Monthly Archives: February 2012

How Snooki is marching the publishing industry, and all of society, towards oblivion.

When I started this blog, I convinced myself I was going to use it for deep, insightful thoughts and to convey important messages to you, my friends. Today, I must sadly inform you, I am going to rant a little.

Few things, on the entire face of the planet, enrage me more than seeing “Snooki” Polizzi bearing the moniker of “New York Times Bestselling Author.” When I think of such a title, I see people like Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon and JK Rowling. I see people who are intelligent, talented and hardworking producing stories that move the imagination and better the existences of a few million people.

Now, when I think of the title, I have to see someone who is famous for being ridiculous.

To my knowledge Snooki has her name on two books in print, one a novel and one a…well, I’m not sure what it is…with a thrid book, another novel, to be released this year. To be fair, I have not read any of them cover to cover, although I thumbed through the…guide to being ridiculous, I guess…and read the first two pages of her first novel, and I must confess, I felt dumber afterwards.

The novel seems to center on a girl concerned with her hair, finding several “gorilla juiceheads” to fornicate with, and having the “sexiest summer ever”. The Guide to Being Ridiculous focuses on her love for tanning, partying and finding “gorilla juiceheads” to fornicate with.

As a writer I am well aware that not every piece of writing is going to appeal to everyone. Obviously I, a thirty-something celt living in Western Canada, am not the target audience of “Snooki’s” work. I, also, am not suggesting that she should not be allowed to write what appeals to her, or that we should impose any kind of censorship on a piece of writing that I don’t like. What irks me is the mass popularity of what, in my view, is complete foolishness.

I am not a best-selling author, nor do I expect to be. Really, I’m a goon street cop with a penchant for storytelling, who read enough books, attended enough conferences, and chipped away at the craft of writing long and hard enough that I was able to muddle together a reasonably entertaining tale. So, I admit, I might not be the greatest person to be pointing fingers or throwing shit while I’m standing naked in a glass house.

The other people you see on the New York Times bestseller list got to where they are because of hard work, talent and ability. Stephen King was a broke highschool teacher, writing beside the hot water tank in his trailer, when he sold “Carrie” and started on his road to success. JK Rowling was a single mother, struggling financially, when she came up with a brilliant story, that was rejected by more than 50 editors/publishers, before she achieved what she has now. These people earned their success.

“Snooki’s” success is due to the fact that a generation of young people are fascinated with watching her get drunk on television. I lament the idea that we live in a time, and a culture, where someone with no discernable talent, skill or ability for anything – well, other than getting drunk and making an ass of yourself – can become a “Bestselling Author” based on the populartity of a television show that records her exploits. It hurts my heart that people now view such behaviour as acceptable, and even desirable.

As Robin Williams said, “This isn’t the end of civilization, but you can see it from here.”

 

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Precious Time

At times it seems that, no matter how many hours you could add to the day, it would not be near enough. At every turn there is something else making ridiculous demands on your time. Sleep, hunger, the need to poop, are all finicky bastards who are clamoring for your attention. Then, despite the base instincts these needs tug at, they are constantly thrust aside by other demons, like work, family, time spent carrying shopping bags for my wife and, God forbid, a little writing.

I now have the final edits, sent by my publisher, for my story “The Watch”. There is not much left to be done, as this is the “copy edit” and seems to be mostly just touch up of grammatical errors and typos. There are no major story changes that need to be made, and nothing structural that needs to be meddled with. It’s just gotta be a read through of the story, making the required corrections, and it’ll all be done. But if you believe that I could collect a few hours out of my day to sit down and work on this final task, after I spent more than 2 years in the various stages of work on this novel, then I have a large bridge to sell you at insanely low prices.

The most difficult thing about the writing life, because most of us don’t do this for a living, is just creating the time. If you’re Stephen King, and have more money than God, you can do this for a full time job, or a hobby, or only on every second Thursday when you’re especially drunk. The rest of us still have to work regular jobs, wrangle our relatives, and eek out some time with our beloved. There is not always time in a day to sit down and write, or read, or do something other than work on a blog post that likely only my mother will read…if even her.

But, as Ivan Coyote said in one of her classes at the Surrey international Writers Conference (www.siwc.ca): “Produce words, not excuses.”

A piece of advice that was well said. And so I go…

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Something clever…

So, now that I have a blog, I feel obligated to write something clever in it. Unfortunate for me, and anyone reading this, I’m a little short on clever just now.

As I go through this writing life, it occurs to me that much of a storytellers existence is comprised of being clever on demand, which is not always easy. I’ve always found the clever shows up when it is inclined, will not be coerced when it is not, and is tempermental at best.

In fact, if I had a nickle for every time the clever made an appearance, I’d be eating cat food and collecting pop bottles from my neighbor’s recycling bins.

So, for anyone silly enough to read this, I hope the clever shows up once in a while, and I can crank out something at least mildly amusing.

Thanks for showing up,

Tyner

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Well…this is blogging, is it?

I, apparently, now have a blog. I’m not sure what to put in here, yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

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