The better-half comes home from getting a haircut and tells me how his barber is taking online Russian lesson through some outfit called Got Classes. (That’s not their real name, but you’ll understand the alias later.) He says to me, “Why don’t you check them out? Maybe you could teach English online.”
This was more than a gentle hint. See, I quit the last job, which was in many ways the perfect “part time” gig at a nearby community based organization, except no matter how hard I tried, part time always became full time, and I wanted to spend more time writing. However, three years later, neither the novel or novella I’d produced during my hiatus, were offering me enough in royalties to buy more than a monthly latte at Starbucks, and that would be on a good month, nor was I living large on Continue reading My Gig Economy→
As this will probably be the only way I will EVER get my name in the New Yorker, I am thrilled to announce that I have won this week’s New Yorker cartoon contest. I’d show you my winning entry, but I’m afraid they’d sue me, so you can go here and see it for yourself.
Wasn’t that fun? They shot me an email to tell me I was finalist and check how I wished to be identified. They also asked if I would like to share how I came up with my totally original caption that was probably similar to many others. I explained that I had lived with cats for a long time, so I often thought of what I’d say in that very situation.
It used to be the winner would get a signed copy of the cartoon with his or her caption on it, but they seem to have cut that service right out. Still it is an honor to have won.
Would you like some advice on how to win the caption contest? Be funnier than everybody else.
(You can thank me for my awesome, life-changing, and totally free posts by checking out my books on Amazon. There’s no donation button, but nothing says thank you like buying a [cheap] book.)
Self-pity is not a good marketing tool. Then again, nobody reads my blog anyway (You see what I did there) so…..
In October of 2015 a novel called City of Fire came out. It got spectacular reviews and the young author was lauded as the next new thing even bigger than any of the Jonathans maybe.
More recently Christadora – A Novel was released. It also got spectacular reviews and its young (white male) author is also being celebrated as the greatest thing to happen to literature since Bob Dylan.
Both of these masterpieces are set in the New York’s East Village. City on Fire takes place in the pregentrified 1970s, and culminates in a shooting and the blackout of 1977. It deals with the punks, anarchists, runaways, junkies and other assorted East Village types. Christadora is set a bit later, that period of time when the East Village started to become gentrified and was made safe for suburbanites and the rich, even while a good number of its native population was dying of AIDS. It’s told from multiple points of view, and touches on the Tompkins Square Park riots.
All this I know from reviews of the works. I’ll never read them. I couldn’t bear to. Why you ask? (You don’t come here often, do you?) You see in 2010, to little fanfare, my novelLoisaida – A New York Story was released to the public. Here’s the blurb:
“The core of this gritty, only in New York-story was inspired by realevents – a beautiful, aspiring dancer slain. The psychotic roommate has confessed, but a dilettante actor-turned-journalist thinks there’s more to it and investigates. Soon one of his sources mentions he might have better luck gaining trust if he’d shoot dope.
Welcome to New York’s East Village, aka Loisaida, circa 1988. Meet your neighbors – artists, dreamers, hustlers, devil worshipers, anarchists, junkies and yuppies – all competing for breathing space in a city without air. It’s the era of greed, when the poor are objects of scorn not sympathy, and the gentrifiers view themselves as urban pioneers. This is a story about sex and drugs and real estate. This is a story about a murder…”
Not only does Loisaida take place in the East Village, like both of those respectable novels, but it takes place in around the same period as Christadora, and like Christadora it is also told by multiple narrators. Christadora involves the tenants of a particular building, the (real life but fictionalized) Christadora, a one time settlement house that was turned into a fancy condominium in the late 1980s. The Christadora (the building, not the novel) is also referenced in Loisaida, though it’s given a fictional name, and a much less prominent role. Both Christadora – A Novel and Loisaida feature the Tompkins Square Park police riots. City on Fire, which is set years before those events, has a shooting. I don’t know whether or not anybody dies in it. Loisaida, as explained in the blurb, has a murder – a strangulation probably, though there wasn’t enough left of the body for an autopsy.
This is just a reminder for all you fans of snarky recaps, snappy reviews, and other smart writing about television: My television writing has moved from Happy Nice Time People to The Agony Booth. In fact, the entire contents of HNTP have moved to The Agony Booth, so that’s the place to go to catch up on all things television.
I’m currently recapping The Exorcist, which is a little bit Buffy and a little bit X-Filesderivative, but why not take from the best?
A successful friend recently gave me some advice. He said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” It took me a while to get it. What he’s saying is we aren’t going to succeed the first time we try something, or the second, or the third, or even the fiftieth. There’s a learning curve for everything. One famous writer says it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. The truth is if you don’t give yourself permission to do something badly, you’ll never do it well, or at all. You might reach a plateau and think, you’ll never go beyond it, but that’s the time to up your game, and keep going. So take a breath. Look at the progress you’ve already made. Make a list of things you can do now you couldn’t before you started to remind yourself, and keep on going!