Cry Father Publication Day

So Cry Father is now out, and should be available all the places you buy books.

Among others, KirkusShelf Awareness, Bookslut and Spinetingler have all said kind things about it. There’s also a nice interview thanks to Court Merrigan over at Electric Literature and another with Keith Rawson at Litreactor. If any of that piques your curiosity, you can find an excerpt here. And I’ll be reading and signing down at Tattered Cover Colfax tomorrow.

That’s all I got. I’m gonna go for a long walk, and when my kids get out of school, take ‘em out for pizza and laser tag by way of celebration.

In the meantime, you should buy it from one of those links on the sidebar. I mean, I’m not gonna beg or anything, but you should. For one thing, if enough people buy it, then maybe they’ll let me publish another.

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The Pre-Publication Jitters

The pre-publication reviews of Cry Father have been good, thank God. Kirkus Reviews and Shelf Awareness, in particular. Which has been a big help when I’m awake nights hoping everybody doesn’t hate it.

I always forget how much sleep I lose when I’m waiting on a book to hit the shelves. I try not to worry about it too much and just keep plugging away at whatever project I’m working on, but there comes a day when you realize you ain’t gonna be getting anything done for the next few weeks. That’s when you give it up and start taking real long walks and spending more time at the firing range.

I’m there.

The thing is, I know what I write isn’t for everybody. Not by a long shot. I actually have a very specific reader in mind, and he dictates more of my creative life than I should admit. He’s a guy I used to work with in a factory about 12 years ago. He was somewhere in his forties, had a couple of kids somewhere who hated his guts, and had just got out of prison a year or so prior.

As far as I could tell the only two interests he had were beer drinking and reading. He read probably twice as much as I did, and he read everything. But he was a vicious critic, and he absolutely no use for most of what was out there. While we were on the assembly line, we’d talk books for hours, him just savaging everything he considered bourgeois, boring or full of shit. Which was, of course, most of the stuff I was reading at the time.

He’s who I try to think of when I get worried.  Whatever anybody says, I think Ray’d like this one. That’s what I tell myself.

Of course, I have no idea if he actually would like it. I haven’t seen him in more than a decade. And, to tell the truth, I’ve spent so much energy rewriting him into my ideal reader and inner critic that God only knows if he’s anything at all like I remember.

But it does help me sleep.

Sort of.

(You can win a copy of Cry Father from the Goodreads giveaway here; you can read an excerpt here.)

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Blood Meridian and Intermediate Novel at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop

If anybody’s interested, I’ll be facilitating two sessions at Lighthouse starting in mid-August. The first is the 8 Week: Intermediate Novel Workshop, meeting on Saturday mornings, and the second is the 4-Week Reading as a Writer: Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, meeting on Monday evenings.

I’m really excited for both, of course, but I’m a little out of my mind for the Blood Meridian session. Anybody who knows me has probably heard a little of my rap on that book, and I’ve been having a ball reading and compiling notes in preparation.

Like this passage, from Richard Slotkin’s Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860:

In American mythogenesis the founding fathers were not those eighteenth-century gentlemen who composed a nation at Philadelphia. Rather, they were those who (to paraphrase Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!) tore violently a nation from the implacable and opulent wilderness – the rogues, adventurers, and land boomers; the Indian fighters, traders, missionaries, explorers, and hunters who killed and were killed until they had mastered the wilderness; the settlers who came after, suffering hardship and Indian warfare for the sake of a sacred mission or a simple desire for land; and the Indians themselves, both as they were and as they appeared to the settlers, for whom they were the special demonic personification of the American wilderness. Their concerns, their hopes, their terrors, their violence, and their justifications of themselves, as expressed in literature, are the foundation stones of the mythology that informs our history

. . .

The voluminous reports of presidential commissions on violence, racism, and civil disorder have recently begun to say to us what artists like Melville and Faulkner had earlier prophesied: that myths reach out of the past to cripple, incapacitate, or strike down the living.

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Cry Father Pre-Order Information and an Excerpt

Hundreds* of you have been asking where you can buy Cry Father, so here’s some links. (And if you’re on the fence, the marketing folks have put together an excerpt that you can read here. It’s the first chapter.)

* Two.

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