Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Writer Wednesday: Kristin Garth

 
If you read varied enough, once in a while you come across someone whose voice is so unique and authentic that you can’t help but pay attention. Knowing so many indie authors, I’ve been blessed to read some really unique voices in both prose and poetry. In the case of Kristin Garth, she is another very unique voice and an interesting human for several reasons. During these times of polarizing topics and the fight for equality and expression, Garth presents us with a unique version of what sexuality can be and it’s my pleasure to have her on For Writing Out Loud. So let’s get to it and dive right into the questions.

1. Hi, Kristin and thanks for visiting our corner of the net. Tell us, who is Kristin Garth, how do you describe yourself and what should people expect if they read you?
Thank you, JD. Wow, that’s a question I could write a novel about and not entirely answer. Kristin Garth is a complicated creature – she’s a womanchild, as you’ve read before. The definition of that, to me, is a chronologically mature adult woman but with aspects of a younger person. In Pink Plastic House, my first chapbook I quantify that emotional age with a poem called Sixteen. For those of you who would like to read it, you can at Speculative 66 here: (page 17). I tell people in the annotations in Pink Plastic House (I write my thoughts in pink ink about the poem's teenage diary style to people who buy the books through my Twitter or my website kristingarth.com ), though my chronological age is decidedly too shocking to mention, my emotional age varies on a good, confident day from about 16 (as this poem describes) and dips on a sad, insecure day to about 12. 

An example of this womanchildness you are aware of from reading Pink Plastic House is that I stripped for a living for five years of my life, a very womanly career, of course. However, I did this in catholic schoolgirl and cheerleading uniforms accessorized with things like heart-shaped sunglasses and Blowpops. And at night when I was done taking off my clothes for a living, I often played with my Barbie Dreamhouse or purchased items to acccesorize it from a Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. It was how I engaged both sides of myself in this career. There are always these two sides of my nature.
This womanchildness, as I call it, is a direct result, for me, of my abuse history which I talk about often in my work. I spoke with a friend recently about abuse and how, for the two of us, we had a part of ourselves stunted that we very much feel in our day to day lives. It sounds totally negative speaking of it this way. It certainly started negative. I’ve learned though that this stunted part of me deserves a life and pleasure, like kneesocks, lollipops, and dollhouses. I try to keep her nurtured and let her heal.
For my last birthday of draconian digits, I wanted to forget because they don’t define how I feel at all, I wrote myself a birthday sonnet. It’s called Nymphette, which defines how I feel and isn’t, for me defined by a number. You can read it here.

2. It’s always a treat to have you participate in #SockItToMe with the #SockFamily. Tell us, when did your fixation with socks begin and what do socks mean to you?
I’ve always loved socks. It partially comes from an insecurity about my toes that stems from some childhood playground commentary. I wrote a CNF about that will be in Sidereel Magazine in November. It’s called "Toe".

I grew up in Florida which for a good part of the year is incredibly hot and a sandal mecca. I’ve never felt so happy about my feet. In fact, I made a joke with a girl on Twitter that inspired this CNF piece actually where I tweeted, “I stripped for five years and never showed a toe.” It really only struck me then how deep this psychological compulsion to wear socks is for me. I stripped for five years down to a g-string and high heels, but I always wore either ankle or knee socks. I never showed a toe.

I’ve always thought socks are my security blanket. A sock loving friend of mine said once “socks are hugs for the feet.” I like that a lot. I’m sure the security blanket feel, for me, comes from feeling like I was hiding something I was teased about (a longer second toe – scandalous). I think it’s ironic that I’ve become very known in the Twitter community for my socks and my legs because the sock obsession started as a way to hide what I saw as a deficiency. I think it’s a fundamental part of my personality that I turn negatives in my life into trademarks. I think I’ve done that with the stripping – a thing a lot of people might hide but I embrace in my writing.


3. Your poetry definitely feels as real as it gets. How personal is poetry to you and how much do you enjoy people wondering what’s true and what’s fiction in your verses?


I write a lot of poetry – almost every day for the last two years. I recently took a two-day break, meant to be a week. That didn’t happen. The point of me telling you this is I write a lot of stuff. Some of my poems are very autobiographical. Usually when those are promoted on Twitter I own that. Pink Plastic House has a lot of autobiographical poems in it like the title poem that was originally published in Anti-Heroin Chic here.
However there are plenty of poems in there that I didn’t live through, too, like the definitely fictional poem Little Brick House (that is one of the first sonnets I wrote after coming back to writing after a 15-year-plus break. I joined a writing/critiquing site to get back into writing after I made the commitment to write again. A man contacted me on social media, whom I’d been involved with when I was in grad school. I knew him before I dropped out to strip, to have financial freedom from abuse. He was dying of a brain tumor, had lost most of his ability to write and reminded me who I was. I started writing a novel, joined this site. Inside the novel I wrote sonnets for one of the characters. This was one of them.
I’m sure in this example, it’s hard for a lot of people to tell the difference between my fictional poems and my non-ficitonal poems, free standing in journals. That doesn’t really bother me. I have two books coming out that I call poetic memoirs because they are poems that tell true events. Candy Cigarette (Womanchild Noir) tells the story of me stripping in the Deep South in pigtails and cheerleading uniforms, dating, living as a sex worker in a highly  
puritanical society. Puritan U is a book about my sexual assault at Brigham Young University many years ago. It’s a prequel of sorts to the former book, how a very sheltered Mormon girl becomes a stripper – for me that path was abuse as a child, Utah, sexual assault.

4. If you had to design your own lollipop or lip gloss flavor, what would you call it and what would it taste like?

I would call it Unbearably Hot but I’d have to get licensing from Jelly Belly because that’s the trademark of my favorite Cinnamon Bears, they are so tiny and incredibly hot. So it would be an homage and require me being very wealthy (as I’m not at all) to pull it off. It would taste like the hottest cinnamon and be super glossy red, but it would be sweet like a teddy bear, too. This is all totally me and my aesthetic. This may be my favorite question ever asked in an interview. I love it.


5. Ageism, sexism, and so many isms have a way of trying to silence us. What’s your response to all the naysayers and all the isms you have to face?
I’ll start with ageism. I think it’s so prevalent. I feel like it’s the luckiest thing in the world that I have a young looking face though I used to hate it when I was young. When I was in college back in Florida after I returned from Brigham Young, I was 22, and I went to dinner with my parents and the waitress brought a 12 and under menu. I wrote a sonnet talking about this incident called Your Body Is His Blessing, how at this time of my life it was just one more thing about my body that I felt oppressed by.

Now, I do see my youthfulness as a blessing because I think society has a big obsession with youth. I think it helps me that for the superficial they see my socks and my babyface, and they read the work. If they read it closely, they’ll pick up on that I am clearly not a girl in my 20’s, but they’ve read me and then they can judge me on my work.

I think ageism and sexism are prevalent and terrible. Artists should be judged on their work – not the year their parents decided to have a child or the gender they were born into. No one should discriminate against a poet because they are a certain age, old or young or a certain gender. We all have our own stories to tell reflecting the lives we live, and they are all valuable, unique, and extraordinary if we are brave enough to tell them.



5. Every day, women of all colors, ages, and creeds have to face scrutiny, censorship, and inappropriate behavior from the male population. How freeing is expressing yourself under your own rules and if you could share a message with men and women of all ages, what would you say to them?
There are a lot of problems women writers have to face when we put out intimate details of our sexuality or abuse into our poetry. The power of poetry is truth, candor woven artfully with words into something else, but it’s that truth inside of it that resonates in the heart. To be a poet, you have to be vulnerable and trust people with information that can be used against you, if a person has malicious intent.

I wrote a poem called Preditor about my own experience when I was new, submitting my first manuscript (Pink Plastic House.) I was led on by someone who read my works, was well aware of my abuse history and made me feel that I needed to keep him interested in me in order to pursue a publishing deal.

None of that ever came to be. It was a learning experience. There are power imbalances in any community, the literary community as well.

Editors have a lot of power, and people want to please them, want their books and poems published.

Some editors abuse their power, and when they do I think in our community poets can be uniquely exposed and vulnerable, many with histories, triggers, published and searchable. I would say that people that abuse the privilege and responsibility of being an editor to gratify themselves are predators. They take people’s greatest dreams and defile them with their desire for sexual gratification, and they make me very angry.

I am now an editor of my own poetry column that is becoming in March a mini-journal within a larger journal that hosts, Rhythm & Bones Lit. It’s called The Sonnetarium. I take the privilege of publishing people very seriously. Art is a refuge for a lot of people who have suffered terribly, and we should not play a part in creating further suffering. We are privileged to make and publish art, and we should all treat people with respect. 


6. Poetry is definitely your strong suit but it seems very cathartic. How important is poetry in your life and what role has it played in your evolution as a human?
Poetry is everything to me. It is how I get through a day, process pain. It’s how I make sense of the world. I’m not in therapy, and I haven’t been since college when it was included with my tuition. Poetry is my therapy. I know it’s that for a lot of people. It’s another reason I feel it’s very sacred and should not be violated by abusers because for some very wounded people this is what we have.

Publishing poetry in the last two years since I started doing that has connected me to the earth again, to artists. I live in a small town. I’m a recluse. I’m not a person who is in circles with artists in my day to day life. I write a poem, publish it and sign on to Twitter and engage with other artists about it. It’s magical. It’s given such a confidence as a human I never had before.

I love to read other people’s work and find familiarity and communion there. I feel less alone even if I don’t know these people as bodies in the physical world.

They are my Twitter soulmates, and when I’m alone in my house, when I’m breaking into tears on a bad day making small talk at the grocery store, I know that I am more than this crying mess in real life. I have people that love me, read me, support me and feel as isolated in ways as I do. Poetry has given me a universe.


7. I had the utter delight of reading an annotated copy of your collection “Pink Plastic House”. How did the idea to annotate come about and describe people’s response to having something so wonderfully personal with their collection?
Thank you so much for responding to my annotation. I’m really honored that you enjoyed it. I got the idea of doing annotations from some female poets I saw on Twitter, two in the matter of a week I saw offering annotated copies. I knew people signed copies, but I had no idea that people annotated them. It was an idea though that I instantly fell in love with. I made a little tweet offering annotated copies for $15 including shipping and I instantly got my first order. I’ve made so many of them now, and I love doing them.

When you write sonnets (which I primarily do – I have now published more Shakespearean sonnets than Shakespeare), you only have 14 lines to play with. As you can tell from this interview I am very long winded. I like the constraint. It makes me be dense and get to the point. It is, of course, by its very nature limited. What I love about annotations is that you have the beauty and brevity of the poetry, but then I write little notes explaining other details just conversationally on the page. Someone compared it to watching a movie with a director’s commentary track. I always love those, and so I love that comparison.
 

People have been so kind about the annotations. I feel like it’s a chance for them to get to know me outside of 14 lines, kneesocks, and provocative or emotional tweets. They feel like penpal letters with my Twitter friends, and it always feels like a gift from the universe when I get to do one.



8. You are given the opportunity to do a Broadway or theater show. What would be the title and what would be happening on stage?
Shakespeare for Sociopaths, for sure, would be the title, and is the title of my chapbook being published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press in January of 2019. It is a chapbook of all Shakespearean sonnets on sociopathic characters in true crime, movies, my imagination, some who were in my bed. When I came up with the title for this chapbook, I told a friend, and he said that is such a great title it sounds likes a broadway show. So it’s the obvious choice. 

The action on the stage would be a series of vignettes -- historical figures, serial killers, boyfriends, horror movie villains, family members acting out, singing songs about some of their sociopathic deeds. Of course, there would be perhaps a heightened level of absurdity attached to singing sociopaths. They made a Broadway musical of American Psycho though so, you know, I think it’s possible. 


9. You’re extremely prolific in your writing, give us a summary of what you’ve written so far and where people read you and connect with the amazing, socktastic, and powerfully poetic Kristin Garth?
I have a website that has links to a lot of my published poetry, sonnets, creative non-fictions and even a short story. It’s kristingarth.com – it’s lacking about half of my published work. I’m always too busy writing to completely keep up with it, and I’m not great at tech. I’ve done a lot of work on it recently though, and it’s improving a lot. It has links to all of my books which include Pink Plastic House (available now, on my website or through Maverick Duck Press), Shakespeare for Sociopaths (January, via Hedgehog Poetry Press), Puritan U (March, Rhythm & Bones Lit) and Candy Cigarettes (April, Hedgehog Poetry Press). I also have two collaborative chapbooks, one on abuse, Pensacola Girls, with the poet Elisabeth Horan (available now through Bone & Ink Press) and an erotic collaboration, Good Girl Games, with the poet Yara S. Nerida (available now through my website and through Maverick Duck Press.) I have two anthologies I’m editing one on the Slenderman called Mansion, co-edited by Justin Karcher, that will be published by Dancing Girl Press in February of 2019. Then I have another, You Are Not Your Rape, co-edited by Tianna Hansen, a sexual assault anthology being published by Tianna’s press Rhythm & Bones Lit. I have 311 publications since I started writing again less than two years ago. You can always catch up with those on both my Twitter: @lolaandjolie and my website kristingarth.com

 


Here are links to a few poems I really like:

What is Dead

The Lady Who Loved Lightning

Ophelia Interrupted

Pink Plastic Houses

Again 

***

My sincerest thanks to Kristin Garth for this amazing interview and the generosity with time and her answers. Below is some info on things to keep an eye out for and places where you can contact her. 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart & Best of the Net nominated sonnet stalker. Her poetry has stalked magazines like Glass, Yes, Five:2: One, Anti-Heroin Chic, Former Cactus, Occulum, Luna Luna, & many more. She has a chapbook Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), three forthcoming: Pensacola Girls (Bone & Ink Press, Sept 2018) and Shakespeare for Sociopaths (The Hedgehog Poetry Press Jan 2019), Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Lit March 2019) Her full length, Candy Cigarette, is forthcoming April 2019 (The Hedgehog Poetry Press). 

Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie), her weekly poetry column (https://www.rhythmnbone.com/sonnetarium) and her website (kristingarth.wordpress.com).

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Release - Clay and Blood by Rebekah Jonesy


It’s my absolute pleasure to welcome back the wonderful Rebekah Jonesy to For Writing Out Loud and if this reads like the transcript of a talk show, that’s just how it’s gonna come out on this occasion, because Bekah inspires that type of relaxed atmosphere where we can just chit and chat. 

So firstly, welcome back Rebekah and to start people off, why don’t you tell us what brings you back to the blog and yes you can consider this your Red Carpet moment. 

RJ: *sets down steaming cup of coffee*

*sashays down the Red Carpet doing an exaggerated beauty queen wave while smiling goofily*

Helllo dahlings! Thank you so much for coming to my debut. Oh wait this isn’t my debut.
*picks up coffee cup again*

Hi JD! So happy to be here! What brings me back is that I wrote another book, mostly so I could come and hang out with you again. Totally worth it too. 



This would be your second novel in the series. What can you tell us about it and what would you say has been easier this time around?

RJ: Yup, this is Clay and Blood, the second book in the series after Moss and Clay. You might notice the naming scheme. The third book will be Blood and Steel. That is definitely the easier part in writing this one. For the first book I had to make dead certain with the name so that all the other names in the series will work the way I want them to. I also had to decode what type of person my main character would be. And I think that really came out in this book. 

She is what she is. And what she is , is a baby. A baby with a vast wealth of knowledge, but not a lot experience or personal maturity. That was a much harder thing to deal with in this story. Poor Gillian is struck by a massive wave of homesickness, but doesn’t understand it and doesn’t know how to deal with it. It hits her in this story just how very dangerous and alien this new world of America really is to everything she knows. And the only comfort she has is a mute kelpie. My editor really had to poke at me to get this to come out well and fully.

How has being with OWS impacted your Writer Journey?

RJ: Oh they have been amazing. I love my editor, JK Allen. She did my first book too so she could point out what I was missing from the feel of this book, and it really bloomed with her help. And Heidi and Isa are … magical. I dunno. They focus on the marketing side of things and even I, who hates having to do the marketing stuff, can follow along and actually get my marketing set up and working. Heidi still makes my ads for me, cause wow rookie here, but I at least know what to do for the tours and newsletters and things like that. 

Without a doubt I have become a better writer because of them. And the support I get through them has given me the confidence to write in this new genre and still keep writing in my old genre. And I don’t feel like I’m an imposter any more. Nope with these ladies backing me I know, I’m an author. Hear me roar!

*sips coffee again*

You are a voracious reader to put it lightly, but you also seem to have quite the appetite to write. How do your reading and writing habits compare and contrast?

RJ: I take breaks and breathe between chapters when I am writing. I am much faster at reading too. I can read, skimming, 60K in 15 minutes when I am rushing. But even when plotting I can’t write that fast. 

When I read I watch it play out in my head. I hear it, feel it, taste it smell it, all at once.
When I write I write the plots and the dialogue over a series of days or weeks. Then I take a break of a day or so and let it ferment a bit. Then I read it again and write in the sounds, feelings, textures, flavors, smells, and nuance the dialogue. Then another break and another read through and usually take some bits out, tighten it up. 

So that’s what it really boils down to. Reading is about relaxing and seeing farther and farther. Writing is about tightening it up and focusing more and more on each bit.

This would be book 2 in the series, where to now and how far does the rabbit hole go for Gillian?

RJ: Next up is the Jersey Devil! Which amuses me because she started in New Jersey. But that is not where she runs into the Devil. And obviously it is no devil. And that books is where Gillian really starts going down the rabbit hole. She doesn’t know it yet, but books 0-2, which by the way you will be able to buy as a bundle soon, but all the signs are there for what is about to happen. And she won’t fully come out of that rabbit hole for about another 30 books or so. And the rabbit hole goes so far it reshapes how she, and her mother and aunts, view the world. And considering their mother Danu is the world … it gets a little dramatic. 

What is important for you to tackle with this series and how does Book 2 figure into the bigger picture?

RJ: The reality of reality and truth. Gillian cannot lie. And that has a lot of consequences she doesn’t fully appreciate yet. Because she cannot lie she doesn’t have to be careful of her words, but it would do her a lot of good to listen to her own words because that would teach her a lot. If she pays attention to her actual words. So in book two she says a lot of things that point to what is really happening that she, and the readers, won’t learn the rest of it for a few more books yet. 

Of course, you can’t come to For Writing Out Loud and not be given thanks for all the banana support and get asked a banana question or two: 1. Have you ever tried banana bread beer? 2. Do you have any special requests for 00 Bananas?

RJ: I do like the banana love!
1 Banana bread beer?! I have not heard of such a thing.  I am intrigued and would like to know more about this.

2  Wait, can’t be dirty. Right. Right. Uhm. *sips coffee* Oh! 007 movie intro with bananas! Or super dorky, and a 00 Banana in pajamas! 

Once upon a time, you said you didn’t feel like you belonged as a writer. Clearly this has changed and you are coming into your own. How does it feel to be on someone’s TBR and to read how people react to your stories?

RJ: I’m not just on people’s TBRs now. I am on the TBR of people I admire. That is … *fans face* that is .. leaving me speechless. That’s like having a chef come to your restaurant and wait in line to get your food. Again I think that has a lot to do with OWS and what I learned there, before I even joined the company. I don’t feel like I am flinging ideas at a wall to see what sticks. I took the courses, I watched how these things worked for other authors. I went and checked with established authors and learned that they are doing these things too. So just knowing that I know what to do and being able to do them, gives me a lot of confidence. And not doubting myself makes it easier to write too. Which is another confidence boost. And of course being supported by amazing people like you boosts me up too. 

Although I appreciate your work ethic and talent, your biggest attribute will be the kindness you bring to any equation. What is your take on kindness and its importance in the world at large and in your work?

RJ: Kindness is the best thing you can give. It’s like glitter, except not evil. The act of handing it out covers you in it as well. It grows as you give it. And it brings you just as much joy to give it as it does to receive it.

And finally, any extra comments you want to share or questions you want to add to this post? After all, the only rule here is to have fun.

RJ: What’s my favorite position?

For sure, it is the COO of OWS Ink LLC. It gives me enough books and submissions and stories and information that I always have something to read. Which is not easy to do, as I am sure you understand. I also like it because I can say I am the coo one of the group. And that joke never gets old despite what my co-workers might tell you.

And please join me on the rest of the stops on my book release blog tour for Clay and Blood. I did a lot of fun interviews, different flavor for each one. I also wrote character spotlights and articles that I thought were a lot of fun. So check out ourwriteside.com for those links or my blog http://rebekahjonesy.blogspot.com/for the list, that’s also where I post glowing reviews on all of JD’s works so far. I will also be posting the links on my reader group on Facebook where I let my geek flag fly proudly and talk about my books and writing. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1214371635362864

- Kindest thanks to the amazing Rebekah Jonesy, and if you like, here's a book blurb for her new book Clay and Blood.

Gillian Gilchrist has no time to rest after completing her first mission. There is still the cleanup which leads her to a trail of devastation left by a rogue fae.Somehow this one moves through the trees without leaving any trace, except for the tattered and bloody clothing of its victims.

Pitch and Gillian  can’t tell if the culprit is insane, sick, or simply acting out its true nature.




Sunday, October 7, 2018

Jim Jackson: A Retrospective


It started with playground profanity and led to a roomful of cockroaches.

For author, speaker and gentleman Jim Jackson, the path to writing has been a winding one. He’s the author of the pulp mythology Kiss of the Cockroach Queen, the devil-dealing tale Stones in My Passway: A Novel in Bluesand the self-explanatory How to Tell a Really Good Story about Absolutely Anything in 4 Easy Steps.

But it took a while to get there.

“The first word I ever read was f*#k,” he says, recalling a seminal childhood event. “I was four years old, and it was scrawled on the inside of a tube slide. I looked at the letters, sounded them out – just like I was taught – and read the word. I went around the playground repeating it until some woman gave me a dirty look. Since then I’ve always found reading and writing to be a transgressive act.”

From those humble beginnings, Jim found how powerful words can be.

“I actually learned how to play guitar so that I could write songs. I was playing in coffeehouses for most of my teens.” He hesitates. “I tell people it was to meet girls, but I wasn’t cool enough to think of that. Meeting girls was a perk that came after. Writing was first. Square, I know.”
 


But, after a year as the ragamuffin darling of the Ottawa, Canada folk music scene, Jim walked away from the musician’s life.

“I don’t know. I guess I changed. I’d turned twenty and was feeling old. Back then, there weren’t the indie distribution channels there are now. So I traded my vintage leather jacket for a blazer, did an English degree and decided I’d be a famous literary writer. Those exist, right?”

What kind of writing did that produce?

“There was an awful story about a trans-Atlantic sea voyage in the late nineteen-twenties that came from a dream I had. Obviously something I know a great deal about. I’ve read Fitzgerald – what else do you need? I submitted that to Saturday Night magazine’s short story competition, sure I was going to get at least third prize. (I didn’t). There was an aborted novel based on a Scottish folk song. There was a traveling circus story (I really liked that one). They’re all on a floppy disk somewhere. Good thing nothing can read floppy disks anymore. Here’s a note to writers – there’s no better storage medium than paper.”

When Jim got kicked out of a university creative writing class, the well of inspiration dried up. What was that experience like?

He takes a long swig of Bordeaux and smiles. “I think the court records are sealed. I’m not allowed to talk about it. But it did lead to my self-imposed exile in China.”

What is writing in China like?

“I had a gig writing a weekly newspaper column, in basic English, from an expatriate’s perspective. In four hundred words. Hard. So little space to make a point. In my storytelling book, I talk about how that forged a sense of brevity in my writing.”
 


How to Tell a Really Good Story about Absolutely Anything in 4 Easy Stepsis Jim’s first book – a non-fiction look at the power and method of storytelling.

“That’s a consistent seller around the world and has climbed a bestseller list twice. I love the success of that book, which was something that came out as an adjunct to the public speaking teaching that I do. If could do anything differently though? Shorter title. I thought the ridiculously long title would be cute. Not so much when I have to type and tweet it several times a day.”

 


Jim’s last two books have been fiction. What started that?

“When I got back into writing, I wrote a truly awful novel about World War II superheroes that should never see the light of day. But I still wanted to try my hand at fiction. So, when National Novel Writing Month came around a few years ago, I hammered out sixty thousand words about a deal with the devil at the crossroads, using blues folklore and imagery. There’s always music in my writing. This time it was my early love of the blues. When I give readings for this book, I’ll often noodle around on some blues.”

 

(You can check that out here).

Is there music in Jim’ latest book, the pulp mythology Kiss of the Cockroach Queen?

“There’s the accidental music of Hong Kong, my favorite city in the world. The sounding of the Star Ferry, the jackhammering construction, the dozen languages hawking knock-offs. And there’s the music of that old-time, hard-boiled detective voice. You know the one. She was the kind of woman you’d bring home to your mother – if your mother had a nasty temperament, a heart condition and a large insurance policy naming you as beneficiary.I love writing pulp. And mixing it with Chinese mythology was a blast.”

Pulp detectives and Chinese mythology?

“King Wong is the world’s only exoterric consultant and expert on the Otherkind. He’s down on his luck with a leaky, keep-you-up-at-night shower and a fold-out bed in grungy Kowloon. So, when an expensive-looking dame from the swanky Mid-Levels offers him a year’s rent to find her missing shady, financial-wizard husband, he takes the case. Now, he’s tracking down an ancient, Tang-dynasty magic and a buxom, violet-eyed barmaid cult leader in Hong Kong’s seedy, mystical underside with only the help of a hippie girl in dreadlocks and whatever allies he can muster from the mists of Chinese myth. The thing is, you never quite know if all this mythical stuff is real or just in his head.”
 

So why did Jim fill a room full of rubber cockroaches?

“For the launch of Kiss of the Cockroach Queen, we scattered a bunch of fake cockroaches around the bookstore. The person who collected the most got a prize – a much bigger fake cockroach. I think there are still a couple dozen hidden and waiting to scare innocent book buyers.”

Jim is deeply involved in his local writers’ community. What tips does he give to aspiring writers?

“Write fast and type hard. Get the words out. Fix them later. Hammer out what you can every day. And find your people. The other writers in your community are the ones who will buy your books, who will tell others about your books and who will generally keep your head above water when this crazy choice of vocation starts to drag you under. A writer writes. So write.”

Read more about Jim Jackson here . Or at ReallyGoodStory.com . Or buy his books here

Monday, August 13, 2018

38 pa’ 25 papeh

Recientemente debatí con mi esposa sobre la manera correcta de decir ‘papi’ en puertorro. Nuestros estudios exhaustivos indican que se escribe con ‘E’ y termina en ‘H’. Cabe hacer la salvedad de que si por casualidad estás bajo las influencias del alcohol, la ‘H’ se intercambia por ‘J’ alrededor del tercer o cuarto palo, dependiendo de tu tolerancia al alcohol.

¿Qué tiene que ver esto con mis 38? Tres pepinos por no hacer referencia a las Islas al este del continente de África a donde enviamos a tantas personas a diario. Ah y que o la pasas bien y te ganas las canas con gusto o te vas a agriar la vida. 38 años no es un universo pero hace tiempo que no soy un ternerito y la vida te enseña que aprendes o aprendes.

El tiempo es una cosa curiosa y si leíste la entrada anterior, me viste yéndome casi a un nivel esotérico contemplando el tiempo y el significado de la vida. Si lees esta entrada, de seguro te choca el cambio de tono, de idioma, de lenguaje utilizado y hasta estilo. Ahora si me conoces, sabes que soy así y escribo esta entrada no sólo para hacer complemento a las que tengo en la cabeza sino para que la gente conozca más de quién y cómo soy.

A menudo me preguntan por qué no escribo más en español y aunque quisiera que la contestación fuese una profunda, termina siendo una semi llorona y es que no sé ni si me leen en español. Por años he tenido una colección de poesía en español y otra bilingüe que se siente que no le dan mucha atención aunque de verdad que quiero a ambos libros muchísimo. Incluso, TwentyVeinte es de los libros que con más orgullo escribí, pero no se mueve mucho. La gente lo lee y le encanta. Le fascina la variedad en temas y la diferencia de quién soy como escritor en inglés y español. En inglés soy más fantasioso, más esotérico y confío que me siento más cómodo escribiendo en ese idioma. Pero no le quita que me gusta escribir en español y por eso para el año que viene saldrán varios libros en español. ¿Cuántos? Pues a ver cuánto me motivo pero a lo mínimo tres. Si se ponen con cosas y piden por esa boca, pues a lo mejor más :D 

Posiblemente te preguntas por qué haré semejante maroma y la razón de nuevo es personal. La gente no necesariamente me lee en español, pero si algo he aprendido dos años fueras de la Isla es que tuve que llegar a Atlanta para finalmente ser boricua y que me dijeran que soy el puertorriqueño. Tuve que ir al jardín botánico de noche para llorar de la felicidad que sentía mi corazón al escuchar el canto del coquí. Duele no estar en casa pero pienso que es el camino que me toca porque hay mucho por hacer y en Puerto Rico sólo puedo llegar hasta cierto punto sin padrino ni pala. En Puerto Rico o eres un duro o conoces a alguien y claramente tengo que seguir puliéndome en mi idioma natal, no sólo para complacer a Mama y las pocas personas que me leen en español, sino porque dentro de mí siento una necesidad tan grande de también dar algo para leer con sabor del Caribe, con sonrisas con agua de sal y rastros de coco, llevado a su perfecto punto de cocción en un alma que disfruta los atardeceres inigualables de mi Isla.

También escribo esto para comprometerme públicamente a esos proyectos, no porque no lo haya hecho antes sino porque la razón para querer hacerlo ha cambiado y en toda honestidad, me parece que cuando lean lo que sale de mí cuando estoy fuera de mi país no sólo demostrará que soy puertorriqueño, sino que amo mi lenguaje, mi casa y las particularidades de hablar como pleno isleño.

Comienza un nuevo año. Nuevas aventuras. Nuevos retos. Nuevos compromisos. No me sorprende que me haga falta PR viviendo al norte del charco, pero tampoco me sorprende que más me pide el alma escribir quien soy de todas maneras que se me ocurran.

Un abrazo,

JD