So, I don’t know if you’ve read True Grit by Charles Portis, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend it.
The book tells the story of Mattie Ross, a young girl in the old west on the trail of the man who killed her Father, a drifter named Tom Chaney. In order to bring this man to justice, by lead or by rope, she recruits the help of a vicious fat old drunk of a one-eyed U.S. Marshall named Reuben J “Rooster” Cogburn. Along with a glory hound Texas Ranger named La Boeuf, the three set out on an often contentious and always dangerous road after the man Chaney. Bang bang bang.
The thing that really stands out in this book is Portis' lightning quick prose and Mattie’s amazingly clear voice. It reads so self aware, so modern. I couldn’t put it down and just blew through it. It consistently and easily occupies a spot on my top ten favorite reads list. If you’re avoiding it because you don’t like Westerns… stop doing that and go get the book. If you’re avoiding it because John Wayne was in the movie (which I’ve never seen)… pull your head out of your ass. It’s a good book, go get it, read it, love it. Besides, the Coen Brothers are making a new version for release this Christmas and you want to be ready. They say they’re going to stick closer to the book than the original film and after the way they handled No Country for Old Men, well… watch this:
I can’t wait.
Ok, moving on, let’s talk about the Walking Dead TV show.
You’ve been watching it, haven’t you?
Well, if you haven’t then you’re one of the few. The first episode was seen by over 5.3 million people, the second by over 4.7. There has never been a cable TV show that has pulled that high of numbers… ever. Ever. That’s insane. And it’s good news for yours truly, my dear gentle readers, for as some of you may or may not recall, I am currently busy querying a variety of Literary Agents with my very own zombie apocalypse novel that is both (in my opinion) completely different from Kirkman’s Walking Dead (as I explained here) AND would also make a great TV show. You know that HBO is still smarting from the way AMC yoinked Walking Dead out from under them… especially after these numbers have come out. Hey baby, I got what ya’ looking for… shimmy, shimmy, shake-shake, wink.
As for the show itself? So far, so good. I’m not a fan of the whole “dousing yourself in guts and acting like a zombie in order to sneak by them” school of thought, I think it’s stupid, and I would bet that Robert Kirkman feels the same way too, at this point, as evidenced by the fact that he has never revisited that particular little trick… Otherwise, the show has been good. I like the deliberate pace, I’m impressed with the level of gore (the CGI splatter doesn’t bother me), I love the art direction and both the adherence to and divergence from the source material. It has had some really good tension. All in all, well done. I have no real complaints. Little Ms. Super-cute Wife wasn’t all that impressed, but I happen to know for a fact that she’s rented In the Cut on more than one occasion and ON PURPOSE too, so feel free to take her opinion with a grain a salt.
Also, a prediction.
Maybe a spoiler…
Remember Merle Dixon? The mandatory southern redneck racist they left handcuffed on the roof? Well, he was a TV show add-on that was never in the comic. Also, you will note that despite the fact that, at the end of the episode, he was left more than a little F. U. C. Ked… it should also be noted that we didn’t see him die…
Gee, I wonder if he’ll show up again at some point later on in the story, possibly at precisely the wrong moment and then start to fuck stuff up? I wonder… I wonder if he’ll call Rick: “Officer Friendly” in a somewhat gloating and condescending manner while he momentarily has the drop on the heroes, possibly right before receiving his just desserts? Hmm... I wonder… Time will tell.
Anyway, long story short, kids… keep your fingers crossed that all this big-time, newsworthy, zombie-centric attention turns into some interest in my own project.
Which brings us all the way around to… that’s right…
Gunslingers of the Apocalypse
The book in question. Right now, I have six queries out and I am occupying the traditional wait-and-see holding pattern. I believe everything out is still within the active and current range, but I haven’t checked in on it in a week or two. Lately I’ve been reading fellow Scribblerati Agent Lisa Bergin’s fantastic and nearly done WIP for review tonight, so I’ve been focusing on that. After tonight, however, I’ll be able to return some of my focus to my own projects. At that point, I’ll take a look at the spread sheet and see if anything needs to be re-queried or if I should dig up some new names or not. We shall see.
It’s been on a short hiatus for the same reason as stated above. I’ll get back into it tomorrow with the goal of finishing up the second draft for review whenever the next Scribblerati meet is. I have to add and tighten and then hack away the edges, but it’ll be ready. This one is good and fun and I think it will turn out publishable… or at least close enough.
The Little Things
The short story class critique went really well. Overall, it was positive and I even got some really good insightful responses and not all from the instructor either. There were some, of course, who barely said a thing and there were the one or two who, while they did give me a positive review, had to start out with: “now I’m not really familiar with the genre, so keep that in mind…” This always strikes me as so crazy. It’s just a story, read it, it will either work or it won’t. And folks only say that about genre work too. I’ve never been handed some Oprah Winfrey book club tea-sipping story and felt that I’ve needed to explain at length how I’m: “not very familiar with literary Valium, so keep that in mind…” Anyway, I’m planning on addressing the responses and adjusting the piece after I finish up with Monster. After that? Well… once more unto the breach, dear friends.
Gunslinger’s sequel, Bastard out of Minnesota, still waits quietly, rolling along at a slow boil on the back-burner of my mind. I have… three? Maybe four… Definitely at least three short stories I’m going to try out next. Different genres and what not, should be fun. And finally, I’ve got something else I’m cooking. Right now, I’m just dicing up some carrots and onions and whatnot, gathering together all the various accoutrements and all… but I’m getting really close to throwing it all in a pot and seeing what cooks up… In other words, folks, I’ve got an idea, I’ve been piecing it together and seeing what it turns into… but I’m beginning to suspect that it might be another book.
So, well… yep… that is about everything, I guess… until next time.