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Questionable Taste

Every day I mess around with my writing a little—journal, novel notes, stories, blog. Or maybe I paint. Writing keeps me going. It helps me wake up, helps me center.

As regular readers of my blog know, one thing I’m working on these days is outline notes for a transreal novel with the current title Nested Scrolls. It’s about a writer who’s trying to get it together in a world teeming with aliens. My life in a nutshell.

I enjoy my complex, layered, recursive, misleading ways of coping with reality and processing information. My mind is like an anthill, carting each twig of experience into this or that midden heap. If I can think of myself as a character in a transreal novel, then my life becomes more bearable, more mythic, less raw. Also it’s a good way of amusing myself: a way to put reality in quotes, a way to handle life with pot-holders.

I’ve also been busily taking photos of, basically, nothing. Just things around my yard or house, or sights in the streets of Berkeley. Only rarely do I manage to shoot a somewhat journalistic picture of people, as in the playground scene above. I’ve always wished I could do that more, but I’m too shy to do it a lot. Instead I pick out color and light patterns or narrative nodes of meaning. Like the gutter reflected in the shiny veneer below.

The scanned and OCR-ed versions of Spacetime Donuts and The Sex Sphere arrived last week, and now I’m proofing them for the planned E-Reads editions (they’ll be available in both the electronic book and the print-on-demand formats). The scans are very clean. Optical-character-recognition tech has really improved.

Content-wise, I’m not planning to undertake any major editing. I mean—I started writing Spacetime Donuts in, like, 1976. That was thirty-two years ago, back when Nelson Rockefeller roamed the earth and the Rolling Stones were youth gods. Obviously, I wouldn’t write these books exactly the same way anymore. But other than that, I hope to let them be. Like time capsules.

This said, I am finding a few little things that I want to tweak, such as grammar glitches or using the same word too often in a paragraph. Call it art-historical restoration. And then there’s the dodgy matter of my questionable taste. I’ve always had this impulse to try and be outrageous, and back then I was fairly punk about it, not that I knew that use of the word “punk” in 1976. But I’m thinking I might sand down a couple of rougher spots…I’ll decide about this after I’ve read the whole book through.

It’s odd, reading this blast from the past. At the start, Spacetime Donuts feels like some half-finished, experimental spacetime hopper lifting off—I definitely hear clunks and rattles. I was still learning to write, after all. But then it settles in for a smooth cruise through the subdimensions. And, yay, the budding cyberpunk characters bring down the government!

Stay tuned.

3 Responses to “Questionable Taste”

  1. david van brink Says:

    Can’t wait to reread it. I read it in high school, shortly after it came out, and it permanently imprinted me. More than a bit. (Then in college & grad school I hung out with lit wanks, and had my heart broken by a girl who loved Crying of Lot 49, uh, more than me I guess.)

    Anyway, thanks for writing once and publishing twice! (And too as ever for the ongoing blog.)

  2. Mac Tonnies Says:

    I’ve always enjoyed your thoughts on writing and creativity. And you’ve totally sold me on buying a decent digital camera (which have really come down in price); no more cellphone photos!

  3. Chris King Says:

    Hi Rudy. I found Spacetime Donuts in a used bookstore earlier this year. My favorite part was when they shrank down to escape the cops and went #2 out the back of the vehicle. So the cops see this turd appear out of nowhere on the floor.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say I’m a big fan and that I’ve enjoyed all the books of yours that I’ve read. My favorites are White Light, Master of Space and Time, Software, Hollow Earth, Spaceland and Hacker and the Ants. Keep writing them. I will read them.

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