a reply to a fan, some brutal honesty and some news
Occasionally someone will write to me saying nice things or horrible things about a story I’ve written and either way I appreciate them having read it. The correspondence I most value is where they share a little something about themselves as they talk about what I wrote because it reminds me every time that what I intended to communicate with whatever dumb premise I grabbed hold and what readers take away from it are usually wildly different.
Which is awesome.
I just got a nice email from someone thanking me for sharing my “weird little world.” As someone who values being transported elsewhere it never occurred to me that anyone would consider my writing capable of doing it. At least I never viewed that as my intention. If I’m a bridegroom then I consider readers as 400 lb brides that I can barely get across the threshold let alone carry them anywhere requiring metaphorical strength.
I try and stay local.
When I was a kid I remember the cartoon Herman creating a world. Somewhere that didn’t exist outside of Jim Unger’s head. Same when I listened to my first Tom Waits album. This was a dark and terrifying place that I deeply longed to live in. Filled with midgets and hookers and carnival folk. I could see every crack in the sidewalk and I could smell the trash piled up outside the corner bar.
On the other side of the coin was Monty Python. I remember asking myself why their reality couldn’t be the way things really were. The way things were around me seemed just as ridiculous and unlikely. Why couldn’t silliness be the force that guided society?
You’ll notice that I didn’t include any authors in that list … and for good reason. I dare not speak their names for fear of being accused of comparing myself in any way. PG Wodehouse and Douglas Adams created such airtight sanctuaries for young, nerdy Lance Manion that I consider them almost holy figures.
And yes, I realize I said I dare not speak their names and then proceeded to speak them. Isn’t that proof enough that I really shouldn’t be allowed to write?
Which brings me to what I just sent off to my editor … a new book. More stories that will in no way carry you anywhere you haven’t already been. The best I can offer up is the belief that there are certain places you wouldn’t mind revisiting.
I have no working title and there’s still a chance that I will look at the oddball collection of ideas and opinions and decide against releasing it. Having said that, I think it’s good to encourage odd thoughts in others and perhaps this is just doing my part. At least it will give small, up-and-coming literary websites the chance to reject giving a review. They live for that.
So to the person who sent me the nice email; thank you. It is very much appreciated. To show you my appreciation I suggest you read Three Men In a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome the next time you’re in the mood for something funny.
Much funnier than I’ll ever be capable of. Infinitely better.
In this world anyway.