I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Thomas Marks, a man who hasn’t slept for more than one night in one place ever since his personal quest to prepare for what he calls “a terrible war” started almost a year ago. He was kind enough to swing by my office on the way to his next meeting and fill me in on the book Long Road to Phoenix which sheds a little light on his exciting adventure. Continue reading →
Either of those on my hands at the end of the day means I’ve earned it.
Earned my sleep. Earned the right to call myself a man. It sounds like macho posturing. I guess everything needs a label. So be it.
The feeling is primal and deep, pure and unfiltered.
It is not an emotion I gleaned from reality television or the newest lifestyle magazine. It cuts through the everyday bullshit and reminds me that I did something today. Something real. Something that will leave a scar. Continue reading →
While I’m a supporter of National Pride and I think it’s a sentiment that is often ignorantly cast aside in favor of popular (or at least more vocal) opinion, I still have little interest in the Winter Olympics. On display are disciplined athletes performing at a higher level than most could ever hope to achieve, yet I’m still kind of peeved that it postpones the small handful of television shows I watch by several weeks. Shame on you, over-achievers, for not making it easy to indulge bad habits.
This got me thinking about the various cultures surrounding “things”. Many people have a “thing”, be it football, stamp collecting, painting, etc. Each of these things is a world unto itself, wherein there are heroes, villains, outcasts…stories. Worlds within worlds; branches leading to smaller branches, all growing from the never-ending tree trunk of life. What may look superficial at first glance is actually a culture steeped in tradition, often dating back hundreds of years. With the Winter Olympics, there isn’t just one sport to hold your attention. You could learn everything there was to know about bobsledding and yet know nothing about the history of the snowboard. There are endless worlds within our own, and they are each being explored by someone out there.
This, in turn, got me thinking about books. Every book is a world waiting to be explored. Think how many libraries are bursting with texts, each one a universe unto itself. It boggles my mind, and it throws so many layers of depth beneath an existence which is already satisfyingly deep. Enriching. That’s the word I’m looking for, I think.
So you winter athletes keep doing your thing, and you football players keep doing your thing, and you writers keep doing YOUR thing. Someone out there lives in your world. Who knows how many countless others will stumble in?
“Bad” is in quotes because what makes something good or bad boils down to personal taste. For example, I loved the movie Deep Rising, yet the awesome B-movie adventure probably fell way short of what constitutes a “good” movie for most viewers.
Before we get to the fun stuff, we need to talk about what qualifies someone to say something negative about an author’s work. How do we, as a literary society, endow someone with the special mandate to go out into the world and find stinky prose? What gives the guy writing for the New York Times more of a right to slam a popular novel than anyone else?