Archive for the ‘Rudy’s Blog’ Category

Waiting for my Contract

Nothing much going on. I’m still waiting for the final contract for that ten-book deal I was talking about, that is, for nine of my back-list books plus my new novel Million Mile Road Trip. Meanwhile I’m revising Million Mile Road Trip to the tune of maybe five thousand corrections…that is nearly twenty per page across three hundred pages. Making it better no doubt.

Meanwhile you can still buy the old Transreal Books editions of those nine backlist books.

Here’s some recent photos, in no particular order or higher meaning.

Busy feet in Yerba Buena park near SFMOMA. California summer day with the air like cool water.

Awesome ping-pong table at the Garage Bar on 2nd street in the NuLu district of Louisville, KY. That’s a crushed car under the table.

Wideangle shot of the old SFMOMA entrance hall. I don’t really like the changes they’ve made to the building for the expansion. The elevators are confusing, and there’s no longer a good, big , reasonably priced cafe. Also it’s always too crowded now.

Giant bat at the Louisville Slugger factory/museum on 2nd Street in Louisville. I toured this place in the third grade. They didn’t have the big bat then.

A type of shot I like, shadows on a sunny wall.

Two tourists in a multi-mirror lens. I’m the one on the right. Hockney-ized.

Peaceful hot Louisville space behind the crafts museum. Love the purplish brick and the soft shadows.

Monica Bengoa is a cool Chilean artist, interested in fiber. This is a detail of her installation at the Kentucky museum of arts and crafts…she drew fruits and veggies in pencil on a wall, and overlaid it with embroidery hoops containing very detailed and color-rich photo-real embroideries she made.

Rudy the elder in brother Embry’s house.

Old-school stag-horn punch-bowl from colonial America, seen in Philadelphia.

Antler rack of an animal my brother killed…he’s a hunter.

Cheered me to see my childhood hero Bo Diddley on a Summer of Love poster from San Francisco.

Love this logo at the Los Gatos Farmer’s Market. Reminds me of Heinlein’s novel Starman Jones, where the boy leaves Pa’s farm to serve on a hyperjumping spaceship.

Soft Louisville clouds, with soft old houses.

Me with a something-gon in Hayes Valley. An Archimedean solid, hmm, look it up, it’s the small rhombicosidodecahedron.

Nice graffiti near the >rhombicosidodecahedron. Even the guy who runs a market across the street couldn’t tell me what the words say.

Screen in focus, painters in bokeh, working on our deck and house.

The famed Marcel Duchamp urinal entitled, “Fountain,” mais wee! Actually the original from 1917 was lost, but an art dealer went and found a similar urinal at the dump, and had MD sign it. Now at Philadelphia Museum of Art. A nice shape, although inexpugnably grody.

Going out to beach a lot these days.

Last Chance for Nine of Rudy’s Transreal Books

[Updated June 25, 2017: The new publisher for the nine backlist novels mentioned in this post will be the Night Shade imprint of Skyhorse Books. Starting this week, print copies of these titles will no longer be produced or sold by Transreal Books. Transreal Books will continue to sell the ebook editions. The new Night Shade print editions will be appearing during the time frame 2018-2019.]

I found a publisher (name soon to be announced) for my latest novel, Million Mile Road Trip. The new publisher is acquiring the print rights for ten of my books in all, that is, rights for Million Mile Road Trip plus rights for nine of my backlist novels, all of which are presently in print via my Transreal Books imprint.

Transreal Books will still be handling the ebook editions for these books, by the way, but my print editions will be redesigned with new covers by the new publisher. And the print Transreal Books editions will no longer be produced.

Sooo, for a short time, that is, about a week, you can still buy the Transreal Books print editions of those nine backlist paperbacks, with designs and covers by Rudy Rucker. And then begins a differently awesome era—with new designs, larger production runs, and more visibility. An exciting change.

But the uniquely styled old Transreal Books print editions of those nine books will be out-of-print collectibles. Get ’em while you can. The clock is running out.

*White Light
*Spacetime Donuts
*The Sex Sphere
*The Secret of Life
*Saucer Wisdom
*Mathematicians in Love
*Jim and the Flims
*Turing & Burroughs
*The Big Aha

Swarthmore 50th Reunion. Louisville Icons.

Sylvia and I just went back east for a week, first hitting my Swarthmore College class of 1967 reunion, then visiting my brother in Louisville. On the way to Swarthmore, we spent a couple of nights in Philadelphia.

Rainy day at the Philadelphia Art Museum. One of the big four or five museums in US, up there with NYC Met, Boston MFA, DC National Gallery.

Odd painting of the Annunciation by the first established African-American academic level artist in the US, Henry Ossawa Tanner. I love that angel on the left, a line of light, very science-fictional. I have aliens like that in my novel The Secret of Life. Rods of light with a crystal at one end.

I’m always a sucker for these statuesque (literally) marble women, with gaze so fraught and far-away.

And I love cases of object after object, like all variations on some concept such as glass vase.

When we got to the Swarthmore reunion my old pal Kenneth Turan was there…he was my roommate Freshman through Junior years. He’s a famous film critic now, for the LA Times and PBS, he has a great voice. I well remember him telling me plots of movies in the dark before we went to sleep.

Sylvia and I located a sturdy tree where I incised our initials RR + SB in something like 1965. Fifty-two years ago. The letters warped by time, fatter, higher off the ground. The passage of time like a dusting of fine snow that somehow heaps up into a drift that covers your house.

We had various class dinners together, here’s Sylvia with our pal Roger Shatzkin, who was not only with us at Swarthmore, but at Rutgers too. The reunion was more touching than I’d imagined, and more relaxed.

Here’s good old Don Marritz with his wife Harriet Barriga. I always like to say that (for me) Don is a comfortable as an old shoe. We do Times cryptic crosswards together via email once a month. No need to prove much of anything to each other…we’re all over seventy years old. Just happy to be alive here together under the snowdrift blanket of time.

We visited my brother Embry, his wife Joanie, and his daughter Siofra in Louisville after Swarthmore. We had a jolly dinner in a restaurant with Joanie’s family. Joanie showed us a trick for folding a napkin into a brassiere / rabbit-ears shape. So here’s neice Siofra and me wearing the ears on our heads.

Siofra has a nice stuffed goose in her house; she claims she bagged it with a shotgun, possible, as Embry is a big hunter. I like the miniature pillars inside her house, built a hundred years ago. Interesting houses in Louisville, all kinds of them, loosely spaced, not so crowded as out here, and not with everything all filled-in and gentrified. A straight-through house with the rooms in a row is called a shotgun house, and if you have a second floor on the back room, it’s a camelback shotgun. Not that Siofra lives in a camelback shotgun. It’s just a phrase I like to say, and hope to work into a story one of these days.

Remnants of past dinner parties.

Dig the jockey and the trainer (I guess) behind him, the kid looking at the jockey, and the woman approaching him. Jockeys are tough little men and women.

We went out to Churchill Downs one day with Embry, his wife Joanie and our friends Lee and Susie Poague. I won about $28 dollars and lost $35, so it was a pretty good day. It wasn’t crowded at the the track, even though it was Memorial Day. Everyone doing other stuff. Kind of odd how a big part of Louisville’s cash inflow derives from that one two-minute-long Derby race once a year.

[Click for larger view.]

Here’s Embry, Sylvia, Susie and Lee in the stands. Embry has a box he rents every year, the box just some metal pipes around some little chairs. But it’s a precious thing to have access too. Going to the track is a little like going to a baseball game, but even less eventful. Mostly it’s about hanging out.

We trekked across the old Big Four (railways) bridge across the Ohio, now retrofitted into a pedestrian/bicycle path. Not especially crowded, fun to be out there, and see one of the frequent two-hundred-yard-long (?) barges pushing by with a tug at one end. There’s some low falls and a set of locks in Louisville, which is kind of why it’s where it is. “Falls City.”

Sylvia and I drove Embry’s Porsche to the big old Cave Hill cemetery and saw Muhammad Ali’s grave and Colonel Harlan Sanders’s grave. You follow a green painted line to get to Ali, and a yellow painted line to get to the Colonel. Sylvia got this exceptionally cool shot of me by the Colonel’s grave. I’m thinking that we’re the big four of Louisville iconography: Colonel Sanders + Muhammad Ali + Hunter Thompson + me. I’m still on the rise, you understand, my rep won’t peak till about 2030.

Speaking of Hunter, turns out they had a Gonzofest in his honor in Louisville this year. And here’s a Gonzoville poster that is, perhaps, connected with the event. Like I say, I’m waiting for Louisville to wake up to the fact that my novels Wetware and The Big Aha are set there.

Speaking of monuments, dig these metal geese attached to a Cave Hill gravestone beneath that wonderful fluffy-cloud Louisville sky.

Meanwhile, far away, a soulless villain schemes against us… But I warn’t frettin about him none this week.

Musing Attractors or How to Write

For my latest painting, I was inspired by piñatas I saw in the Mission district of San Francisco.

I had two smallish canvases, and I decided it would nice to make a diptych. I saturated the backgrounds with two shades you might see on walls in Mexico. You can probably guess who the mean guy is! The elephant and donkey look a bit bemused. And naturally I included my two favorite icons, the flying saucer and the pig. I guess it’s worth mentioning here that my paintings, including this one, are all on sale.

“Piñata Diptych” acrylic on two canvas, May, 2017, Each canvas 18” x 24”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

I’ve been getting some writing going on my new novel, Return to the Hollow Earth.

At this point I’m trying to stick to projects that, in one way or another, obsess me. But it can take quite awhile to figure out the next one. Eventually there won’t be a next one. The muse won’t show up. I had about a year between finishing my last novel Million Mile Road Trip and starting the new one. Slowly working myself up about it, with some effort, in some ways it’s like self-hypnoisis, getting into a sufficient state of obsession. And you’re wanting to get yourself to stay in there for months and months.

Having fun with the research. Reading about ships rounding Cape Horn. And about sly, speedy opium clippers now repurposed to bringing household goods to San Francisco for the 1850s gold diggers. But it’s slow work.

I’ve been getting outside fairly often. This is the field near the cliff at Four Mile Beach north of Santa Cruz where I like to go.

Sometimes I think I have a touch of “impostor syndrome.” I can turn that around to help get started. Like telling myself, “You never really were a writer. You don’t in fact know how to write at all. You were faking it all these years.” And so on. And at some point I rebel against that abuse, and start a book just to show…who? That voice in my head.

Speaking of old-time sailing adventure we went to a party on Treasure Island in SF Bay where the host actually buried a “treasure chest” in the sand and supplied shovels so the kids to dig it up. It’s a platonic ideal: the sand-buried chest of goodies. Was great to see.

Here’s one of the treasure-chest clues in a jar on a stump with the new half of Bay Bridge in the background. I’d never properly seen that bridge before, other than driving over it.

As I already mentioned in a recent post, looking at a shape like that stump, I sometimes get the feeling that these gnarly “strange attractor” forms in some sense inhabit our minds as well. For centuries many humans made the mistake of thinking the “real” forms were things like cubes and cylinders and parabolas.

And not quite getting that the true forms didn’t have precise shapes, but they had shapes you got used to and learned to recognize and the world can’t help but make them. The strange attractors. This photo is of a water pipe next to the head waters of Lexington Reservoir near Los Gatos. Dig the zigzag line of manmade stuff with the live water above and the captive water in the pipe. A beautiful spot, full of music mana.

An attractor that’s the shape of a blown rose. Or a hairdo with one too many perms.

Situational attractor, a.k.a. Platonic ideal. Proudly holding a colorful fish that your daddy caught ice-fishing. I spotted this little girl on Fremont Lake in Pinedale, WYO about five years ago, during a “ice fishing derby” and got the shot.

Logico-physical attractor: the mirrored stump in the undulant green teeming-with-microorganisms water. We are the microbes, natch.

My old friend and fellow author Charles Platt turned up at our house the other day, making his way to the Maker Faire. Very comfortable to chat with him. We’re in our 70s now, and still trying to sell our books. It never did get easy for either of us. But we never stopped.

On those same muse-haunted cliffs by the sea again this week with Sylvia along to shoot me waving my cane.

Glad to be writing again. It passes the time, and it’s pleasant to exercise one’s hard-won craft. And when I’m working, it drowns out unwanted chatter in m head re whatever problems or tasks or anxieties I might think I have. Not that it’s so bad to be all socially active and pondering and painting certain kinds of pinatas…but even then you’re wearing the fireprooof suit of divine madness, issued by the muse to the artiste.

Rewriting this post at 11 pm, upping the Dada / Surreal content, inspired by seeing a show “Finding San Jose” by a cellist multimedian called Cellista. It got my head loose, a good thing. Film, ballet, recorded music, in a small space in Japantown here in San Jose. Struggling art, the frail green shoot that cracks the sidewalk.

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