Seedy, Stove-Up, and T-A-R-D Tired:
Three Short Books About the Writing Life takes place over nine months in the
life of an underground writer, as he works as a custodian, quits his job to write
about working as a custodian, sees a need to fill in the backstory, then embarks
on a new project as a columnist for The Daily Bulletin, where he serializes
his books online, daily, as he writes them.
The books are about the plight of the creative artist in America.
They contain poems, prose vignettes, essays, self-interviews, autobiography, pictures, and drawings.
They contain comments from readers on my work and my response to their comments.
The books were not just written, and published, in real time, they are interactive. A conversation with my coterie of steadfast readers, the Buzzard Cult.
Something new under the sun.
And yet, we can trace them back, from series of related novels on the worldwide web, to ezines, zines, mail art, and the small press movement.
Artists, corresponding with each other, about their lives.
Cocking a snook at New York.
The three books are:
CUSTODIAN, OR SECRET MASTER
Part I. The Custodian From the Crazy-Place Outbroken
Ten self-published pamphlets. 40,000 words. Not available online.
Part II. Team WUPPIE: Still Scufflin' After All These Years
CUSTODIAN. 22,000 words. I apply for a job as a custodian at a community
behavioral health care center. I like the people, like the work. As the job progresses,
I get behind on my own writing and neglect my custodial duties to write and publish
pamphlets I hand out at writing events. Complaints are lodged. Some of my co-workers
think I have an attitude. One of them is phobic about germs. One was named Ground
Safety Officer and it went to her head. One is an admin pogy who doesn't like the
cut of my jib. They start hassling me. My mother has left me some money. Not enough
to pay off the house, or retire, but enough to live on for six months while I stay
at the house and write. When Blaster Al says he forwarded one of my pamphlets to
a man who works as a toilet attendant at a public library in Eugene, Oregon, I realize
I can get another custodian job on short notice, since I can pass a piss test. I
give myself a subgenius grant and quit my job to stay at home and write a memoir
in the subliterary form immobilized hero novel. I am immobilized because I don't
like to leave my writing room. I might miss something. And my immobilized hero novel
is a memoir for reasons I discuss in the book.
SUB FELLOW. 20,000 words. I go to a jazz festival where, leaving, I am mistaken for one of the master musicians on stage. Right church, wrong pew. I am the King of Daily Typewriting. I explain why this is. I give Facts and Specific Achievements. Metrics. I attend the Florida Noir Festival, where I give a presentation on Charles Willeford's life and work, and how it affected my approach to writing, and a presentation on how I turned a treatment for a screenplay into a shooting script. I see that "Team WUPPIE: Still Scufflin' After All These Years" combines with "The Custodian From the Crazy-Place Outbroken" to form CUSTODIAN, OR, SECRET MASTER. I start pitching CUSTODIAN, OR SECRET MASTER to New York literary agents. That's like Upton Sinclair pitching The Jungle to the meatpackers. They don't want to hear about the plight of the creative artist in America. They already know about it. Who told you to be a writer? I told myself. Well, there you have it. A man alone ain't got no chance. That's what Hemingway said in response to the charge that he wasn't politically engaged. He wrote To Have and Have Not. His worst book. It wasn't all that good a movie, except for Lauren Bacall saying the way to whistle was just to put your lips together and blow, and William Faulkner wrote that line. Apropos of film noir.
HOUSEHUSBAND, OR, THE KING OF DAILY TYPEWRITING. 37,000 words. I write about my seven periods at the house, writing full-time, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, when they were young. Brenda had a househusband before it was cool. HOUSEHUSBAND, OR, THE KING OF DAILY TYPEWRITING is the prequel to CUSTODIAN, OR, SECRET MASTER, but lasts into the present. Also, my alter ego, or doppelgänger, Razz Heap, appears, and part of the story is told in his voice. The next book, THE HAPPIEST MAN ALIVE: A MONTH IN THE LIFE OF RAZZ HEAP, in progress, is a series of newspaper columns he writes for The Daily Bulletin, as a senior fellow at the prestigious left-wing think-tank the Point and Shoot Institute (PSI), in Point and Shoot, Florida, where Heap is the Miami Bureau Chief for YU News Service, the parody news and disinformation syndicate, throwing his point-and-shoot camera into a musette bag and taking off for The Territory ahead of the pack.
GULF COAST BLUES: A MONTH IN THE LIFE OF FLORIDA CHRONICLER CONTENDER RAZZ HEAP, THE HAPPIEST MAN ALIVE. 44,000 words. I drive over to Florida’s Forgotten Coast, and spend the night in the Wakulla Lodge. The editor of The Seaside Times reprints an excerpt from my last book in her paper. We spend Thanksgiving at the Magnolia Tree House in Grayton Beach with Balder and Jennifer and Owen and Jean and the grandchildren. Jennifer’s family are there. The Saunders Brother and Kyle Ogle play at Pandora’s, outside, in the chickee hut. I drive up to Sneads, to Lake Seminole, and stay at the Seminole Lodge. I am hassled for taking a photograph of the water tower at Malone CI. I drive over to Florida’s Emerald Coast, on several day trips. I buy a discarded copy of The Florida Handbook at the library and apply for the position of Chronicler Laureate again. There’s a new Secretary of State, and a new governor, since I last applied. This book is about the mullet culture versus the corporate cubicle dot com culture, or Florida’s Forgotten Coast turning into Florida’s Emerald Coast, before our very eyes, while the government looks the other way and the media run booster ads for the developers, rah-rah pieces for runaway growth. Unashamed greed. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
Home | About | Mail