Archive | April, 2012


30 Apr

“…Good writing – solid, honest, entertaining, beautiful good writing – is simultaneously the reward, the challenge, and the goal.”—Tom Bissell

My novel, Two-Headed Dog, is available here and now:



29 Apr

When I began my novel, TWO-HEADED DOG, many of the plot points came to me all at once. I faced them and said, No, these ideas are too outrageous. But then, as I’ve always done, I gave in to the creative process. I let go the reigns. I went deep into my unconscious mind and brought up charged material. Thus I ended up with a love story originating in a state hospital, in which the psychologist, presumably the more powerful partner, has greater vulnerability, and the female partner, a women who has suffered from chronic schizophrenia, a “revolving door” patient, ultimately has greater strength.


28 Apr

We pulled into a rest stop. I went to the bathroom. There was a sign above the sinks: DO NOT WASH HAIR IN SINKS. I grabbed a free cup of coffee and told the woman in the Travel Center that I’d never seen a sign like that at a rest stop. “Migrants come in the middle of the night,” she said. “Clog up the sinks.”

I wondered if that sign would deter them. I went back to the car to wait for Connie. We were on our way to Grants Pass, to be with our nephew during his surgery. I stood on the sidewalk, stretching. A disheveled young worker came by, pulling full plastic garbage bags out of cans. I greeted him, asked him how he was doing. “Not bad. Cut my friggin’ finger, though.” He held up the sliced digit.

“Want a band-aid?”

“Sure, that would be great.”

I opened the trunk and found the first aid kit, pulled out a tube of antibiotic ointment and handed it to him.

After he left, I noticed that the woman parked beside us, who had been messing around in her back seat as we pulled up, had dropped a white, electronic cord on the ground. It had fallen under her car. I wondered if she would notice. I picked it up and draped it through the driver’s door handle.

I wondered at all these opportunities to help ease people’s journeys through life, in large ways and small. I thought of the help you were giving us, not something huge, but significant nonetheless. I thought of all my other friends who had contributed to my life. I had a sense of deep rightness as we continued our journey.

[My novel, Two-Headed Dog, is available on Amazon for $3.95]    


27 Apr

Early meeting. No coffee in house. Swung over to McDonalds. Discount McMuffin. Senior coffee. “$1.46,” says the counter girl, whose studs and lip clips make her look like one of two American icons: zombie or vampire. Vampire: initially drained of blood (no, not drained, not entirely) by American corporations. Zombie: the walking dead the corporations have made of us. Unoriginal thoughts. Unoriginal thoughts in McDonalds. I take out my credit card. It has wings on it. My wife insists I earn miles. I slide the card. The sound of plastic sliding in a plastic groove is comforting. I think: one is totally acculturated when using a credit card at McDonalds at 7 a.m. seems natural. My novel, Two-Headed Dog, available on Amazon.




25 Apr


A love story originating in a state hospital, in which the female partner has greater vulnerability. In that way, my novel TWO-HEADED DOG is Lolita meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’ve come to believe that, not everyone, but a sizable portion of humanity, is driven by the desire to avoid unpleasant intensity and to experience pleasant intensity. Thus the antipathy toward conflicts with bosses, and the popularity of sex. Literary writing carries its own satisfying intensity. I wrote TWO-HEADED DOG with intensity, and it is an intense read.


23 Apr


When Gary Heidt became a literary agent in 2001 and began working in a well-known New York agency, his motivation was to find exciting, innovative, high quality literary novels and get them published. Gary was successful, representing such authors as Charles Yu, winner of the National Book Foundation’s Five Under 35 Award and Amy S. King, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award. However, Gary was not satisfied. He watched as publishers increasingly valued marketability over quality, as sales and marketing departments gained power in the making of publishing decisions, and as the focus became the promotion of genre bestsellers. Meanwhile, highly creative, hard to characterize novels were being overlooked.

Frustrated by the fact that some of his most deserving clients were not achieving publication, Gary decided to form his own publishing company, Dirt e-books. The publication of e-books, he realized, would enable him to make quality literature easily accessible at highly affordable prices to a large (and growing) segment of the reading public. Without the high overhead of corporate publishers, unburdened by their antiquated business plans, free of the domination of the profit motive, Gary’s only consideration became quality. Focusing on the literary expression of richness, aliveness, uniqueness, and passion, Dirt e-books is creating a curated line of distinguished neo-modern novels.


My Response to “Book Publishing’s Real Nemesis”

17 Apr

On 4/16, the NYT published this article:

This was my response, published in the Comments section:

The title of Carr’s article and his arguments, focused on current corporate interests, overlook important cultural considerations. Publishing corporations may suffer from low profitability, but that is why they focus so intently on profit. We live in an age in which publishers are more concerned with marketability than quality, in which marketing and sales departments have an increasing say in which books get published. If a book doesn’t fit easily into a pre-existing niche, it is unlikely to be published. The publishing industry increasingly focuses on genre best-sellers, paring away choice. Independent publishers producing e-books enlarge readers’ choice. The motto of my publisher, Dirt e-books, is thus Books You Are Not Permitted To Read. My novel, Two-Headed Dog, now sells on Kindle for $3.95, well below the $9.99 benchmark. Unlike the corporate publishers, Dirt e-books’ interest is in making quality literature easily and affordably available to the masses. Publishers like Dirt e-books are the publishing equivalent of Occupy Wall Street. A sea change is underway in the publishing world, and it is to the good.