Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rolling the dice, as it were

I just sent "The Lyons' Den" off to another publisher who's willing to look at it.  It'll be interesting to see if they finally take it since it's really a post-queer novel.  The closest this book comes to making a big deal about being gay in the USA is pointing out that Tad is one of those "Okay, I'm a fag, so what?" kind of guys...and Daniel's psycho mother and sister use his homosexuality against him for their own means.  Important to be sure, but beyond that no one else gives a damn.  Which is how it should be.

The first publisher I sent it to was willing to look at it because they bought my novella, "Perfection", to put in their anthology.  In fact, they'd liked that story so much they agreed to take it even though it's twice as long as they normally accept...and they paid me double their usual rate.  The big drawback to them is, the book wouldn't come out for a year.  The big plus to that is, a lot of their list is carried in mainstream stores like Barnes & Noble.  They'll get back to me in a couple of months so we'll see how that goes.

I halfway wish I'd approached them for "Bobby Carapisi" but I was heavy into my current publisher at the time and he did get the books out there very quickly.  The fact is, I really appreciate him being willing to let me do my thing with the titles and suggestions on the cover art.  The only complaint I have is that he can't pay me what he owes me...well that and he started handing me the same nonsense he hands his other authors, even though he knows I know better.  It's like he can't help himself -- he's got to put out his spin on things, even when it flies in the face of things he told me only the week before.  He says he used to be in politics; I believe him. But enough about that.

Man, I love Kurosawa's films.  Something I realized about them long ago is, even when he's making a simple police-procedural story (like we get constantly from US TV and movies) he gets you so invested in the characters you get lost in them.  "Stray Dog" is a case in point.  In 1949 Tokyo, a rookie cop's pistol is stolen and he goes looking for it.  He pairs up with an experienced cop and as they search, they find it's being used in ever more violent crimes.  Sounds like an episode of CSI or Law and Order, right?  Except the rookie's growing sense of guilt and desperation as his pistol is used to steal and then to kill takes this out of the realm of the simple and puts it into the existential. Parallels emerge between the cop's and the suspect's lives, showing how easily each could have wound up like the other.  He even goes nearly mad towards the end...until given a chance at redemption.

The same thing happened with "High and Low."  A simple kidnapping and recovery story turned into a meditation on honor and evil, on how one keeps one's decency intact in an uncaring world.  And "Rashomon" took a rape and murder and questioned just how honest we can be about ourselves, even when we're dead.  Questioned if the truth was ever truly knowable.  He was a phenomenal storyteller.

Today it snowed in Buffalo.  The middle of April, Palm Sunday...and snow.  Amazing.

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