Thursday, February 18, 2016

Deconstructing the Writer: Advance Praise for The Violators

Art by Dyer Wilk Copyright 2015
(Stuff appearing in this blog post: Biographical diatribe, advertising, more advertising, and book reviews). 

I like to think I have read a lot of books, but my reading experiences have dwindled considerably over the years. Editing fiction, grading papers, coloring princesses with my children; I have too much to do. I am jealous of people who have the time to escape to rich, unique worlds. I keep seeing so many awesome books come out and I feel like I am excluding myself from one of the best and most powerful mediums of expression. 

Sometimes (I am guilty of the following) we become so passionately involved in an idea or artistic medium that we develop a sort of intellectual snobbery. Here’s what I mean: I am a public educator, and nothing upsets me more than children who are mean or rude to others. I love my job and turn a blind eye to attacks against public education because there is a part of me that suggests… THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT. As you can see, I am sort of a snob when it comes to something I love, although I have learned to walk away from several battles because I know that arguments will not change minds or hearts. Discussion can lead to learning, but we often confuse discussions with arguments.

Once upon a time, when I was a college student, I had a haughty perspective on literature. I studied literary theories and purchased so many “classics” and filled my head with words from those texts. I wanted to become an educator, and at the same time, I began to view the world from the lens of someone who has an exclusive, special “gift” for reading and understanding literature, and I had the notion that I could interpret words at a much higher level than anyone else and should waste a lot of my professors’ time with literary discussions. 

I never wanted to “demonstrate” any kind of intellectual superiority over anyone; I wanted a place to talk about literature, and my college classes were the best place for it. I was satisfied, but I also felt “alone” in my perception of literature and ideas. I never actually believed I was more “intelligent” than anyone else I encountered, but rather, I feared I did not have anything interesting to say unless I put on a sort of guise and became a character. I became different versions of myself. The guy who went on a date or played billiards (we just call it “pool” and I feel so damn weird writing “billiards”) was not a person who could discuss literary theory. When I played video games or went to work at my day job in retail I erased everything I thought I knew about so many literary geniuses whose words never truly left me.


Here I am, ten years later, attempting to connect all the above crap with a book I’ve written—an extremely graphic book that is a sort of spiritual expulsion. I feel very dumb and silly now when it comes to literary theory and intellectualism, and it makes me happy. I can’t believe that I have published books, and that I have a beautiful family and the greatest job in the world. But what I have written is a nihilistic portrayal of intellectual snobbery and the desperation of artists who are nothing more than degenerates. I did not write The Violators with the idea that I wanted to be as gory and as offensive as possible; rather, the book became a rather vile experience in which the entire context became a sort of 4th-wall metaphor that discusses there is a certain amount of danger when things we are passionate about are taken to extreme levels.

That was a really, really, long-winded explanation behind The Violators. I am not going to apologize for its content, though I think readers need to separate the idea that authors are not ALWAYS their characters, nor are authors necessarily creating art that consciously represents how they feel about specific things. The characters in The Violators are terrible, nasty people, and I don’t empathize with their actions. Not one bit. I wrote an article about the idea of separating ART from the ARTIST in a newsletter for Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. If you subscribe to their newsletter, you get other free content (the whole newsletter is free, so it’s a cool deal). You can subscribe to their newsletter by clicking HERE. Their anthologies feature some of the best writers working today, and their novels are pretty damn awesome. 

February 23rd is release day, and here are some of the reviews for The Violators. 

I deeply appreciate anyone who took the time to read this, and anyone who has read or will read anything my fingers can tap into a keyboard.