Posts in: January, 2012

Paying for My Misery

I don’t remember exactly where it came from, but I know I came up with the embryonic idea for Girth McDürchstein’s ‘The Hedge’ during my senior year of high school. In high school, I had two major obsessions: Pink Floyd – The Wall and girls. That may be oversimplifying things a bit (just two obsessions in four years? That doesn’t sound like me…), but I’m trying to make a grander point here, so shut up.

I think The Hedge‘s genesis laid in the odd sense of betrayal I felt when I saw the movie version of The Wall. You have to understand: when I first “discovered” The Wall, I knew virtually nothing about Pink Floyd, their history, the intentions behind The Wall, or even the fact that a movie existed. Based purely on the audio recording, I came up with a wide variety of theories for What It All Means, often settling on variations of a Mad Max-style future dystopia in which a ruthless dictator rises and falls. Then I saw the movie and learned it wasn’t much more than self-indulgent mental masturbation about how hard it is to be a rock star. What the fuck?

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The Notorious G.R.E.

On Saturday afternoon, I took a peaceful drive down to Lombard to take the GRE. Some might consider my decision to skim practice tests to get an idea of what might be on the test, rather than studying my ass off, a poor idea. I’m of the mindset—perhaps motivated by overall laziness—that standardized tests should assess actual intelligence.

If I spent three months studying my ass off, I’d forget most of what I’d learned thirty seconds after the test. Because I don’t give a fuck about, for instance, SOH CAH TOA. I haven’t had reason to use it since I first learned it in high school, so I’ve had no reason to commit it to memory. I’m less interested in getting into the greatest grad school of all time than in providing an accurate reflection of my knowledge, not a reflection of what I can quickly learn and then forget about. Maybe it isn’t an airtight philosophy, but fuck you.

So, I pulled into the parking lot of one of the few corporate centers designed by M.C. Escher, quickly drank a cup of coffee (my performance-enhancing drug) before entering the building the required 30 minutes before the scheduled test time.

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Reader — Book V: Chapter 12

That’s right. I divided Reader, the slim Bukowski knockoff that has ballooned into a Dickensian epic, into five sections. I’m in the homestretch—book five, the chronicle of my time reading for a distributor. Today, I wrote a chapter about my experience buying a new car, a potentially misguided attempt at a Carverian “quietly profound moments from everyday life” scene. Sadly, I am neither Raymond Carver nor Raymond Chandler nor even Raymond Burr. If you believe the profundity of the scene is lost on you because you haven’t read the preceding 137 chapters (you read that right), you might be right. But chances are, it’s just not there.

Nevertheless, enjoy. Or try to.

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Tones of Home (Novel)

Title: Tones of Home (Novel)

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Length: 100,000 words

Synopsis: Tired of fighting the pressure from family and friends, insurance adjustor Robin Kelley has reluctantly agreed to settle down and marry her longtime boyfriend, a successful CPA. When her high school sweetheart, washed-up rock star Girth McDürchstein, learns of Robin’s upcoming nuptials, he races from Los Angeles to the little town of Cedar Point, Iowa, intending to stop her. Once he arrives, Girth starts to see the virtues of a “boring” small-town life—but all Robin sees is the excitement and glamour she passed up.

Will Robin abandon a stable but predictable future to live out her own rock-star dreams?


First Draft—12/13/06

Second Draft—12/3/11

Second Draft Polish—1/14/12

Click the image to download the complete novel for just $2.99.

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