Monday, February 25, 2013

True Terror

The only thing my high school class is running are tractors. Some of them my run children to daycare and a few may run from the cops but I don't think any of them will make it to Washington. I worry about the next generation though.

My generation was bad but I see the next generation as a cluster-fuck of kids who think it's cool to be dumb.

We need to teach our children.

I try to help my daughter. She is smart, kind and beautiful but she is also thrust into a world of Adventure Time, Lady Gaga, and Jersey Shore. Even if I keep her away from these ignorant things, she still attends a school full of kids that love it. They will still act and talk like idiots. They will still be the cool kids.

It is our job as parents to encourage our children, introduce them to the arts, teach them the importance of knowledge, institute manners, and promote kindness.

I am not the best person I could be but I'm trying. I think I will leave something more to the world than negativity and sarcasm. I will leave those things too. It's what I write but I'll  also leave an incredible daughter.

She gives me hope for the future.

Other people have kids that give me a little hope too. There are better parents than me but there are also parents that are just too lazy to better themselves or their children. That's sad. I think the art and children we leave to the world makes us who we are. These things symbolize us when we become worm food or crumbs in a box.

I would be nice to think that my generation wasn't a complete failure.

We need to create.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Rant finished.

We will be going to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, in Indianapolis. I hope to have some pictures from this trip, when I post my next blog. I hope it inspires me to finally finish these words I'm ready to get out.

It has been over a year since Happy Hour Blues came out. I'm ready to release one of my next books but it's not as easy as all of that. I still have work to do on them.

- Travis

Thursday, February 14, 2013

V.D. Greetings For You!

 Happy Valentine's Day 

Go out and get yourself loved!

- Travis 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Finding the Nonfiction in Fiction

A Guest Blog by Author Leanne Tankel

In Richard Russo’s recently published memoir, Elsewhere, he considers the differences
between himself and the fictitious characters about whom he writes in his novels, concluding that these differences “allowed me to believe, as writer must, that I was writing fiction, not thinly veiled autobiography.” This idea, that the line between nonfiction and fiction, the real and the created, the truth and, if not the lie, then the half-truth, may be a bit more blurred then either the writer or the reader care to admit or even fully comprehend, has come up countless times and in countless conversations since the December 2012 publication of my book, Broken Hallelujah: notes from a marriage. Those who know me well, and those who know me less well, have asked with conspiratorial glee to reveal which of the salacious details, the prurient conversations of my story are indeed “true.” And I, like Russo, find myself questioning that very notion of truth, of what is imagined, and what is indeed “real.”

As a writer, I have found it absolutely necessary to ground myself in familiar details, so that the story I am writing can come to life. For example, in one increasingly problematic chapter—due to the fact that the character’s real life counterpart has “identified” herself and her spouse as such—I used a familiar setting and actual event in which to paint my fictitious scene. Of course, I may, in some partially unexplored area of my psyche, have a crush on “Matt,” but the scene’s ensuing dialogue was for the most part created from my imagination. Similarly, for those readers delighted (and I appreciate that!) with certain titillating details sprinkled throughout the book, I will reveal that I did have sex in my living room with my husband while watching porn (huge gasp here:), but I thoroughly enjoyed writing the chapter, “Pornography,” using the images and dialogue I felt would make the scene the most humorous! Oftentimes it comes right down to thinking about the “what if…” of a given event or conversation and giving your creative self permission to go (wild) from there! 

At a recent symposium on humor and fiction, one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Tropper, remarked that when asked by a friend or neighbor whether he or she was a character in one of his novels, he (a bit ungenerously, I think) would become annoyed, and think that “people overestimate their appeal; the people I know wouldn’t make for such interesting reading.” Now, while I agree that there is a certain logic inherent in that premise, I must say that many chapters of Broken Hallelujah are based on certain people from my actual life who belie that very sentiment! That being said, even when the subject provides a great starting place from which to create a riveting and funny scene, in fiction that person remains just that: a starting place, a springboard to something other than itself.

One thing that I found while writing Broken Hallelujah is that while fact my indeed be stranger than fiction, the fiction really becomes the story’s only true facts! And those facts, I hope in the case of my book, Broken Hallelujah, will be the ones that make you, dear reader, laugh your ass off…

Leanne Tankel