Monday, October 09, 2006

As the Globe and the Tide Turn

Speaking of the unusual as we will be, this 4 week-old kitten is a sphynx, the only cat breed once available for highly allergic fanciers, courtesy of Canada's Pretty Bald cattery- be prepared for Twilight Zone soundtrack- I despise unprompted audio launch. See bottom of this post to learn why such blue-chip baldies are looking like absolute bargains these days.

While conferences, conventions, creative critique groups (with which I've been solidly preoccupied recently) may provide great suggestions and motivation, they can also fertilize one's sense of being overwhelmed, uneasy, and lost. In the wake of other fine authors' latest and greatest work, one may feel one's own specialty is plenty saturated, and even fear it's becoming yesterday's chilean sea bass. But can anything more suffocate joy and freshness than a newspaper article declaring one's own bailiwick the Next Big Thing? Thank Jah, it's the Boston Globe and not a New York paper, but it's quite bad enough. By the time something's called the Next Big Thing, many more titles are in production, destined to flood the markets over the next year or two, most of which (as is the way of books) will sink, thus convincing every business/acquisition type that the notion wasn't so hot anyway. By 2009, a legit publishing date should my novel get representation and a contract, this conceptual genre could be as poisonous to avid shoppers as harvest gold kitchen appliances.

The kind of lit-ruh-chure under discussion, which the Globe labels "New Wave Fabulism" while I shudder in revulsion, has been something I've always read and always loved when executed by talented writers. It's also principally what I write, without claims to adequate talent. Cory Doctorow is quoted as calling it "contemporary fantasy." Less horrible, I suppose, but not as descriptive. I particularly enjoy when an alternate universe we're exploring is close enough to our own that our daily knowledge and lingua franca clearly apply, and then don't. I'm also tickled by strangeness, mystery, and absurdity. Toss in farce, and I'm done for. My own writing's aims and prose exist on the less experimental edge of style, probably because I'm a shallow hack incapable of surgical-silky subtlety. Hyper-alliteration, I've got covered.

When the Next Big Thing takes the shop next door to your similar-ish little business, it can either boost your enterprise as demand overflows supply at NBT Incorporated, or you can become overshadowed and obsolete with the speed of FTL (faster-than-light in geek-speak). The vanguard of this "movement" will be fine. They're the authors deservedly mentioned in the article, and their quality and innovation and primacy will carry them beyond the life of the trend. But for those lesser beings who now must hope to coattail-ride, it probably helps to be already established among practitioners of the field, someone Kelly Link might cite as an unrecognized but gifted writer who she enjoys reading. (This is the Any-more-like-you-at-home? phenomenon to create rapid marketplace congestion with also-ran crapfests which will be largely responsible for the target readership's fatigued disdain, resulting inevitably in the demise of the aforementioned NBT which will eventually reincorporate with a new logo and brand strategy.)

I am not known. I have a manuscript I'm trying to sell that's odd and dark and Gothic: a tight suspense of misfortune and body thievery over 36-hours. It examines more the implications of believing in myth than myth itself. I have another I'm currently writing that's frankly surreal but also comic. Most normal people (known for liking a laugh as relief from the pressures of the day) are shocked to learn how deathly is the publishing business' view of the comic novel and how low the sales numbers can be. Still, both of my current literary ventures are "weird sh!t," to employ another characterization in the Globe article. But I may be sitting in my dinghy on the sand as what once felt like an incoming tide has, in fact, already turned and begun receding. Good thing I'm also working on an urban fantasy/horror comic. That's bucking the fads, for sure.

Via April, a hypoallergenic cat costing $3900 (extra $1000 for shipping and handling) with over a year-long waiting list. But that's the fur premium.


Billie Bloebaum said...

Um...Yeah...That link to the hypoallergenic, apparently genetically-engineered cats just creeps me out a little too much.

LIFESTYLE PETS? Next they'll have ones that don't eat or use the litter box, just so they don't interfere with your "lifestyle."

Oh-so-wrong on so many levels.

Henway Twingo said...

I thought Chias and rocks were the ultimate "lifestyle pets."

I'm hunting for your business card, billie, but you and anyone else can e-mail me at henway00 (that's zero zero)- AT- yahoo/dot/com and join me in rocking the wrinkled hairlessness.

Beth said...

Ew...I'm not a fan of cats as it is. I hate to say this about a living creature, but the skinless cat is kind of repulsive looking. Meow.

I have faith in your manuscript! You have a terrific style that's irreverant, witty and poignant...all rolled into a bite sized sliver of sushi. I'm also zealous over your use of jumbo words that I'm not familiar with...any way at all that I can effortless study for the GRE is fine by me. I may have fallen off the face of reading your blog for a bit, but I am back! Yay.

Henway Twingo said...

Beth, I know you took a little break from your own blogging as well, but I'm delighted you're back. (Oh yeah, I'm stalking.)

Keep those divine compliments coming, and you'll always be welcome. Just kidding. I'm a sucker for abuse, too.

Beth said...

I did indeed..but sometimes a brief hiatus (or even long one) is just necessary. But it's good to be back and have my filling of your antics for the day.

Abuse? LOL! Hrm...

April said...

You know me, I really love cats. I don't love dogs any less, though. And I AM slightly allergic to both cats and dogs. Since I'm mostly a cat fan, if I was wealthy, and VERY allergic...I would buy one or two or five. And I wouldn't think of them as a "lifestyle" pet. What the fuck is that? Yuppie code words for less inconvenient? I would think of them as my cherished pets, period.

I don't think there's anything wrong with giving people who are allergic to cats a cat that won't torture them.

If genetic engineering is wrong, please stop eating the sweet corn you pick up at your local supermarket because you know's all genetically engineered at this point. The enhanced SE gene.

I don't like the hair-less anything, cat or's quite un-attractive.

Anonymous said...

They're not inconvenient. My mother and brother both have such cats. They require bathing, since the oil builds up on their skin. Because of this they also get BO and acne. They also are emotionally needy, requiring CONSTANT reassurance and cuddling. Great pets.