Last Thursday, we marked the official launch of poet Lisa Summers’ Star Thistle & Other Poems with a wine and music drenched reading at the Epicurean Connection in Sonoma, CA. The evening was a capacity-crowd -smash (and I was smashed as well). Fortunately, I had already prepared the affectionate toast-n-roast below…
The late French publisher Maurice Girodias had a bold approach when marketing his line of smutty books. He would list provocative titles in a catalog, then hire writers to write them once a title was actually ordered. And he had a crack team of hacks on-call that included expatriate writers Henry Miller, William Burroughs and other names that eventually became big.
And the titles rocked. Among them:
The Convent of Satan; A Flutter of Lashes; Chariot of Flesh; Dr. Onan; Classical Hindu Erotology and one simply titled White Thighs. But pronounced with a Z, I bet. The best title, however, was on a book by someone called Greta X about five women, or more specifically, ”four sadists and one nymphomaniac,” on a sex spree across Europe. [click here to continue…]
If you, people of the world, don’t already know, permit me to inform you that today is World Information Day. This is the annual acknowledgement of worldly information first observed in 2006 by the International Telecommunication Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations.
So, why haven’t you heard about it until now? Like many specialized international agencies (S.P.E.C.T.R.E. comes to mind), sometimes information is hard to come by.
When trying to fix this, I enjoyed a brief correspondence with Sanjay Acharya, the ITU’s chief of “media relations and public information,” who directed my request for a quote to a four-and-a-half minute YouTube video of ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré. Well-played, Sanjay, but if I were going to quote a YouTube video, it would probably be something a little more viral than Dr. Touré’s monotonic admonition not to text and drive. Though a worthy sentiment, the doctor should also warn drivers not to watch his video lest they fall asleep at the wheel. [click here to continue…]
Our son’s maternal grandmother was a kindergarten teacher, consequently we’ve inherited children’s books spanning both the decades of her career and those of her own child-rearing. We’ve inherited a library dating back to the 70s with many gems and as many that seem to be cultural artefacts form a parallel universe.
Among the my son’s current favorites is this peculiar title credited to a one “Theo. LeSieg.” Thanks to my superhuman ability to decipher anagrams (the result of mild dyslexia), I immediately recognized the surname as a mirror of “Geisel,” as in Theodor Geisel who is perhaps better known as Dr. Seuss. Though this was apparently no secret to either publishers or readers, it was a revelation to me and for a moment I felt like Dan Brown’s Harvard-bred symbologist Robert Langdon. And nearly as fictional to boot.
Apparently Geisel used the backward nom de plume for books he authored but did not illustrate. Among them is Wacky Wednesday, which steps up the surreality of most Seuss works with a Buñuel-like play on the banal – a shoe on the wall. Then there are two shoes on the wall. Then the androgynous protagonist observes:
“Then I looked up and said, ‘Oh, MAN!’
And that’s how Wacky Wednesday began.”
[click here to continue…]
Here’s the secret recipe to writing fantasy fiction, courtesy of an audiobook engineer I know: