Ten Past Noon — A BOOK REVIEW

Focus and Fate at Forty A book by Tucker Lieberman

AKA David Lynch, ‘I don’t know why people expect art to make sense. Life doesn’t make sense.’ AKA The perfect reader is out there, they just might be living in the wrong century as you…. so like, don’t lose faith, pal. AKA I should trim all the wordfat off of this post, but if you moofs will indulge me, I just want to spray about everything this book made me feel, with no truncation. So without further ado.

You Only Have 30 Seconds Review: This book will make you think. This book will make you feel. It’s about creativity, life, death, what makes us human, and stop wanting to be human, and it will clean you house and clear your skin and enrich your mind, so go out and read this book! Ask your library to carry it so that others may read it. Buy a copy and support this author. It’s just so good. I’m in awe of this book and love it.

You Have Time to Hunker Down on the Toilet Length Review:

The perfect book or piece of media establishes its perfection by not making sense in the perfectly right way. (For me, I should add. For you, the definition might very well be quite different.) To paraphrase Lynch from an interview, the lack of making sense (in his case, cinematically) invites the viewer to process on a different avenue. Perhaps by opening the pathways to intuition. What Lieberman refers to as the ‘I just know.’

It’s difficult (and very easy) to say what TEN PAST NOON is about–the structure of the book jumps track multiple times, exactly producing that effect (that sense of falling back on intuition), until a picture starts to emerge, one that to me at least, was much more…. personal and emotional?? And profound? Than I would have ever expected. I am simply, in awe of this book (and you all know that I’m a crusty cantankerous old man who just isn’t impressed by ANYTHING anymore, so WOW!!)

NOON is about two men. One was called Edward Dilworth Cumming, living in the early-ish last century and the other is called Tucker Lieberman, living right now. It’s about trains. It’s about men without balls. And/or penises. Either because these parts were removed, or because they were never there to begin with. It’s about time. It’s about the United States of America. It’s about all the writers, thinkers, pedagogues, workers, scientists, architects and artists who shaped America. It’s about creativity. And the Big Questions.

The metanarrative (I believe) is about integrity. Whether that integrity is being applied to a book you are writing, or a Wikipedia article you are editing, or how you are describing your transness (if you are describing it) to a person who you know, deep down, absolutely does not give a fuck for your interpretation and has already accepted a previous interpretation of you that you never subscribed to. A book, a movie, a person. What is the ‘truth’ of it? What gives a project or a preoccupation value? Legitimacy? How can we make sense of the world when some of us believe in an objective truth and some of us don’t? (or at least, not an objective truth beyond one’s own person).

If you’ve been on the Couch for a while, you know that these questions, in some form or another, are often coming up around here. And they are ALL addressed in TEN PAST NOON, with such erudition, such humor, such depth and knowledge, with such a wide variety of supporting texts (from poetry around the world, obscure manuscripts, to song lyrics), that I was simply blown away? No, ‘blown away’ is a much more… no, imagine me running in a meadow clicking my heels up in a field of buttercups, yawping. I was DELIGHTED! To quote Mari Kondo, this book SPARKED MAJOR INTELLECTUAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL JOY. I started to make marks in pencil. Then, I started to use little sticky tab things, until my copy began to resemble a hedgehog. Eventually, I got the feeling I just wanted to draw a big red READ ALL OF THIS AND TELL EVERYONE mark around the entire book.
              

Authenticity is not just about our idea of our “true selves.” It is also about how we navigate bumps in the road, how we deal with people who are in our way, and how we talk about this. Sometimes people want to hurt us for talking about it. Facing this work is an existential dread in itself, because, if we fail, we dishonor the importance of our own perspectives.

Tucker Lieberman

‘…we dishonor the importance of our own perspective.” FUCk!!!!! Just punch me in the face, Mr. Lieberman?? And what about the anxiety one may feel over having the impertinence to even consider that one’s perspective may be important enough to garner honor or dishonor to begin with? Because an important metanarrative of this book seemed about what happens to our psyche when we cannot or are not allowed to be who we are at all times. Sure, none of us are who we are at ALL times; all of us, in some ways and in some situations, must compartmentalize or play a role. But especially from a trans perspective, this can after a while, have dire consequences… (As not having the ability to express what we must can have dire consequences, or ‘dishonoring our perspective,’ because we do not have the strength or guts to STAND UP for our perspective). The times I have been most disappointed by myself were the times when I hadn’t the courage to stand up for something I had worked on or something that I AM.

Such a person ends up leading two lives: one that dismisses the idea that anything they think/create is of any use (to yourself or otherwise) and another, where they are getting clawed to death by the idea that SOMETHING here, must be valuable. Maybe not horribly unique. Or important. But still having some value. Like the two (or more) trans narratives you may have on hand: one that is the palatable version anyone may understand (certainly, your gatekeep-y specialist), regarding a thirst for He-Man merch and the urge to fuck girls in the back of a muscular pick-up truck. The narrative for the friends who don’t have your back. The more complicated narrative for the friends who do. Then the narrative that will never be put into any vessel that can be transferred into another body. Cue all the trans metaphors and all the creative metaphors I usually read into books, but in the case of this book THEY WERE AND ARE ALL THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But integrity is just the tip of this iceberg. The first car? Or track? To continue with the book’s train metaphor. There’s love in TEN PAST NOON, there’s creativity, there’s loneliness and madness. (Think, the wit of David Foster Wallace and metanarratives.) There’s a firm grounding in a time and a place, that time when trains and subways were first beginning to change the American landscape and perspective of time (think, the energetic, lyrical lists of Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself,’ but with updated awareness.)

Think something like those works and those writers, but also a book and a writer comparable to nothing and nobody. A wholly unique piece. A masterpiece.

‘I love you for everything you are, everything you will be, and everything you never can be.’

Is something someone important once said to me, and that is the type of rare love I felt emanating from this book. (I don’t believe the word ‘love’ ever features.) But still, the feeling was. Self love. Love for others. Fascination for others. A desire to do better. Be better. A self-improvement story. A fascination story. What is the good life? I can only speak for myself, but for the self, a the good life is one filled with FASCINATION—

This book is a song of myself—a song of yourself—a song of Lieberman—and a continuation of the non-fiction protagonist’s, Edward Dilworth Cumming’s, song. Or, as he is referred to in most of the book, ‘Ned.’ Much of the text focuses on Ned’s fascination, and how his failure to find satisfaction with his own white whale project, may have been the driving factor in his eventual suicide. (Go back to what happens when a social perspective and private perspective can NEVER meet.) On one track, a man fails to complete his book, leads a generally unsatisfying sounding life and kills himself. On another track, a man completes a book about another man’s failure to complete a book. He’s just recently (I believe) passed the age of the other man, when he had died. —

Ned’s life work that he never was able to finish focused on—eunuchs. Eunuchs are a subset of men perhaps more broadly imagined to be incapable of leading a ‘satisfying’ life.

Why was Cumming drawn to the study of eunuchs? Enough to dedicate his entire life to attempting to codify some GUET (Grand Unified Eunuch Theory)? What does it mean when we sublimate the things we cannot acknowledge or clearly say about ourselves, into our creative (fiction or nonfiction or biomythography (Audre Lorde’s word) or metanarrative? Meta research?) Lieberman, who seems to identify with Ned in some ways, has his own theories, and here is where the magic thread comes out.

The thread ties Ned to Lieberman. You follow it as the reader. The thread ties both of them to— a tug. You look down. At some point you realize, you are looking down at your own feet. The thread is wound around your own ankles. You are firmly in this bitch. You think, how lucky was every and any person who could state clearly who and why they were, not having to leave behind some wildly obscure Morse Code for someone else to decipher (or not.)

A creation is a communication—even unpublished. even shown to nobody.—when we bother to put it out of our brain, we do this for a REASON. The reason might be what I call creative disassociation.(In pictures and stories and fixation projects, I created people and scenes and situations that made more sense to me that what was around me.) Or do we hope for understanding? Eventual recognition? I cannot answer for others, but …I hope only to transfer a certain energy. To give someone a certain inspiration. Even if that inspiration is “wow, you fucked this up royally, but your heart was in the right place. Let me take this piece and run it a little further.” You fly with a seed in your mouth until you get tired, and maybe another bird, a smarter bird, faster bird, better flying bird will pick it up. Maybe Ned hoped for that too somewhere—and his perfect reader/collaborator came along almost a hundred years later, in the form of Lieberman. A reader, a thinker who could appreciate everything Ned had done and everything he couldn’t do. You know, the old, Ned walked so that Tucker could run. But he had to exist, however flawed, so that him and Lieberman could eventually ‘meet’ (wherever they first met). The culmination of this meeting is the masterpiece TEN PAST NOON now in my hands. WHAT A RIDE!

Why did this resonate so hard with me? I mean, beyond that it was so meticulously researched and so artfully put together? I guess it was in some ways, so comforting? Reassuring?

It’s hard to see the effect of what we do. We can only try our best. People who come later will always know more. The YOU who comes later, will also know more. It’s hard to give yourself slack. To not beat yourself up for not knowing better. It’s hard as a creative person to not have constant first-hand embarrassment of your work’s shortcomings. Your blind spots. That rhythmic feeling of shame of oh god, why am I so fixated on this? It’s so STOOPID. (Another topic discussed a lot here on this couch.) Hell, hardly a week goes by that I don’t think of this:

“I regret all of my books. It is one of the tragedies of life that one cannot have all the wisdom one is ever to possess in the beginning. Perhaps, it is just as well to be rash and foolish for a while. If writers were too wise, perhaps no books would get written at all. It might be better to ask yourself “Why?” afterwards than before. Anyway, the force from somewhere in Space which commands you to write in the first place, gives you no choice. You take up the pen when you are told, and write what is commanded. There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.”

Zora Neale Hurston

Those who come later may pity us, but may also have compassion. Creativity (intellectual, artistic, literary) is such a message-in-a-bottle endeavor. Sometimes, you feel so fucking useless. Like damn, maybe I SHOULD just go French kiss a train? I mean, everyone else is catching fish, or fixing nets, or being productive, and my dummass is sitting here tossing bottles filled with messages, out into the sea. Oh god, you think. Stop! What for? It’s not going to reach someone who will get it. It’s not going to reach someone who will go Aha. Or even, hmm. Wrong, but he has a point.

It will just sink to the bottom. Or the bottle will break and a turtle will eat the note (so now, your thirst for intellectual camaraderie was not only futile, it also killed a turtle. A turtle death dries on your soul.)

But here comes TEN PAST NOON. And it says (amidst all the other things it is saying), hey… It’s okay! You’re not the only person tossing bottles into the ocean. And you’re not the only person fishing them out, and reading them. So, hang in there? Have some faith? And you say, thanks. I needed to hear that.

And isn’t creating something so that you can carry on—creating something that inspires others to carry on—-isn’t that what any of this is about?

Buy Ten Past Noon: Focus and Fate at Forty, By Tucker Lieberman, here.

Visit the author at: www.tuckerleiberman.com

Agalmatophilia 2

…is a paraphilia regarding statues, dolls, and/or mannequins. 
It’s also the name of my sketchbook (which is finished now). (No, I uhh, don’t personally experience attraction to dolls or statues, but if someone makes some kind of media about statue obsession, I will be RIGHT THERE.) I know I talk a lot so this post will just be pictures. Warning for the regular shit

Inspiration for images in orderish
-Chloe x Have Mercy (This is an entire video of Chloe turning men to stone and then making out with their statues!!)
-Model Adwoa Aboah
These violent delights have violent ends / And in their triumph die, like fire and powder / Which as they kiss consume.
-NAZGUL sighting
-Close-up shot of Rodin’s statue The Vanquished
-M
-More Vanquished
-Dawn FM (featuring Emily’s hand.) The WEEKND has come out with a new album DAWN FM it’s amazing and I recommend you all LISTEN TO IT.
Lil Nas X x Felix from Stray Kids (LIL NAS falls from the stars and after a long search for love, he MARRIES his guitar, because music was his love all along –is a very loose interpretation of his video, but….)

If you want to see my original Agalmatophilia post, where I talk more about Rodin’s famous statue, you can read it here.

And that’s about it, so stay warm and safe, my moofs. ❤

Blood and Breath Zine

This is a good last post for this Year—– so, for any of my Lovely Readers who moonlight as supernatural homos (or just have an interest in the topic) –a wonderful friend and my adopted tran child has pointed me in the direction of a project they are multi-level involved in: as a writer and an editor. Now I know this person to be a meticulous and passionate writer, so I am excited to read their own contribution to an LGBT VAMPIRE ZINE!

Preorders have been extended until January 5th of this next year. Check it out:

The design looks so slick and fancy and there are goodies unlocked as the pre-order count rises for physical copies (the last post says they are already at 69 orders, so if I’m not mistaken, that means on the way to chained enamel pins???)

Even better, the proceeds go to a good cause (supporting the Quilute Tribe – Move to Higher Ground) so check it out if you can. Treat yourself to some gay vamp content; support queer and trans art and stories–including the submission from my own child!!

Pre-order your own copy (digital or physical) HERE.

Check out the creator’s original post here.

And on Instagram here.

Last but very not least, hope you all have a great last few days of this tumultuous year. Keep safe and warm. ❤

Natural

This is a follow-up post to my ‘Let Me Regret’ post. It’s for a special someone ❤
***

It was sometime during the Obama Administration. First term. I’d gone back to Oregon, for a visit and my sister and I were taking a walk. We took these breakneck walks sometimes. My sister is built like a locomotive, and she’d set the pace. Up. Down. Up. Down. Big, green, wet hills, as San Francisco-y as they come. Most of the time, we didn’t talk. Probably, because it was raining (as Oregon is want to do) and we were concentrating on not becoming roadkill on the slick, unsidewalked roads. Maybe because the cars were too loud WOOSHing by. But I remember one time. There must have been a lull in car-age, because I could hear her say clearly, in that ….deliciously wack randomness that only my sister possesses.

She said: Stop at one kid.

Me: …wat?
Her: Stop at one kid. If you ever have any. I had two kids? And now my asshole doesn’t work properly.
Me: …..wat? (why oh why did I ask for clarification)
Her: You know. I shit myself sometimes. Just a little. It’s having more than one kid that does that. Stuff stops working properly down there.

……. I know there’s no way to even address that, so I’ll just move on. There’s a point to all this. I promise.

I listened to my sister. (Or maybe, having only one kid seemed like it made sense to do.) I had only one kid. I did not notice… a particular change in my butthole’s… allegiance *wipes sweat*. I noticed something else though. During my early and mid 30s. My teeth were going to hell in a handbasket. They were rotting out of my head. One by one. Crown, root canals, straight up tooth pullings. I was in and out of the crentist’s constantly. Like, get four pulled get the fifth GRATIS! stamp card level. They told me, sure. It’s pregnancy that does it. You have a kid? I said, yes. They nodded. Makes sense. The body needs calcium to make the baby. The teeth are a good place to take it from….

A few years after my kid, I had my boobs cut off. Because I wanted to. They didn’t fit. I was ok being a dude who’d given birth but I didn’t want to have boobs. I didn’t research it. Fuck, I didn’t even know what ‘drains’ were, going in. ‘You’re going to have drains’ my doc tells me. Me, cool. What are drains? The proceedure went smoothly and afterwards, I cried. And you know I’m the tough He-Man-y type who never cries. Every day since then, every. Single. Day. I am happy. (about that, at least). I think, it’s okay you were smoking pot when you made me, God. I threw money at it, and now it’s fixed.

(Or maybe the boobs were even necessary? My kid has a BANGING immune system and I am pretty sure it’s the breast feeding that did it….)

A few years even after that, I started to take some hormones. Testosterone. Why? I was sick of getting ma’amed up in the grocery store and the post office. Ma’am?? I thought, I’ll grow a big great bushy beard, Gudrun! That’ll show them. A month into it, my hair started falling like rain, I was sweating like BALLS (not normal man sweat, but full on wet t-shirt meat-sweat MANopause) and I was having sex with anything and everything, every five minutes. Beard? Nowhere. I said, fuck this. I stopped. I’ve known other dudes who took their T and were happier than little bearded doves in a tree. Having NONE of the bad effects I was. That’s okay. Not everyone’s body is the same and not everyone is going to have the same reaction to things. It made some people feel great, or better–it personally made me feel worse. Ok. I stopped.

Maybe you’re wondering what these four storylettes have to do with each other, and not much, really. Only that some of the changes I talked about were permanent, some are not. Some are considered ‘natural’ (if you were to ask a ‘normal’ natural aha person)–some are not. Some caused me to be happy, some made me sad, but they were (in the end) a worthy trade-off. (Wait, I get a whole Nazghul for a mouthful of rotten teeth? I’ll take it!)

The point is, in our lives, we do things all the time that cause changes to our bodies. Some of these are permanent, some cause… changes that are hard to reverse. We hear a lot of conversations these days about hormones and what taking them does to young people, who use them for gender therapy. The irreversible changes. Interesting, that when it is ‘traditional’ irreversible changes (or anything having to do with say, childbirth or athletics, two things that have such power to make long-lasting, long-reaching NEGATIVE effects on your body–these are considered fine. In fact, not even worthy of discussion. Natural. Of course! The parent–wants the child! They take on the risk, for the reward. Same with the athlete. They enjoy the glory or the runner’s high–broken bones or long term joint damage, goes to the back.

When you’re trans (or queer. or both), you get used to people wringing their hands and using the word natural. A lot like they use regret. Well, I’m just worried, this isn’t NATURAL. I just don’t want you to do something you’ll REGRET. Maybe they mean well (undoubtedly, they think they do), but it’s struck me for a long time. What, I wonder, is being referenced, by the word ‘natural’?

Is it the idea that ‘natural’ things (untampered by medicine/modern technology) are somehow better for us? But a person like this will slip their iPhone down in their pocket nice and close to their junk, as they get in their car to drive off and fulfill their teenage daughter’s birth control prescription (as they should!)–and they want to have a discussion about ‘natural’?

Is it that they believe that ‘natural’ things (things lumped into the order of traditional life, like childbirth) are somehow inherently good for you? Because whoo buddy, I can’t think of anything more objectively unhealthy than getting pregnant and giving birth. I mean, I know it’s to perpetuate our miserable, stupid species, so like… I did it–but NOBODY can convince me that that shit was objectively GOOD for my body, in any stretch of the imagination. (And I only did it ONCE!!)

Ditto with sports–I saw people break ankles, shins (and one girl had her leg snap clean like a matchstick near the end of a meet). I had bad knees all through my twenties due to cross country and volleyball and nobody, ever said to me: yooo, you should stop playing sports, this stuff is doing longterm harm to your body! Possibly irreversible! It’s DANGEROUS. I suppose the idea was that I knew the trade-off? I do sports (fulfilling for me) and pay the piper (longterm joint damage.)?

Is it that they believe that hormones or altering surgery is okay when it’s used to perpetuate their idea of healthy or normal? But when it’s to perpetuate someone else’s idea, it becomes ‘unnatural’ and ‘mutilation’? That anything leading to the inability to have children is inherently ‘unnatural’? Like, whoa–none of us know if we’re even going to HAVE this goofy planet to live on, give thirty years–at this point, NOT wanting to have kids–is probably the sanest idea…. And if you think I’m being flip there, well yah, a tiny bit, but bottom line: Yes, some trans people DO regret the irreversible changes they make to their body. …some cis people regret that fun night they had 10 years ago, for which they are still paying child support. Now what? Nobody gets to have kids, because SOME people say, uhh CTRL + Z?

Nobody gets to be trans because SOME people say, whoa, I want to roll this back? What about the people who regret NOT being able to try to make their body more habitable?

It Is What It Is

I’m not writing anything here that is going to convince someone who likes to sprankle talks about trans people and queerness with words like ‘regret’ and ‘natural.’ I figure, there is nothing I have to convince such a person–nor do I want to. But to someone who is perhaps, a queer and/or trans person struggling with moving outside of what people around them call ‘natural,’ I say: We (as humans) stopped being ‘natural’ a long time ago (if unnatural means, wearing clothes, and driving cars, and radiating our bodies when we get cancer, to save the lives of the ones we love.) And if ‘natural’ is being used more broadly with a religious connotation (as most people seem to be using it, even when they adopt an air of atheism)–so, to mean, fitting into a Creator’s plan? Well, I’m an atheist, but I do like to believe that if there is a Creator, they are not so petty as to be fine with me putting hormones in my body so that I can have clear skin and my gf rail me without a rubber–but judge me for putting hormones in my body to grow a bitching beard and not get ma’amed anymore. That shit just makes no sense.

Life is short. The way I see it, the only thing that is truly ours, and ours alone–is our body. It’s our home. So, make your home comfortable, and adorn it so that as you inhabit it, you are not sad, but happy. I really believe that a content person is good not just for themselves, but the people around them. So we should encourage and support people’s search for their own comfortableness, instead of trying to limit, discourage, or scare them. We should be honest. Nothing is a silver bullet, or a 100% fix. But (MOST THINGS) are also not irreversible.

To mold your flesh-prison until you feel content and happy, takes time and practice and experimentation (and luck and opportunity and money. Not all have the means.) But if you do. Well, sometimes, you may fail. You may overshoot. You may backtrack. You may get it right on the first try. Sometimes, (like having a kid!) you do something that is 1. permanent and 2. something you regret. (note here, I do not regret having a kid! but I know …people who do. Or maybe they like having a kid? But wished their asshole still closed properly. And that is that.) Yup, that’s life. I’m not saying take it LIGHTLY. But no risk? No fun. No matter who we are, het or queer, trans or cis, we do things to our bodies and in our lives that cause changes. Big and small. We engage our critical thinking, weight the risk with the reward, make the decision, talk to other people who have gone through it–and live with the decision. It’s part of our physical, emotional and psychic growth, as humans. It’s important.

That is life. And that is natural.

Seasons – Number One

I never like to call myself a writer. So, I won’t say I’m a writer–just a person who has written an awful, horrible lot. I’ve had the splinters sitting like some damned horcruxes on my hard-drive for ten years. I never wanted to find a trad publisher, because honestly, it just doesn’t seem important enough. I’m not saying anything earth shattering here. (We only go to trad pub when we are saying something earth shattering, right?) Maybe more that, I don’t think I say anything that anyone would find relatable. Or maybe it’s like that meme about art *entire world on fire.jpg* DOES ANYBODY WANT TO BUY A PICTURE?

Book one Spring: A + E

Anyway, of the four novellas I wrote a good ten years ago, the first one is formatted and out. (It is the novella I then turned into the graphic novel of the -almost- same name.) Again, neither the story nor the message is anything earth shattering: It’s a simple, hot-mess friendship story. The people I wrote it about are all gone from my life by now. This little tiny book feels like an incredible sharp pang when I think about it. But if you like the way I write, it might be for you….

Look at how tiny the physical book is! It fits in one hand.

For a brief while last year, I flirted with the idea of releasing a new version of the graphic novel for the 10th anniversary of it having been published. There were some things in it that had always bothered me, and I would’ve liked to have changed them. But then all this stuff got in the way and I thought, eh. It is what it is. The novella is ‘also’ not ‘fixed’ (though there are a few small changes, and a few scenes that did not make it into the GN, by virtue of it being too wall-of-texty and too hard to illustrate.) So here we are. The book remains flawed, and embarrassing, and I like it.

You know, I am usually bitching like hell about Amazon, but I have to say (besides their shitty ink quality, so dull and sad)–the Amazon quality for this book is pretty great. A beautiful, tiny little book that fits in your hand. And as much as I hate using them, it is the most accessible and cheapest. But I also have my version over on Gumroad, if you do not want to support Amazon.

If you want to read the book for free, you can download a mobi or epub version here from Book Sirens. Reviews are always helpful and super appreciated. ❤ You can read the first ten pages here if you like (and see the pretty formatting.)

A + E is book one, spring, in a four novella series (all exploring messed-up relationships.) I will be releasing the next book (Book three, Autumn), in a few months. My goal is to have four little books, all the same size, by the time this is all done.

Click here to get a copy of A/E (physical or digital).

Review on Book Sirens.

Add it (or me :D) on Goodreads.

Lucifer

My kid really adores these super janky low-stakes comics I draw on MS Paint, so here’s another one. Someone online once said that talking to kids really is wild, because they’ll ask you in the same breath if you’ve ever had an abortion, or if you have a favorite serial killer……. Also, my kid just prefers to be drawn as a non-humanoid being with no nose….

I’m happy to actualize his vision.

Yup.

In other news!! I’ve been really quiet; I’ve been having a touch of burnout, to be honest. ‘Somnia is peeking around the corner like ‘hello, big boy :))))))’ and it’s winter–that portion of winter, when you’re not EVEN in winter yet, just the tail end of fall. (Asking yourself, how am I already tired of winter when it hasn’t even started???) We are just starting out with trying to get the audiobook version of “Airy Nothing’ off the ground, and let me tell you, there’s a REASON why making audiobooks is a career! (You: no shit, dummass.) So there is a bit of a struggle, but the person doing the reading 1. has a wonderful reading voice that suits the story perfectly, imo. 2. Is an absolute angel. So I have full faith that we will succeed in the end–I just have to be patient. I also finally got AIRY NOTHING up on Ingram–say what you want about Amazon, but their process to get your book online is much more streamlined. On the other hand, Amazon seems incapable of printing a centered spine, but Ingram printed one just fine so. You win some, you lose some.

I will be posting specifically about the audiobook hi-jinx in the next few days on Patreon, if anyone wants to follow (I’ve been a few patrons away from 20 for like 50 years now 😀 If we make it to 20, I’ll probably do something crazy like another cooking video :D:D:D I also plan on releasing a new book with the press hopefully before this month is over, please keep your fingers crossed for my sanity!

In the meantime, wishing you all a nice Dark Harvest Time and keep warm, my lil Lucifers ❤

I Paint with Dirt and I Paint with Light

aka art dump
aka every time I cry, I get a little bit stronger.

Traditional art is smearing dirt and oil on more mashed-up wood.
Digital art is smearing around little bits of light….
(It’s kind of funny when you think about it that way. But that seems to me, the most fundamental, basic difference.**)

E as Saint Theresa
(digital watercolor)
le tre Grazie (The Three Graces)
ink and graphite on paper
Every Time I Cry, I Get a Little Bit Stronger (graphite/ink/white ink/paper)
Every time I cry 2. (digital)I

I continue to draw people getting hurt, or crying, or teeth (in smiles, or teeth being pulled out). But I think, there is a joy to the colors and the lines. I like to imagine, everyone crying is just getting stronger. (These are pictures of E–she is a random person who approached me for drawings months ago and I enjoy her poses so here we go. The rest of this post is my descent into MS Paint (god, why do I love drawing with MS Paint so much, it’s so shitty and so good, I found it! MS Paint is the crossroads between traditional and digital art, because it’s on a screen, but there’s no layers, and a sense of no takebacksies….

Just making lil gifs about decay and death………(and life?)

If you are an artist who does both, what is your preference?

If you are an art viewer, do you have a preference? (Looking at digital vs. looking at traditional….)

((**Also, just because I feel like you can’t mention digital art these days without immediately talking about NFTs–I don’t give a fuck about NFTs, I have no desire to make money with them; I don’t resent artists who make money with them, or those who ‘participate in the grift.’ Please, get rich off the grift if you can–I think NFTs solve some issues of art theft and also introduce new issues (as artists who discover their works being stolen and sold as NFTs). I’ve had people smarter than me explain why they are horrible; and also other people smarter than me explain why they are not more horrible than a lot of other shit we use…… In the end, I am not sure what to think, beyond a vague ehhh, I don’t think I want to be involved in this….

Arrrr-Kah-NAAAAAA 2021

Hey hey, it’s that time of year again! Yes, spoopy time, but that is inevitably linked with Arcana time. If you’re not familiar, Arcana is a show my friend Hazel Ang first started, a few years back, calling together 22 artists and 22 writers to all interpret a randomly selected Major Arcana card. COVID may be barring us from galleries, but THE SOUL STILL BURNS–this year, I was asked to help with the collecting and editing of stories (I also moonlit as a voice recorder, and as an artist on the roster) and we are live now! ❤ Here’s a crop of my submitted piece (my prompt was a card featuring a topic I am intimately very knowledgeable about. ‘Temperance.’

(Narrator voice: He was not at all intimate with the concept of Temperance.)

‘S my kid, pouring liquid from glass to glass, as Temperance is wont to do. Click on the image to make it big and see the teeny tiny Jesus Christ, def worth blowing up the picture for.
The format of the ARCANA site did not allow to upload the full picture, so here it is, with all the glorious detail! ❤

What you can see on the the Arcana 2021 site HERE! <3<3<3

-a full version of my pic
-OCCULT ART : OOO from artists all over the world
-neat stories from writers foraged from far and wide
-recordings featuring my dopey voice and the editing/mixing talent of one of our writers, Luvan!

Grab a tea (or a drink), and have a look and a listen~~

Bucket List

I’m trying to not be annoying, repetitive, and mute-worthy for people who follow me across multiple platforms? But it’s also not every day that you get a book out there, so. If you are following me elsewhere as well, I’m sorry but—it’s done, it’s done, it’s done, it’s done! It’s done, it’s done, it’s done! It’s done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Airy Nothing, by Clarissa Pattern, our first official YA novel, is OUT!!!!!

It’s terribly niche, but that’s okay, right? This is one of those things (how do they keep finding me?) where it’s not gay it’s not straight, it’s not cis it’s not trans, it’s rather dark, it’s also hopeful– a gentle, affirming story (with hangings, attempted assault and kidnappings?) so yes, a feminine, aspiring boy-actor who sees fairies and a smooth pickpocket try to navigate the pungent streets of Shakespeare’s London…. an ultra rough graphite sketch, by me, inspired by the book! Check out the people popping out of the coffins, lower left.

Now, I’m going to say here what I said to the lil mannequin burners on Patreon: we offer a paperback Amazon version so that anyone may (relatively cheaply) procure a physical copy from around the world. You really can’t beat their convenience nor price, but Amazon printed books are *sigh* just so…. not nice :/ As a book designer, their printed stuff makes me SAD. No customization options for paper quality, cover, printed inside cover and on and on. When I held the proof copy in my hands, I wanted to be filled with happiness and joy at the book almost being done,–instead, I just felt flat inside, for it not being nicer. And wondering, what could I do to make it nicer?

So, after some debate, I’m going to make a very small print run of simply ten copies from my absolute favorite printer here in Germany—and it will come with a special bookmark, designed by me! : O — If you have a lil bit extra money to spend, I highly recommend it, not because I want to get rich off of these more expensive copies and retire to my five golden swimming pools (I break even, once I trot off to the post office with the books.). But because if at all possible, I want you to have the best experience, holding, and opening, and reading this book. I want the books we release to feel collectible and beautiful–unlike that flimsy throwaway feel Amazon print has. I’m not kidding, the ink from Sedruck is so BLACK and SPARKLY. Their printing is a book nerd’s dream and reading a book off of their presses is so much more of an experience. (I’ve printed multiple books with them now, and each one is a joy.)

But of course, we want our things to be available to all budgets (and not everyone wants to cart around a big ol’ book anyway!) So then, there is always the thinner Amazon paperback, or an ebook. If you’re more price conscious, but you’re curious about Airy, then you can click here and read it for free on Book Sirens, in exchange for a review.

And that’s it! If you had requested an ARC, thank you for your interest! They’re out and you should be getting them shortly! I want to thank Clarissa Pattern, my lovely author, for her patience and all her help! And my wonderful J-bag for keeping this screaming fleshsack together. (That’s me.) Thanks to you moofs, for sticking with me. And thanks to the soap dog (I was having a literal mental breakdown in the tub the other day, and I looked down, and the soap bubbles made the shape of a dog’s soulful face????? and I was like ok. Oh shit. Pull yourself together. Soap dog does not want you to be sad.

So thank you to the soap dog as well.

Get Airy Nothing as an Amazon eBook or paperback.

Click here to get a limited edition of Airy Nothing (I send to anywhere in the world! <3)

‘Hey, I Don’t Want to Be…’

‘Hey, I don’t want to be racist but…’

A kid screeches to a stop near us. Maybe he’s ten. Maybe eleven. He’s on a bike, two friends behind him. Brown hair, easy smile. I’m holding a basketball, we’re standing in the yard of the church we cross to go get ice cream.

-Hey, I don’t want to be racist, but which one of you is the guy?

(Yeah, I know).
J and me look at each other. J says, we both are.

-So you’re gay?

-Yes.

-So, he was adopted? –The kid pokes a thumb over at my kid.

-No.

-…so how is that….

The other boys lean closer too. Everyone is waiting to hear the answer, but it gets hairy when you start rapping reproduction with strangers’ kids. J waves his hand:

-It’s a long story.

-You should tell me.

-Maybe some other day. We have to go now.

We walk away. In the movies, now you sit down, the violins swell up and you have the kind of talk that opens people’s eyes. In real life, you have no idea if the next time you see this kid, his parents are accompanying him, accusing you of who knows what. You figure, better safe than sorry. Not to mention, maybe that kid was a troll. Maybe he just wanted ammunition to harass your own kid at school.

Or maybe he was honestly seeking out information?

If he can’t ask the neighborhood tran about tran shit, who can he ask?
You don’t know.

My great-aunt declares that the book is HERS (read the dedication in the back), and anyone who wants to look at it must stay on the grounds of the garden (after the English version got filched and she never got to look through it.) In the afternoon, my younger cousin (still in high school) comes over too, she is bringing a friend in tow. They are both here to grab whatever’s left of the barbeque and to see The Book. As they wait in line to look at it, my mom glances at the kids sharply.

–You know that this book has BISEXUAL THEMES?

-Oh, I know. –My cousin’s friend says confidentially. –P told me ALL ABOUT IT.

Later that night, my mom tells me on Skype how my art book was the talk of the barbeque—everyone came down to see it. It’s not that it is so extraordinarily provocative—but it does display bisexuality (and some alt gender ideas) in a very casual way. I suspect my family is interested in it because I made it—but also perhaps because they are not used to seeing things displayed quite like that. My 75 year old aunt looks at it, my 45 year old cousin—and my cousins in high school. It’s weird to be the vehicle bringing these ideas to a regular Hungarian family barbeque—and it’s weirder to think that as the law stands now, my high school cousins looking at something I’ve made is illegal.

Due to a rather vague law passed last month in Hungary, it is currently illegal to show minors any material depicting alternative sexuality or gender, or to educate about such issues, in any way. The law has been viciously linked with another caveat calling for stricter sentencing for pedophiles. Challenge it, and you get asked: Don’t you WANT to protect children from pedophiles? And many who have voted for the law washed their hands, claiming it is not that they are against LGBT people—they are against those who would hurt children. They are against people’s children getting taught about things they should not know about.

But why should we still have the mindset that queerness and/or transness is an ‘adult’ issue? Why should kids not see it depicted casually? Why should they not be able to see that it is nothing particularly provocative—just another way of being. If they did, they wouldn’t have to wonder….or ask strangers awkward questions on the street.

We don’t live in Hungary, we live in Germany, the place where spectators filled the stadium with rainbow flags to show their solidarity, after Orban’s law was passed. We live in a safer place, but education is still needed.

Another day, we’re walking in our parking lot, and the kid drives by us on the bike again.

-Will you tell me today? –He asks. –How your son was born?

-Sorry, not today, -J says.

-But you said you would!

Yeah but… we walk away.

It’s complicated.