The current state of affairs regarding publishing literary works, in my humble opinion, is one of a dying business model. Traditional publishers view the self-publishing world as a disorderly upstart. This is a safe position as long as the James Pattersons and the Stephen Kings line their pockets with guaranteed sales. Traditional publishing used to pluck writers from obscurity, build their audience and then glean the rewards of that effort in conjunction with their fostered author. Currently, the audience and rewards must be present before landing a contract allowing a new author to create a living from writing. The writer has to bring a marketing plan to the publisher — what exactly are the publishers doing?
To that end, I am embarking on setting up an indie publishing company: Introvert PRESS.
This will be a foray into the unknown. It will be an effort to support writers. I will be doing this with the support of a small network of talented writers and artists. I will approach new writers once my product, a literary fiction piece set in an inner-city setting, has gone from being written to being on the shelves of a brick and mortar store. The company will be an author’s hub.
Authors connecting authors.
If you are interested in joining the effort or writing for one of the Introvert PRESS outlets, follow the link above and contact me. We will need many folks to contribute to the effort to make it work. There are lots of tasks to go around. Introvert PRESS will seek to present the facts of the industry with blunt clarity. We want to encourage writers, but we also want folks to know the real deal about publishing in the quagmire that is the current state of publishing.
Currently looking for:
- Guest bloggers
- Authors of articles about writing (sarcasm and angst welcome)
- Participants in our two writing contests
by Josh Jones
CC0 Public Domain
I have died a dozen times, maybe more. Truth be told, I have lost count; or perhaps more accurately, I have lost interest in counting.
I died in Phoenix, AZ in 1987. My body was never found. Local newspapers posted a short public notice on page seven a few days after my disappearance. It ran on a Tuesday. It dropped from print by Friday.
A few years later I died in Jackson, MS. I had been working midnight shift at a warehouse assembling wrenches into kits packaged for a Father’s Day promotion for Sears. When I stopped showing up for work, inquiries were made. I don’t make friends though, so there really wasn’t anyone to ask. My landlord knew nothing. After a few days a new person from the temp agency who hired me sent a new worker to fill my spot at the…
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We need to make new symbols
Make new signs
Make a new language
With these we’ll define the world
lyrics to New Beginnings by Tracey Chapman
She’s on to something.
Imagine the conversation about guns if we had to start all over making terms for things. What if phrases like “gun control” and “second amendment remedies” were forgotten. What if groups like the NRA didn’t exist and Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense were not in existence.
WHAT IF we started over and all the arguments were new.
People with a negative view about guns didn’t use the Newtown Massacre as an opening argument. And people with a positive view of guns didn’t point to Chicago as the reason laws restricting use of guns don’t work.
Me personally, I’m one of those with a negative view. But just think if for one moment I could sit down with someone who has a positive view, and we could – as Tracey Chapman says “make a new language”.
I can sit down and express that I do NOT want to take guns away from everyone. My partner in this conversation could communicate that in fact they do NOT think all laws restricting guns are bad. We could find common ground. We could, together, look at the deaths from guns and agree that it is tragic. My conversation partner could tell me about the time their firearm was used to shoot a mountain lion attacking his dog. And I would listen. I could relay the experience I had with a loved one getting shot by someone. And they would listen.
I could express that gun ownership does not equate to someone being an “ammosexual” another term we would not remember. They could express that it’s good to hear a view from a liberal, without them being a libtard. And that word could be gone from our vocabulary.
What if we ALL just committed to listen. We talk past one another so much of the time. We want to TELL people what they should think. Instead of telling others, we could SHOW each other why we think the way we do.
We have an amendment to the Constitution. The second amendment. What if we each sat with each other and talked about the second amendment – about our Bill of Rights. The WHOLE Bill of Rights with the respect it deserves, and the scrutiny it deserves.What if that conversation took place at dinner tables, in bars, at PTA, at the grain elevator, at the beach, or in local caucuses. What if it took place with a commitment to listen.
We could create a new language. We could create terms like:
Firearm education: not training for shooting, but about statistics of gun ownership, gun use and accidental gun deaths. No spin to the statistics — just the facts. It could be taught in civics, at community colleges, at churches, at book clubs.
Gun population: not a gun registration but a look at where guns are located by city, state, or nation. Talk about the correlation of guns to regions. What does a rural citizen use guns for as opposed to an urban setting.
Potential Risk: not about gun safety, but about why people have guns. Talk about how those guns are used specifically. Let gun owners talk about the risks they face and how they are using guns to address those risks. Let those who do not use guns talk about their experiences without a gun, and how they avoided – or dealt with directly – the identified risks.
Americanization of Guns: not about manufacturing guns in the US, but how the US has a unique dynamic with guns. Look at gun use around the world and compare it to the US. Those who own guns can look at how other countries get along with out lots of guns. Those who don’t own guns can examine what is unique about America that might explain why gun use is popular.
I’m tired of the fight. My position feels intrinsic to me, because it is so personal. I imagine those who own guns feel that same intrinsic feeling. We need to talk to one another. We need to be a neighborhood, a city, a state, and a country that can think critically, act communally and address the issues related to guns.
There is much to be said and done around the issue of guns. Maybe we can just start talking to each other, rather than assuming things about one another. We’ve had so many tragedies. The latest being the shooter of several officers and a state Representative. He’s recuperating.
How can we make our country recuperate?
Therein lies the question.
At 91, Gladys sips bourbon from her grandmother’s floral teacup. It’s eleven in the morning. The teacup shakes slightly in her veined and big-knuckled hand. The saucer clinks several times as she sets it down. She’s given up reading the newspaper because her eyes are shot and she feels reading glasses are gauche.
Her radio, an original transistor radio picking up programs still broadcast in FM signal, plays light jazz music. She wears a light cotton gown. Her white wispy hair dances around her face catching the morning light. Her eyes are set deep within her wrinkled face, looking out her window to the yard she pays a young Hispanic man to mow and trim.
Her lips, moistened from the bourbon, tense every so often as she thinks of moments in her past. She dwells here more and more, in the thoughts of a youth so vivid in her mind. She revels in her thoughts, as they take her back to times before dementia and the pains became the focal point of her life. Mornings are the best, with her bourbon and her thoughts.
She remembers the small apartment where she, her sister and parents lived. It was an Irish neighborhood. She remembers ‘rushing the can’ to her parents as they listened to Benny Goodman. The can, coming from the corner bar. Was filled with cold beer her parents would drink in clear glasses while dancing in the kitchen. At nine years old, she would give the slip of paper to the bartender for credit at the bar from her father. She remembers the smoky bar. She remembers neighbors sitting on the stoops of her New York City neighborhood.
Her older sister, Esther, would come home with stories from The Cotton Club where she was a coat check girl. She told her parents about the fur coats, the shimmering clothes and way the dance floor pulsed with people dancing, drinking martinis, smoking unfiltered cigarettes. Gladys would sit in the window overlooking the alleyway watching her parents dance, wanting to be older. She remembers her mother moving to the icebox to get the beer can, cracking it open with a can opener. Her dad would pluck her from her window seat while her mother opened the beer. He would twirl her around to the happy music. She could smell the beer on his breath, the smoke on his clothes.
Gladys brings a hand up and feels the cotton collar of her house gown. She thinks of the sable furs her sister described from her job at The Cotton Club. In her silent reverie, Gladys picks up the cork from her bourbon bottle. The weight in her hand reminds her of the Bazooka Joe bubble gum her mother would give to her. She’d unpeel the wrapper, read the joke to her parents and they would hoot and holler with tipsy delight.
Gladys’ toe is bouncing along to the jazz station on her FM radio. The bouncing reminds her of her sister bouncing on the bed as they both giggled together about a Barney Coogle cartoon called ‘Patch Mah Britches’. The character and his big bottom are covered by pants with a hole in the seat of his pants. They fell back onto the bed laughing at the picture of the man’s underwear poking through his britches.
The radio goes to a commercial and her thoughts stop as the advertisement for an erectile dysfunction. She looks wide eyed at the table, the plate from dinner with her remaining meal still on the table. She forgot to eat last night. She sips her bourbon. The next commercial for feminine hygiene products for maximum flow days causes her to scoff. She looks at the table again where her teeth are submerged in a glass next to her uneaten meal. She touches her mouth as if she’s surprised her teeth are across the table from her
The music begins again and she’s skipping down the sidewalk beneath her apartment, throwing a stone onto the hopscotch square. She hops leaning forward to pick up the stone. A siren sounds down the street and she looks up as folks lean out their windows to watch the fire truck rumble by with its large water tank with firefighters hanging off the sides.
Finishing her hopscotch she says hello to Mrs. Finnegan the fat lady across the hall who wears enormous dresses and hands out candy. She gives Gladys three pieces of salt water taffy. She puts the candies into her pocket and runs upstairs to share with Esther. The radio in the kitchen is playing a rhumba song. Esther grabs Gladys and they try to copy the dance moves they’ve heard about. They both trip over each other falling into a pile, giggling on the kitchen floor.
“Mom!” Gladys hears snapping her away from thoughts of her childhood.
Gladys walks to the door. “”Yes?” she says.
“Mom,” the woman says, “Open up I have your groceries.”
“Groceries?” Gladys says, “I didn’t order any groceries.”
“Mom,” the woman says, “it’s me. Your daughter.”
Gladys looks at the woman and says, “I don’t know. I need to call my daughter to see if she ordered these groceries.”
“Mom,” the woman said. “I’m your daughter.”
“Oh…” Gladys said.
America has an illness. Guns aren’t the problem. It’s the state of mind about guns that has been bastardized into fervor, gluttony and perversion.
There were two mass shootings today: one on a baseball field across the river from DC where congressional members were practicing in the early morning, and the second in San Francisco at a UPS where three victims and the shooter died. The second was less provocative because even though four people died, none were elected officials.
Now before emotions run high on second amendment arguments, please refrain. This article is not about that. It’s about the American psyche. An obsession.
Guns have perfectly good reasons for existing. It’s not about the second amendment which reads:
A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Constitutional scholars will argue over what a ‘militia’ is, or which ‘free state’ is referred to, or what is the definition of Arms. It doesn’t matter. Why? Because aside from having it tattooed on a forearm or hung on banner in a living room or mailed to a political candidate with second amendment remedies scrawled over it in a threatening manner — aside from all the bluster, aside from all the people speaking past each other —
ASIDE FROM ALL THE BULLSHIT
Americans are dying. Nowhere else on Earth…NOWHERE…outside of a war zone do people die at the rate they do in the U.S.
There have been 195 “mass shootings” (four or more victims)
in America so far
in 2017 alone.
I don’t care about the second amendment. I don’t care about arguing about it.
I don’t care about that, because I care about you.
I care because I know what it’s like to lose a family member to gun violence. It’s been thirty years this year, and the loss seems real every time one of these 195 shootings this year has taken place. I care about you – that you should never have to go through such a thing.
I care about those who will be victimized today, tomorrow and for the rest of this year and all those going forward.
So I wrote this simple prayer, for those who will die in America by gun violence.
For those of you who will die, I pray for you.
For the four-year old brother showing his two-year old sister the gun…I pray for you.
For the people in the park, playing soccer…I pray for you.
For that lost soul who can’t find the strength to carry on…I pray for you.
For the kids eating lunch when the bullied kid in the trench coat opens fire…I pray for you.
For the black kids on the corner falling down as the car drives by…I pray for you
For the children in the movie theater as the assault rifle fires…I pray for you.
For the students in class who duck under their desks too late…I pray for you.
For the workers who die when their co-worker comes back with a pistol…I pray for you.
For the woman who left….but is followed and hunted…I pray for you.
For the brown-skinned man at the wrong place at the wrong time…I pray for you.
For the cop who is ambushed at a traffic stop…I pray for you.
For the gun instructor who teaches the kid who doesn’t pay attention…I pray for you.
For all of you who don’t know it yet, but will be dead tomorrow…I pray for you
And for those left behind…asking why….never getting an answer…I pray for you.
I wish prayer worked like this,
but it doesn’t,
because tomorrow, or the next day, or next week,
Today I am walking along the path that many in my village, located on the Indian Coast of Madagascar, have walked. It leads me uphill, through thickets and jungle overgrowth, to a spring where our sacred water flows. It’s my job, at eleven years old, to bring the water to my mother so she can use it in the Sambatra ceremony where my five year old brother will be circumcised. What are you doing?