#writering: Don the Bomb

#writering is a random blog blathering on about writers, books and publishing

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by Beth Wareham of Lisa Hagan Books, an Indy publisher.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of a “literary gathering,” you do not know the wonder of a room of fashion victims trying to beat one another over the heads with words. I listened to two New York Times critics go down for the count over whether France was on the uptick, culturally-speaking, or not.  I got bored, wandered away, and there was Michi, describing a performance piece where monkey brains were consumed. (You should have been around when Art Garfunkel asked Michi out. What a to-do.) It was a party, Michi, and you just made my cheese spread and cracker look unappetizing.  Nothing has more “literary” pathology for study than one of these events. The war is always on and it’s all words.

Enter the man above. When he walks in a room, even those that have not stopped taking for decades shut up.  The very definition of “walk softly and carry a big stick”, “don’t open your mouth unless you have something to say,” and “outsider artist” ooze from this man.  He’s not your plaything or your patsy; he doesn’t perform for the mob. He’s in a leather bomber amongst the bad tweed and sensible shoes. He works his way across the room and all the posers and nattering nabobs part. They know the King of the Jungle when they see him.

Random facts:

*Don DeLillo has never gone online. He sees it as a complete assault on his individuality and his life: He does not know there are ebooks of his work. He may know now, but he didn’t for years.

*He was obsessed with the image of a man falling through space many years before he wrote Falling Man. (He wrote that book using a simple chronology, didn’t like it, and rewrote it starting in the future and backtracking to 9/11. Don’t try that at home, kids.)

*When Underworld was first published, critics received no additional information about the book. How could you capture the 20th Century with a press release? The book, however, is the finest novel about that most violent 100 years in human history.  The last word of the book is very famous.

*His editor and publicist almost came to blows over what kind of condiments Don liked on his sandwich. Silly? You bet. But that’s how ridiculous it gets around this great American novelist. Everyone wants to please him because he is great. Oblivious to all of these machinations, Don DeLillo lives in a part of the atmosphere where we can’t get.

*DeLillo is obsessed with the 1951 MLB playoffs when outfielder Andy Pafko ran to the left field wall and watched Bobby Thomson’s 3-run homer fly over his head. DeLillo opened Underworld with this scene, wrote about the event for Harpers Magazine, and published a novella entitled Pafko at the Wall in 2001.

If you haven’t read the great man’s books, I humbly offer my reading list: White Noise (the first book I read and simply the best with its “airborne toxic event”); Libra, a novel imaging Lee Harvey Oswald on his journey toward a world-shattering act; Falling Man, his novel of 9/11; and finally, a sweeping look at the 20th Century, Underworld.

“A writer’s writer” does not describe him. DeLillo is a law onto himself and will remain so forever.  DeLillo is the consummate individual, a term I think he would like.

Do right by Don DeLillo. Turn off all the gadgets that allow you to read this and sit down with one of his books. Don’t read criticism or look to the opinions of others. Don’t natter with nabobs about him, ever. This read is for you, the one thing that cannot be replicated. Let your particular arrangement of molecules collide with DeLillo’s story and see what comes about.

Because all truth must reside in one individual before it spreads, DeLillo wants you to step up, quit bullshitting and walk the walk. He wants you to read and think, activities in short supply these days. (See references to “the base” in mainstream reporting…)

Yup. That guy is the real damn deal and he’s not letting anyone off the hook. Think for yourself, folks. Read. Stop acting like cows. We are individuals responsible for ourselves and our actions. Anything else is just nattering and nonsense, a series of “literary gatherings” filled with sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Ask DeLillo, he knows.

 

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#writering: Meeting Jeannette Walls

#writering is a periodic posting of blather about writers, books and publishing by Beth Wareham of Lisa Hagan Books.

 

Jeannette Walls

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I met Jeannette a long time ago (a decade ago!) in a tiny room in the center of an airless midtown tower. She was with a young colleague signing stacks of her first memoir, The Glass Castle which would remain on the bestseller list for 7 years.  A childhood remembered, it is by turns delightful and horrifying as her family bounced from desert shack to a dilapidated mountain shanty.  Jeannette and her siblings slept in cardboard boxes rather than beds. Her father – often drunk – and her mother –  depressed and refusing to get out of bed – seemed unable to care for their children. And just when you believe you can’t take it any more, Jeannette takes you to her father’s boyhood home, examines his mother, and this hell makes more sense. Jeannette’s love for her family is unwavering, even to this day. All of Jeannette’s childhood is bearable to us because it was bearable to her: She emerged full of human grace.

Somehow in that sad little book-filled room, Jeannette looked like she does in the photograph above, a yearling at the edge of a field, sun back-lighting her . Maybe it’s that  mane-like hair. Or it’s the eyes that have that equine ability to be look deep while scanning the perimeter for potential predators.  She gave an impression of being vulnerable and she was very kind. Her gaze was direct and strong: In retrospect I’d even describe it as unbroken. In fact her third book was called Half-Broke Horses.

I remember thinking, she’s no gossip reporter.  She’s already a writer, a philosopher, something quiet, dignified, not reporting on Beyonce or Justin Timberlake. I don’t know how long she kept at that job, but I can’t think of a more improbable pairing. I see Jeannette in that sunny pasture walking among her horses, blending into the sunlight.

I am hoping the movie version of Glass Castle remains true to the book; the trailer makes it appear like happy Hollywood malarky. It’s the darkness of that book that makes the story so amazing: Those two deeply flawed parents raised remarkable children.

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3 Wealth Hacks

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The IMF had some shaky news for Mr. Trump’s Go-Go economy: Hold your horses, it said. You think you’re an emerging market. A Cabinet member, the esteemed Steve Munchin Donuts, pursed his lips and cried “serving Mr. Trump is a great honor!”

In the dark? Don’t be. The short version is there will be economic instability soon. We know this because we know the cyclical nature of markets. Every 10 years, there is trouble. The last time, there was really BIG trouble. It’s exactly a decade later than the crash of 2007, not an anniversary to celebrate.

If you want to understand how markets and world banks interact, this is your book. The Coming Financial Crisis is a concise explanation of world events that shape your bank account, your family and your life. For example, if a bank fails, it is only responsible to reimburse you up to $100,000.00 Now, perhaps you laugh, “I WISH I had a hundred thousand dollars!” Well, one day you might have $200,000,00, the bank fails. and you’ll only get half back. Ouch. This was adopted by the EU and subsequently the US, last year. So Cyprus and Greece are not so far away; their banking problems sent ripples throughout the world just ours did in 2007. Their banking problems triggered this new rule. Globalism, whether you like it or not and whether you believe in it or not, is here to stay.

Here are fail-safe ways – in good times and bad – to make sure your wealth is secure. It’s simply not if it is in a bank or invested in the stock market.  Here are 3 easy ideas from The Coming Financial Crisis by John Truman Wolfe:

1. Spread accounts between banks, especially locally-owned banks that focus on banking, not investments, derivatives, etc.

2. Buy real estate. If you’ve been renting, it’s time to make the leap. If you are in a home you love, what about buying another and renting it out? Or, is it time to trade up with a larger house in a different neighborhood? Investing in real estate (usually in the form of the family home) is THE way Americans build wealth. Real estate agents say they see a real difference in the overall financial health in those that bought early versus those who rented for many years. (Remember, “freedom’s just another word for nothing else to loose.”)

3. Gold. Still. Gold.

We experienced many of the effects of the last recession for ourselves as well as in the lives of our family and friends.    We do not want a downturn to leave anyone hurting like that again. Protect what you have. Get a good night’s sleep so you can rise and pursue your dreams in the morning, no matter what the news.

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#Reddit “AMA” with Nick Redfern, UFOlogist, Monday, June 26 10 pm –

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Lisa Hagan Books

He’s hunted monsters all over the world, appeared on adventure shows from Ancient Aliens to Geographic Channel’s Paranormal, and written many books on subjects as diverse as Men in Black ( the movie is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this summer) to the Lock Ness Monster.

Monday night, June 26 from 10 pm (EST) or 9 (CST), Nick will answer questions about monster huntings and sightings, UFO phenomena, including crashes, weird happenings and sinister governments coverups, a la his later book Roswell — just in time for the 70th anniversary.

If you don’t have a #Reddit account, open one and we’ll see you on Monday night, June 26 at 10 pm (EST.)

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#Reddit “AMA” with Nick Redfern, UFOlogist, Monday, June 26 10 pm –

/bethwareham

Lisa Hagan Books

He’s hunted monsters all over the world, appeared on adventure shows from Ancient Aliens to Geographic Channel’s Paranormal, and written many books on subjects as diverse as Men in Black ( the movie is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this summer) to the Lock Ness Monster.

Monday night, June 26 from 10 pm (EST) or 9 (CST), Nick will answer questions about monster huntings and sightings, UFO phenomena, including crashes, weird happenings and sinister governments coverups, a la his later book Roswell — just in time for the 70th anniversary.

If you don’t have a #Reddit account, open one and we’ll see you on Monday night, June 26 at 10 pm (EST.)

Follow us on twitter @Shadowteams

Chat on FB shadowteamsnyc

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Get Your Freak on with Nick Redfern and Reddit

/bethwareham

Lisa Hagan Books

On Monday night, June 26, UFOlogist, monster hunter and conspiracy-buster Nick Redfern will take answer questions about aliens, spooky lights, flying dragons, and military cover-ups on a Reddit “Ask Me Anything”

Details are here:

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Fear and Camping

SUMMER READING:

GET YOUR FLASHLIGHT AND HIT THE WOODS

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/bethwareham

What is it about a flashlight and a book? Sure, there is an element – no matter what your age – that your mom is going to bust in and tell you to go to sleep. But something runs deeper with a tiny pool of light and the endless black woods. Talk about existential threat. Your lizard brain is jumping and when you read a scary book out there in the void, each word is scarier than the last.

If you’ve spent time in Maine, you understand how Stephen King got his scary. Those woods are dark. Just walking from car to house must be navigated by starlight. It’s that black. I was an impressionable age when I read Salem’s Lot, 17, and in the wilds of Mexico. In the book (as well as in the primary work), vampires knock on a window in the dark night to gain entrance and suck necks. A Mexican waiter rapped on mine and I became so frightened, I cried.

In the werewolf corner, I am haunted by Sharp Teeth. I read it in manuscript and loved it. My opinion hasn’t changed. Werewolves run wild in Los Angeles, ensnaring a dogcatcher who falls for an outlier werewolf-ess. And did I tell you it’s written in blank verse?  If you’re rolling your eyes, it’s not for you. But if you like unusual, jump!  Harper Collins ended up publishing the book, for which I am grateful.

Dean Koontz, H.P. Lovecraft, and this gentleman will put all sorts of frightening ideas in your head with just a few suggestive words.  Invest in an anthology of the last two and pack it with your sleeping bag each summer. There is that much scary material to make the investment worth it.  Throw in The Turn of the Screw, Henry James’ big attempt at creepy and he succeeded. A novella – thank goodness because that Henry do go on! – this can be read in an hour.

Last, but not least, have you ever noticed that UFOs usually land in fields, woods or desert? Disc-shaped craft never come down on the Met Life building or the 101.  It’s because aliens know it’s even scarier when they land in unpopulated unlit places and frighten campers. The scariest UFO books I’ve read? 365 Days of UFOs is an historical accounting of landings, sightings, controversies, experiments, monster tracking, and coverups – one for each day of the year. Many happen in the fields and forests of Europe and middle America or the grit of the Southwest.  Roswell, a book by Nick Redfern, author of the 365 book above, is scary in a different way. It lays out a damning case against a government conspiracy that promoted little green men in a  misdirection campaign away from secret experiments at the end of WWII.  Roswell may be the scariest when you contemplate what other programs our government has hidden.

Being scared is fun and a big black wall of woods pierced by flashlight sets a fine mood. Here are more lists of favorite scary book from Men’s Journal , Flavorwire and Paste.

Enjoy the summer, share your scary book #recs with us, and don’t forget your mosquito spray.

Great camping gear: REI  amazon.com L.L. Bean

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YOU ARE THE ANSWER

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LISA HAGAN BOOKS

Big institutions are in some doubt. Wall Street crashed America, the Russians have infiltrated our election systems, and Intelligence leaders are stonewalling the United States Senate. If you work in an institution, there’s no telling what goes on. I learned that in time inside the walls of a corporation.   It’s funny and it’s not.

Three books changed the way I thought about institutions. The first is Build the Fort, a simple and completely effective book on startups, by Chris Heivly. He presents 5 steps to begin a tech-based business and my partner and I used the book to start Lisa Hagan Books. It works, completely.  Nan Russell, a management consultant and author of It’s Not About the Time, talked about arranging the arc of your life by passion, not minutes on the clock.  In The Coming Financial Crisis, John Truman Wolfe writes of another bankster invasion like the 2008 crash and a way to protect your assets.

I took 5 pieces of wisdom about institutions from these books:

  1. An institution/corporation speaks the methods of an industry and the culture of that company. Work there, acquire the discipline but don’t internalize the company. It is not a person (despite the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling) and doesn’t have a conscious, so don’t hold on. It won’t. Leave.
  2. The clock tells you more about passion than time. If you are watching it often, best to make some big adjustments. Use that same formula on your personal life.
  3. The United States government will fail you. Be extremely conscientious with your wealth. Diversify. If a bank goes belly-up, you will be on the line for anything over $100,000. Doink!
  4. Your primary focus is to acquire skills that speak to your talents. Use institutions – rather than letting them use you – to learn as much as possible.  Take your developed talents and build the work you want.
  5. Institutions are now hiring in waves and will no doubt be shedding in the near future. Hire, fire seems to be the norm. It’s a bad trip on the merry go-round and if you want to get off, you can. (Institutions suffer as well in the hire-fire model as they reinvent wheels wildly… but that’s their problem.) In your mind, isolate your passion and talent and figure out your business. Start it. Work hard. Put the money in gold or land.

You are the answer. As our trust in institutions hits a new low, a new model might be in order. Maybe as trust slowly returns (and everyone hopes it will!), the promise of #tech – the freedom from cubicle life – will finally be realized. That would be YUuuuge.

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ALIENS AND TRUMP

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www.LisaHaganBooks.com 

Donald Trump has a hotline where you can report illegal aliens. Here’s a big news report on the new phone system: dumb alien phone line.  Now, you and I know that ALL of the little green men are illegal, but how can you prove it?  No papers, no luggage, nothing. Squat. Just a bunch of shiny metal, contrails and blinking red lights. Those guys are small, bug-eyed, and bendy. Illegal aliens go everywhere and fit in many places Donald Trump cannot.

So The Donald got that part of the alien equation wrong.  But, he got another part right: LAUNCH A COUNTER-NARRATIVE TO COVER THE TRUTH, a truth, Nick Redfern says, that is far from what many choose to believe. In The Roswell UFO Conspiracy: Exposing a Shocking and Sinister Secret, Redfern finishes the research he began in 2005’s Body Snatchers in the Desert, just in time for the 70th anniversary of that famous – and infamous – crash in the desert in New Mexico.  His findings? Well, no spoiler alert here. You’ll just have to read it.

And once you read it, you’ll have to decide – was the government’s cover-up story more believable than the truth? Maybe. Just invent a plausible counter-narrative and never give in, something that Mr. Trump does so well. Create another chaotic story to cover the first chaotic story you made up to cover something you weren’t supposed to do in the first place. Magicians call it indirection. We call it a big fat lie.

So, the American government is a bit like a teenager who, no matter what the activity, is always telling the parents that they are at a movie at the mall.  Mom and Dad cry foul and, in the case of Trump, so do the American people.  But beware, some made-up stories work too well and steal the past right out from under people.

Enjoy your little green men but keep you eye on story simmering under the story someone is shoving down your throat. Listen for what you don’t hear.

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Visit with author Nick Redfern

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Q&A With UFO Researcher Nick Redfern

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or Nick Redfern’s World of Whatever 

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(Look carefully at the photo above. Can you spot our visitors from another world?)

Q) Do you have favorite “days” in the 365 UFO book?

A)  On the night of October 25, 1973, there was a very weird Bigfoot-UFO encounter in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The weirder side of the Bigfoot phenomenon interests me a lot. Also, the crop circle phenomenon is one that interests me a great deal, too. There are 4 or 5 such cases in the book of crop circles.

Q) Are there stories and reports that just keep drawing you back in?

A) Yeah, I would say the Men in Black-type cases. That whole phenomenon (MIB, Women in Black, Shadow People, etc) is my favorite to investigate and write about. I keep coming back to it and probably always will! It’s very different to the MIB of the movies – much creepier and weirder.

Q) Have you always “believed” or has there been an episode in your life you couldn’t explain?

A) Well, I try not to get caught up in belief systems too much. I try and work on facts and evidence. But, yes I have had some weird experiences over the years. I have had a lot of very strange synchronicities. I also had a very strange experiences with a ghostly pet back in 2003, Charity the Sharpei, who was a great friend and still missed.

Q) What is the most disturbing aspect of UFO phenomenon? The most hilarious?

A) The most sinister aspect, as I see it, is when people get manipulated by the phenomenon and it can have a big, adverse effect on them. I think there is a dark side to the phenomenon that manipulates people deliberately and it can cause a lot of havoc. Some of the most hilarious stories are those from the 1950s, the era of the Contactees. One of them, Truman Bethurum, told of meeting an alien woman named Aura Rhanes. He described her as being “tops in shapeliness and beauty!” There are lots of wacky stories like that!

Q) Do you think we’ll ever find out what happened at the most famous of sites/crashes?

A) It’s hard to say. Roswell is the most famous crash case and, even with the 70th anniversary now looming on the horizon, we still don’t really know what happened. And no files have ever surfaced. So, it’s very difficult to know for sure what happened. I’m not sure with Roswell if we will ever get the proof of what happened. It may be in lock-down mode forever.

Q) If you could stand at any moment during all we know of the history of ufo sightings, what moment would you want to see?

A) I would go back to the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico in early July 1947. That was when and where the Roswell craft came down. Ideally, I would be right there as it slammed into the ground and I would know what really took place.

Q) If I saw a UFO, I’d run. Is that the correct response? (I’m thinking, “never run from a lion, they’ll think you’re prey” here…)

A)I think the ideal thing to do is stay there and take it all in. But, some people are definitely traumatized by UFO encounters, and it’s hard to predict how people might respond when faced with a UFO.

Q) What’s the scariest place you’ve ever been? I was afraid of the monster on the Mekong in your book. Whoa that thing scared me.

A) I don’t really get frightened on expeditions, etc. For me, it’s more of an Adrenalin rush. I have had a lot of good times on Puerto Rico searching for the Chupacabra. The island’s El Yunque rain-forest is a mysterious and cool place!

We have a special promotion to celebration Nick’s work, the perfect “big picture” UFO, monster-hunting, crop circle whirling tour-de-force through every day of the year through history:  365 Days of UFOs by Nick Redfern.