So Little Time To Decline

flight schedule

Mostly because I had no idea when the audiobook version of “Decline And Fall of Alternative Civilization” would be completed. It was a very involved process that left really no time to project a release date. By all literary standards, that’s nuts, but sometimes you have to jump out of the plane when you have to jump and not worry about it. Call me crazy.

SPOT convinced me the novel would be better as an audiobook. I then convinced him to make it happen and produce it. Having never done such a thing, he accepted the challenge bravely and decided not to quit when he had a chance to.

In a nutshell, he stayed with it, refused to give up, got to the end. Technical snafus lined the route, and there were difficulties finding voices, but about a year and a half ago he hit the high road when it wasn’t expected. And doggone it… there was grumpy, hard-knuckled success, even though the hill climb hasn’t stopped . I’ll have to let him tell those stories cuz, frankly, I’d feel like a fool to try. Just like I woulda been a fool to attempt doing any readings myself. The conclusion is that we saved a buttload of headaches by letting him tackle it.

Parting shot? Not really. I’ll just let that plane ride.

Mea My Fanglin’ Culpa…

…cuz any Mea will do.flight path

I took a long break since my last blog post cuz I’ve been a bit weary of social media and internet activities lately. A vacation seemed better than cooking up preludes to undercooked, imaginary chickens & waffles. Sometimes convenience store burgers make sense.

So, sparing the constipation without spoiling the menu, today there’s significant news: The audiobook version of “Decline and Fall of Alternative Civilization” has finally passed the finish line. There were many details in the project that needed straightening out but the wait was worth it. SPOT (my producer) did a great job of mashing a multi-voiced recording into a larger-than-the-sum-of-parts literary form. Even he had his doubts—and as many technical and editing snafus—but I’ll let him talk about that.

The files have all been formatted, submitted to the distributor (We did an end run around the Amazon/Audible regime! GOALLLLLL!), and so far been approved for release within the next 2 weeks. I’ll give more specific information ASAP. Stay tuned…

In the meantime, since folks usually wanna hear some narration and dialog samples, I can give ya some below. Order in!

Where Does Anyone Go Wrong?

Maybe in another blog post?

It’s a raging old question, I wager, and one that’ll get a person deeper into trouble as easily as give them a sane way out. Trust me; I know this; and Kurt; and Vonnegut ain’t gonna tell me no different.

In a nutshell, audiobook production is nothing to be taken lightly. It can be as formulaic as mundane writing or brilliant as a wild venture that, even with odds supposedly on its side, may end up a magnificent failure. And the less said about this, probably the better. Mr. SPOT  is still hard at work on “Decline and Fall of Alternative Civilization” but it seems the end is within reasonable earshot. He didn’t have a proper studio to do the work in, but he had the equipment and experience to make a multitude of imperfect situations work better than they should have. And WAY to his credit, he picked the right voices to work with.

I’m impressed. The back and forth professional insults between us were worth it. I imagine some good sound files are up next, but that’s all I’ll say at this point before letting the results come in the door to kick at least someone’s jade rabbit ass. Stand by…

#4 Ain’t That A Kick

I’d take my goddam pants off and maybe jump into the shark pool, but I wouldn’t do anything stupid. Not me. Oh no. Time ain’t beaten the old man enough to claim his bicycle soul. Handlebars are as much a responsibility as wheels are, and don’t believe anything different!

Mr. Spot (he said, a bit formally) let me hear a wee bit of the voiceovers he’s doing in Los Angeles for my goddam audiobook and… wow. It’s actually happening and sounds GOOD! Way different than the standard such fare. OK, I’m impressed.

Then he sends me a reading he did of one of my recent blog posts… as a surprise? Said he was just doing a “casual” test 0f some new recording gear?  I didn’t ask for this! And I sure ain’t complaining!

The Voice? You tell me.

#3 Antithesis Of ACX-it-ing

I’ve lately thrown a healthy amount of insults and shade at the guy, but over a year ago SPOT’s decision to push “Decline and Fall of Alternative Civilization” into audiobook form has entered the reality stage. It was a risky venture because, frankly, neither of us knew what the hell we were Exc13_igdigging ourselves into. But SPOT’s a pro who resists the urge to talk about it, isn’t afraid of failure, has a rich history of recording things that most folks wouldn’t touch, and he knew it was worth a try. We just had no idea how to approach it so I left it up to him; he’s good at figuring out where the clues, if any, might lie. One thing was certain: the standard ACX style (Amazon’s Audible product) was too simple and predictably formulaic.

He also takes his time and doesn’t force immediacy “…unless you absolutely have to…” when dealing with results. Story narration and vocal textures are what he concentrated on but, knowing the limitations, he sought out other voices to flesh out a difficult concept. Finding voices in the northern Midwest area (he lives in Sheboygan, WI) proved fruitless, and an unrelated trip to his old stomping ground of Los Angeles set him straight. He was once again in the midst of people, situations and possibilities he had not just known for years, but had helped create. Let’s just say… cue the Eureka! etude <eyes wide open> and……… cut! 

I was seriously questioning his intention to finish the project until he’d fully organized it and filled me in. It was a tough job but, like I said, the guy doesn’t talk about things unless it’s based on substance. Better than I can say for most people. He’ll be in LA for a few weeks working with four actors—George Basil, Rory Uphold, Janet Housden, Pleasant Gehman—that, from what I see (and hear), are pretty solid casting.

Damn. Again, the goddam fool took me by surprise. I was ready to kick his “geezer punk ass” and hang him out to dry. (and it still means i can insult him if i need to. sure, you can tell that to whoever you want.)

#2- Props On Launch Pads? Sure.

Rocket science is what it is. Propellor science is something else but it can be just as important if you want to get airborne from any launching pad. It worked for the German’s V2 rocket and also for Japan’s Zero, and it’s a good thing the USA kinda perfected both technologies.

My audiobook producer, SPOT, just launched what he calls “the precursor” to his next book—a booklet called “Anti-Punk Rock — A History” which I’ve ragged over plenty. I mean, c’mon. He starts working on a project for APR_cov_name 2 years ago and then comes out with his own after I insult him on the public media? Is this justice or justification?

Let’s just say I owe the doofus some props for sticking with recording my novel while dragging thru his own Sysyphus. And he learned how to perfect bind in the process. That ain’t easy, so it’ll be saddle-stitched, by golly. Can’t say I blame him. The difficulties of one thing should never stop a person from digging into another if only to keep a straight mind on it all. Apparently, the ruse worked. And, occasionally, you have to say something nice about those who actually help you… but you didn’t hear it here. More details in the next inevitable post; the insults ain’t quite over.

#1-Will Wonders Leave Me Alone?

No rants, no oversized expectations. Not even undersized disappointments. I just received the news that the audiobook version of Decline and Fall of Alternative Civilization is crawling into the final stages of production. It’s not being done in a normal manner since it’s really not a normal story. There was just a need to do things differently, and the development took a while—over a year. Not all things are easy, especially when a multitude of voices are needed. It didn’t bother me to wait but it sure made me curse the producer in the friendliest, most vicious way possible. It was the only way to get these things done.

Enough for announcements. More on the next inevitable post.

Pets: The Fuzzy, Found Loss


Writing. Ahhh, the crackle and crock of rules.
Where the adverbs don’t get ya, the GIFs will. All the never-able-to-pause time after time after time. Like a pre-2016 Cubs World Series, the fans can still play the blues in Chicago, and baseball can self-examine on as many repeating, freezing-frame videos as should never exist…
but it’s TRUE, Joe! So whatcha gonna do?
And what (really) are any such unsolicited uploads showing us anyway?

Time-worn advice #1: “Write what you know!”
ball_wordist01A phrase that once had meaning, the evidence now suggests that showing is what most literistas are knowing.
Very few “mature” writers know time-worn, so I’ll raise my hand every time it comes up and hope not to complain about the Tunnel Over The River Carpal. Rules? In a court of law, they’re already over-ruled. Anywhere else, they’re fully overdone and the last literary garage for scoundrels needing a place to park before dealing with the age of pre-FaceTime selfies.

On-the-way-to-being-time-worn advice #2: “Show, don’t tell!”
I honestly can’t recall how many writers’ exercises and blog posts have focused on this well-meaning touchstone without mentioning its devolvement into poorly justified “shows and tells” as useless as they are clever-less. There’ve been quite a few, ir-re-gard-less! If 300 words about a favorite pet or important social concept now demand more dpi than the visible text, that’s when I imagine reaching for well-hidden and loaded revolvers. Giving one’s best written shot is more about the aim than about the target. In 1966, Charles Whitman demonstrated this from the UT Tower and, today, I doubt that entire squads of shouting, gun-waving Second Amendment’ers—insane or not—are any match for one sharp-eyed sniper who doesn’t waste time describing the bullets.

(Wait. Bullets? Weren’t we talking about words here?
Write what you know? Show, don’t tell?)

Candidate-for-next-time-worn advice #3: “Kill your darlings!”
It can be fun. Very fun, in fact. Liberating, even. It can also keep you from realizing they were probably never your friends to begin with. You blew up MySpace, remember? Or you just started ignoring it like you did all your so-called friends, leaving it rotting in the hell-raisin sun? Sure. I’ll let y’all figger dis shit out on your F’book ownz, ese.

We’ve all seen cats. And dogs. And selfishisms. And music videos. ball_GIFsAnd political diatribes. And parades of mobile devices following scenes of police vs protestors. And promoted tweets. And friend requests. And social media this. And social media that. And trolls and rolls of thyroidian reactive psychosis. And boils and bubblings of covens to the left, nazis to the right, clowns above, jokers below, times a’changin’, chimes a’ragin’, bells a’ringin’, feces a’flingin’. And forever, and virtual forever, and time-lined, and snap-chattered, and terrorized, and terrible white spaces between jumps to reticulate paragraphs, and Artificial Intelligence, and one more hungry cat chasing whatever it can for the camera… amen.

But there are rules. Aren’t there?
And there are inspirational vacuums. Aren’t there?
There are monsters over the bed, heavens become hells, gods become devils, devils become gods, become rules, become runts.
“All in a midnight dreaming,” said one hobo’s voice.
And all on the Cubs leaving the field, watching the last fans disappear, all of them thinking, “Next year. There’s always next year.”

Without pain there is nothing.
With contemporary literary rules, even less.
7000 ding dang dead darlings in full dystopianist disarray?
Yes, Mr. DeMille.
New Dark Ages will welcome every clown’s closeup.

Evaluating Voltage Via Vulgationism

It might be harder than it sounds cuz I’m sure it’s harder than it looks no matter who’s measured the current. In merry, Anglican England where a Man was a Mann, folks used to bring it to Jerome rather often and they were happy. “Do Wahs” and “Diddys” neither traumatized nor upset anyone perusing a document called a vulgate, as far as I know.

Then there’s Issue #150 (March 8, 2017) of Joe Carducci’s “The New Vulgate”—a dense blog built upon various violations of rock & roll, punk rock, alternative rock, oldtime (and sometimes newtime) pop radio, the decline of freeform radio, the rise of form-fit financial foolery, left-wing politics, right-wing politics, la la libertarianism, film history, factual fandangos… all the news that both mainstream and anti-mainstream press are hell bent on remaining clueless about so long as the shoes fit. It worked for Constitutionalism, Communism, Spiritualism and the new post-McCarthyism.

open_act10.1Mr. Carducci is the author of “Rock and the Pop Narcotic” and “Stone Male: Requiem for the Living Picture.” No telling if he intended it to appear but I’ll assume that an unnamed friend of mine submitted the unsolicited DaFoAC excerpt to the Vulgate, or maybe Joe just downloaded the ebook and read the damn thing. Stranger and more valiant things have happened in the literary world.

Surviving Civilization? That’s So… Wrong…

bk_cov02…since it was meant to decline. Eventually, many parts of it would decline as would body parts and their various functions. As it did, ideas evolved and books were often written. The literary world only has itself to blame for trying to validate perpetual dynamics. Without undetermined motion we are lost, be existence Titanic or Atomic.

In the midst of all this undetermined mess, I continue with “Decline and Fall of Alternative Civilization”—the novel that isn’t or perhaps shouldn’t be. I’m not attracted to perfection anymore. I guess it was a good idea at one time but all things do indeed pass. And sometimes they fall from the sky in the mid-1990s like “…an air played on the low strings of a fiddle, a viola-toned inflection, the native Irish rebelling against an unfortunate English tongue…” and “…poised on the brink of jailbreak.”

Lofty? You betcha. Improbable? Absolutely. Or maybe more like a flight attendant squeezed dry as airline crackers and “…like Icarus, blasted by wing-melting heat and fallen from grace with flight…” to be “…kicked under a pile of yesterday’s punch lines.” Hoowee! Ain’t that some kickin’ in literary pants that might be hidin’ the doodoo? Proud or not, we all have to sit on our own gamey thrones now and then.

DaFoAC is as finished as it will be. I’m OK with that. And, yes, after a hefty revision, it’s a *super-econo* ebook for awhile. Such a deal. Amazon (CHEAP!); Smashwords (FREE!); uh huh; for awhile; while it’s being pushed into its audiobook version. Uh huh; and it’ll be as optimistically wrong as literary-ness is ever gonna be.

Disclosure: I was never a Philosophy student; nor was I a college graduate who annoyed Mr. Vonnegut’s semi-colonoscopy woes. These parts of life just whacked me from elsewhere without apologizing for any wrongness. Call me crazy. You definitely can’t go wrong with that (but newfangled laws of physics’ll get ya every time).