lunes, 18 de agosto de 2014

First page?

I’m the backseat of a car that looks like a washing machine on wheels.
A borrowed woman cradles my head in her lap, her huge breasts hanging over my eyes like ripe promises.
It’s late. Really late. So late it’s early for most people. Everything is closed.
All of these wrongs add up to a right.
There’s a cassette in the old car’s stereo. Led Zeppelin. Recorded from vinyl. It sounds awful and perfect. The hiss feels like the universe is pouring itself into my brain, dragging in some of the grime from the sleeping sidewalks.
My silence is infinite.
The vehicle makes its way to the beach and I know that’s where the fireworks will go off inside each of us and something akin to love will wrap itself around our ignorance and enhance this high so damn precious it seems stolen.
When we get to the beach, something breaks.
A skinny man is kneeling near the ocean. He’s mumbling something about aliens and gems. We laugh. We keep walking. We look for dark places to hide and let the sand and twigs bite our skin, let the insects crawl over us like nothing matters.
The borrowed girlfriend has nipples like pancakes and smells like sweat, perfume, and glory.
I want to pull out of her and fuck the earth, make love to the beach, impregnate this moment so that a part of it will live on after it’s over.
Someone spills a glass of thick orange juice over the horizon and we all go back to the car.
There’s silence and smiles.

We go home, but a part of us stays there forever.   

domingo, 10 de agosto de 2014

Buscapié: Deidades

10 de agosto de 2014


Por Gabino Iglesias / Estudiante doctoral
Son dos. Vienen en bicicleta. Van de traje y corbata, uno al lado del otro, los pies en perfecta armonía. Si uno no fuera más alto, parecería que es sólo uno de lado ante un espejo. De repente rompen la formación y se me acercan por ambos flancos. Yo, ciudadano de a pie y veterano de los peligros que van atados a la utilización de transporte público, me cuadro.

“Buenas, ¿tienes tiempo para hablar de Dios?”

La pregunta me hace desear que esto hubiese sido un inocente atraco. Bajo la cabeza y nadie me ha dejado un manual contra instintos confrontacionales. Respiro profundo y activo el mecanismo de defensa que me ayudado a sobrevivir tres décadas en este mundo: el humor. “¿Del dios de quién?”

El desencajamiento de caras es simultáneo. Las pupilas del de la derecha tratan en vano de enviar un mensaje a Houston o a su compañero: “We have a problema”. “Dios hay sólo uno”,  refuta el de la izquierda con la inmediatez de aquél que lleva el “chip” bien puesto.

“A lo peor en tu ceguera cultural sólo hay uno, pero yo conozco muchos que no le llaman así a su deidad favorita”. El silencio de ambos es elocuente. Espero diez segundos y relleno el vacío entre nosotros con la punta del iceberg de un discurso que recoge el daño que le ha hecho la religión al mundo en los últimos seis meses. Tragan. Me miran. “Si este es un mal momento para hablar del plan de Dios para ti, dinos cuándo es un buen momento."

Sonrío, los miro antes de contestar y después les abro mi puerta: "El lunes que viene a las cinco de la mañana”. Tartamudean, se ajustan la corbata, miran el reloj. Ellos a eso hora no trabajan.

“Ah, es muy temprano para su dios. Entiendo. Si ustedes no tienen tiempo para mí a esa hora, yo no tengo tiempo para ustedes ahora”.

Aguanté la risa casi hasta llegar a casa.

jueves, 7 de agosto de 2014

A short thing on plagiarism

No, this is not a post about the Nic Pizzolatto/Thomas Ligotti ordeal that everyone was talking about yesterday. Sorry. Instead, this is about the fact that I read about twenty long threads on that and repeatedly came across folks who claimed no one owns ideas. In a way, they’re right, but they’re also horribly wrong, and that worries me. You see, ideas are out there, floating in the ether since the beginning of time. They’re as hard to pin down and control as signifiers or coked up butterflies, but once those ideas take shape, mix with other ideas, and solidify in a previously unknown work of art, that particular combination belongs to someone.

Let me give you an example. I love Carlton Mellick’s The Haunted Vagina. I have to pitch my next book to Eraserhead Press, so I could send them a pitch for a novel in which a guy goes on a sexual spelunking trip and ends up trapped in his wife’s vagina, which just happens to be haunted by ghosts and populated by dancing skeletons. It’s not exactly the same as The Haunted Vagina (go to YouTube and look for Vanilla Ice’s ludicrous ding ding ding explanation to see what “not exactly the same” really means), but surely EHP would politely tell me to fuck off because they’ve already published that book. Carlton doesn’t own any of the words he used in that book and he doesn’t own the idea of skeletons, hauntings, being trapped or vaginas, but the exact combination he used in his book is all his, and anyone who thinks the whole concept in that unique incarnation is up for grabs is an idiot.

I spent two years in law school before I decided I’d much rather be a happy, broke journalist/teacher/writer than a depressed lawyer. During that time, my plan was to become a guy who helped artists get some moolah when some unoriginal hack stole their shit. That didn’t happen, but I read enough to learn a thing or two about the pros and cons of having laws against plagiarism. Plagiarism, for those who commented on every thread out there without bothering to look it up, is when someone takes the writings or literary ideas of someone else and publishes/sells/somehow makes money off of them while claiming them as his or her own writing. For those of you who want to argue the small but very important points, using brief quotes and citing is okay, but the amount used and the purpose of the usage will always be taken into consideration before fair use can successfully be brought in as a valid defense. In other words, literary ideas can be owned, and those who steal them should pay the price.

Here are a few simple examples of how this works:

- Creating a mythos full of unknown evil beings with the ability to bring forth the destruction of humanity, not to mention the sanity of any individual who’s unlucky enough to encounter them, is a really cool thing. However, if you call it the Kthulhu Mythos and "create" an aquatic monster/deity called Dag-gon, you’re an asshole and deserve to be punished.  

- Guns, drugs, bad guys, and femme fatales have been used by every crime author out there. However, if your novel is titled The Maltese Bird, deals with a man wrongly accused of murder who’s also trying to help a young woman, and your main character is named Sam Stade, you’re stealing ideas, you douche.

Plagiarism is complicated because of valid things like pastiche, paying homage to someone, and the varying degrees to which certain authors you read in your youth may influence your style and even word selection. Luckily, there are venues to solve this, and they have to do with experts looking at things side by side and deciding if you’re just a bad poet trying too hard to sound like Bukowski or if you’re a thief who paraphrased an entire text in order not to have to come up with something new. However, the important point here is that ideas can be owned. You can’t own killing as an idea, but you can own an idea where a character you created slowly murders another character you created, preferably in a unique fashion and while saying some cool shit you came up with on your own. I know accepting the weird relationship between ideas and ownership is hard, but the relationship is there and it’s an important one, so be aware of it. Okay, you can go back to reading uninformed comments online now. My apologies for the interruption.