John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Thu 17 Feb 00 13:47
Matt--thanks for that minireview of New Rose. Since they didn't use my script I'm sort of relieved it was a bad movie--though that's very uncharitable and ungenerous of me! It's a visceral reaction. Richard Evans--I dunno, short stories just feel done sooner, what can I say. Novellas blur into novels. DEMONS was intended to be a longish short story/novella and became *almost* as long as a regular novel and is longer than many successful Jerzy Kosinski books published as novels. I suppose I enjoy writing short stories most. I'm writing a dark-fantasy horroresque (but not outright horror) *western*, replete with a gunfighter, for an anthology that will only print 500 or 1000 copies and, chances are, won't get into mass market, and I'm sure not doing it for the money. Unfortunately I'm under such financial pressure I can rarely *enjoy* writing anymore. Scripts do not flow as well as prose and are therefore more uncomfortable to write especially as I have to stop and ask myself, constantly, "Is this what *they* want?" And that's like having to put the brakes on your bike when you're already riding uphill. Sometimes you roll backwards. Short stories are not such a financial risk as a novel would be (time, sadly, is money) and I can write one now and then in good conscience. There will be a collaborative short story with Rudy Rucker called TUNNELS TO POCKETS...A new short story in Paula Guran's erotic horror anthology --a book which I don't *think* she has titled yet but which has a publisher...a new short story in Paula Guran's other publishing project, "Horror Garage magazine" which is going to be a fat magazine with lots of stories by people other editors *wish* they could get, coming out in May or June...And my first new science fiction story in years, called TO MAKE CHILDREN GOOD which will probably come out in an online publication (don't want to say yet till I hear for sure) and then in my new story collection DARKNESS DIVIDED...So actually am doing a lot of short story work in the interstices and intervals... Richard SMoley--I was thinking about our discussion of punk-rock--and wondering how you (a kind of authority on the esoteric) take my comparison to shamanism...and if I could justify it...Think of a voodoo priestess, for example, dancing to a redundant, raucous, rhythmic, simple, volatile music, dancing in a way that is very much 'in the moment', a dance that is also a state of consciousness; a state of consciousness that is subsumed to the dance, and then guided to openness to spirit-input (or more likely to deeper states, egarchetype-fed collective consciousness). Some punk-rockers get into fierce altered states in raging full on where they sort of commune with some essence-self manifestation, they embody their rage, their desire...From this springboard of essence-being there's a chance to see the possibilities of inner freedom...
Alan R Cook (cook) Thu 17 Feb 00 15:16
Just lurking and reading for now, but thanks for the introduction to some interesting discussion.
(jeffk) O o . o O (jeffk) Fri 18 Feb 00 09:35
Just trolling for TIPs, but I thought I'd mention that I absolutely adored VR5, and miss it greatly. I remember being all pissed off when they canceled it.
Richard Evans (rje) Fri 18 Feb 00 22:34
It sounds like the coming year is going to be another fiction treat publicationwise, John- the idea of a Shirley Western is particularly appealing. Today also marks the formal end of this interview and I would just like to thank John for his candid and eloquent comments, as well as all those that have offered various opinions and questions along the way.
Richard Smoley (smoley) Sat 19 Feb 00 08:51
John, re your comments about punk rock and shamanism: I see what you mean, but I think it could go either way. It COULD, as you say, connect someone to his or her essence and point to inner freedom. On the other hand, ever since the punk phenomenon was new I've found myself wondering whether it isn't just a valve in the mechanism of social control. You get out all your rage on the dance floor so you can fit in to your Dilbert job the next day. OR you adopt the pose of the Romantic rebel against society. At one time this may have had a positive value, when social conformity was much more oppressive than it is today. But conformity has become more flexible, and the Rebel is just another category of off-the-rack identities you can purchase.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Sun 20 Feb 00 10:51
Thank you, John, for participating in this conversation. And thank you, Richard, for leading it. Not that I'm suggesting anybody has to stop, you're welcome to carry on til the cows come home. This is a fascinating discussion, indeed!
John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Sun 20 Feb 00 16:07
You're right, Richard Smoley, but remember that there is such a thing as an authentic rebel. Anything can be twisted, distorted, entropically subsumed to become its own opposite--and inevitably will become its own opposite without fresh infusions of energy. Just look at what has happened to the original teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, or the idea of the "republic"; the Founding Fathers did not intend that the freedom they extolled be reduced to the freedom of big corporations to engorge themselves mindlessly on the country, the world. The original impulses decay along the way. But that energy that led to the great ideas of freedom, to unreserved self expression in art, to spiritual renaissance--that intelligent, insistent energy always returns. The Song called Youth, if you like; whatever you want to call it, renews us. It's like a spring that seeks an outlet here, or there, and there's always someone, out there, who is the right new medium for that energy's expression.
Richard Smoley (smoley) Mon 21 Feb 00 09:07
I agree with what you say, John. And there are always signs of life, no matter how much signs of death there are as well. Always some insistent little blade of grass pushing its way up through a crack in the concrete...
John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Mon 21 Feb 00 11:54
I read between the lines of some of the questions in this interview that there are aspiring writers out there. For those aspiring writers I offer my essay, Advice to Writers--you find it by clicking on the title at the index page at www.darkecho.com/johnshirley (it will be changed to Advice to New Writers, to avoid misunderstanding, shortly, so it may be briefly down). New info there on the new book DEMONS, etc, too. Thanks to Paula Guran for the creation of that website. She does a great job. And thanks to everyone who dropped in here. I'm grateful for your interest in my work. JS in the year 2000.
Richard Smoley (smoley) Wed 23 Feb 00 09:00
I'll certainly check it out. I _do_ have aspirations to become a writer too...
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