:: Article

Acting on the Page


3:AM: Back to writing. Do you have any set revision process or does each book require its own approach?

SGJ: Was it in that Cult interview I went high-res on the Seven Spanish Angels series of rewrites? Somewhere, anyway. So I won’t again. But, to sum that one up: two thousand pages to get three-fifty. But then too, The Long Trial of Nolan Dugatti, say, or Ledfeather, they’re each exactly as I wrote them the first time through. It Came from Del Rio too, storywise, at least. Typo-wise, it was all littered up. And, Not For Nothing (2014), I wrote that through once, first person past tense, called Tar, Baby, then, and liked a lot of it but still didn’t think it was working, so I sucked it into what felt natural for it, being all smoky p.i.: second person. Story was mostly the same – it was set in L.A., then. But it still wasn’t right. So I started completely over again, brought that second person to Stanton, Texas, a place I knew a lot better than L.A., kind of my default setting, really – West Texas – and ended up with a ninety percent different story, a character unrecognizable from the first draft, and a much better novel. Flushboy, though: it’s as-is, as it was right at very first. Though of course I’ve yet to drop into edits with Dzanc for it. But I doubt they’re going to ask me to pull the drive-through urinal part, anything like that. All the Beautiful Sinners, though, man, for that one I was blasting it chapter by chapter to this very hands-on, good editor, and he’d get back within hours, telling me I had to change everything. Don’t know how many times I wrote it, all-told, just that, flipping through it now, I can still see all the ways I meant for it to be. Back when it came out, I set aside twelve cloth copies, and annotated, in sequence, fifty pages of each of them, kind of trying to detail why this, why not that. Though I think I quit at the ninth. Not because I wanted to, but because I’d promised it to this one guy, and I lost his address, and then lost whether I was on nine or done with nine, so, yeah. The usual story. Maybe I’ll finish that twelve-book trick someday, here, though I can’t imagine they’d ever be in one place. No clue where they all are now, really. Out in the world, doing their thing. I know, talking revision: while back a friend hit me up for a story to include in this textbook he was getting together, and of course I was up for it, but then he asked me for my revision notes. And I said there weren’t any. But there’s the story. I wrote it, it’s all there. But of course he really needed those notes, so finally I decided to just make some up, talk about my ‘revision process,’ all that. Who says the fiction has to end at the end of the story? Why not in the notes? Which isn’t to say – though why believe me – that any of the story notes (ten, twenty pages?) in The Ones That Got Away are fake. They’re all frighteningly real, to me. But, as for revision and short stories: very rare for me to get involved with that. Short stories are just that, short. If they’re broke, throw them away, write another. No need to mire yourself down trying to get this one story right. You’ll sacrifice ten other stories you might have written at the time. And, the current revision, I guess, it’s this zombie novel I wrote, The Gospel of Z. Last fall, I think. I thought it was the best thing ever, was going to steamroll the world – these thoughts are nothing new – but then I also, later, decided it completely sucked, didn’t deserve to even be printed on scratch paper. But still, I liked the character, liked the world, finally decided I’d just been indulging in it too much, so made myself pull back, sucked the thing into a screenplay, to try to identify the dramatic line better – foreground it, anyway. And the story actually started working, I think. I found ways to draw it all tight, those magic dramatic throughlines you wonder how you didn’t see them before. So, then, having no film agent (having never having looked for one), I translated it back into novel form, which of course changed a lot of it again, for the better, I think. Or, thought. My agent just read it, and said it’s really strong up until a point, and at that point I need to take it a little slower, maybe. Let the readers catch up. And she’s right, of course. And that’s always always always been my weakness: these worlds get so real to me, I just race through them, am thrilled to be there, want to run around the equator twice while I’m there. So, that’s my project right now, to redo Z again. Make it live as it should, so she can send it out. Though, too, I’m right now committed to three other deadline kind of writing projects, and one without a deadline – wait, and a fifth as well, though it’s more self-imposed. So, hope to get to it soon, here. And, this screenplay-trick, I’ve done it before, I guess, with another zombie novel, Zombie Bake-Off. Except that time, I think I wrote the script and the novel side by side. Just wanted to see how that would change things. And then a few months ago I got to trading manuscripts back and forth with a guy, and he’s into screenplays right now, so, instead of hitting him with the Zombie Bake-Off novel, I hit him with the script, and we went over it and over it and it’s solid now, is making the novel better. If, I mean, I can find a natural publishing home for a novel pitting zombie wrestlers against soccer moms. But what catalog does that not fit in, right?

3:AM: Can you divulge anything about the Gospel of Z synopsis-wise?

SGJ: Man, synopsis is the place where I just continually fall down. I can swing a log line now and again – it’s good practice to be able to target that central, sellable irony in your work – but synopsis is always the most brutal, reductive abridgment. Not that my agent doesn’t always hit me up for it. Not that she has yet for The Gospel of Z, either. So, um. how about the epigraph instead? “All the strangers came today, and it looks as though they’re here to stay.” Which rocks – I can say that because it’s not mine, just my selection, and I guess I’m trying to call dibs on it here, too (because you can do that with epigraphs, yes) – but doesn’t tell you anything, right? I really really suck at pitches. But I can tell you the story of it, anyway: it’s ten years after the plague swept through, took society down, but now we’re getting a foothold again. The military’s got the fences up, the church is making us all feel better – society’s happening again, just when it seemed like it never would. Way at the center of all that, though, there’s this one grieving dad, who, maybe trying to finally kill himself, instead pulls a suicide mission. One he accidentally comes back from with an artifact, a story that, if he can just tell somebody, can bring this world down all over again. He knows what the zombies were, and what they are, but will his need to punish himself outweigh his role as a prophet, here? Will he check in or check out? Tune in and see . . . see? I’m no pitch artist. But that’s more or less what happens, just with about seventy or eighty thousand words left out. Also, of course, the zombies all wear that leather mask from Pulp Fiction. And there’s these seven foot tall Frankenstein Hulks kind of looming around. And the priests, man, these bonefaces – a term I’m stealing whole cloth from The Inheritors – they’re wicked. Expect lots of flame, more than enough gore, but some heartbreak too. And a goat or two. Most good stories will have a goat in them somewhere or another.

3:AM: Zombies seem to be gaining in popularity at an exponential rate. Are they going to eclipse the recent vampire craze? Why do you think people are so fascinated with zombies?

SGJ: I think people are into zombies these days for a couple of reasons – neither of which is just that they’re cool. Honestly, I think werewolves are cooler. At least some werewolves. But zombies are on top right now, no doubt. The easy reason’s just that, as well as Anne Rice did the vampire, still, that was kind of opening the door on them getting civilized, yeah? I mean, no more were they blood-hungry creatures, as Matheson had had it. Now they wore the cool clothes, knew their manners, had invested in IBM – were this elite upper class that we all already knew we were going to have to sell our souls to be part of anyway. I mean, even George R.R. Martin was doing them that way, yeah? Near Dark was a good pullback, I think, but then Dracula got popular again – as it always deserves to – and even Poppy Z. Brite, for all the violence and blood she brought back, couldn’t keep them from getting more and more refined, finally sparkling, going fangless, all that. Which isn’t to say I didn’t just inhale all the Twilight stuff, don’t get me wrong. But I inhaled Let the Right One In too. I try to inhale all of it, really. Trick with vampires, though, is that for a while they’d been satisfying that certainty we need textual proof for, now and again: that there’s creatures in the shadows that want to rip us apart. When those creatures started stepping into the light, though, being not that bad, kind of desirable, even, well, we as an audience, as a generation, kind of looked behind them, to see who was queued up – what could be the slobbering, flesh-hungry creature now? Zombies were the obvious fit – werewolves are more slobbery, of course, have teeth that are actually useful and instincts to boot, but werewolf stories are nearly always ‘small,’ always contained. You don’t see many werewolf epidemic stories, anyway, right? Probably because they’d be over immediately. And, too, the werewolf story is, at its base, either a story about puberty – new appetites, all this strange hair – about that kind of persistent liminal state, or they’re kind of a version of the Hulk: I’ve got a monster inside, please don’t make me let it out. Too, though, this zombie renaissance, it’s because we need the creatures that are maybe going to eat us, sure – in a tank, predator fish keep the bait fish healthy, yes? – and it’s because we were lucky enough to get hit with some foundational zombie kind of stories (Max Brooks especially) to popularize the genre, the mode, but more than that, even, it’s that we’re in a decade right now that’s between 9/11 and 2012: 9/11 gave us the apocalypse on a twenty-four news cycle, and 2012’s telling us that’s about to go much wider than the news. Zombie stories have always expressed our current cultural concerns and anxieties, and, right now, that anxiety’s an apocalypse, be it nuclear, seismic, Olduvai, biological, lunar, social, artificial intelligence, swine flu, whatever. Growing up, I remember we always felt Reagan‘s puppet finger was on the button, to blow us all up. We no longer live like that, though. Now we think our fate’s in a bad idea test tube in some basement apartment the FBI can’t quite zero in on. Now we think our fate’s in a coded email between terrorist cells. It’s like we can feel the zombies – the end of the world – all bunched up behind a gate, and all it’s going to take to spill them out on us is one little perfect storm of events, one momentary lack of vigilance. Perfect storms like we see every day. So, scary, yeah. As for why we all – okay, especially me – like to dress up like zombies, I think it’s that the idea of being a zombie, man: no credit card bills, no tests, no bosses, no traffic? Just one defining objective? Sign me up, yeah. I mean, it’s essentially choosing the shambling version of a kind of protozoan existence – stimulus, response – but as our lives get more and more complicated, we look more and more for a way back to simplicity. Bad thing is, that trades in our humanity as well, all the good stuff. Just yesterday I was driving past some school, and there was this girl walking across the grass, and she was just smiling to herself, and it made me smile too, made me want to build walls around her, preserve her, because we need all the smilers we can get, all the people who can just be happy because being happy makes you happy. But please don’t read like that like I’ve gone cynical, think the world can only corrupt, anything like that. I like zombies, yeah, even zombie sharks, especially ones with friggin’ laser beams on their heads, but I kind of like people too. Especially when they’re running from zombies, okay, but that’s just because you know people best in extreme situations, yeah? Which – that’s maybe another reason for the zombie’s rise, think? Okay, say this is a world dominated by reality television, where the audience is all addicted to these distilled forms of human interaction, because . . . I don’t know. Because it’s staged in such a way to feel more real than your own human interactions, maybe? Closest I’ve come to reality television would be Dead Set, so I’m kind of flying blind here, I guess. Or, I wonder if it’s the gameshow model being applied to ‘real’ life that makes it feel more real? Like we all secretly suspect this is Highlander. Anyway, where I’m way indirectly trying to get to with this is Kirkman‘s The Walking Dead, which – correct me if I’m wrong – he says is about people, not zombies. For him, all the zombies are in that running story is the pressure cooker, the one amping everything up, making it all dire, so that, under these very extreme circumstances, we know Rick and crew that much better, have this kind of fake, constructed intimacy. One we’re desperate for, as the various real intimacies we have are so fragile. And, what better pressure cooker could there be for characters than zombies? They’re the ultimate economizing device in a story, just accelerate everything. Which is to say they’re easy, yeah. Drop them into your fiction, and your fiction’s automatically better, I think. We’re going to know your characters fast – taking the gruntwork of writing off you. At least we’ll know the ones who Connor Macleod it through for a while. The ones who trick us into identifying, into thinking that’s us in that apocalypse, that we could do that too, yeah, if push came to shove and there were dead people at the door.

3:AM: We have zombies, werewolves, vampires – classic monsters. And then the real life monsters in fiction. Jack Ketchum-type monsters. People, our neighbors even, doing the most horrific things. What is there to be said for this side of horror in writing?

SGJ: Man, there’s a lot to be said. And, maybe in direct response to specifically Ketchum’s stuff, I’ve written a couple of novels along those lines. He blurbed one of them, too, which rocks. The blurb, I mean (got one from Evenson too). Could be the novel’s okay as well. That one’s called The Least of My Scars. It’s more than a little wicked – I wanted to see how far I could go on the page – and, yeah, it’s completely different than trotting some Universal monster on-stage. Not that werewolves and Frankensteins and phantoms in your opera can’t be scary, but they’re sometimes a scare we can walk away from, if we want. They exist ‘there,’ in fakeland, and we’re ‘here,’ in the real world. So, when you’re writing about the terrible things the guy next door’s doing while you sleep, it all kind of becomes more personal. Robert McKee says that the difference between horror and the thriller is that the thriller, because it’s dealing with real people, is finally scarier, as, with horror, if we categorically deny the supernatural, then all the monsters there fall down. Leaving your neighbor there at the back of the room, kind of biting his lip, looking at you and not looking at you at the same time. Makes catching the bus a completely different experience. I mean, just stat-wise, we have to have ridden the bus with a serial killer at one point or another, don’t you think? At least with somebody who’s done something pretty terrible, that they’re not exactly silkscreening onto their shirt for the world to see. And, worse, maybe that person’s you, right? Thinking of that guy from A Simple Plan – my favorite book ever, some days, along with Love Medicine and The Life of Pi. But, that The Least of My Scars, it was actually the second time I’d kind of leaned over the pit, wondered what would happen if I slipped over, had to write my way out. The first time was this novel I call all kinds of things, usually The Dog Mother. With it, I was kind of trying to expunge all my very-serious, completely legitimate fears of people with dog heads. That commercial with the human bodies, greyhound heads? Nightmare fuel for me. I don’t need it, thank you. It’s always been my second biggest fear, to round the corner, walk into the chest of some Anubis figure. If that happens, it’s all over for me. I have a heart attack, my brain explodes, and it’s over. So, with Dog Mother, I made that dog-headed figure, gave it a story – nothing remotely supernatural – and let things develop. Very violently. I think that was the only novel so far that my agent kind of said, Really? You sure you want to go this far? My answer: not sure at all, no. Not just because of what the neighbors will think – that can’t matter, really – but because that Dog Mother novel, I wrote it fast-fast, four or six weeks, because every time I’d dip back down into that story, my stomach would cramp up, and I couldn’t eat, and, no, it wasn’t a happy experience. I like the product, wish I could finally settle on a title, but the writing of it, having to live in that story, it made me sick. Lost a lot of weight for that book. And then I decided, what the heck, why not do it again, right? The Least of My Scars. Which is even more intense, I think, but in completely different ways. With it, I wasn’t trying to face down my own dog-headed demons, any of that, I was trying to imagine what I might be like, if all the usual constraints were stripped away. So, I mean, yeah, American Psycho, some days that’s my favorite book too, but it’s not because of the writing, the story, it’s Patrick Bateman. It was like my thoughts were there on the page. Completely amazing. Only other time I’ve ever had that experience with a book was The Red Badge of Courage, that protag . . . Henry, maybe? I completely identified with him, felt like he was me, I was him. He made perfect, perfect sense. Then, man, then I hit Perry in In Cold Blood, and it was happening again: he was real in a way none of the other characters ever were. The things he said, they felt like echoes, like memories. So, yeah, then I did The Least of My Scars, just trying to figure that whole dynamic out, and couch it in a killer-victim situation. And I think it works, too. Or, the one editor who’s read it so far, that editor gave it back, said it was kind of too disturbing. But I trust it’ll get out in the world sooner or later, just to make sure I never get invited to any neighborhood get-togethers. And I’d love to see Dog Mother get more real as well. There’s a scene in it with a turtle that pretty much sums up every single thing I love in fiction, and – you’ve hit the author notes at the end of Bleed Into Me? Just me, talking about my absolute terror of turtles. So, for Dog Mother, yeah, there’s a big turtle. And it’s paralyzing to me, just reading about it. And so thrilling, too. But to finally come around and try to answer your question: yes, real people doing The Girl Next Door things can definitely be scarier than monsters just doing what monsters do, because then we have to acknowledge that potential in each of us as well. At the same time, though, man, Straub‘s Ghost Story, say, or Edward Lee‘s Flesh Gothic, or Bentley Little‘s The House, or King‘s The Shining, they’re all absolutely terrifying. Even that old Gene Wolfe ‘A Fish Story,’ just a short little nothing he wrote on a cocktail napkin thirty years ago, probably – it’s bar-none the scariest thing I’ve ever read (well, aside from Communion). And, as for why they’re scary, why that one in particular: there’s nothing I could do, if I was there. I’d have no chance. Whereas, if I’m hiking a trail in a story, and there’s mad dog killer on my trail, just toying with me, at least there I have the illusion that I can, I don’t know, build a bow, stage a cliff trap, lure a bear in, turn into Conan, get lucky somehow, live. But what’s always interesting to me the most in horror, in anything really, it’s when that need to live is balanced against trading your soul in. Which is kind of what that The Gospel of Z is built around, I guess. Just now seeing that.

3:AM: The need to live balanced against trading your soul in – what do you mean by that exactly?

SGJ: Just that . . . like the choice in Sophie’s Choice, which I guess we see a version of in Everything is Illuminated, right? Nazis are great for those kind of dilemmas. Or like Van Damme up front in Cyborg, where a little girl’s hanging in the bucket of a well, and the rope you have to hold onto to keep her alive’s barbed wire? And she’s your sister or something, and you kind of care about your hands? Sounding very Saw, yeah. But, in zombie terms – which is Nazi terms, just without all the bad feelings – it’s just deciding whether you want to die in this room, or whether you’re willing to eviscerate and decapitate and de-limb and just generally brain somebody you were just holding because she had a little bit of a fever. Those ‘how bad do you want to live?’ questions – Ravenous, that King story ‘The Survivor Type,’ and on and on, even that movie I’m blanking on the title, where this family crashes onto some Alaskan island, is stranded there for the winter, and, to fill the absence of television, the daughter reads aloud nightly from this journal she’s found, only to have that journal – spoiler, spoiler – be actually blank. Meaning she was making it all up. Meaning she’s lying in order to stay sane, basically. Or in order to talk to her parents, but that’s the boring read. Making up stories to keep yourself from stepping off the bridge, that’s endlessly more interesting. One Thousand and One Nights is a version of that too, yeah? Though I far prefer Barth‘s The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor. But, yeah, these stories, these decisions, Sophie eeny-meeny-miny-moeing her way into her own personal hell, they’re always going to be around, are maybe the most basic story we have. Because, at some level, that’s the decision we make every day: Do I want this CD – “happiness” – or would I rather buy dinner? Decisions, decisions . . . Put it in a story, though, and you have to amp that up, have to have Peter Parker at the top of the George Washington Bridge, trying to save all these civilians and Gwen Stacy. And you can’t do both. Even if you’re Spider-Man, you can’t do both. These aren’t inclusive disjunctions, if you’re thinking in symbolic logic terms. Exclusive, exclusive, either/or. Which, yeah, the real heroes, they code around the side, find the elegant workarounds, the way to save both kids. And if it’s physical, if it’s a big spinning headkick or a convenient meteor (as Fry does in his comic book [in Futurama]), then you’re not earning the life of either kid. The only way to finally really ‘earn’ those lives, to allow us to believe that both can be saved, is to Ocean’s 11 it, to Odysseus it: human cleverness. The long con. And private eyes are the absolute kings of this, can always somehow knock down twenty-two birds with one stone. Just because they’ve generated their own moral code for just these kinds of scenes, because they’re willing to sacrifice these little bits of their soul for these kids. Or, really, it’s because they’re usually the only one in the situation without a personal agenda, aside from survival, and even that’s in the wind, and that narrative uncertainty is precisely what allows them to do what they do – it’s a completely different brand of agency, one that’s selfless, but not in a cheesy altruistic way, and not in an answer to a cautionary tale way. In a real way. My favorite fifty-two minutes of television ever? Even better than ‘Jose Chung’s Abducted?’ It’s the ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’ episode of Star Trek Next Generation. Where Tasha Yar has to make that decision, just like Sophie: which ship do I save? That Sidney Carton, 30 Days of Night shuffle: “’tis a far, far better thing,” and you know the rest.

3:AM: This brings us back to your whole take of writing oneself into a corner and trusting the narrative to pull you to the other side somehow. What else is there to be said about that, about writing oneself into a corner? Can you offer any exercises for this … technique?

SGJ: ‘Trusting the narrative,’ I like that, had never even once thought of it like that. Or, I like the idea, the alternate model. The possibility that narrative exists outside our perception of it, or that it’s some tappable, un-talk-aboutable thing – force, tendency, whatever’s the good kind of ineluctable. What E.L. Doctorow means when he says that the writing, when it’s going well, feels more like taking dictation. Which I completely agree with when he says it, but now it seems so . . . ‘Calvinist,’ is that the word? Even the right era? Whoever it was that thought their good acts weren’t their own, but they were just a vessel for the good, that the good – in this case, the narrative, the story – comes from somewhere else, kind of just pours through the writer. And I suspect Philip K. Dick might have subscribed to some version of this as well, only the ‘good’ had a certain pink hue. But I’m suddenly not so sure I agree. And is it particularly American, all rugged individualist for me to say that when I suggest writing yourself into a corner, what I’m kind of saying is ‘Use your own muscle to get out,’ your own talent, whatever amount of luck you’ve accrued so far? Man. Pretty soon I’ll be getting a Manifest Destiny tattoo, then, right? Calling this the ‘undiscovered country?’ Dangerous, dangerous. All the same, still, I do think that if you can’t write yourself out of those corners, if you can’t guess-build elaborate mazes with words, then scrawl your way out, then you kind of deserve to stay there. And also to please quit inflicting your writing on us. We need real artists, not qualified craftsmen, thank you. Not a whole generation of competent sentence makers trying to outsubtle each other on the shelves, all of them seemingly insulted at the idea of having to ‘engage’ the reader, ever ‘entertain’ them. But scare quotes like that – this is feeling ranty. Don’t want that. So. To return, start over. Writing yourself into a corner? Yes, always. And, like most valid things, it can be best explained using Entrapment: How would you rather watch someone cross a room? Just walking across, stopping to have various boring flashbacks – I’m thinking of you, For the Love of the Game – or blindfolded, having to writhe through layers of laser crossbeams? Or, to say that differently: the obstacles, the constraints, these baffles, formal delimiters – the genre conventions, the marketplace – they’re what can make getting across that room interesting for us, for the audience. Whereas too many literary novels, instead of making the room interesting and challenging, instead try to make what’s in the character’s head the ‘entertainment.’ Which, in rare instances – Freedom, maybe; Atonement, sure; Await Your Reply, probably (though it starts bloody) – can work, but it takes a steady, steady hand, and fails so much more often than not. And, when a literary novel fails, you just kind of want to kill yourself for the time you’ve wasted, for this bright breakage in your hand, or to sever your relationship with reading anyway, break that contract, fall back on your Netflix instant queue, but, when a werewolf erotica novel fails, then at least you’ve seen some lycanthrope sex, right? And now know what to do should you or your partner, say, turn up with a tail. And, this idea of having to dance furiously on a single square of cardboard instead of having the whole room to go American Anthem in – to take nothing away from Becky Cameron – how can that not make for a more interesting dance? Or maybe it’s just taste. I’ll watch breakdancing, especially any good robot dancers, for hours, but most other kinds, even the overchoreographed stuff that I know’s taking all kinds of talent and athletic ability, I don’t know. I fall asleep at the ballet, guess I’m saying, but’ll watch bullriding for hours, where that square of cardboard’s just eight seconds wide. I’m so much more interested in what Arnold can do on the surface of Mars, with no helmet, than I finally am with how long it takes somebody to experience a sliver of a moment in The Lighthouse. Or, what I’m most interested in in fiction? It’s those ‘seven versions of Stencil’ or ‘eight impersonations by Stencil,’ whatever that magic chapter – three? – is in Pynchon‘s V. It’s why I love Hoodwinked, and that Kiera Knightly The Hole, and Rashomon. When the narrative starts to create internal friction, when you’re both invested and uncertain at the same time, and reading faster both to get out of that feeling and to get more of it, in a rush, that’s the most extreme pleasure. Only thing better’s crying at the end and not being able to explain why you’re crying. Good fiction can make your own feelings stranger to you, make you inarticulate with them, manipulate you into a wordless state of bliss, like you’ve experienced a serious painting, partaken of some vertical time, not the usual causal/linear/horizontal we associate with stories. None of which is an actual exercise, sorry. For exercise, then: give yourself constraints, just ridiculous stuff – “at some point a letter must be delivered by kangaroo pouch,” and “there’s going to seven facts about alternate current by page thirty, and two of them will be ones you make up” – and then, when you least expect it, suckerpunch yourself, Jerry Springer yourself, just throw down an unerasable line like “And then the pet dog from his third grade move was at the door, wagging its tail, back from the farm.” How can that not be an escalation, right? One you earn not by setting up, but by then dealing with. And the trick is not letting yourself go back, smooth things out. Stories need rough surprises, jangly developments, melodrama that toes right up to the line of contrivance – it needs risk, it needs to gamble that it can make you laugh, make you cry. The worst joke isn’t the one that falls flat, it’s the one you don’t ever even tell. Make yourself naked in your fiction, be so honest it feels like a lie, draw your life in such high resolution you don’t even recognize it. And don’t forget the kangaroos.


Gregory Frye is a struggling novelist who quit his newspaper job and moved to Athens, Greece, in 2008.

Pages: 1 2 3

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, December 7th, 2010.