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Saturday, November 2, 2013

"The Stranger" -- That Would Be Me

I am sitting in the cafe of a place that is not my usual one; I finally crawled from the wreckage of a 22-hour workday, and am not in a celebratory mood.

I turned 48 yesterday, which is kind of a strange number. Forgive me, but I don't feel old anymore, not at all. I am not in the shape I once was when I leapt into audiences during my days in a certain theatre production, but at least I still have some ability to get about. Mentally, my capacity is not what it once was, but I can still think reasonably quickly.

We are at a very exciting period in my potential rest of my life--without naming names or going into details, I had a pair of job interviews that went well in recent days. I feel very positive one or the other might just be the one, and some stability of a sort can return.

I am not one to worry about this, because I don't need to. I have enough else to worry about!

As soon as next week (I hope), my first book, "Parasite Girls" will be ready for release. It is pretty much now--the manuscript is done for the final time, Mitch Bentley's cover is brilliant in its color and capture of a certain character's creative mania, and I've got most of the details done.

We just need to connect dots, threads and related stuff, and I will be a published author.

Don't congratulate me yet--I need to get this last part accomplished. Then I can feel better about it.

Navigating the world of the ebook, cyberspace and a digital realm I know little about is daunting. I have to plug, shamelessly and I have to figure out how I'm going to make this work stand out.

First plug: http://www.behance.net/torygates

Go there, and you'll find draft cuts of "Parasite Girls," plus potential follow-up work I'm at right now. You'll see everything else about my mad "careers."

I honestly think without arrogance that I have written a good story. I didn't have the space I wished I had to dig deeper into some of the self-destructive tendencies of a couple of the characters. There's what I could do with what space and time I had, and the flow is crucial.

My style has changed, and that's why a lot of things have not been released. My method is not the same, either. I am also of the belief that eventually I have to tackle the most difficult assignment of my writing life...me.

I for some reason keep putting off getting things that I want to read, probably because I'm afraid of being too unduly influenced. I can be. My walk through this place spits horrendous things at me, and they leap out, leer and snarl at me with tentacles that have only evil going on.

How hard it is for me to look at the shelves without thinking, and this is not exactly kind:

"I WRITE BETTER THAN 95% OF THIS SHIT!"

Really...50 Shades of (fill in the blank with your favorite color). How many knockoff versions of that are there?

Books with titles that play on other titles, and not in a satirical or humorous way? Examinations and re-examinations classic works, that are in my mind meant to trade off the name without actually doing anything?

Now, I will admit that a parody work of "Downton Abbey" is going to be damned funny, I bet. "Downtrodden Abbey," written in what reminds me of the Harvard Lampoon's trashing of Tolkien, with "Bored of the Rings."

Cleverness and a nasty little jab here and there doesn't bother me. Ripping off someone with your own version of something that makes fan fiction look brilliant in comparison, well, bleah.

Am I arrogant and egomaniacal enough to think "Parasite Girls" stacks up well against anything out there? I think it is a good story--a smooth read, only a few major characters, and a touching upon issues and concerns that are real. Things that happen in society that are real, whether you want to admit it or not.

Not the heaviest thing I ever did, and not in the Young Adult genre I normally do, but it is a start and I think a good one.  

An excerpt:

http://www.behance.net/gallery/Parasite-Girls-Excerpt-2/10641913

Rough cut, this scene has been re-written. The lyrics to "Blade" are my own.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/torygates

Oh, look it's me--well, not the best thing to look at, but I can live with that for now. Its not a bad profile, and the picture is not that old. 

Around the time of my birthday, just missed Samhain I did I tend to get introspective. I think about the past year, what I am trying to do, where my direction is headed, and all that shit.

Sorry, I just don't feel the need to say, "Oh, never mind--is NASCAR/Oprah/SOMEFUCKINGHIDEOUSREALITYSHOW on yet?" 

Or, "Oh, never mind--let's go shopping."

THIS is as close to shopping as I ever get. I have on my table before me a strange manga by Nico Tanigawa. Part research material, part a look at me back in the past...I shudder to think that I might just have been that girl on the cover. That introverted, that messed up...ei.

The other is Albert Camus' "The Stranger." The BBC marked Camus' coming 100th birthday early this morning with a partial reading. I had to get this.

Yes, I'm easily fucking led, I know.

But the narrative is darkly brilliant, isn't it? If you have read "The Stranger" or any of his stuff, there is a method and a way that few can catch up with. 

And here is the key: Camus PUTS YOU IN HIS SHOES. YOU SIT IN HIS CHAIR. YOU ARE HIM, AS HE TELLS HIS STORY.

Perfect, without it seems hardly trying.

"The Stranger" has a central point, a Frenchman who for no real reason guns down an Arab on a deserted beach. The Cure did a song called "Killing an Arab," which I believe was about this story.

I am not arrogant about being my own Stranger. I must be that odd character other people see, that one who sits alone and writes, stares at his computer, reads, drinks a lot of coffee. I don't personally care whether people wonder about me or not; I would not turn you away, unless you either come onto me with a need to meet Jesus, or start talking shit about things like I'm your friend...and we've never met.

I did make a pitch just now for "Parasite Girls" to a young lady at the table next to me. I think she was just being polite, but did say she'd look at the Behance page. 

That's the kind of thing I have to do. I have to engage people, and I'm not good at it. I need to not be afraid to sell the idea, without selling my soul. 

But I have a story to tell, and I must tell it. I must tell all the other crazy stories you see on the Behance page, and ever more that I must rewrite, edit, fix and make real.

I got quite a job ahead of me. A real job (haha) might get in the way, but that's not what it's about. 

I am still driven, at 48 to work in broadcasting, to write, to make music, to create. I have to do it--not for money, fame, etc. I do it because I want to.

Now...I am NOT one of these people who is going to remain inside a box and decry the materialistic whatever that drives other people. Should I become a person of means once more, I will make absolutely no fucking apologies for it, thank you very much.

If not, at least I fucking did it.

Ei...I must now actually read some of this, and find out if the Stranger and I have anything else we can talk about. Better than this, I'd say.

Peace, Out.



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