I finished another re-read of my most recent book, A Field Guide to Fauns. In spite of this being an experiment expected to fail, I read into it a growing sense of my ability to write well. The issues it deals with, mental health, body shame, self-image, and dysfunctional families, are all things critical to my own understanding of myself. All of these things have deeply affected my life and my family’s life. And, being set in a nudist park, it has a certain aura of comedy about it that you can really only achieve with characters who are naked (figurative or literal are both funny).
Ironically, two of my five best books have nudists in them. Six of my fifteen books over all have nudist adventures in them at one point or another. That’s four more more than have Nazis in them. Four more than have werewolves in them. Four more than have zebra puppets in them, as well as four more than have literal clowns in them. And two more than feature aliens from outer space. Five more than have rabbits who are changed into people by science.
If nudity is not funny, then I have seriously miscalculated the appeal and gone entirely down the wrong garden path of humorous story-telling. So, since I now believe The Field Guide to Fauns is one of the best novels I have done, I may have actually laid an egg. (Who knew that farm boys could one day grow up to lay an egg themselves?) For balance I need to plant a few more carrots of irony in that garden that the garden path of humorous writing leads to.
I am planning to make my newest novel this month’s free-book giveaway sometime next week. I have a few more corrections to make on it before I do, so stay tuned. I don’t like it when I find bugs in the writing on the fourth re-read. But I think I may have sprayed them all with anti-bug proofing spray (figuratively speaking again, because with Mickey, you never know.)
In the 80’s and early 90’s I played a lot of the science-fiction-role-playing game called Traveller. Those hours and hours of gaming produced the characters and stories I turned into my novel AeroQuest, now AeroQuest 1, 2, and very soon3. So, most of this artwork is either for the game and was used as a part of it, or the book, used as an illustration.
Tiki Astro is an artificial robot boy that looks fully human.
Yep, it’s lazy-post time again, where all I do is show you pictures from my media gallery. All of it is original art by me, photographed or scanned by me. I don’t know enough about copyright law to say I hold all rights to this artwork, but I am gonna claim I do anyway.
This illustration is also from the book The Boy… Forever. It is a pen-and-ink illustration of a moment in the story when Anita Jones and Sherry Cobble are being held prisoner through mind control by the evil vampire/dragon, Tian Long.
The boy is Tanis, a living mummy from ancient Egypt, kept alive by a horrible process the villain is intending to use on at least one of the imprisoned girls.
This illustration is part of the exposition from my comedy science fiction novel, AeroQuest 3 ; Juggling Planets. It explains about the residents of the planet Djinnistan being genetically engineered humans with bizarre characteristics.
The evil Dr. Havir Bludlust has created these humanoid mutants to aid the human star empire known as the Imperium to make excessive profits from the people they supposedly govern, but actually enslave.
The novel takes place in a nudist park where the main characters are mostly year-around residents, it is also the reason why they appear nude in a majority of the illustrations. It is not a book of pornography, however, just as being in a nudist park is about living a sensual, nature-filled life, and not about people having sex. I will not categorize this as a young-adult novel, though it will be tame enough for kids to read.
This is Devon Martinez’s self-portrait. He tends to draw people as mythological creatures like fauns, satyrs, and nymphs.
He tells the story in first-person narrative. He doesn’t start out as a nudist. But he is thrust into the middle of it because he is forced by a tragedy to move in with his father, stepmother, and twin stepsisters.
They are full-time residents of a nudist park. To live there, he has to get comfortable being naked.
I finished a possible cover for my work in progress, A Field Guide to Fauns. It is a book about re-forming families from tragedies and divorce. It is also about suicidal thoughts and depression. And it takes place in a nudist park where the family has a permanent trailer.
This book will definitely be about some of my own experiences with these things and issues. And I hope to distill a bit of high-quality wisdom from this brewing novel. After all, when it comes to depression and battling it, I have deep scars and burned-in notions of how you overcome them. It is ironic that I know so much about fighting depression and darkness, even though it was mostly about the depression of other people, not me.
I have come to know how to stitch families together out of used and discarded parts. Hopefully not creating a new monster. And again, it is ironic that I know this mostly from other families, not ours.
The book is flowing, practically writing itself. And that is always a sign of a big idea turning itself into a great novel. I look forward to finding out what happens in each and every next chapter… or, in this case, Canto.
I have been avoiding talking about politics for more than a year even though it is a rich source of potential comedy material. The idiot-criminal President continues to bumble and blather and make money and do crimes he automatically gets away with in spite of the law. It’s easy to jape him and make jokes, but he black-heartedly continues to do things that benefit him and devastate me and the issues I care about.
After the South Carolina primary, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are now clearly the two leading candidates and most likely to become the Democratic Nominee. I will vote for either one. In fact, if Bloomberg steals it by out-spending everybody else, I’ll even vote for him. Donald Trump is the death of everything I care about in life. His position on health care, the environment, education, the arts, and on and on… is poisonous to my way of life. I may not live to see him defeated in the election. But I hope to last just long enough to be able to vote against the !#$%#%%,
In the meantime, I have forced myself to go back to work in the classroom, the thing that was killing me in 2014. And I have so far avoided the flu and death while making enough money to solve my immediate financial woes. I put in an extra day this last month beyond what I reasonably thought I could survive. And I am feeling good about that, even though I am still unable to afford the health care I need, and still feel awful on a daily basis.
So, do the good things in my near future still outweigh the bad on the scales of my continued existence? I think they do.
My work in progress, for which I am marshaling my ability to draw fauns, and I am using this blog post to show you illustrations for it, is about life at a nudist park where the family in the story is dealing with the after-effects of child abuse, divorce, and alienation of family members. It is about issues boiling in the stew-pot of my own personal experience. And about how love can ultimately overcome those issues.
I sincerely hope that Trump gets dumped in November. If he wins, and if I am still alive, that misfortune will seal my fate. I will not survive beyond it.
But if you can’t control your fate, and if the airplane is crashing, you might as well enjoy the ride down to the ground. I am doing a novel now that imagines life as a full-time nudist. My family will never accept it in real life, and my skin flakes off with psoriasis almost as badly as a leper, so I will never live that life. But you can do things in fiction that fly far above the limits of your real-life wings.
If I can keep up the work pace as a substitute teacher, I will actually have enough money to get by. That will be a welcome relief. And I might reach a level of life that approximates what I had before 2012… With a bunch of novels in print that didn’t exist before that year. No future fatality will overcome me. I exist here in my words. And words and pictures are my hope and dreams.