So yesterday I finally acquired the hardcover edition of one of my all-time favorite crime novels, Love Is a Racket (1998) by novelist/graphic novelist, showrunner and Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley (you probably know of him or his work — Google him). I originally discovered and read this book in the Summer of 1999 and was addicted to it from the first page. I had checked it out in hardcover form from my public library. Already over a year past its initial release by the time I came to know it, the chances of acquiring it in hardcover at Barnes and Noble or Borders were slim-to-none, and used booksellers like Half-Price Books were an unlikely longshot (I’d never seen it on used shelves). So I just kept checking the damn thing out at various library branches every few years when I had the itch to read it (and wanted to recharge my own crime-noir prose batteries). I practically took ownership of this precious tome, hoarding it to myself for the full checkout duration multiple times and, yes, paying who knows how much in late fees on the thing per occasion. Eventually I came around to stalking Amazon, only finding a couple of different paperback versions and maybe one of those listings for the hardcover that had some astronomical price tag due to the scarcity of the edition or some such. Well, upon chance a week ago I found that rare “Only 1 left in stock – order soon.” offering from an Amazon third-party bookseller for a very low price ($4.99) and I eagerly pulled the trigger. And so now, at long last, after nearly two decades of our first acquaintance, this book and I are now together forever! #BookwormRuckus #MyPrecious
I am 35 (of 210) pages in of Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels (2014) by Brian Michael Bendis (Jessica Jones, upcoming Superman) and it is actually a pretty good read so far. Bendis tends to get a bad rap from a small but vocal segment of comic book fandom, but given his massive success in both the indie & corporate side of the comics publishing game with nearly two and a half decades of experience, the guy has much wisdom to impart on the subject of writing comics and graphic novels. Dude holds a professorship for comics/graphic novels courses at Oregon. There aren’t many books out there like this one and if you’re an intellectual you will glean information from any reliable source. #BookwormRuckus #ReadToFeed #ReadToSeed #ReadToSucceed
~ The Evening Muse #8 ~
Like most writers I constantly battle with confidence and the lack of constant validation (especially since I’m not publishing regularly anymore), but I’ve come to realize that one way to battle that is to simply adopt a certain amount of delusion — an elevated sense of self and ability as a writer — a delusion of grandeur, if you will. Essentially just have a belief in self that may not even be true, but so long as YOU believe it, that’s all that matters, right? It goes along with the old adage that “If YOU don’t believe in yourself, who’s going to?”
So this happened — Mastodon won a Grammy! The metal band’s 2017 magnum opus Emperor of Sand was hands down the best musical release last year for me, and the first song on that album, “Sultan’s Curse”, which was also the first song we heard from the LP, won the Best Metal Performance award. I’m not a watcher of the Grammy’s (and hell, they don’t even include the Best Metal Performance category in the telecast), but I’m extremely happy and proud for the fellas (pictured: Bill Kelliher, Brann Dailor and Troy Sanders — not pictured: Brent Hinds).
Guest blog from one of my favorite writers of novels and comics, the mighty GREG RUCKA, taken from his Tumblr FRONT TOWARD ENEMY.
That’s something, simply as people, we all fear, no? Specifically, it’s perhaps a writer’s greatest fear? Certainly one of mine. But there is a kind of irony in the event that situation occurs, so said author/writer whisperer Shaunta Grimes some months back . . .
“I know how it feels to screw up your nerve and post something in public for the entire world to see — and then realize that the whole world doesn’t really care.
They aren’t even paying attention.
Before I tell you what to do when no one is reading what you write, I want to share a story with you that I hope will help you understand a hard, rather beautiful truth.
If it’s possible for you to write something that no one reads — then no one is paying attention. And there’s real freedom in that idea.
Once you realize that no one is paying attention, you can let go of the voice screaming in your head that you better not fuck up, because if you do the whole entire universe will laugh at you/hate you/shun you/whatever it is you’re afraid of.”
Follow the link to read more of “What to do if no one reads what you write.” @shauntagrimes https://medium.com/@shauntagrimes/what-to-do-if-no-one-reads-what-you-write-b341ae80bc64
~ The Morning Muse #12 ~
Note: This was supposed to be posted a few months ago (mid-October to be exact), but for some unknown reason I let it sit longer than intended. And come to think of it, yesterday’s Resolution: Regain and Retain Attention is a great companion piece to this one, actually.
As life and the world become increasingly disappointing, an increasingly cynical fella who once was brimming with optimism for the future now wants to retreat and self-indulge even more than he normally does into books and writing and music — Read|Write|Rock. The key word is retreat, though, not escape. It’s more like a strategic mental regrouping of oneself amid the unending battle in the war that is, arguably, the social (and political) decline. As I immerse myself in books, my goal is to attain a better perspective on human psychology, the ever-perplexing human condition and the ways of the world. As I engage in writing, the goal is to not only to unleash the never-ending flow of ideas and stories that percolate regularly, and not only to discover my place in the world, but also to impose in some small way my view of what is and what could be — or even should be — via the inner psyche or my characters’ voices, as well as the subtext within. And finally, as I jam to the music I love, explore and discover new music, and write original music alone or with my band, I imbue my soul and overall human consciousness with a transformative magic that does wonders for the ongoing interior monologue with myself. That’s the general idea, at least.
* I shot the featured photo in October 2017 at Brown County State Park, Indiana.