Writing Under Giant Trees ~ A View From The Keyboard of Hosho McCreesh

IMG_20150827_234734

On the wonderful Hypertext Magazine site, Hosho McCreesh spoke a bit about his intriguing new novel, CHINESE GUCCI, and his complicated narrator: “For me, Akira represents many things about America, and masculinity that I hate. In an almost allegorical sense, I want a reader to feel about Akira the way I feel about America. America is a young, spoiled, stunted nation — one lost to façades. It’s a nation that can be brutally incurious about the world, one that views other countries simply as resources, and one that lumps the whole of Asia into a simplistic archetype that it only relates to through either an exotic wonder or warfare. But I also see America as a clever, creative, and ambitious project, one with real promise. If we can get and keep our shit together. These competing visions of America are in constant combat for me, and the soul and character of the nation are the ultimate stakes.”

McCreesh took a minute from the busy weeks around a book’s launch to share with A View From the Keyboard an excerpt from his novel, as well as a glimpse into his unusual creative workspace.
McCreesh: There are two reasons I picked this spot.

The first is simply necessity. I’m not really a “writer” so much as just a guy who writes. I have a regular 40-hour-a-week gig, so I have to find time to write when and where I can. This spot is really close to my work, and I wrote and edited a fair amount of Chinese Gucci here — in the backseat of my car, parked in this nice, shady spot (or one like it) over my lunch hour. Typically I’d kick off my shoes, and climb in the backseat with the pillows I keep in my trunk. I’d crack the windows to the breeze, set an alarm, lay down with my laptop on my chest, and start tapping away. When the alarm went off, I’d pack it all up then drive the minute or two back to work.

The second is because sitting under giant trees is relaxing, and helps keep the smaller frustrations of life in perspective. There’s truly something dreamy about staring up through sun-dappled branches into the New Mexico sky. Whatever was happening day-to-day at work, the simple act of accomplishing a little on the novel every lunch hour really protected the spark you need to have to keep going, and those hours eventually added up. What you can’t see is the liquor store a couple blocks away, which always makes for an interesting cast of characters, the type that can make you rethink the ol’ 40-hour-a-week-gig.Screen-Shot-2018-12-11-at-3.09.43-PM-2-660x400

As the photo is of the back seat of my car — where I did loads of work on the novel, I figured an excerpt set in the main character’s back seat, was apropos:

EXCERPT:

Akira woke — freezing. The windows inside the Skyline had a thin sheet of frozen condensation. He ran a fingernail along one and a little snake of soft ice unraveled, and dropped near the door lock. Akira promised he’d start carrying a blanket and some pillows in the trunk of his car for nights like this. The ugly, warm musk of stale beer sat thick in the cabin. He thought he might be sick.

Akira opened the door and stumbled out into the frost. There wasn’t a cloud in the frozen night sky, and the moon was a sliver surrounded by tiny, distant stars. The urge to throw up passed and he took a piss instead. The hot acrid stink of it almost steamed on the cold black rocks as it poured out of him, his guts draining. Back inside, he checked his phone. The battery was dead. He found his keys in the ignition, turned them, and fired the engine. The clock on the dash read 3:37 a.m.

His forehead hurt. In the rearview he noticed a red lump. He tested it with his fingers — sucking air back in through his clenched teeth as he did.

Pieces of the evening began to come back to him: Handfuls of chips stuffed in his mouth; jalapeño cheese sauce caked on his pinky knuckle; beers and beers and beers; peppered jerky; then gin, straight gin. He found the bottle in the back seat and thankfully it was still pretty full.
ChineseGucci_Front

Hosho McCreesh is currently writing & painting in the gypsum & caliche badlands of the American Southwest. His work has appeared widely in print, audio, & online.

Thanks, Hosho, for this glimpse into your work. And thanks to everyone, as always, for reading. May your New Year bring your good luck and good stories! ~ PMc←
Advertisements

Writing in a Moment of Crisis ~ A View From the Keyboard of Greg Olear

36468622_10156535749913841_232434378699964416_n

If you know me at all, you know that I am a sucker for kitty cats in the writing space. (Kitty cats anywhere, really.) Greg Olear, the founding editor of The Weeklings and the author of the novels Totally Killer and Fathermucker shares his space with this little guy. And also if you know me at all, you know that I am a sucker for thought-provoking, bold, informative writing. Greg Olear writes just that sort of stuff in his writing space…with his cat. And if you can’t find Greg in his writing space, you will certainly find him on Twitter, where he spends most of his time.

For now, though, here is Greg Olear’s View from the Keyboard:

Olear: I’m cheating a little, but this is my view this morning from my writing space. Titus, our new kitten, is sunning himself. My laptop is about nine inches away from his face. I am lucky because I have my own office in my house. Behind me are three gorgeous wooden bookcases, filled with books. There are also bookshelves built into the wall around the window that Titus is in front of.

I love this space because I can look out the window as I write onto the street, which is not busy busy, but not not busy, either. It makes me feel connected to the community. I’m not a “retreat into the woods by myself and drink whiskey and write” kind of writer. I’m more of the Samuel Johnson “tired of London, tired of life” variety. I write almost every morning, first thing in the morning. After 11am, I’m useless.

IMG_9466

Lately, the fiction writing has been uninspired. We are in a moment of crisis in our country, our republic is under attack, and I am using my meager platform to inform my readers of the Trump menace. I’ve just published a book, on my own hastily-invented imprint, called DIRTY RUBLES: AN INTRODUCTION TO TRUMP/RUSSIA. I’ve been tweeting about this and writing about it for 18 months, and I decided to put it in book form. I did this because I feel it’s my civic duty to do everything in my power to get us out of this mess.

Here is an excerpt:

As I write this, a third of the country rightly recognizes Trump as a clear and present danger. A third will defend him no matter what he does, as a matter of blind faith. Whether the middle third is able to call out the naked emperor standing before us may well determine whether the United States survives this unprecedented crisis.

There are powerful forces working to silence these cries of “The Emperor has no clothes.” The talking heads at Fox News and InfoWars, the editorial writers at Breitbart and the Wall Street Journal, and an army of bots on Facebook and Twitter are adamant that Trump is wearing only the finest threads. Mainstream media outlets insist on giving equal time to the “Trump’s new clothes are fabulous” crowd, despite his indisputable nakedness. To too many evangelicals, to denounce Trump as a naked emperor is to renounce Jesus Christ Himself.

Furthermore, the story, the real story, strains credulity. Are we really to believe that a Russian dictator helped install his compromised asset in the White House, and is now exerting influence over said asset’s key decisions? That is the stuff of bad spy movies, surely; not the AP wire!

And yet here we are.

Trump once boasted that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose the support of his voters. I beg to differ. If he did that, there would be irrefutable evidence of a terrible crime, a literal smoking gun, and that would (I like to think) sway the minds of even the most obdurate #MAGA apologists.

Trump/Russia, however, is not bang-bang. There is no single smoking gun. Instead, there are thousands of them, firing simultaneously, and the result is a noxious fog that hangs over everything, clouding our view.

This book is an attempt to see through the fog.513Whs9XRAL

→Thanks, Greg, for a glimpse into your space and your work. Keep up the good fight, man. And as always, thanks to everyone for reading. ~PMc←