplifting, stinky, drug-ridden, ambitious, truthful, synthetic, flowing, nonsensical, earnest, disgustingly smart and often hilariously funny. You know, like life. Adored it and despised it and will remember it forever.

PS: bricolage, cachinnate, febrile, fuliginous, inutile, scopophilia, and tear-assing down a hill.

WWJD?

No, not Jesus. What would John do?

As in John Steinbeck.

This isn’t John Steinbeck. This is one of my other writing spirit guides, Arthur Rimbaud. With mushrooms, inspired by this lovely blog.

Writing is a little  stressful. I’m trying to wrap up my second novel (3rd, if a graphic novel counts) and it’s stressin’ me a bit out.  Because I think too much. Here’s my advice as one wannabe writer to other aspiring writers:

Don’t fucking THINK. Just write. Thinking is the little mind-killer.

However, in times of over-thinking I sometimes wish I could call some people up. Like John Steinbeck. Man, would I love to ring him up, but he’s dead. Yeah, thanks a lot Death, you  fuck up everything. Good thing there is the internet. All these worries I have in my head, John Steinbeck has addressed them in the past,  aware already that future generations would need to draw on his extreme amazingness, so I pass this along to you, dear readers who may also be writers. Next time you’re penning something and you get stuck and think, What Would John Do?, maybe these tips will come in handy.
And remember, start by abandoning all hope ye who enter here ^^

Worry One: Fucking a, I’ve been writing this for months, nay, years. Am I EVER going to finish? John says:

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

Worry Two: Mmm, I’m kind of stuck on this passage/plot development area thingie. Oh I know, I’ll go back and fine-tune this shoddy language. I’m totally not doing this to procrastinate and not continue. I promise. John says:

2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

Worry Three: Will anybody ever give two screws for this book/story? I feel like I’m writing this for that one friend I still really like from way back when… John says:

3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

Worry Four: Ughhhh, this scene is KILLING me! I can’t, I can’t get past it… I… John says:

4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.

Worry Five: I love this scene. It’s so wonderful, I want to make sweet love to it, slip a diamond ring on its finger and marry it. Too bad it doesn’t really fit in the grand scheme of things. Oh I know, I’ll just rewrite the entire fucking book to make it fit. John says:

5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.

Worry Six: Okay, this is actually something I don’t worry about. I am very much in the habit of reading what I’ve written out loud to make sure it sounds okay and I do recommend it heartily.

6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

And the best, right here–

“If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story.”

John Steinbeck, how are you so wise??? ::sobs::

Read the full article and more on John Steinbeck here.

Infinite Jest II

It’s 1:44 am in Munich Germany. Do you know what your kids are doing?

Whatever it is, I hope to god they’re not scumbling. O_O

detail from a pic that required scumbling

Otherwise known as the act of moving the side of your colored pencil’s very finely sharpened tip in a careful, circular motion over the paper to achieve nice subtle values shifts while you pump bad techno music into your ears. It takes so much time that I definitely can’t recommend it for people who have a life.

In other mews, I’m reading a book.

Scratch that.

I am in a relationship with a book.

Like, we spend time with each other every day and he teaches me words so million dollar, not even WordPress has them in its spell-check, candent and neurasthenic and bilirubic, and he frustrates me to no end (the book seems to me to be of the male persuasion) and he can be very long winded sometimes (oh god, just now, he is carrying on about a game he used to play with his tennis buddies during the teenage years, a sort of ‘Risk’ on angel-dust experience, I could die it’s so boring, this description, but he is just so smart and funny and full of soul that even though we’re utterly incompatible and I have already cheated on him with at least three other books since we started going out (not to mention the thousands of people he has on the side of me, at this very moment, sniiff, how could you, IJ!) well, despite all these obstacles, I cannot help but love him and love him.

Or in the very least, never forget him.

David Foster Wallace said that fiction and literature were tools to combat the loneliness inside, and when I read Infinite Jest, I believe him.  Trying to tell someone what it’s about… it’s like trying to tell someone what life is about really–everything and nothing. It has the universe between the covers.

You can check out my lover here.

<3

‘e-reader?! I hardly even know her!’

So how do y’all feel about e-readers? Nooks, Kindles, call-them-what-you-wills?

What? Shy crowd? Don’t want to say? All right. I’ll go first. That’s cool, I’ll toss the first stone.

I hate them.
No, I fucking hate them.
Mmm, maybe that’s wrong, maybe ‘hate’ is too strong a word to be applied to such a sleek little piece of technology–it’s more that I think they’re evil. Deep, dark, uber-evil, the kind of evil that comes about only once in a century, like if you could bend the laws of physics and biology as we know them and get Joseph Stalin and Jeffrey Dahmer to procreate and an e-reader would be the result of that unholy union type of evil.

Now, before any of my gentle readers start getting the hairs on the backs of their necks in a rise, rest assured: I hate the e-reader. Not the e-reader user. I used to feel an abject pity whenever I saw otherwise perfectly normal looking people using e-readers, but then the Venn-diagram circle labeled ‘e-reader user’ and the Venn diagram circle labeled ‘people I love’ started to overlap more or less completely, until I’ve been forced to redress my views.

But damn do I hate those stupid little readers.

I know what you’re thinking.

You need to stop being such a goddamn technophobe! Hey man, love the message, not the vessel–e-readers are helping bring more information to people faster and cheaper than ever before! You know all those people who always said they would love to read Moby Dick, they would love nothing more than to read Moby Dick, but such a whale of a book, and their purses are already filled chock with their fat-free joghurt and their sun-screen and their puny t-rex arms simply can’t handle holding a book of that magnitude in front of their face for so long, but now with the e-reader, Moby Dick, War and Peace–Infinite Jest! These 1000 page plus old and modern classics are now easily accessible on the morning commute, the beach towel or the exercise machine! If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, books and library fees are so expensive, that’s why I don’t read, well now, literature has never been easier or cheaper to access! You can buy the complete works of Balzac, all 3 million of them, for a fraction of what it would cost to buy each book.

And I say, I don’t care. That’s exactly what I hate about it, this convenience for convenience’s sake. Reading huge works of literature shouldn’t BE easy. It is a multi-sensory experience–you suffer toting that book around as your mind suffers–You gather the books year after year like a water-shrew honing in on its prey–you reach redemption on several levels that have now been reduced to a flat, one dimensional reading/buying experience, so impersonal, so convenient, so sterile. So ugh.

Even if that was true, well, think about the trees!

Pardon my French, but fuck the trees. Fuck them long and fuck them hard and don’t call them back the next morning either. Listen, I like trees as much as any other city dweller, but e-readers are strangling the book industry as we know it and I will never forgive them for that, trees or no. Never. Ever. ever.

But that’s progress. Industries rise and industries fall.

Progress can kiss my ass.

Why are you fighting it? This kind of streamlining is happening all over the entertainment industry–not just with books, but look at movies. Music! What about the glorious age of Vinyl, now gone forever?

I never owned a record.

But you surely remember CDs and the horrible sweet-sour ordeal that was Making a Mixed Tape.. Hey…do you own an mp3 player now?

::gets shifty eyed:: Maybe I do and maybe I don’t. Kind of a red herring, isn’t it, old friend?

Oho, so it’s all fine to go after the e-reader for being instant gratification and cheap and bullshit, but what about mp3 players and the music industry? Can’t you remember those days not so far behind when you would wait patiently for your favorite artist to release their newest CD, after you had agonizingly collected all of the few singles they were ready to release on the radio onto mixed tapes? Do you recall the anticipation of removing the shrink wrap from the case–how it clung to your fingers, so annoying back then, so charming now in memory–the loving inspectigation of the cover art, the examination of the lyrics sheet as you lay against the shag carpet burrowing into your back while the songs burrowed into your mind, one, two, three listens to soak in the whole album, well, what about that? Now you can have 1000 albums at your fingertips; you can have any version of any song at any moment–and what about the due that goes to the artist? Oh sure, that’s different, because the record industry is all cutthroat assholes and Lady Gaga needs another champagne filled swimming pool like she needs a second butthole, but what about all the middle and smallclass singers and stars who really did hurt after people decided they couldn’t be bothered to buy the CDs they loved, let alone only liked, and everyone started pulling their music off of Napster, and Grooveshark, and secret torrents, and some people, some people who I won’t point to, oh what the hell, here I go a-pointing, some people have been listening to music almost exclusively off of You Tube for the last two years?!

What about that?! Huh? What about that?

Hey, hey! I never said I wasn’t a hypocrite, I just fucking hate the e-reader, okay…?

~_~

Funky Zeit! Mit Words!

Image

‘Life doesn’t make sense, so how can I draw pictures that make sense?’ ~_~

Speaking of things that don’t make sense:

“This book is like a spaceship with no recognizable components, no rivets or bolts, no entry points, no way to take it apart. It is very shiny, and it has no discernible flaws. If you could somehow smash it into smaller pieces, there would certainly be no way to put it back together again. It simply is.”

Dave Eggers, in the foreword to ‘Infinite Jest’

Lady and Gentlemen Moofs, I am no longer just thinking about reading ‘Infinite Jest‘, I am no longer just having ‘Infinite Jest’ watch me pee (like Satan does) from the highest shelf of my bathroom random-shelf-thingie–I have picked the book up, all 1000-ish frightening, nonsensical pages of it, and I have finally dived in.

First 100 hundred pages:

1. I don’t know wtf is going on. (Oh well, not really addicted to ‘clarity’ as it were….)

What concerned me more is that

2. All these words keep coming up that I don’t know. 0_0

Quick! How many of these words do you know?

lapidary
fantods
thoracic
atavistic (I word I feel I SHOULD know, but alas, don’t)
ideation
hypocapnia
dipsomania

[Answers:

lapidary: A cutter, polisher and engraver of precious stones.

fantods: A state of irritability or tension. Syn: fidgets

thoracic: Chest (as in thoracic or chest cavity)

atavistic: Recurrence in an organism of a trait or character typical of an ancestral form and usually due to genetic recombination. Syn: throwback

ideation: The capacity for or the act of forming or entertaining ideas, exp. suicidal ideation

hypocapnia: A deficiency of carbon dioxide in the blood.

dipsomania: An uncontrollable craving for alcoholic liquors.

Definitions taken from Merriam-Webster Online ^^]

And I’ll keep y’all posted on ‘Jest’… my goal is to have this brick under my belt by the end of the month…

The Infernal Bridegroom

I'm not sure what's going on in this picture.... but it looks like fun ... (moleskine)

detail o' the groom...

Hey moofs. It’s been a while.

Enough of a while that I actually got a text from a fan (I have a fan. yes. One.) telling me to either 1. Make a post. 2. Post a pic of my tits.

I wish I had really killer tits, because that would mean less work for me and more fun for you, but I decided to go with ‘post’ for the happiness of all.

This picture is called ‘Wedding Night – The Infernal Bridegroom.’ Honey on the right is a really sweet guy who contacted me (!) and sent me a few photos (!) I can use for drawings when I have time. (When do I not have time to draw a pretty man? Two hours of sleep a day is enough, right?)

In the meantime, my publisher is reading my book. I’m so nervous, I could puke. This is the closest I’ve gotten to this book getting published, this moment right now. And I’m so scared to get the “Sorry, but… well yeah, not what I’m looking for…” email >< that will then drag me away from this moment.

But I’m staying it positive  ^^

Nazgul News: Parkour (–) has started his parkour career in earnest. We now keep the kitchen window closed, because he did indeed parkour into the kitchen from the dining room. I knew he was by the window (he usually is, molesting the printer) and I thought nothing of it. His dad was washing dishes and then next thing I know, a spectacular clatter and a shriek that would have stopped Sauron himself, the Great Burning Vagina of Evil in the Sky, dead in his tracks… There’s a ledge directly under the window, so he didn’t fall very far at all, just startled the hell out of himself–and us. So now the window is closed (if this story makes no sense to you, there is a really strange window that opens into our kitchen from the dining room… the window is by the floor. I know. Hard to visually… but easy to parkour through : O)

Wishing you guys a nice week ~__~

Post or GTFO!!!

'She Said Nothing' -- A picture of SNRN <3

There are certain hands in mah-jong (japanese tile game) where if you win them, you have to watch out. Winning them is so rare that to do so, you are considered to have exhausted your luck for a year and are now liable to get flattened by the first car, right out of the blue.

That about sums up how I feel right now. Like I have used up all my luck and now I’ve gotta look HARD when I cross the street…

I am officially invited to speak at ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English, whoo boy, a mouthful!) next November in Las Vegas. The moof! Will be there! In suit and tie! I’m going to meet this lady I’ve been corresponding with for the last few weeks and I am so excited and nervous, I could just… poop!

I wrote my publisher and told him the turn of events…. I got a one line email back from him:

What’s your number? I need to talk to you.

I was like “shit!!!” Of course I gave him my number, but I was biting my nails. (Why is my first instinct always that I’m in trouble?) He called me right away, said he was happy I had written her back and that all’s well that ends well.

Then he asked me if I was thinking of making another graphic novel:

Me: 0_0. No. I actually have two other books I’ve written and I’d like to take this time now to focus on trying to get them published. One is finished, one is almost finished. But they’re not graphic novels and they’re not young adult novels either.
Him: Well, what’s the finished one about?
Me: Well.. [insert here the plot of 'H'.]
Him: Sounds great. I want to publish it.
Me: 0_0. …but you haven’t even read it.
Him: I’m sure it’s good.
Me: But… it’s not gay.
Him: I don’t care. I’ve published not gay before.

[Yes, yes, because my shwulemacht (gay powers) are so strong, I really struggled to not make V gay. Or bi. Or make out with a guy.  It was hard, because I think a V on boy scene would be beyond hot, but hey, maybe someone will write that fanfic for me if I'm ever famous. How amazing would that be??]

But yeah, with that, my poor first book that I loved so much about a girlcrazy boy called V, exquisitely formatted by Paintblotch and rotting on my computer for close to four years now… has found a home =) Of course, I don’t consider it a sealed deal yet. I have to add some copy-edit changes and then my publisher will have to read it. Who knows, maybe he’ll think it’s shit and then game over.

Restart.

But maybe not?
This mofo is over the moon! (Mofo is an anagram for moof. So is foom…. I’m done now.)

I promise my next blog post will not be about how fucking wonderful my life is, but something about my constipation, or a medical problem, or how much it sucks to wake up to a baby Nazgul chewing off your face. But I had to tell you guys.

<3 love, moof

Losing My Religion

The boy I draw when I'm feeling down. N.L.

I probably did something I shouldn’t have. To set it up, I heard back from the lady for the __________ convention. The answer is: Rejection. : ( She could not see my book fitting into a school library. I have no idea if she was merely being diplomatic, but she cited one particular scene as placing the proverbial straw…

I could accept rejection, but the reason for the rejection was so unsatisfying for me, that I could barely sleep that night after her letter.

I kept tossing this way and that.

I realized that while I did not want to argue with her, I would be thinking about this issue for literally months if I did not tell her my opinion. So I wrote her a long letter. My mom advised me not too–the boys said I should, so long as I remained respectful. I was respectful, if somewhat, I afraid, emotional. Maybe she’ll tell me to fuck off–maybe it will make sense to her. I don’t know. It’s too bad–I would have liked to work with her. She sounds like a no-nonsense, cool lady and I believe this project of hers is doing a good thing.

The situ made me low enough to fall back on an old drawing favorite. If my Nagel fan comes around again, there you go. =)

Imma Be An Illustrator, k?

Hooker with a Penis

[Don't ask, really random sketch while I was thinking about a Tool song....]

Anyway! In all the excitement of the last entry, I forgot to tell y’all about a really cool development in my little ‘career’. No, no… not ‘space cowboy’. That career has been a bit stalled. Nope, the career I’m talking about is:

Illustratorrrrrrrr.

I was hired (!) to illustrate (!!) a gay story (!!!). This is officially the first time someone hires me to draw something for them. (Where I get paid in MONEY for what I draw, not coolio points, undying respect, food, XXX acts, Cheetos or other delicious non-monatery reimbursements.)

It’s only four pics, it’s not due until fall. It has to be PG.
But I am excited! I will definitely give it all I’ve got and illustrate the fuck out of that story!! And!

A very nice girl I met on Goodreads (met = I stalked her. But hey, as you can see, sometimes stalking pays! ;) So, this very nice girl who I totally did not stalk in a creepy way and who is a future mega-librarian and current book-blogger has generously asked me to do a guest post on her blog and talk about my book, my ideas on writing, etc. etc. I also drew pictures for her… Since this was a guest post, I took quite a bit of Time and Effort to sound coherent, so I really encourage you moofs to check it out if you have a second (or more like 80 seconds…) Here’s the link: No really, this may be the first and only post you read from me where I sound kind of like a normal person and do not use any obscenities and drew nice pictures with no wounds/bits. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

Goodnight =)

Paint and Fame

Ws been trying to teach me how to paint. Poor man! He might be on a fool’s errand. Here’s my first attempt (first attempt that I won’t paint over anyway…). W named the picture himself. It’s called “Kitty Cat Sitting in the Fresh Air, Waiting For….”

Kitty getting some fresh air...

Anyway, like I said, first attempt, so don’t aim to kill, only to maim :D Painting is just… it’s so… HARD! The colors don’t go the way you want… details… seem impossible… I don’t know how people manage fine details with painting… oh well, got half a lifetime left to practice.

In other news:

That’s me in the corn-e-e-e-e-er….
That’s me in the SPOT! Light!
Losing my religi-o-o-o-n-n-n….
Trying to Keep! An eye! On you!!

Yep. I, the moof, was famous for one minute. For one minute yesterday, if you entered my name, or the name of my book, I was plastered all over the internets. The reason was that this week was the huge American Library Association conference in Texas, where they decided on a bunch of  major children/young adult book awards, like the Caldecott Award (for best picture book) and Newberry Award (best children’s book) and my book was selected as a Stonewall Honor Book (if you don’t know that award, don’t feel bad. I didn’t either… but it’s basically like… the Golden Globes of gay young adult fiction :D) Not quite the STONEWALL award itself, which would be the Oscar… but still a very nice award. Which means… tada!! Now people actually want… to read my book! Before they were a little tentative–it’s the deal with small press, they can’t plaster your book into every bookstore, so your book doesn’t get much exposure perhaps. Not that I ever, as I was telling a writing friend the other day, started writing for the bitches and the benjamins, ahahaha. I wrote this story because I had it in me and it needed to get out, regardless of if a single person read it afterwards or thought it was any good. But it’s nice to know that the higher ups have decided I’m not a hopeless case after all!! So thanks to them and any readers out there who might find this =)  ::throws you kisses::

::basks::

All right. Tomorrow, I’ll be back to my regular ball of insecurity :D
Goodnight, moofies =)