Every so often it is important to re-read a favorite book, to savor the power of something that changed you, to renew yourself in a moment where you were touched by the ineffable sense that you had seen a small part of something greater than your own experience. That singular feeling of connection is something like a miracle.
As when a Tree’s cut down the secret root/Lives under ground/ and thence new Branches shoot… — John Dryden
The 10 SF/F Works That Meant the Most to Me -
Disturbed that I’ve only read 3 of these (though huge shout-out on the inclusion of Winter’s Tale, one of the best novels of any kind since 1970). The others I’ve read? Snow Crash (naturally) and Dune (ditto). Obviously a personal list, but given Scalzi’s oevre (did I spell that right?) I would have expected Gateway by Frederick Pohl, maybe something by William Gibson, and something by Isaac Asimov. But a great list nonetheless.
A Handy Flowchart: Which Young Adult Fiction Book Should I read? -
Even though there is a notable omission (where is The Secret Root? I’m sure it was an accident…) this is pretty hilarious, if completely wrong. While it hits on some of the appropriate notes (Divergent, The Maze Runner, The Fault in Our Stars, City of Bones, The Graveyard Book, The Vampire Diaries, Uglies, Feed) it misses some easy layups (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Graceling, Shadow & Bone, Insignia, Ready Player One, Incarceron, Inkheart, Zoe’s Tale, The Lightning Thief, The Book Thief, The Name of the Star, Railsea, The Apothecary, Legend, The Night Circus…)
It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. — J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (via littledallilasbookshelf)
Yesterday, someone told me (out of the blue) that they had read The Secret Root and loved it. There is no better feeling than to hear that someone spent the time reading your book - and liked it enough to tell me! So if you read it, and enjoyed it, let me know! I’m incredibly grateful for your kind words!!
The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do, and, in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves. This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not,” - Philip K. Dick. — http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/09/06/how-to-build-a-universe-philip-k-dick/
My old band, Mo Fuzz, was briefly a shining star in the early ’90s Chicago music scene, recording an album with Steve Albini and then imploding. The Wikipedia entry was deleted, but it still makes me laugh:
Mo Fuzz was a Chicago post-punk band (1989-1993) known for both its irreverence and odd sense of showmanship. Often classed as performance art as much as music, Mo Fuzz was a popular live act for a period of several years, opening for bands as varied as Helmet and Laughing Hyenas. After recording a single album, The Great Unwashed, with Steve Albini (released on Lunch Money Records) the band imploded.
The band’s influential combination of childlike wonder (often emphasized by the waif-like presence of their lead singer Crush’t Velour), buzzing guitars and faux serious attitude was a brief, if noteworthy, presence on the local Chicago music scene.
History: Started by a group of purposefully anonymous college students, Mo Fuzz was named after a character in the cult film Tapeheads, played by SoulTrain host Don Cornelius. The band first rose to local prominence with the release of the single “Over My Shoulder” as part of the local Chicago Niteskool Project compilation series. An elaborate video mocking Michael Jackson’s Thriller and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was produced by Northwestern University’s School of Speech, and was shown on MTV’s Basement Tapes. The song also received airplay on local radio, including both Q101 and WXRT. Writeups in Maximum Rocknrolland other fanzines built a base of fans large enough to sell several hundred tickets to their shows at the height of their popularity. The band’s live shows were often surreal affairs, with a large stuffed bear and a variety of blow-up toys used as props.
Album: The band’s one album, “The Great Unwashed,” was an unconventional mix of Killing Joke, Bauhaus and Siouxsie and The Banshees. Albini’s engineering provided a claustrophobic feel to the songs, which live often felt more upbeat. Two songs stood out as different, however — “Anthem” included an elegiaic string section, and sounded almost like a piece of chamber pop. Similarly, a punk rock version of “Mongoloid” by Devo hinted at a more aggressive tone. The album was also notable for its use of radical photography in the cover art by local artists including Ken Fandell.
Immediately following the release of their debut album, the band broke up and the album faded from view in the absence of promotion, though it has recently developed a cult following. At the band’s final show at the Metro in Chicago, the oversized stuffed bear was ritually disemboweled, filling the club with sytrofoam and plastic hair. The current whereabouts of the band members are unknown.
Attitude: A classic example of the Mo Fuzz attitude (also displayed in a variety of interviews in local media) can be found in the press release distributed with their album The Great Unwashed, purportedly composed by Chicago newspaper legend Irv Kupcinet:
"As Howard Jones once said to me, "Kup, you can’t live your life in one day." And so it is with Mo Fuzz.
The lives of the poets do tell us something of Mo Fuzz (Petrarch describes them as “smooth love rolling backwards down your tongue,” though he may have been speaking of something entirely different). Yet not even Spiro Agnew, in his classic treatise “Jonesing with Ian MacKaye,” could have foreseen the awesome, colon numbing power that Mo Fuzz now provides to the metropolitan Chicago area, having replaced Commonwealth Edison as the single largest consumer of U-235 in the midwestern United States.
Mo Fuzz contains the following ingredients (names are changed to protect you from their real names, which are uniformly boring and unRock):
Crush’t Velour: songstress, lover of soft, broken things, powermad viper, and owner of far too many brownie uniforms from her youth — each of which still fits her perfectly. She rides the hood ornament of this death machine, and as initial target of all objects thrown from the audience, she suffers from being “punch drunk” most of the time, leaving her with inclinations towards performance art when not on stage. Beloved by children, she is currently starring in “Clarrissa Explains It All For You” on Nickolodeon.
The Iguana: Guitar. A former equestiran coach at an all-girls junior college in Virginia. Sure, it was fun, but he wouldn’t do it again.
El Presidente: Drummist, C.P.A., J.D., M.B.A, M.B.E, is currently working towards an M.D./Ph.d in cerebral oncology. Having studied tribal drumming with two of the five drummers for the Ramones in Tunisia, El Presidente has an almost mystical ability to devour rhythms and spit them up in deformed, slightly disturbing forms, often with saliva still dripping from the third beat of every measure. A playboy of some repute, he is often known to sally forth with as many as nine women on his arm, a fact which has lengthened his arms considerably and aids in his “wrap around” drumming style wherein his arms encircle each drum while he pounds them with his tongue. Truly remarkable. “I saw him play once,” said John Bonham, smoking a cod in a long, green bong. “I feared to watch yet I could not turn away.”
M. Superlatif: Master of natural law and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, M. Superlatif is a classic underachiever. Thought to be a prodigy when young, M.Superlatif was later diagnosed with “alienation,” and institutionalized at the Burt Lance Hospital For the Terminally Bewildered. M.Superlatif’s bass playing and gorgeous countertenor accent a wonderful figure and enormous feet. Often playing a custom made twelve string bass, M.Superlatif adds a certain je nais se quois to the proceedings, if you catch my drift.
Their new album, recorded by some fellow who badly needs to be fed a good meal once in awhile, is the strongest dose of Kaopectate you’ve ever tried, baby. And you can hum it, too. It will make you cry with the soothing “Anthem.” It will make you stomp around the room like a diabetic wildebeest with the driving “Window.” And it will leave you spayed and neutered by the insipid “Crotchsaw.” You will not forget Mo Fuzz or The Great Unwashed, in the same way that you are unlikely to forget an endoscopy. That, by the way, is a good thing.
Listen. Learn. Don’t be frightened. That which does not kill you makes you stronger. And as Foucault once said to David Yow, “Love is a many splendored thing.” —Irv Kupcinet”
As an English major myself, and someone who writes words for a living, I feel this one rather personally: Why Teach and Study English? : The New Yorker
So what does it mean to say that “several hundred people have actually purchased my book”? The great fear of any author is that your friends will buy your book, just to be nice, and then no one else will ever buy or read what you spent years to write. At a certain point, however, it becomes obvious that something magical has happened - people you do not know, have never met, and would not recognize if they met you on the street, have gone through the trouble of buying and reading your book. And then some of them, in a further act of remarkable goodheartedness, have reviewed the book (on Amazon or Goodreads) or even just recommended it to a friend. This month several dozen people I have never met downloaded The Secret Root on Kindle - more than in any other month since the book’s release. I have no explanation for that - only a huge smile. So thank you, and keep on supporting The Secret Root while I work to write book 2!
Anonymous asked: How are you related to Jill Cahr?
Does she owe you money? Actually, in addition to being the author of “Happy Dog: Caring for your Dog’s Body, Mind, and Spirt” Jill is married to me.
My gigantic dog loves Battlestar Galactica … And The Secret Root, too, of course (but she hasn’t received the other hat yet).
Divergent Footage! Sunday! MTV! -
I had no idea they sliced things that thin, but how cool! And if you haven’t bought a copy, it is still on sale for Kindle for $0.99!
The Secret Root - Only $0.99! -
Another reminder: The Secret Root is on sale for $0.99 on Kindle at Amazon! It’s an awesome YA time travel thriller - trust me on this!