Open letter to myself posing all happy and smiley beside my first book.
You released Fearkiller (Volume 1) ten years ago. Its inspirations are alive and well.
Hey there, my dude.
Doing some archiving and found this pic. It was taken some time in February of 2013. Memory Lane. You got mileage out of that hat, wore it until one of the ears fell off.
And, yeah…Fearkiller 1…in Tattered Cover, mofo.
How cool it was, seeing your dark comedy on the shelf for the first time, though kind of an ego thing and not worth the effort. Looking back almost ten years later, you could have invested in marketing more online and reaching out to reviewers to spread the word.
Whatevs. This pic makes me remember that you were still riding that sweet high.
Another high — from a source other than the Tattered Cover placement — also pulsed through your veins. That second high came from hearing story comprehension. Beyond liking or disliking, the first batch of readers understood your funky tale that got inspired by living in fear to stay employed during the years 2000 through 2010. What you wanted to say — they repeated this back while talking about it. Which was the best rush.
While your first time out of the gate self-publishing a book wasn’t perfect, you stuck the landing.
Currently, you have a first draft of something new going. It’s printed out and sitting on a shelf, to be re-read in a few weeks.
You learned a lot about the world since releasing Fearkiller and posted those thoughts over the years. Here’s some encapsulations of insights, along with links to earlier blog posts that would not have happened if you chickened out on self-publishing. Take a look:
* First things first, (since it ties closest to Fearkiller): this has to do with the fella from the vignette that takes place in Fall of 2008. Guys like him only get more self-absorbed in the years since the US Treasury bailed them out. Even worse, they have decided that capitalizing on systemic racism is good business. Smirky and full of late-stage capitalism, they are busy feeding their undiagnosed gambling disorders as we near the beginning of a new year.
* The Great Recession and job loss on a mass scale are two themes in your story. Ten years after you released the book, the possibility of recession looms once again. Only…guess what? Broke-ass, angry folks are cheering on rich, angry, white guys who buy companies and fire people. Weirdness, dude. Like, you write this dark story years ago and, in the time since, humanity keeps proving you right.
* The publicly-traded company that fired you is going to try to merge with another publicly-traded company. Even though government regulators ultimately shoot down their attempted scheme, the money-grab will still inspire a promotional giveaway idea for your book which will never go anywhere.
* Upper-middle-class white Americans who are too busy building their financial empires to read books — especially fiction — get their armbands in a major twist when you don’t verbally share the plot of your story with them. Years ago, interactions with those folks led to this post about what happens when some people ask to speak to the manager, only to discover that there is no manager. You don’t want to single out white folks here, but you have yet to experience this type of resentment and suspicion from folks who aren’t white.
* On a related note, many of those upper-middle-class, non-reading, white Americans who are also parents seem to view their children as possessions. This is the only parental demographic that responds to hearing about your writing with tales of woe due to their child-raising duties. Blue-collar moms and dads never complain about their families like this and you have yet to hear the self-victimizing spiel from couples who aren’t white. To spin all of this positively, upper-middle-class-non-reading-empire-building white guys will inspire a blog post about fatherhood. Also, a post about how the USA wants to be a patriarchy, only everyone is too scared to be the patriarch. Self-publishing opened you up to writing about subjects that should be talked about.
* A few years after this picture is taken, you’ll phrase the Great Recession as “the victory that didn’t deserve a victory party.” Thinking back to the forced-fun events from Corporate America drove the insight. Now, as 2022 ends, the USA feels like its wealthiest citizens are planning some type of big party for the whole nation — most likely, after they cut Social Security and Medicare while simultaneously giving themselves more tax cuts. Their plan very well could involve Elon Musk, backed by a band of arrhythmic-but-rich incels, taking the stage to perform a grating, nonmelodic rendition of Don McLean’s “American Pie.” Yeah…taking a beautifully soulful song about artistry dying — and stomping the soul and beauty out of it while making all of the attendees clap furiously. Sounds about white…I mean…right.
* Speaking of the rich, they are fueling the popularity of anti-Semitism while, at the same time, becoming greedier and more penny-pinching themselves. Whether it’s the blonde-Jesus followers or the incel-atheists, they love to brag about being cheap while also reciting their favorite cheap-Jew jokes.
* This money-worship by the anti-Semites and white nationalists will take on new dimensions after a pandemic strikes the globe. Investors will use mass-death as a cover for a mass-money-grab. Not like you’re surprised here, but they will amp up the “cOMmUniZm IZ bAD” rhetoric to smokescreen their government handouts. The Great Recession didn’t teach these fuckstains one thing.
* A T&A flick from the 1980s, Porky’s, perfectly articulates white America’s value system and its nostalgia for a 1950s USA where eggshell-whiteness ruled the land and Caucasian-bros reigned over all. The modern fascists’ plans mirror the movie’s plot line: sic the authorities on your enemies and watch while they commit police brutality.
* You get this feeling that the citizens of Germany in the years leading up to Hitler’s takeover were smarter and more motivated than aspiring fascists in the USA. Maybe because 1920s German-folk were more outdoorsy and more rugged-looking and they skinned animals and hunted and ate lots of sausage and drank real beer and all of that stuff — maybe that’s what makes them seem more capable than the simps in 2020’s USA who think that Tucker Carlson is masculine because he says racist things. Years ago, you used to think about the early years of Nazi Germany and wonder how it all could have happened. Well, my dude, releasing a book as the USA re-elected a black man as its president has enlightened you.
* The modern Right’s takeover vision got crafted by able-bodied men who dodged the Vietnam draft, even though they personally supported the country’s war effort. And it shows. Their chickenhawk ethics have been baked into the Right’s ideology. There are lots of military-age males who own too many guns and use military-lingo, but also think that only suckers serve in the military.
* The Customer Is Always Right. work ethic is dead. As 2023 begins, it’s Fuck Customers. The Investor Is Always Right. Rentier capitalism sucked ten years ago. It only promises to get worse. Though I am seeing lots of awesomeness, 2013 me. The young’uns, Gen Z, they’re entering a workforce transformed by the leeches who extract wealth. Gen Z pissed off the wealthy by voting and the wealthy are going to get even, by gumb.
Looking back at this pic, you don’t yet understand that there are two types of non-readers: those who do not read books and those who wish that books didn’t exist. In general, the United States is full of people who do not read books. Most of these people don’t read because they are not wired to read. Their minds unwind in other ways. You get these folks. You always have. Your whole life.
But due to self-publishing, you now know that there are non-readers and there are book-burners. You aren’t the richest writer, but you’ve been receiving real insight about your fucked-up country due to your writing.
Keep smiling, my dude. I still smile in late 2022. It isn’t all bad. At the same time, it isn’t the world we grew up in. That world understood that Nazis were bad.
Also posted on my website. Earlier posts:
• John Wayne: hi from Earth.
• The era of anti-Semitic tightwaddery.
• President Eric Trump approves the best movies…the best.
• When terms don’t mean what they seem to mean.
• Bury Rush Limbaugh in Arlington National Cemetery. Own the libs.
• NYC vacay. May, 2003.
• Open letter to a selfie of my drunk-ass self, taken on August 11th, 2001.
I also write fiction. I have two dark comedies available, Fearkiller (Volume 1) and Notes from Trillionaire Island: Fearkiller (Volume 2), as well as Revolutionizer Alpha, the first book in a sci-fi series. I also wrote a story about God. It was weird, but then I decided to make the story and its sequel free. And all of the sudden, it didn’t seem as weird. Writing about God is much less weird when you write about God without charging money for it.