Middlemarch: The Cover!

As might have been predicted, writing mean things about Serena Williams destroyed me creatively for a number of days, then my computer stopped dead. Back on a new computer and prepared to be contrite, I just have to say, first, that I am who I am and it is what it is. There's the heat of the moment to consider, as well.


I am mainly posting so as to display the second and far superior iteration of the new cover! Files under review at CreateSpace, second proof back this week to me, new novel out  to THE WORLD next week!

LINK:  First excerpt



So, here I am writing this huge novel about professional women’s tennis and I can’t stand Serena Williams. She just won the US Open again, I don’t know for which time, I don’t care.

I took against Serena Williams when she was still a child, the first time I ever saw her on television. It must have been 1994, she hadn’t turned pro yet but her big sister Venus was making a splash somewhere and their “unique upbringing” was always a big part of the story. So one day they stuck little sister Serena in front of the cameras to show off the success of the family’s educational methods by having her recite the “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” speech from Macbeth. She mangled it. She must have been about eleven or twelve, she could have done better—but no one mentioned this fact and no one corrected her. Macbeth is my favorite play and I felt offended on its behalf, she mangled it that badly, giggling all the while. Why no re-take? There was no re-take. Because she was being cute, because she had a wide toothy smile and a head full of beads and wasn’t shy about performing on camera, because she was maybe a future major tennis star if the father’s predictions were to be believed, the network ran what she gave them, as if it were just fine to get mostly all the words wrong in a filmed recitation of Shakespeare. When—in my opinion—it wasn’t. Isn't. When—as I continue to believe—she’d never memorized that speech at all, she just wanted to make a boast of it. I’ve always tended to like lively truth-challenged children but this one I didn’t. Just like that, like with a finger snap, I parted ways with Serena Williams. She might have been a charming American girl who claimed to have parts of Shakespeare by memory and really truly did; she’d have won me over in that case, I would have been her fan, probably forever. I’d have admired her had she cried out, “No, no, let me try again, I can do better, I really know this!” Instead she came off as a big mealy-mouthed child liar.

The U.S. Open Women's Singles Trophy (r)

Eighteen years later, she’s got no eyebrows except those she inks on, and sideburns—otherwise she hasn’t changed at all.

Fact 1: What I think about Serena Williams doesn’t matter. Fact 2: Serena Williams has always been just as sloppy and greedy and narcissistic and disrespectful of Shakespeare as she’s been allowed to be—just as dishonest, too. To blame her for being successfully rotten misses the point. The plain truth is that if she didn’t play such an error-strewn game I’d have grown fond of her by now, but she just slaps so many wide, so many long, as if it didn’t matter—and then it doesn’t matter, she still wins because she hits so hard.


Pro Women’s Tennis (and Animals)

An explanation: Yesterday morning I finished reading JM Coetzee’s 2003 novel Elizabeth Costello, the first book of his I’ve read. It’s extremely impressive and highly polemical. So last night in the spirit and somewhat under the spell of that book I ended up writing a polemic—I wrote “a brief polemic” first but maybe it didn’t seem that brief. I should add that I have no evidence for the part about the early absconders and their role in the latest crash and recession, only a strong feeling that it’s true.

I’m back to the What is Famepunk blog after a month of line by line revisions to the manuscript of the second part, Middlemarch. This week I should be sending out the files to CreateSpace over at Amazon and start the first proof copy going, for late September print publication. The Kindle version will be available sooner. I have a lot of work to do at the computer on all this file preparation but I’m very busy, instead, becoming a vegetarian and watching the US Open live streaming. This whole week, it’s been exactly like Wimbledon wasn’t: six courts simultaneously on-line, viewer’s choice, and free. At home my buffering isn’t the quickest but that’s not the end of the world, not when I can watch defending champion Samantha Stosur play a tough match on Armstrong while CBS showed men’s tennis, only, from noon to 5:50pm, at which point they showed one game from Stosur’s second set, cut to commercial, then showed part of another game but cut away in the middle to broadcast live shots of the grounds and some wrap-up commentary by a guy with a cartoon hairstyle.


This close to football season on the Sunday afternoon of Labor Day weekend, the networks are competing for the male gaze, obviously—it is also true (see above) that men don’t want their women to see Samantha Stosur’s body because it might cause lesbianism.

For dinner which was finished very late because I then watched my favorite player Petra Kvitova lose in three to the amazing Marion Bartoli of France, who was on fire tonight—en flammes!—I cooked a Turkish eggplant dish called Imam Bayidli (The Imam Swooned) and Bulghur Pilav, I’ve never made either dish before, both recipes from the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook; highly recommended.

Samantha Stosur (August 2012)

Am I really becoming a vegetarian? And why now? I’m not sure but I return to what I’ve been reading this week. The title character of JM Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello is a famous novelist who receives invitations to give talks all over the world. At some opportunities, she speaks against raising animals to kill and eat. Other characters in the book disagree with her and they strongly object to her comparison of the meat industry with the Nazi death camps. I have a friend who says, if they weren’t going to be eaten they wouldn’t have been born in the first place; she tries to buy only the best kinds of meat, from real butchers who stock heirloom breeds fed organically and raised humanely; she doesn’t hold with having meat every day, either. I really agree with her, on all of that. Then I think to myself, does meat matter so much to me that I’m willing to spend two or more hours each week away from my work on Famepunk making trips to artisanal butchers in Brooklyn’s most annoying neighborhoods? In other words, can I spare the same amount of time for meat each week that I’ll give to watching women’s tennis on a weekend once or twice a year? Unlike my friend, I have a full-time office job—I’d end up someday buying pre-formed beef patties at Whole Foods, I just know this, and I won’t do it. I refuse that future. I made quinoa for the first time two weeks ago, tonight I’ve tried bulgur, also delicious. Onward and upward.

LINK: This role model


Pro Obama

The difference between white culture and black culture in America really isn’t that much. In both, the criminals are winning. Cooperating across racial boundaries, the top criminals run a state of controlled anarchy. They pillage national industries for personal enrichment, their actions leading to job loss and poverty. They prey upon their victims through an omnipresent trade in lottery tickets, tobacco, alcohol, high-caloric malnourishment, data plans and cable television. They impoverish the poor with sham financial products and charities, they suck funds through them in sickness and especially in hospitals. Their ranks are swollen by those who’ve shown up to feast on the ever more numerous poor their criminal leaders have introduced upon the world; some contrive to represent the poor and fatten off their meager redress.

Time and again the criminal enterprise of stealing from the poor—including, at its lowest level, literal theft from the poor, the work of those who rob and terrorize poor neighborhoods, the street crime committers—again and again, this vast multiracial internationally-oriented league of criminals is revealed to be a pyramid scheme that leaves most of the criminals poor, their gains are so fleeting. Black or white, only a few prosper—the early absconders. This is why Americans couldn’t count on getting health care until Barack Obama became President, too many people were getting too rich off the poverty created by the status quo; and when it became apparent before the last election that some form of “Obamacare” was inevitable with the Democrats’ return to the White House, some of those people took all their money out of circulation and walked away—this was a root cause of the crash five years ago. Those criminals are looking at the vineyards they own now, the orchards, the acres of teak deck hand-waxed by an immaculate crew; they’re running boutique hedge funds that invest solely in oil services in the former Soviet republics; they collect houses and airplanes, they fly around the world spending a thousand dollars a night on hotel rooms, they rarely sleep in their houses; they attend seminars, they run sometimes for office, some of them are multibillionaires. They won.

President Barack Obama is not a criminal. He is an honest man and a good leader tasked with bringing the innocent non-criminal population of his country out of a big mess that’s actually a crime scene. The way is arduous, it has to be cut through the resisting force of controlled anarchy—massively resisting, criminally controlled—with all its distractions, depredations, degradations, its trash entertainments, its robotic fakery, its hidden fees and random slayings, its contempt for living flesh.

The race hatred fomented by criminals and bigots (and some criminals who are also bigots, black and white) is key to the anarchy—Charles Manson understood this (I know this because Helter Skelter was one of my favorite books when I was a teen, I had a crush on one of the girls featured in its black and white photo insert pages)—a distraction, a depredation, a degradation as massive as all the rest combined. Clearly, if America serves any purpose at all, if it has the higher destiny it claims for itself among history’s other upstart nations, then it seems to me that purpose, that destiny must involve the harmonious mingling of races in one just and generally prosperous society. Because what else could it be—what destiny could be higher for America? Another war to exterminate another race? A return to slave-holding? Has it all been downhill in America since word of the Emancipation Proclamation got out?

Juneteenth / Houston Fourth Ward (c. 1900)

I don’t think so but some people do, there’s no doubt about it. Will all these people and all such people die out within anyone’s lifetime? If not, will the survivors be confined to human zoos and sit on display, screeching about negro inferiority for the fearful edification of schoolchildren? Another question: will a vote for the Green Party always risk giving the office to a race supremacist, secret or otherwise?

President Obama, in the meantime, tasked with leading an enormously vast multiracial population of crime victims straight through the ongoing scenes of the crimes—also ongoing—by which they’ve been and are left wounded, disoriented, enraged and largely impoverished, remains focused and calm.