It's Saturday, and Chayo is glued to the television. Just like I used to be when I was a kid. Of course, I was glued to a 20" black and white, then a color TV with that bizarre color we knew and loved back then--the pitcure was kind of creamy, and the faces were orange. We had few stations in San Diego. We had 6 (that broadcast out of Tijuana and showed all the old cowboy movies and reruns), 8 and 10. 12 was the official Tijuana station where you could watch bullfights. It never sank in that the bulls were being tortured and snuffed, and it never quite clicked that the gored horses were really getting hurt. The bull, head-down, gasping bubbles of black blood, took that final sword between the shoulder blades and fell to his knees and it was just a show. Chayo has never seen something like that, though we did watch a satellite show about Australian cats being rescued from tight spaces by noble Aussie firemen. The screen of our Famous Author TV is the size of my old mattress. Everything in my life right now--computers, iPods, cell phones, 62" screens, is so James Bond. So Star Trek. This blog, in fact, is kind of Captain Kirk. Blogger.com is driving me crazy because it doesn't recognize my return key to mak paragraphs anymore. It has gone insane! My blogs are doomed to be massive one-graph monsters! / How about that? I'll cheat it that way. Ah, Saturday. How did you spend your days? I'd like to tell you I spent every Saturday studying the dizzying prose riffs of Twain, but I did not. I probably started the day with a few comics. I spent quality time with Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Later, it was Mad. Not much later, I discovered dad's Playboys. / I lived for Saturday afternoons. Wrestling (Freddie Blassie! Bobo Brazil! Pedro Morales! The Destroyer! Man-Mountain Mike! Haystacks Calhoun! Ernie "Big Cat" Ladd!), and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, and then nirvana: Science Fiction Theater with Moonalisa. Hottie! Goddess! Yum-yum fantasy dream-ghoul! (Real veterans of trashy Saturday afternoons remember Cosmasina before her, reclining on the moon with dry-ice fumes all about her). / I want to make you believe that TS Eliot and Charles Dickens were my major influences, but any monster-freak can tell you who really got the juices flowing: the beasties of Attack of the Crab Monsters, Them, The Brain from Planet Arous, Kaltiki the Immortal Monster, From Hell it Came, The Black Scorpion, Varan the Unbelievable, Konga, X the Unknown, Angry Red Planet, Fiend Without a Face, Earth vs the Flying Saucers, The Blob, Tarantula, The Giant Gila Monster, The Fly, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Godzilla, Teenagers from Space, Kronos, or perhaps the scariest and stupidest monster of all time, the Ro-Man (guy in a gorilla suit with a diving helmet) from Robot Monster!!! / One of my colleagues at UIC talks about myulch-culture. Aint that the truth. I was a mulch-pile of garbage. I was the #1 fan of Ralphie Valadares and the LA T-Birds roller derby! I was there every Sunday for Okie Bob's country western music and cowboy movie show! I loved Dick Lane's brilliant announcing on flipperty-floppy LA television broadcasts of rasslin and derby, when he'd yell "Whoa Nellie!" I knew every Cal Worthington commercial! I could sing the Pup'n'Taco commercials because Pup'n'Taco was in LA and was so exotic! Pup'n'Taco, Pup'n'Taco, three for ninety-nine. Pup.n.Taco, Pup OR Taco, three for ninety nine! / How is it that crap stuck in my brain, but the answers for most of my mid-term exams did not? / Mulch! Saturday, that's how. Mulch. So when Chayo is going insane over Scooby Doo (oh no) or The Wiggles (oh noooooo) or Gamera the giant flying turtle (all right--I'm totally with her there), I am happy. I am happy when Eric puts nine hours of System of a Down on my iPod. I'll admit, I wasn't too thrilled by Megan's boy band period, but I buy her a J14 bopper mag every month. We can't know what paths our joys open to us. We cannot guess. / My father's distress over my tacky enthusiasms didn't do a thing to slow them or change them. And they, I would swear to it in court, led me to the crooked and delightful byways of my own strange vision, my own happiness, that thing that takes me into the Word.
Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat: If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.
Lecture and booksigning as part of Bilingual Minifest and naturalization ceremony celebration.
Workshop, readings, etc. For more information,here.
Montclair State University reads The Devil's Highway. Details to come.
Aurora reads Into the Beautiful North. Lecture/discussion in Spanish Oct. 23 and in English Oct. 24. Details to come.
Reading, book signing, discussion. Details to come.