I don’t give a fuck: I like Magic. I haven’t played in at least ten years, but even just off my memories of the game up to, oh, 18, and later in the online versions, I will attest that MtG is the greatest and most intricately strategic and customizable game ever created. Fuck chess and backgammon. Magic is a universe where not only are there so many possible utilities under the array of spells and creatures you can involve in any given match, but also a ridiculous level of inner-tuning, logic, semantic, prediction, counteractivity, and innovation of nuts and bolts. It is the ultimate rendering of a game where to be successful you must decide your approach, construct your apparatus, and operate that apparatus under the manner of luck and the countless structures employed by each opponent. There are so many fucking spells.
Today I’m bored again and found my old archives of cards I have left after I sold most of them off when I quit in high school. I decided to pull 3 cards out at random and write about their utility. It seems to me to have a lot to do with manipulation of other entities, like words and systems of words.
Hey. I interviewed Erin Hosier. She’s a literary agent to a couple of fiction writers (Shya Scanlon, Brad Listi) and a lot of memoirists. Okay. I have a doctor’s appointment soon. I think that there is something wrong with me. Interview.
You mostly represent non-fiction writers, but a few fiction writers too, right? What kind of fiction manuscripts catch your eye? Do you want fiction that resembles memoir?
You should ask me more glamorous questions, like what kind of shampoo I use, or who my favorite designers are. I currently represent four literary fiction writers: Paul Jaskunas, Edan Lepucki, Brad Listi, and Shya Scanlon. I represent more illustrators than fiction writers. And more rock stars. Furthermore, these four writers are very different from each other, but I expect great things from each of them. I have represented other fiction writers over the years, but fiction writers tend to switch agents when I can’t sell their work. This is why I don’t handle more of it. My strengths are in writing, editing and pitching non-fiction. That’s my comfort zone. I even prefer documentaries to other movies, and I see way more movies than read books. Also, I’m a slow reader, and fiction comes in long manuscripts. I’ve noticed too that even if a novel is brilliant in so many ways – it makes you laugh or cry or it haunts your dreams or makes you look at the world in a new way, if it entertains – but it has just ONE fatal flaw in the marketing or manuscript department, it’s not going to sell.
The first Kenneth Anger film I saw I think was Kustom Kar Kommandos. It was the first piece on a VHS compilation of his movies that my Satanic friend R. had. R. was a cousin of a kid I’d gone to elementary and middle school with, J., who one day I remember showing me a Polaroid of his other cousin having sex with a dog. We were on the smaller bus that went from the elementary school to my house, which was about a mile and a half. J. thought it was funny. I also first saw the word fuck written on that bus I think, though I didn’t say it out loud or know what it meant for another year.
Kustom Kar Kommandos was filmed in 1965 and was supposed to be the first of an eight part film about erotic teenagers and machines. Showing of this first section failed to help Anger get the money he needed to make the rest, so he gave up. Me and R. and another also Satanic kid, L., (I was not Satanic) watched the film that first time in the “play room” of my parents’ house, sitting all of us together on a futon. The play room was my first bedroom in the house but since my parents had built on, it now just kept all the old toys and games and other crap we never really used. By this point the room was basically storage. Today it still has several boxes full of junk I never unboxed after my loft got hit by the first tornado to land on downtown Atlanta, right on me.
Today I have been thinking about book reviews as tentacles of the book being reviewed, as an extension of the book, an addition to it. Like a book is a blog post and a review is the comment stream. Each blog post shares a symbiotic (parasitic?) relationship with its comment stream – unless, of course, you disable the comment stream, in which case you disallow the formation of direct extensions — of course someone could always do their own blog post linking to your post thereby forming an extension at their own site. In a way, thinking this way calls into question the notion of authorial sovereignty, which is to say: according to an older type of model, I write a book and therefore I am the author and I control the object — whereas in a newer type of model, if I write a book (or a blog post) the reviews (or the comment stream) can easily overtake the book (blog post) thereby pushing my role into the background and replacing it with whatever creation those extraneous appendages (comment streams) create, which is to say that my authority over the text gets taken out of my hands. But that’s not really where I want to go with this post. I don’t want to argue that a book review can somehow surpass the book being reviewed, because the whole reason I got on this mental pathway is because I have recently read a few book reviews that I thought were stand out pieces of literature in their own right – not better than the work being reviewed, but on par with it, as if the review was in some ways a productive extension of the book, a part of the book written by someone else…