Thursday, August 22, 2013

MANIFESTO DESTINATION


It was July, 2001.  I had recently moved to Los Angeles.  I lived in a one-room shithole in the heart of Koreatown.  No kitchen.  Just a microwave and a hotplate and fridge.  I was trying to find an agent to help me get out of a contract with a manager who has consistently won the award for Biggest Scumbag in the Universe every year such an award has been given.
So I lied.

In my letters to potential agents, I claimed to have written a book.  One agency wrote back.  Said they wanted to see that book.  Well, shit.  I had been reading a lot of Raymond Chandler (the mandatory thing to do when one first moves to Los Angeles) and I had been tossing the title, Manifesto Destination, around in my head for several years.

I was also getting used to sobriety.
And extreme poverty (I know, boo-fucking-hoo…).

So I outlined a book and decided I would sit down and write it in a week (I had recently quit a suicide-inducing cubicle job at Ticketmaster, so I had some time).  The first day I sat down to write, a fucking mouse ran across my floor.  I hate rodents.  I know it’s irrational, but I don’t care.  I went to Westwood to hide out at the Mystery Bookstore, look at books I couldn’t afford, and bought some mouse traps on the way home.  What I soon learned was that my apartment (and the building itself) was INFESTED with rodents.
Thus, I spent a week sitting high off the floor (though I still had to sleep on the floor while the little fuckers ran around eating crumbs in the middle of the night—I couldn’t afford a bed) banging out Manifesto Destination as quickly as possible.

I finished the rough draft, did as good a polish as I could on it, and sent it to the agency.
No thanks, they said.

Well, fuck ‘em if they can’t take a science fiction/hardboiled hybrid…
I put the book away for a few years until I ran across an ad from the some kids in Los Feliz putting together an independent press.  They said they’d be thrilled to put out MD and the little book saw its first publication.  They recommended I have someone edit it.  I thought they were crazy.  I still have one copy from that run.  I was crazy for not listening to them.

When the whole kindle thing started, I put the book back out there.  It still needed some more edits and it was formatted like shit for kindle.  So I pulled the damn thing from circulation again.
In 2011, to practice publishing through createspace (so Pulp Modern would look remotely good), I put out a new edition of MD.  This time I went through it several times, cutting out about 3000 words.  The few folks who bought seemed to like it.  Then I pulled it from circulation when a professor at MSU suggested self-publishing was the kiss of death to any writing career.

Of course, that guy is a stale old fuck who doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about, but it scared me bad enough.
Chris Edwards, in the meantime, consistently told me how much he enjoyed the book.  He suggested last spring that he put it out through Full Dark City, his press.  I thought about it a while.  Saw what a great job they did with the All Due Respect anthology, and decided it might not be a bad idea.

That’s an understatement.  The work Chris Edwards and Chris Rhatigan have put in to make this the definitive version of this book is incredible.  Just look at the cover.  Rhatigan went through and made further, line by line edits that will make it an even tighter, smoother read.  I’m so excited by what they’ve done with it that I’ve gotten to work on a follow up novella that will also take place in Indianapolis.

As for the book itself—a whole lot of influences went into it.  The language is pure hardboiled.  An astute reader will pick up what I lifted from Philip K. Dick.  Particularly from A Scanner Darkly, a book that played a huge role in convincing me to sober up when I was younger (in 2001, few people had actually read it, so I felt quite safe in, ah, ‘borrowing’ from Mr. Dick).  It reflects my ongoing distrust of the collusion between psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry (no, I am not nor have I ever been a scientologist!).  It is a strangely sentimental book in some ways.  There is a lot of youthful passion in it (I had not yet turned 30 when I wrote it) and a shameless commitment to taking an anti-bullshit stance in a world overflowing with bullshit.  Little did I know that by September of 2001, bullshit would become the national anthem…
So there you have it.  A brief history of Manifesto Destination.  If you take the time to read it, I hope you enjoy it and I encourage you to hang around for the next book.

 A.C. August 22, 2013 

3 comments:

  1. Oh, they did good by that cover. Sharp.

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  2. You bet. I'll be buying the book just because of the cover!

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  3. It's a brave, forceful, entertaining book and I'm honored to play a small part in the process.

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