Sunday, December 30, 2012

Some Interviews


Hello All,

Hope everyone had a merry-ish holiday season. I weigh about 10lbs more than I did a few days ago, so that's always a good thing. 

Do you want to read a bunch of interviews with yours truly? Of course you do! I'm sure you can't wait to be enrapt by my profound ruminations on love, life, the universe and other such sundry issues. My thanks to Nathan, Josh, and Scott for taking the time to talk to me.




All best, Craig.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

RUST AND BONE — The Play!

Hello All,

So, you thought Rust and Bone was just a book, uh?

Well, no, in all likelihood you thought Rust and Bone was a movie, and a little searching brought you to this blog where you discovered the film was inspired by a book.

But you're all fooled, because Rust and Bone is in fact a play!

Rust and Bone on stage

Do you live in Australia, near or in the city where this will be showing? Then go see it, mate! Tell Yahoo Serious, Paul Hogan, and "Jacko" from those old Energizer commercials to meet you there! [insert other tortured and unfunny Australian pop cultural references as needed!]

In all seriousness, Caleb Lewis, the playwright, is stunningly talented and I was very fortunate that he turned his eyes towards the book as a source of material. So I hope it does very well in its premiere showing.

All best, Craig.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

... only because I'm an inveterate scab picker ...

Hi All,

For your edification and glee, the NY Times book review of "Rust and Bone" and also the film review, which appeared today in the Times movie section.

One might think, judging by these reviews, that Mssr Audiard crafted a silk purse from a sow's ear — a sentiment which in my more maudlin moments I tend to agree with.

A little background: I'd gotten an email from my publisher, WW Norton, telling me that the collection was set to be reviewed in the Times. This was, to them and me, a pretty big deal. I don't know that any book review really moves the needle, sales-wise, but still it's a cool thing to happen.

Unless it's a slam.

Which this was!

And so I got up on Christmas Day, of all days, head down to my folk's basement and read the review online.

Scathing!

A few days later my editor emails me a note that, I recall, had a line like: "This reviewer is clearly the sort of person who thinks that bugs exist to be squashed, lightbulbs exist to be broken, and is very unhappy with the state of her existence."

Now I don't know that the reviewer was unhappy. Probably not, actually. And I always wondered if I was the bug she thought existed to be squashed, as per my editor's note. Nonetheless, it was a bit of a bummer.

Anyway, I thought I'd post one of the most scathing reviews the book ever received alongside what, to my mind, is one of the more impressive and well-considered reviews I've read about the movie, both published in what I assume is the biggest newspaper in all the land.

Book Review — yeeeeouch!

Movie Review

All best, Craig.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Two New Rust and Bone (book) Reviews

Hi All,

The movie reviews are all over the place and pretty easy to find if you're looking. When it comes out in North America I'm sure there will be more. But there have been a few reviews of the book itself, which is odd considering it came out 7 years ago. Odd but very cool and lovely, too. I thank Mina Holland and Doug Johnstone (who is a very fine fiction writer, btw) for taking the time to read the book.

Rust and Bone in The Independent

Rust and Bone in The Observer

All best, Craig.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Rust and Bone" Animal Protest

Hi all,

So yesterday I came across this in relation to Rust and Bone, the film:

ADI Press Release

If you're not keen on reading it all and just want a summation: Animal Defenders International, an animal-rights group, is calling for a boycott of the film. Why? Because orcas are shown performing in captivity.

My reaction to this is mixed. As I've said on this blog and elsewhere, I worked at a marine mammal park. I saw some things. I wasn't particularly impressed with how things were administrated all the time. In fact, I'm working on a magazine piece on this very subject. In my view, there are some nuances to the whole debate — nuances that groups like ADI or sensationalistic newspaper headline writers don't really look at, which is totally fine, as that's not really their purpose for existence.

I don't have a problem with animal rights (shocking!). In fact, I heartily support those organizations at least insofar as their general objectives are concerned. Really and truly, I think there's a lot of animal mistreatment out there. It's pretty sickening.

When I was going to school in Iowa, I used to go out from time to time with friends and come back pretty late, 2am or whatever, drunk, and switch on the TV. At that time of the night PETA bought ad time and showed animal cruelty videos. Y'know, the insides of labs where animals were being tested, poultry processing plants, fishing trawlers. Some overseas footage of fur farms. It was almost always that breed of shakycam, Blair-Witch, nausea-inducing footage, all grainy and covert.

It was distressing. This is coming from a guy who's written some pretty raw stuff and made a point of hunting out just about every underground grossout film under the sun at one point in my teenaged life. But those videos, man ...

There was one where this guy at a poultry plant was slinging live chickens up onto a conveyor belt by their feet; they'd travel along the belt, suspended upside-down, until their necks came to this metal "V" — their legs and bodies kept going, their heads didn't. What bothered me was that the "V" wasn't even sharpened, so it wasn't like their heads were being cut off. They were being TORN off. You think to yourself: Jesus, how much extra effort would it take to sharpen that thing?

Then again, I ate a chicken salad today. Just, like, ten minutes ago. I'm not saying that to be cavalier or ironic or whatever; I'm just being honest and saying that's what ADI faces. People see horrific things and in many cases just blithely carry on with our lives.

Then another one. A Japanese shark-trawling vessel. They were dragging these sharks onboard. Lemontails, whitetips, whatever. I don't really know from sharks. They terrify me, really. Blame Jaws. But these guys were dragging them onboard, hacking off all their fins and pushing them back into the water. Like to hack a man's arms and legs off and hurl him off a locomotive. Those knives were so sharp and the workers wielded them so skillfully; they sliced those sharks down to nothing, down to thrashing tubes I guess, in thirty seconds or so. There's this shot of a shark sinking through the water to the bottom of the sea, flinging its body side-to-side as ribbons of blood pour from every spot it's been sliced apart. The camera lingers on the shark on the bottom of the sea. Black eyes. A doll's eyes, as Quint says. One thing I realized: sharks don't blink. They never ever blink.

And if I lived in Thailand or China, I may still eat shark-fin soup. I don't know. It's an awful attitude, surely, to just continue along your same course after seeing such things. It's the kind of attitude ADI is railing and rallying against.

Then ... well, then there's this one video. I'm going to link to it. I doubt you'll watch it. I can't watch it again, ever. It's probably the most brutal, inhuman thing I've ever seen. Brutal for too many reasons. Brutal beyond reason, really. There are parts I remember. All of the animals in a blue cistern. With no skin. I remember watching it, deeply drunk, and by the end I was more sober than I could ever recall. Like, the fear and revulsion and I guess, soul-sickness, sobered me right the fuck up. I truly didn't think this stuff ever actually could happen. It's hard to believe that our species does this kind of stuff, although we've done worse I guess.

Anyway ... [don't watch this. Or watch the first 15 seconds and turn it off]:

PETA video

... now THAT video? If I wore fur, I swear to Christ I'd stop.

Long and short, I'm sensitized to animal violence. More and more in my work, animals keep popping up. They don't always get treated nicely. I guess, as a writer, I come from a spot of: what galvanizes me emotionally? Mistreatment of animals is one of those hair-trigger reactions. I write about animals in many circumstances. In Rust and Bone, dogs are pitted against one another. There are the whales, yes. There's a story involving animals being filmed for a TV show.

In my new book the characters race greyhounds. That doesn't necessarily work out well. A raccoon gets shot and eaten. A skunk, too. In my story "The Burn," (which can be found on my website), a mouse comes to a bad end.

But I love animals. I've probably got an odd way of showing it, but yeah, I love all the little and big critters of the earth.

So I see this ADI press release and, I guess, the first sensation to wash over me is guilt. Because, hey, I based the story on my experiences. And then Jacques Audiard made the movie, and yes, he shot some of it at a park where animals perform. And so hey, maybe that means I'm in some way responsible for harm coming to those orcas.

But then the second feeling I had, washing in pretty quickly on the heels of the first, was anger.

Because hey, it's not like "Rocket Ride," the story, or "Rust and Bone," the film, is glorify the idea of captive orcas. This isn't a heartwarming story about a whale and her trainer defying the odds and being happy as clams in their little manmade environment.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!

This is a story and a film about a character who loses a leg (or legs) to a whale. Either one gets chewed off or an accident within the park brings that result about.

So it's not glorifying captivity. If anything it's saying: Hey, you do this to whales, you treat them this way, this is what you get. You lose a part of yourself for trying to take the wild part of that animal away.

There's even a paragraph in the story to that effect, near the end. I can't be bothered to go look it up right now but it's along the lines of: "As a human, you delude yourself into thinking you can own a wild thing, the same way you own your car or your lawnmover. But you don't, you can't, and the moment you realize that is the same moment is ceases to matter."

And there's a sense, from the character in the story, of penitence. Penitence for what he's done as a person and penitence for the way he's treated that animal. Not personally, he didn't build the park, but for being part of it. And in the end he puts his fate back in that animal's hands (or dorsal fins, whatever).

So yeah, it does piss me off. Because clearly ADI didn't read the story — which is fine, reading a 30 page story may be tough for some — or even watch the movie it seems. In any case, in my opinion they clearly didn't bother to sort out the context of it. To me it's like saying Schindler's List glorifies war. Really? To me it shows the horror of that, and perhaps the horrible reality of it.

But as much as I admire organizations like ADI and its ilk, I do realize that ultimately, they can be huge piggybackers. I spent a lot of time and gave a lot of myself to write the story (well, okay, not to get all artsy ... but I put in time at the park to get the inspiration). The filmmakers spent a lot of time making it. Then ADI comes along and says boycott it without, from what I can tell, any clear notion of why anyone should. To me it seems a case of someone there finding out a movie had been made featuring orcas and before anyone could do the sensible thing and investigate what, exactly, the film was trying to say as orcas and captivity is concerned, someone had drafted a press release and blurted it out. And they had to do it quickly to piggyback on the momentum and efforts of people who'd invested a lot of time and heart in making something that was important to them.

It's lame, really. It defeats their ambition, I think, of being seen as non-hysterical, non-reactionary humanitarians. It's half-cooked, half-cocked. People will see the movie and think: "God, ADI has no idea what the hell it's on about."

And that's why so many people think PETA's a joke now, sadly. In their effort to attract attention they often come off as ignorant, reactionary, and firing off in every direction.

But again, that's the agenda. It's not a nuanced perspective. And I get that. I watched those videos and said to myself: Nuance won't get you too far when fighting this kind of stuff. Fight fire with fire, etc. So I'm conflicted.

I don't think the boycott will do much. ADI released their press release, got their attention. A bunch of people will Tweet it. The film will come out. If anything, the boycott will ensure that more people go — which is probably just fine with ADI, if they want to be honest about it. They don't necessarily want to see it boycotted; they just want their boycott to get some traction and bring some attention, which I imagine it will.

It's tough. I don't envy ADI's situation. They want to see change and it's tough to get much. We don't always treat animals with the reverence or just general respect any living thing deserves. I get it. I'm on their side. But in this case it's a matter of seeing that their crusade tends to tar supporters and enemies alike.

I mean, just watch the object of your boycott. Or be honest and say you're just trying to bang the drum for a little attention. Be straight up about it. You'll sleep better.

All best, Craig.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

CBC's Fresh Air

Hello All,

Here's a link to an interview I did with Karen Gordon on the CBC's "Fresh Air" program. My thanks to Karen for having me on!

FRESH AIR

... I realize, listening to the first thirty seconds, that I have some kind of mild speech impediment—a bit of a lisp, maybe? Maybe I'm wrong. I don't want to insult anyone who has an actual lisp, if that's in any way possible. I don't want my saying, "I have a lisp," to sound like, say, if I sprained my ankle and said, "I've got a serious mobility issue." Because then someone with a real mobility issue would have every right to castigate me as a fraud and a fool. So maybe I don't have a lisp? But maybe a slight one. It's very tricky speaking into a microphone ... not brain-surgery tricky, but a little unnatural. Lips 6 inches from the mic, speaking not directly into it but across it, I was told, so my "p"s wouldn't pop. So that could be it, too. Maybe I don't know how to speak into a microphone? Which is why I was fired at my dream job as a rodeo announcer, sadly.

Also, if you want to read my profound writing tip, there's this:

WRITING TIP

... I outdid myself on this advice, writing my last book in 5 weeks. Beat that, Barbara Cartland! Of course, Barbara can't, being that she passed on in 2000, after a long life and prolific career. I find it's best to challenge deceased individuals—that way, I can't lose. I challenged Hemingway to a fistfight and the chicken-gutted coward couldn't rouse himself to meet my challenge! Ha! The worm! Also, I challenged Jonas Salk to a vaccine-off and, like a punk, he refused to take me up! Jonas Salk? HA! More like Jonas SULK, which is what he did after bowing to my superior vaccine-creating abilities!

Okay, enough nonsense.

All best, Craig.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Next Year's Book

Hello All,

Actually, it may not be out this early—in truth, I haven't even been able to start editing it yet. But I'll be hopeful and continue to believe that, possibly, we might hit this pub date!

Cataract City

Actually I now realize, having read the summation copy (as a rule, the writer doesn't write this copy and indeed, in this case I did not) I see that the boys are described as being united "by wrestling, go-karts, and metal bands"—and while it's admittedly been awhile since I wrote those childhood sections, and I'm writing different stuff and as such my mind isn't 100% clear on what I DID write, I'm pretty sure that while wrestling is very much a part of their lives and propels a chunk of the early narrative, they aren't into go-karts or metal bands ... I mean, hell, I love go-karts and still do, I guess (although that love has diminished slightly once I got my license and driving became something of a chore) and who doesn't love Ratt, Twisted Sister and Helix? But still, no, I don't think there's much in the narrative about either of those things. Unless I'm soon going to be approached by an editor who's like:

EDITOR: Davidson, we're liking the book but I'm not gonna lie—my colleagues and I think it's thin in two specific areas: go-karts and metal bands. Where are the go-karts, man? I'm reading the book, and I'm liking it, fine, it's fine, but I'm saying to myself: Why did this guy skimp on the go-kart angle? To be honest, it's a dreadful oversight and one that we think needs remedying before we go to war with this book. And another thing—where in blue hell are the metal bands? Metal bands are hot right now, Davidson—hot as firecrackers, I tell you! We need more metal, metal bands, and scenes involving rocking out hardcore to metal bands. All the kids are barmy about metal bands! More metal, Davidson! Metal up your ass! Get on it, now! The wrestling quotient is perfectly acceptable, though, you'll be pleased to know.

So, just in case anyone reads that description and says to themselves: FINALLY! A BOOK ABOUT MY TWO ABIDING PASSIONS—GO-KARTS AND METAL BANDS! And then you buy the book and read it with a sinking heart, realizing you'd been sold a greasy bag of goods, no go-karts and even less metal bands, and then, in a fit of outrage, you stalk me across the Atlantic and kill me in front of my loved ones, well, I want to stop that possibility in its tracks. I'm not saying there WON'T be any go-karts or metal bands in the book—I'm just saying that, as it stands, to the best of my recollection, there probably isn't enough in there for a real go-karting, metal-band-loving purist to pony up their hard-earned moolah on the book. So, like, caveat emptor.

All best, Craig.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

MOVIE HEROINES WHO COULD KICK YOUR HINEY

Hi all,

Hell, they could all kick the hell out of me but by this point it's been well-proved that I'd go down from a stiff puff of wind ...

VARIOUS FILMIC ASS-KICKERS

All best, Craig.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Random Sampling of Photos

Hello All,

Well, some of these are book covers, some movie posters, some photos from the Rust and Bone premiere night. A bit of a smorgasbord, you could say, making this something of a discombobulated post but whatever — I'm doing my best here, guys and gals! Or if not my best, a semi-noble attempt for a guy with a new baby in the house!

First off, the film was excellent. Saw it last Thursday. Brilliant. Nothing more to be said. Very cool to meet the director, screenwriter, and stars. Honestly couldn't have been a cooler experience for me. Want proof? Okay here are some pics.

The family, Colleen, and my cousin at the film.


Thomas Bidegain (screenwriter), red-haired fool, Matthias Schoenaerts (lead actor), Colleen.


The big galoot, Colleen, Marion Cotillard.


What else? Oh, the UK Rust and Bone poster, which is cool as hell.


And the UK re-release book cover, which is also very cool.


And the proposed UK cover for my next book, Cataract City. Also, yeah, cool!


So, that's all. Photo posts — the easiest, most effortless, laziest posts of all! I do promise to do a longwinded post about something of substance, someday!

All best, Craig.

Monday, September 3, 2012

UK TRAILER: RUST AND BONE

Hi all,

Pitched a little differently than the French one. Still looks pretty badass, I must say.

UK TRAILER

All best, Craig.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rust and Bone at TIFF

Hello all,

For all Toronto-area folks: Rust and Bone will make what I believe is its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Thursday, Sept 6. Marion Cotillard is scheduled to be there, so that's cool. I'll be there too, with my friends and family, and likely will be rather drunk. So if you want to grab tickets, they go on sale September 2 at 7am, online, in person, or by phone.

Should be a cool time. See you there perhaps?

All best, Craig.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

CBC Words and Music Interview

Hello All,

Here's an interview I did with fabulous musician Jenn Grant; the CBC has this interview series where a musician and a writer interview each other. Thanks to Brad Frenette at the Ceeb for setting this up. Part 2 will run next week.

CBC WORDS AND MUSIC

All best, Craig.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

NEW (SECRET) BOOK — OOOOH, SECRETS!



Hello All,

Here’s some news. I hate for this to sound obscure and what I like to call dot-dot-dottish—so named after people who use the elipses on Facebook posts to curry attention by withholding information or being obtuse, circumspect, vague, or hard-done by. For example:

Why do I bother being so nice and respectful of other's emotions when people don't care about me ...

Some people (they know who they are) are SOOO immature ...

Frustrated, angry, sad and mad. That about sums it up ...

Life is SO unfair ...

And etc and so on. Those posts bug the hell out of me. So I'll be running the risk of being a dot-dot-dotter right now, in that I can't quite come out and detail the entire circumstances behind the following news. So feel free to stop reading now, because it's that sort of a thing.

So, after writing my last novel, Cataract City (which was recently picked up by Greywolf in the US, which is fantastic, I'm elated about that), I felt like I needed a bit of a palate cleanser. 

CC took a fair bit out of me—I won't get all author-y and say I slaved over it and, y'know, I threw myself all over the room and visited some real dark parts of myself, etc, etc, all the standard writer nonsense ... because honestly, it wasn't like that. Never is, never really has been. Even when I've struggled with books and felt them going to shreds in my hands, nothing I can really do to stem the bleeding ... it's not as if it's all that hard. It's upsetting and, because I'm kind of Type A in some ways, it's fist-clenchingly upsetting that I can't fix it. 


But still, despite prior protestations I like writing for the most part. I like working on new stuff and getting into a book. Cataract City just took quite awhile to write, there were lots of edits (and more to come) so it was time-consuming and it was really important to make sure everything fit and worked and that involved just a lot of time. 

So yes, a palate cleanser. Something more light—or at the very least, more genre, where I could work within the confines of that genre and ... maybe just let things flow a little easier. 

So I had this idea. Pure horror. I mean, spine-splitting, jaw-breaking, fireballing horror. That was how I wanted to approach it. 80s horror, really. The stuff I grew up on.

So I wrote it. Took 5 weeks. 6? Just poured out of me. The story was simple, the characters were understandable to me—they acted according to their natures so I didn't have to go around explaining everything they did or justifying it. 

Ended up being 90k. Sent it to my father; he chopped 15k from it. I chopped another 5k.

I sent it to my agent a little abashedly, to be honest. But I'd sort of let him know that he wouldn't exactly know what to expect out of me from one book to the next—hell, I barely know—so to his credit he was more or less: Shoot it all to me, we'll sort it out.

He sat on it for a month maybe, then called and said he'd read it, dug it, offered edits, which I took, then he ended up sending it to a well-known writer for a blurb, which we received and it's glowing, and then we sent it out.

I really wasn't expecting anything, even then. I almost felt as if I hadn't ... for lack of a better word sufferered for this book. It poured out of me too easily. But maybe that was part of what made it work—the writing was pretty effortless so perhaps the reading of it was similar. And sometimes when you don't put the weight of expectation on a given endeavor, you don't freight it down with your hopes and aspirations, well, you allow some cool things to happen.

So fast forward two weeks. We got offers from St. Martin's, Doubleday, Riverhead, and Simon and Shuster. I was baffled. Gobsmacked. Bamboozled. Choose your silly word for it.

There was a little auction. Simon and Shuster ended up taking it. A two-book deal, for, to be honest (and not to be crass, which the following likely is) more money than I've ever been paid for a book. 

So ... weird. And yeah, it's horror. Balls-out, gory, depraved horror.

Hooray!

But my agent suggested that, at this point, we should put it out under a pseudonym—and not my old one. A new one. So that's what will happen. 

And that's all I can really say. That being: there will be a book from me out next year or the year after that will not bear my name. So you can speculate on which one it might be. 

All I can say is: Horror. Simon and Shuster. Those are the clues. 

The game is afoot! Not that I really, truly think anyone's going to take the time to puzzle it out. 

All best, Craig.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

THE FINE ART OF THE AUTHOR PHOTO

Hello all,

So one of the things that often happens upon the publication of a new book is an updated author photo. I'm not a big fan of photos in general, because, to be honest, I usually end up looking like a tool. I'm not really photogenic, plus the author photo is generally expected to convey some gravitas about the writer, or mystery, or sangfroid, or something noble and honorable in any case.

That never happens with me.

With other authors, sure. Like these ones of Cormac McCarthy and Richard Ford, taken I believe by Marion Ettlinger:




Hey, those dudes look writerly. Cormac looks direct and rough-hewn; Ford looks rather erudite and introspective. Then there's me:



I look like a big bloated dingus. A mop-haired bananahead. An onion-eyed puff-monster. Like maybe I do my writing with crayons on foolscap.

The above photo was taken in 2005. My first book was set to come out. My publisher asked for photos. I tried to come up with some of my own. My mother and father and friends took the odd snap to see if something would work. I ended up settling on black and white, because the author shots of those I admired were often b&w. These were the results:





Uuuuhh, not exactly Marion Ettlinger quality. Then again, we're working with imperfect clay, here. But these do royally stink.

Dig those authorly adornments: the hippie-ish hemp necklace (he's sooooo authentic!) and the sleeves rolled up to bare my badass tattoo—given to me at 20 at Way Cool Tattoos in Niagara Falls by a man named Harley Charlie. Because, hey, I normally go around with my shirtsleeves yanked up to my armpits don't ya know. Also, I should've tucked my damn shirt in. I look like a dour pear.

So these were adjudged crap by my publisher. Fair dinkum. They said: We'll send you to a pro photographer. So they sent me to this dude in the warehouse district in Calgary, where I was living at the time. He set up some lights (you see them in the photo there, fanning out behind me? Very classy!) and took some shots. I forget what exactly he may have said to me in terms of motivating me, but judging by the end result it may've been something along the lines of:

PHOTOBUG: "Okay, Craig, sit there looking like a bloated toad! PERFECT! You are OWNING it! Now cross your eyes slightly and pooch your lip out like a sucker-fish—this is IT, baby! I'm LOVING it! You are making love to my camera—deplorable, spastic, unsatisfying love! Hey, quick question: did you actually, y'know, BRUSH your hair? No? Wonderful! It looks like a dead tawny muskrat on your skull, and can I just say: hubba-hubba! Keep it up—and remember, this photo will be THE photo that readers will identify with you for all your days!"

I think the shoot cost $500. And again, this is the fruit of that labor:


Jeebus. I mean, holy lord. Just fix your eyes on that (or don't). I mean, really, fasten it in your mind.

And this is likely the most used photo of me in existence. It's always popping up all over the place like a bad penny.

For example. The other day someone sent me a link to an article: Ten Writers Every Man Should Read. You've got Harry Crews (awesome), Hubert Selby Jr (awesome), Jonathan Lethem (ditto), Iceberg Slim (fantastic) and others. And me. Which, hey, that's great. But I'm flipping though the gallery, each author photo included—most of which are totally badass.

And then there's Maude:

THAT SHITTY PHOTO REARS ITS UGLY HEAD

So, great! Fantastic! Marvellous! Couldn't be happier!

But the fact is, it's not the worst one of me. Because any writer will tell you that when s/he goes to a festival, there are usually photographers there. They are all good people, nice people, helpful and cool people. They take your pics because if one of their photos becomes the official author photo, and your book happens to sell in a lot of countries ... well, that's a lot of book covers and newspaper articles, which means a lot of reprint fees.

So these photographers are a little like speculators. They're betting that you become a big writer and that their photo is chosen to adorn your books.

And there's this funny intersection between you, as a writer, how you want to be depicted visually, and the photographer giving you instructions to perhaps put you in your best light.

This has led to many regrettable photos. Visual boners, you might call them—not in that they would provoke a boner, or a lady-boner, but in the old-school meaning of the word, ie: a horrid mistake.

For example, there's what I like to call the "DEERSKIN COAT SERIES," taken in 2005:






Cool, right? Rugged as shit. I mean, these shots have it all: my father's old deerskin coat (emblem of a simpler, more uncomplicated time), the slovenly untucked shirt flapping in the wind (apparently the only one I own, judging by the fact it appears in other author photos of me), the mushroom cloud of orange hair blowing along with the shirttails, the generally constipated look on my face—either that or the classic "staring into the distance" shot, where it looks as though I'm contemplating things of great importance or deep gravity, all of critical importance to the human race—although considering this was taken in one of the seedier areas of Toronto, conceivably I was witnessing a distant mugging and debating whether or not to call the authorities.

Mainly, though, this is all about the deerskin, baby! And while I'm not a hunter, nor is my dad, and I'm not really down with that ... I mean, the deer's already dead, dude. Me not wearing this kickass coat is not going to bring the deer back.

MARGE SIMPSON: The gypsy said it would!

ME: She's not the boss of me.

Obscure Simpsons references aside, the deerskin is suh-weeeet. It'll be making a comeback in my wardrobe real soon. In fact, I got back from basketball today and had my girlfriend snap a sweet, Fonzie-ish shot of me in it:


Eeeeeh, sit on it!

Then there's these beauties, shot in France way back when:






Dude, I'm in a glass case of emotion here! Let me out so that I can be a little less angsty!

The one with my hand on the window slays me. I look like a puppy in the pet store window. Will you buy me? Will you take me home? I won't pee on your rugs ... much.

They're all got that "looking someplace into the distant ether" look, too. What's with that? Like, there's never anything of interest DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF MY FACE? Why? That's where the majority of interesting stuff takes place, to be honest. At least my hair is a bit better trimmed. And I'm wearing a different shirt. American Eagle. Pure class, hombre.

There have been other photos, with differing levels of effectiveness—and again, I should state (in case it isn't obvious) that the effectiveness, or more commonly ineffectiveness, of these photos is not a reflection on the photographers themselves. Again, imperfect clay and all that.

An American version of my book used shots from a promotional fight as the author photo. Since I got beaten pretty badly in the fight, it was tough to find shots of me, y'know, landing a punch; mainly it was me getting hit (though looking pretty cut while it was happening, I guess):





In the first photo my lower leg looks dangerously thin, doesn't it? I bad case of Keon Clark leg there, I'm thinking (longtime NBA/ Toronto Raps fans will get that reference).

Anyway, other than that there's the requisite "tough guy" photos, which generally don't work so well because I'm a marshmallow. This one was taken by the wife of my Penguin publicist, who is really good at her job; the rusty tin / soup-bowl haircut motif is really working. I call it: Charlie Brown gets lost in a steel mill.


There's this one (a publisher used the shirtless shot—the one after the fight—the one where I'm not sticking a needle into my ass):


I'd've gone with the ass-needle shot, personally; I like how I'm cradling my 'roids-pendulous belly like I'm pregnant, protecting my sacred womb.

There's this one, which I think was taken to show how thin I was at the time:


It's, y'know, passable. Not horrible. My mom took it. Thanks, Mom!

And then there's the very few that I sort of dig. Like this one, which was taken by a French photographer and was used on my second book there:


I mean, that's okay—right? I don't look like some hideous swamp troll who just got farted up out of the bog, amiright? It's passable. I'm looking somewhat inscrutable, yes? There are secrets lurking behind those eyes, it's reasonably convincing to postulate—possibly ... yeah?

Beyond that, I've got a few that I find enjoyable:

BUS ELVIS, when I drove a bus and dressed up for Halloween (used for a magazine article):


I mean, yeah, okay, it's goofy but then again I'm generally a goof so it's truth in advertizing at least.

Ultimately I think I'd like to go with this one for my new author shot:


Is it a little affected? Maybe. A writer and his son. We were sitting on the couch watching FROM BEYOND, a fine horror flick, and my girlfriend snapped it. I'm shirtless, so that's bound to draw in the lustful female readership—plus I'm looking a bit fatherly, so that dovetails kinda nicely with the subject matter of a lot of my books.

Anyway, I guess I like that it's just natural—nobody was sticking a camera in my face and making me smile one of those cheesy-fake smiles, there was no studio, no lights. So yeah, this one could work. I'd go with it. The deerskin would have accentuated things, sure, but you can't have it all.

Of course my publishers will probably want to stick with the classics, which means the Cataract City author photo may look an awful lot like this bad boy:


Why mess with perfection?

All best, Craig.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

CBC RADIO INTERVIEW

Hi all,

Perhaps you sometimes read this blog and say to yourself, you say: "I wonder what the dweeb who writes this sounds like?" If that was a question you were dying to have answered, I encourage you to listen to me dither and dilly-ditz my way through this interview with the CBC's Terry Seguin. Thanks to Terry (and his producer Shaun) for letting me ramble on like an escaped mental patient (no disrepect to mental patients intended).

INTERVIEW

All best, Craig.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Interview in Mediapart

Hello All,

Here are some links to an interview I did with Christine Marcandier, a terrific French journalist. Part of it is in French, the interview in English. A big tip of the hat to Christine for taking the time.

French Story (you can run it through Google Translate for a sense of it in English ...)

English Interview

All best, Craig.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It came out early ...

Hello all,

My editor in chief just sent this to me now. He has a google alert that pings whenever "MuscleMag" shows up anywhere online. So hot off the presses, as they say:

My movie experience

Thanks to Mark Medley at the Post for approaching me to write this. I enjoyed doing so.

(... and now, having quickly read the piece, I've seen a few minor edits—as always happen—and I simply want to assure my father here, publicly, and later I will reassure him privately, that in the initial edit, when I claimed he had "the grace of a tree sloth" I'd also included "A Davidson trait—male side only." Which is to say if dad has any lack of grace, so do I. In fact, dad's more graceful than me. If he's a tree sloth, then my grace mimics that of a deeply intoxicated tree sloth. Just wanted to clear that up).

All best, Craig.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

So ...

Hello all,

The movie premiered today. I was surprised how intensely I felt today; it was almost as if, in some ways, the book was published again and I was going through all those emotions one goes through when a book comes out.

Difference being, as a writer you can generally expect to see, say, 2-3 reviews a week—max. I woke up this morning to nearly 30 emails of film reviews. They just kept rolling in all day

I'd say the response has been pretty positive. I'm deeply happy for Jacques Audiard and the actors, Matthias and Marion, who have received well-earned plaudits for their performances.

It's crazy, though: if you see 10 reviews and 9 are positive and one is negative, or even middling-positive, THAT is the one you dwell on.

And I say so with the full understanding that my contribution to it all is distant at this point: I provided the seed, really. But it still hurts to see a review that's not a rave—not for me, honestly, but for Mr. Audiard. Not that he needs my overwrought emotional outbursts, but anyway, all I'm saying is it's honestly not a concern for me as a writer or a person at this point—right now it's an empathetic response for a great artist, and a fear that, in every less-than-raving review, I might've had some weird part in it.

Isn't that bizarre? I don't even know if I've explained it very well at all. I need pills.

I will have a piece in the National Post this Saturday where I talk a little more deeply about the experience leading up to the film insofar as my involvement was concerned—and beyond that, what a simple joy it's been to see this process develop. I recognize it's been a remarkable turn of events and I can only be grateful that, weirdly, it happened to me.

Here's a little article that came out today, too. Chris Knight from The Post called me at work. I like Chris. Good writer. Nice talking to him.

More to come on this topic, I'm sure.

Newspaper article

All best, Craig.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prenatal classes and an answer to, "Hey, do you have anything new coming out?"

Hello All,

BLOG POST, PART 1:

So my lovely girlfriend and I have been going to prenatal classes for the past six weeks, in anticipation of the baby's imminent arrival (next month). I've enjoyed the classes and I think they're really valuable for first-time parents. There are so many little, and big, things you sort of need at least a little grounding in before the grand event itself.

Last night it was breastfeeding. Which, truth told, is something that concerns a lot of first-time mothers. Will I produce enough milk? Will the baby "latch" properly? These and other issues are causes of concern for mothers. And fathers, too, if only because it's hard to watch mothers struggle with those things.

But the classes are funny, too. Our instructor was a real earthy woman—a nurse, a lactation consultant, just a straightforward get-'er-done kind of person—and last night we talked a lot about what to expect with our baby's ... er, output.

Our instructor called these "poops." Or "stools." We talked a lot about poops and stools last night.

Evidently those maiden stools should be sticky-black, like tar ...

Oh, wait—are you eating right now? If you've got a sensitive belly this might not be the best reading material. Just so you know.

And then, after those tarlike loads—which should happen within the first few days of the baby's life—the "poops" should turn green, then greeny-yellow, then yellow, then establish a more normal coloration. They should be, as our instructor put it, variously "pasty, mushy, or seedy." Once every seven days it is apparently common for a baby to produce a staggeringly voluminous, diaper-bulging stool. A truly heroic poop. So we shouldn't be worried about that.

What father would be worried? Nice poop, junior! That's a blue-ribbon winner!

But we parents must be ever-watchful of our newborn's stools, evidently. If they're not suitably pasty or seedy (what does that even mean? Do these stools, like, grow scraggly mustaches and buy switchblades and start hanging out at grungy bars down in the Bowery?) then there could be issues. And our baby's pees shouldn't be too dark yellow or crystalized orange, either—this may mean baby's not getting enough colostrum, or enough mature milk.

A good, healthy baby should be producing two "wet, heavy diapers" in their first few days, along with 1-10 poops, a few of which should be "large stools"—bigger than a quarter.

So, am I going to be counting stools? You bet! That's part of being a parent, so far as I can tell. I will buy a pair of jeweller's calipers and measure the stools, too, to make sure they are suitably "large." It's like measuring fish caught in the wild—if they don't measure up, back in the lake they go!

Not to make too light of things ... you really do have to be on the lookout for this stuff. It's going to be a lot of changes coming, real quick. Our entire lives will change in a lovely way.

BLOG POST, PART 2:

Realizing how much things are going to change, how much of my life will be taken up with the new baby, I've been pretty busy writing of late. I had a stretch of nearly 8 months where I didn't have a day job; in addition to the freelance work I was able to complete, I had a big fiction output. Novels, stories, and so on. I guess I realized it would be the last chance I'd have for awhile to really get some work under my belt.

I say so because lately—likely because of the movie hubbub—people (random wellwishers as well as editors and producers so on) have been asking, "Hey, are you writing anything else? What else do you have?"

Anyone who is really, professionally interested in that is urged to contact my agent, Kirby Kim, directly; you can find the contact details on my website, in the "ABOUT" section:

Contact Kirby

But just as a matter of interest, I can re-iterate what I've stated on this blog before, albeit some months ago now.

My next book is called CATARACT CITY. Some people like this title. So do I! It's actually the nickname for Niagara Falls—the latin for waterfall is cataracta, I believe, so the English version is Cataract, another name for waterfall. It's the story of two boys growing up in Niagara Falls, and it focuses on some of those things that have, and will continue to fascinate me: wrestling, dog racing, fighting (duh!), cigarette smuggling, friendships between boys as they become men, the beautiful mystery of women, and a strong sense of place. I realize now that my place, fictionally-speaking, is southern Ontario. I get the vibes of that place better than anyplace else.



So that will be coming out ... well, a date's not been set yet. It'll come out with Doubleday in Canada, Graywolf Press in the US, Atlantic Books in the UK, and Albin Michel in France. There's some editing yet to be done on it.

Beyond that, I've written two other books (one very far afield of my usual, and another that may be YA), plus some stories, some of which have been accepted for upcoming publication. I'm about 30k into a sort-of thriller right now. Plus my day job. Plus the baby. So things are pretty busy, but I've got a good backlog of work to carry me through what may be an extended fallow patch where I won't have the luxury of writing time.

Thus ends the update.

All best, Craig.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rust and Bone—the soundtrack!

Hi all,

So this very talented fellow, Alexander Desplat, has "scored"—ie: written and selected the music—for Rust and Bone, along with Jacques Audiard. The soundtrack list is out, and I'm glad to see there's some Bon Iver on it. I really dig Bon Iver. I used to borrow my girlfriend's ipod to go jogging, and it was jammed with Bon Iver tunes. Now truthfully, they aren't always great jogging tunes—or they are provided your ambition is to slip into a narcoleptic coma, fall off the jogging trail and get eaten by coyotes.

But they're very haunting, melodic, I guess you could say "soaring" pieces of music. Bon Iver probably isn't to everyone's tastes, but who is? I mean, other than the Mini Pops; those high-toned munchkins are straight-up AWESOME for any ears, young or old or in-between. And the Bangles, too.

Anyway, the soundtrack is:


1. Musique d'Alexandre Desplat - 40mn
2. Bon Iver - Wash
3. John Cooper Clarke - Evidently Chickentown
4. The B-52's - Love Shack
5. Lykke Li - I follow Rivers (The Magician Remix)
6. Carte Blanche feat. Alexis Taylor - With you
7. Django Django - Firewater
8. Colin Stetson - The days I've missed you (Ilaij I)
9. Bon Iver - The Wolves (Act I and II)

I admit, I haven't listened to a lot of these tunes. I'll admit further that I don't know who a lot of these musicians are—had they been covered by the Mini Pops, maybe, but as it stands no. But thank the good lord above (or whoever) for YouTube!
Below I've assembled some links to some of these songs. Give them a listen. If you like them, call up K-Tel records and say: "Get me the manager of the Mini Pops! I've got a song they need to cover in their syrupy-sweet mincy-weird baby voices!"




Colin Stetson — The Days I've Missed You

Bon Iver — The Wolves

... also, my favorite Bon Iver: Holocene


Here is the full list of songs:

FULL SOUNDTRACK

And also, a few new clips from the film (with subtitles):

FILM CLIPS

All best, Craig.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rust and Bone at Cannes

Hello all,

So the official selections for Cannes have been announced, and Rust and Bone is in contention. Some really good films this year, by a lot of great directors, starring many wonderful actors. Here is some of the coverage:

Cannes Stuff 1

Cannes Stuff 2

Cannes Stuff 3 (no women directors on the lineup, which seems a fair thing to bring up)

All best, Craig.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Reaction to HRT article in Esquire

Hello all,

Got this from an eagle-eyed reader today.

Really, there's hasn't been much said to me personally about this article at all. I'll present this one cleansed of commentary seeing as I said my piece in the article itself.

Reaction to "Miracle," HRT article

All best, Craig.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sarah Court Audiobook

Hi All,

Have you had a chance to read my last book, Sarah Court? No?

You FOOL!

No, okay, you're not a fool. That was way out of line. I take it back. I'm off my meds—or I'm on them, more accurately, but not ones a doc prescribed. Okay, I'm huffing Dristan out of a grocery sack in my backyard shed. So what? My sinuses are clear as a bell, I'll have you know!

Okay, so none of that is true. Except the Dristan-huffing part. What is also true, kimosabe, is that the fine folks at Audible have put out an audio version of Sarah Court. What's that, you ask?

What, are you some dummkopf?

Sorry! Sorry. Meds again. Dristan, you horrible mistress!

An audiobook is a book in audio form. A book read in dulcet tones by a voice actor. It's a gas. You should go check it out. You can even listen to a little sample of it—like auditory honey sliding into your ear canal, it is!

What, you've got something better to do with the next 7 hours, 34 minutes of your life?

I highly doubt that, you no-friend-nik!

Whoo! What a rancid human being I am when I'm all Dristaned up. I'm switching to Nasonex—the same satisfying high, none of the meanspirited behavior.

Thanks to Brett and Sandra at ChiZine for working this out. It's very cool, sincerely.

Sarah Court audiobook

All best, Craig.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Fighter trailer from years ago ... hated on YouTube

Hello all,

So I'll link below to a YouTube clip of "The Fighter," which was a bookshort (basically, a book trailer) from way back in 2006, I think. I came across it today while watching something completely different, but it popped up the list of other videos running down the right-hand side of the screen, showing videos I might like.

Now Bookshort aren't uncommon nowadays, though it's probably still up in the air whether or not they're very effective. This one was done by Mark Hesselink, a young director and a very cool guy; me and my brother and my friend Neil got terrifically drunk with Mark on night at Hoops Sports Bar on Bloor, not far from Florida Jack's, the boxing club where I'd be drubbed scant months later.

We got hammered and sang karaoke, I recall (foggily ...) I sang Danzig's "Mother," because, well, I got to screech out: Mwwwwwwuthaaaaa! Tell your children not to walk my way / Tell them not to hear my words / What they mean / What they say ... [lower] Mwwwwuthaaa-ah-ah ...
[A LOT LOUDER]: MOTHA!

Then Neil decided to sing "American Pie," the long version no less, and he barely knew the words so we had to get up there and help him sing that ... the extra lyrics with the joker trying for a forward pass and etc that don't end up on the radio version. What a nightmare.

Anyhoo, all of which is to say Mark's a great guy. And I dug the video, realizing that it's a pretty tough task to translate a book into a movie in 3 minutes ... lots of directors can't manage that feat given 30x more screen time.

But what first struck me was the views: 300k + That's not a lot compared to "Billy Bit Me" or "Dramatic Squirrel" or "Whatshisname After the Dentist," sure, but it's not insignificant.

Second were, of course, the comments. Repellant. It's probably hard to pinpoint the lowest point of the internet, the cesspool where are the emotional feebles, racist morons, prune-faced hags, Darwinian horrors, sadsack incompetents go to spew their torrents of doltish lack-wittery, but the Youtube commentariat may be the worst, the scummiest hive of scum and villainy in existence.

Anyway, sorry Mark. I thought it was pretty damn good.

BOOKSHORT

All best, Craig.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Un(e?) Trailer

Hi all,

A surprise this morning. Scroll down to watch the trailer, if you'd like.

Rust and Bone trailer

All best, Craig.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Website Update

Hi all,

Guess what? It's time for a website update! I was looking at it the other day and realized, alas, I'm not 30 anymore (as my ancient bio notes), nor do I live in Calgary. So time to clear out the cobwebs. Some new articles and a few golden oldies to read. Or not. New agent, some film stuff, this that and the other. I'll be updating more often, surely, with a new book on the way and whatever else happens to crop up.

WEBSITE

You read! You read!

All best, Craig.

Monday, April 2, 2012

First Look At Rust and Bone

Hi all,

I'm totally just copping the title of the blog post I'm linking to for the title of my own blog post. I'm a lazy disenfranchised wretch, what can I say?

Now it doesn't really look like Ms. Cotillard is doing too much in this photo, just staring really ... maybe wistfully, maybe distractedly, maybe at the craft services table where someone is eating the apple she'd sort of earmarked, in a distant non-possessive way, for herself—I don't really know. But she looks good doing it, and there's a little plot synopsis so okay, I'll post it.

MOVIE STUFF

or here, for a bigger rundown:

MORE MOVIE STUFF

All best, Craig.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Esquire piece

Hi all,

So there'll be a link at the bottom of this post to a piece that's out in this month's Esquire. But first, a few words on it—for anyone who's interested in how the magazine feature sausage gets made.

Last September I'd been off work for a few months. Finishing my novel, doing a little freelance, just paying the bills. I get a call from my old editor, Ryan, at Esquire. He says:

"Craig, what do you know about hormone replacement therapy?"

Ryan likely asked for two reasons: one, he's a good guy and has a very kind habit of looking out for me when he thinks there's an idea I can do a good job on. And two, because of this piece I wrote many moons ago for the magazine:

Look Ma! I'm a Big Strong Boy!

A word on this article. I wrote it just to write it. Or rather, because I'd taken steroids and the experience was profound enough that it seemed I ought to write something. I wrote a 7.5k piece and just sent it out blindly to a few magazines. I didn't know any other way to do it back then—since then I've learned that, of course, you 'pitch' articles: an idea, a piece in its infancy, and try to entice an editor into letting you pull the ripcord on it. But to this day that approach is difficult for me: I started as a fiction writer, and I've always thought if I'd had to convince an editor to let me write any of my early stories, or novels, well, I'd never have written a word because they'd have just said: Sex addicts? Guilt-ridden boxers? Vicious dogs? Killer whale amputations? Uhhhh, no way kimosabe. Sell that shit down the road.

But anyway, the piece went out there. I forgot about it and went on to new stuff, as one has to. Then I got home from the gym one night and there's this message from this dude, Ryan, editor at Esquire:

"Craig, we got your piece. We really like it. [long pause]. This ... this never happens, but ... well, we want to publish it. So call me."

I was floored, of course. And really, I've learned since that it really doesn't happen often that a piece is picked up off the slush at a big magazine for a lot of reasons. Firstly, each magazine has its staff of great writers who are on contract to deliver x words for x dollars a year, and those pieces/writers alone fill a great deal of the magazine's article allotment. Secondly, well, it's not like a lot of the stuff that comes in from the slush is necessarily applicable to the magazine's readership—I can say so having worked at magazines myself and seeing what comes in via the slush. Thirdly, I'm not sure a lot of writers just send stuff to magazines; they're smarter than me, probably have J-school degrees, and know to pitch stuff to editors.

But I did once hear—and I forget where—that before that steroids piece, the last article that Esquire plucked out of the slush was by a little someone named Elizabeth Gilbert. Ms. Eat, Pray, Love. I don't know that's true. Probably not. But I'll hold onto that belief anyway, because it soothes my tortured soul.

Anyway, so in September Ryan called and asked what the hell I knew about HRT. As I recall, my answer was an honest one:

"Next to nothing, Ryan."

"Well," he said, "how much could you know in a few weeks?"

"Conceivably a whole lot," I speculated, rashly, as I'm wont to do.

So I started investigating HRT. I won't go into it here; that's what the article's for. So in a few weeks I'd cobbled together a pitch and sent it in and a few days later I get a call from Ryan saying, hey, great, we've got a story. And I could write it. We agreed on a fee, a very generous one, and set a deadline. Then I was off to the races.

Now, another thing: this piece was conceived as a two-author thing. Another well-known, very talented writer was actually going to do HRT, and write a first-person narrative of the experience. I was going to provide, I think it was, 4,500 words of sort of backing scientific evidence, interesting tidbits, etc and so on.

Things progressed. I did my research. Talked to my sources. Spend time at a clinic. Once I had all my interviews and whatnot I sat down to write it.

Once I'd turned my draft in I got a call. Turns out the other writer wasn't going to do the first-person bit. He'd been tested and his hormone levels were fine. It wouldn't be needed.

My only concern was that I'd written this piece (which came in long, btw) that had no first-person aspect to it. Of course I'd've done it if I'd known—once you've done steroids, HRT is nothing. HRT is safe. HRT is lemonade; steroids are hard lemonade.

But now the deadline comes in. April issue. So it was really too late for me to embark on HRT therapy. And there were edits to do on the piece I'd written.

A lot of edits.

One thing I can say after writing novels, stories, for newspapers, for other magazines, for this that and the other: nothing is quite so arduous and taxing, in my experience, as a major magazine feature edit. I mean, yes, all of us hope and pray for our editors to call and say:

"Davidson, you marvellous bastard, you've done it! Don't change a word, don't change a comma, we're taking this to press as-is. You shit a solid-gold rainbow of perfect prose you rascally sonofabitch, you!"

Now this never happens, and editors don't talk like that ... at least it doesn't happen to me; maybe the really great writers at Esquire, the Jones's and Junods and Sagers and Raabs Dittrich's, yes, but me, no, it's never gone down like that—and that's fine, I need the guidance, I need the editing.

So we went back and forth. I found new sources, talked to new experts, rattled new cages and got the info that I could. As often happens, some of this stuff stuck and some got kicked away. We worked on a new intro and conclusion, something a bit more personal. It was exhaustive and exhausting—not just for me, but for Ryan and the fact-checker and all else concerned.

And then it was sent to the art department, I put together a sidebar (with the help of Drs. Life & Komer & Andry, who were invaluable and I thank them for their input, along with Dr. Handelsman and Bob Johnson at the Toronto Zoo and "Jack" and all the other dozens of people I spoke to in the process of writing this) and saw proofs, and it came together slowly, then slammed together fast, then it was done and out in the world.

So it's done. And now it's the aftermath, when you look at what you've done and evaluate its effectiveness.

And I've got to say I've never worked harder or had more help editorially or gotten a nicer, more considerate "push" than I got with this article ... but I'm not certain that I hit it dead-on.

Articles, like stories, like novels, like anything, are delicate things. There is an element of magic to them—and the more skilled you are, or the more veteran, the more able you are to curry that magic I think. But after doing this, writing for a living, for, well, nearly ten years, I can say that I know my strengths. I'm always trying to work on them, stretch myself, be something more as a writer today than I was yesterday ... but it's a slow process, often a difficult process, and besides, there's still this inborn sense of what I do best.

When it comes to magazine writing, I truly feel that some level of immersiveness is needed. I have to breathe the story, get dirty in it, let it happen to me and report on it from inside. My best pieces (in my opinion) are like that: the first Esquire piece, or the bus driving piece published earlier this month. I can touch and feel and taste, smell and hear and interact with the story—it happens to me, I receive that new information, contextualize it for myself and hopefully pass some of that on to the reader.

And if this story misses the mark just a bit, it's not for lack of me trying—and certainly not for lack of Ryan working his ass off on my behalf to pull this into true. And I am really very pround of this piece, because it took me out of my element and forced me to approach something from a different angle. All the flaws in it are mine. Everything that's good in it are the result a careful, kind edit ... well, okay, a few of the good lines I cooked up all on my own.

But I guess it worries me a little because ... well, let's face it, opportunites like this don't come along often. I know that now. There's no cooler job on earth than I can figure than writing for a good magazine, but just about every other swinging dick feels the same way. So when you get a shot like this out of the clear blue you've got to do your best to make your bones. Make it count, y'know? Because who know when lady luck might float down off her cloud and gift you again? You never know, really. Maybe never.

So anyway ... that's my take. It was a hell of a process. I can honestly say I've never worked harder on an 8k piece. Ever. Hell, novels rarely get this much editing. But it put some stronger bark on me, boy howdy I can tell you that much.

miracle

All best, Craig.