I trust everybody has been keeping well following the come down of the holiday season. We’re pretty far past it now. You’ve probably abandoned your resolutions by this point. The gym is at that sweet point between spring training for summer bods and the January 2nd guilt-sessions where it’s just the daily goers, awesome.
Some big things happening behind the scenes here at FPF.
The first is to mention the completion of Becoming Buddha. I’m mega thrilled with the way it turned out. The homie Syd and I have been going back and forth with edits for at least a year, probably closer to 2. It needed a lot of work, a lot tooling, polish, spit shining, a cursory re-wrenching of the lug nuts to make sure its snug. You get the idea.
It was, is, the first non-uni thing that I wrote since a short story in grade 11 which prompted my psych teacher Miss (Mrs?) Rodgers to ask how much weed I smoke. A lot, lady, Surrey sucks. I’ve explained the background behind what led me to start writing. There’s no need to go into that again. Dead horse beatings, and such.
However, this brings me to the strength of having a great editor.
I had fired an editor who had previously worked the The Furies. It was a terribly awkward situation for all concerned. I was led to her by a lengthy chain of people online. The editor seemed nice. But: The editor was poor with contact, the editor was consistently late with work, the editor had questionable excuses, the editor was judgmental and the editor tried to, ferreal, ghost write the book. The editor watered down the cussing, the slang, the dark imagery… Basically, the shit that made the book the shit. The judgemental aspect was distressing, she berated me (I mean all caps, mad questions marks, said that she now thought of me in a less amiable light), and lost all my respect.
That is how Coward ended up being release first. I found someone who came very highly regarded (with a price tag to match), who also had a bestseller and a fine pedigree in academic English. She taught me a lot. The dilemma was that she’s a wool-died mainstream fiction writer. Not a problem per se, but it was like Gershwin trying to show the Sex Pistols scales. Let’em riff, Georgie.
I used someone cheaper for The Furies first edit. Decent experience, though I feel that she lost heart and I felt the relationship tailing off with the more questions that I asked. We did a round and I was content with how we’d salvaged the book from the other editor’s bafflingly, woefully, miserable work.
Then, I hollered at the homie.
Syd is one of my best friends on the planet. She knows me better than most. She platonically shared her bed with me for like 4 months when I moved to Montreal and had to wait that long for my stuff to come from the West Coast. Solid cat, stand up lady.
We’d discussed working on Buddha together previously. I’ll get to why in a minute. I felt Furies needed a bit more work. It was good, but much had been taken out and I was still… uncertain that it carried the authentic tone that I had envisioned for the mfer.
I had been nervous about working with someone that I had known. I, maybe you, tend to glamourize the notion of the foreign or exotic being that much more desirable or potentially effective. I didn’t doubt the homie, but these unknown cats really propped themselves up behind some sterling credentials. Also, how many times has living or working together, going into business or a partnership, dissolved friendships, even familial relationships.
I gave it to Syd to read. She liked it. She gave me some notes and edits which I, in turn, liked. See, it turns out that working with someone that you know, assuming the connection is a healthy one, can be uniquely beneficial. Not only did this friend know me intimately, but that intimate nature of our relationship allowed me to be myself: Papa 100. With a simple jawing I could get the vast or minute points across to her and achieve a pinpoint notion of what I was trying to say or wanted to accomplish.
It helps that the girl is very, very intelligent and open-minded; I do have a lot of fucked up thoughts and have written some too-dark and fucked up things that, thanks to Syd, no one ever has to read. I respect her opinion that much. She gives me the benefit of the doubt to keep similarly murky thangs that I’m sure another editor would’ve axed. The leash is long, but there is a leash, and I need it.
I think that we’ve learned a lot together. I can smell the differences in my style. After some shorts, two novels, all the darts and coffees in the world- I would never ever in my long legged life use another editor.
It’s been a minute now:
Buddha, written by a manchild heavily influenced by classical literature, markedly Dostoevsky and Kafka, was a rambling affair that ran somewhere between 130,000 and 150,000(!) words. One friend read it, she liked it, but goddamn, did it have faults. It showed traces of God-Prose and the poetry I now wield, but the motherfucker was long, repetitive, over-indulged in description (even for me) and was rough as sandpaper rubbers.
I didn’t trust an unknown editor. It’s my most personal work, on-the-nose, tied to my viscera and cerebrum with a double-knot. I am so excited for this, because to read this new book, is to essentially know me. If a stranger were to castigate and rebuke it with their not-knowing my life and where I’m coming from-ass, well, I dunno. It’s still a fiction, but man, does it ever straddle the line. Some of the things are… well… it’s a messed up read, more so then. But I knew it was special. I wasn’t at a place ego or experience wise where I could make the harsh changes.
Enter the homie.
We worked on it a lot. Dropped whole chapters. Removed a lot of gooey sexual imagery and over-the-top diatribes that one of the main character is known for. Though, in the end, a lot of what someone else may have taken out, remained. It’s raw and real. It’s still poetic and descriptive. But, there is a leash. It’s also down to under 110,000 words!
(It’s be easier to self edit now and my thick skin is even thicker. But! Who’s to say without this experience I would be where I am today, knowing what I do. It’s like time travel. Son-bitch, lemme find out.)
I parted ways with my marketing team. Great people, but the fit wasn’t right. I am looking for PR at the moment and, even though my impatient ass is just squelching to put Buddha out, I am waiting to do a proper launch. It may be the first time that the advisable timeframe is to be allowed to flower correctly. Alls said: Shit ain’t cheap.
A big announcement. I’ve partnered with Young Boy Al. Another one of my best friends. He is taking care of the wretched social media component. He is photographer and has some ideas that align with mine. He also looks like Alistair Overeem’s son. Once again, the trust is there. We might have speed wobbles, but together we are hoping to make content that engages the audience. He’s a better advocate for me than I am; social media make me self-conscious and nervous. I swear, I ain’t feeling myself.
We’re going to start a YouTube channel for Q&As, to talk about the shit on my blogs that people might miss, random skits, whatever basically. He will be posting for me and doing the leg work. If it looks more professional, that’s because it’s being handled by someone with a background innit. I can then focus on getting PR and writing, like I want.
It may take a minute for him and us to find the right voice, but I can promise that his content will be better than mine. RIP Canva Macros… maybe.
I’m really thankful that I have talented, supportive and ambitious amigos. In all honesty, you never know what your friends are capable of, or that you may have common goals and interests until you disclose parts of your life, sometimes secretive, sometimes embarrassing or understated. My only wish it that I knew publicists, that is the last area that I need to succour, and one where a personal relationship would be ideal. That said, I have discovered that literature is hyper-niche. Surprisingly so, and that it is an exclusive club with a few doors, well fastened, needed a key or a boot the size of Italy.
I lied, my only wish is two more wishes.
I would gladly now take on someone with whom I have an a priori bond. The unknown, while not tenebrous, is poorly lit; with shadowy movements, misleading forms, and obscuring interests. I have a fair bit to say on the process itself, but I’ll save that for when it’s done.
Lastly, a bit of housekeeping. I am taking a couple weeks off from work to go on holiday for the first time since I can remember. I need a break. My brain is fried, my hand hurts, and I have heard the pleas of friends and well-wishers from all angles telling me to take a fucking break.
Ok. I will. I have Aeroplan points. Mexico it is.
I want to discuss at a later date why I am going out of my way to hire people to do things that a lot of -independent authors/publishers/arrogant cheapskates – do. I have my reasons. Time is a big one, but there are others. That is yet another story for yet another day, this bitch is already too long. Quick update, mmhmm.
Trust the process,
Sorry for Cussin’