Monday, August 8, 2016

This ain't TRASH!

People love gossip.  Oh, sure, there are some high-brow folks who will scrunch their noses at the thought of gossip filling the air, but you can still catch them sneaking a peek at "People" for news about Angelina and Brad's latest public snit, or what Jennifer says about that noticeable tummy bump.

Humans just love to hear—and talk about —other people.

"Writing Trash and Hunting Buffalo" is my new e-book about gossip. More particularly it's about a Vietnam vet turned gossip columnist who writes biting articles about Hollywood elite in order to bring them back to Earth.

Of course, this book complicates things by infusing symbolism, bitter rivalries, head-strong personalities and personal tics throughout its pages.

For example, the buffalo in the title (and the Warriors who hunt them) represent a dying visage/ideal of our past. They have a link to the main character too, but you'll have to figure out why.

I wrote this book partly because I had these memories of going to Grandma's house in Hays, Kansas as a child and finding these glitzy gossip rags on her coffee table. When the adults weren't looking, I'd grab a few and go to the basement to look them over. As a testosterone-laden kid I mainly liked the pictures of scantily-clad, young starlets. However, thinking back to those memories as an adult, the contrast of the strait-laced Midwestern older woman reading these Babylon chronicles really struck a nerve. So the book points out this internal war between the stereotypical concepts of the Midwest versus The Hollywood jet-set.

Although I knew it would have a Midwestern aspect, initially I thought the main character would be from Iowa. As a Star Trek fan I wanted to give a nod to Captain Kirk as I always choose him over Picard in the debate over the best captain of the Enterprise. I eventually settled on Hutchinson, Kansas as the character's childhood home because of an article I once saw in the 80s that said that city had more millionaires per capita than anywhere (one of the characters is rich).  Okay, my parents lived there for a number of years and that may have been a slight factor too. 

Probably the biggest underlying theme of the book concerns what happens to your soul when you become the thing you despise.  The main character is a pretty straight-as-an-arrow Midwesterner thrown amongst a hedonistic, money-grubbing society he absolutely hates. He has some childhood issues that feed his animosity and reinforce his contempt for those who believe they are superior.  This pretty much makes him a walking time bomb. Yes, it's not light reading.

Okay, it's no Hemingway novel, but I do pay homage to him with a quote from the main character: "To a writer, a bar is the most important place in his life—after the desk his typewriter sits on."

After all, Hemingway was a hard-drinking journalist/novelist.  

Speaking of journalist/novelists, I also had to mention the University of Texas in the book. The main character received his journalism degree from there. I did this partly because Walter Cronkite studied there (yes, a journalism God), but I also earned a journalism degree from UT. As a side note, they used to offer a class called "The journalist as novelist."  Clever link to Hemingway, eh? Sadly, I never got to take the course.


So BUY TRASH.  You'll love the characters and get excited about the barroom fights, but maybe you'll also love the internal struggle to maintain your soul while surrounded by a world alien to your beliefs. Happy hunting.

The Thurber Brigade does not apologize for this sidestep (even though it's the third in a row). James Thurber would love TRASH.

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