January 29, 2013

Floating Robes Interview with A Serious Writer!

My apologies, Laurence Stern (1713-1768)!
So, hello, we are here today with A Serious Writer. He's known for his frankly limited and indecipherable body of work such as 'My toenail clippings are stuck in the sink!' and 'I wish I had my Rambuttan shaven years ago'. I met up with him in the lobby of Diepvaart's Staind Sheats Youth Hostel to talk about writing, art in general and infamy that comes with being an obscure literary genius.

First of all, why do you insist on being A Serious Writer? Why not use your real name?

You know, man. I don't want to label myself, you know. I'm, like, you know, a free spirit, one with the universal spirit. One morning I might wake up feeling like a Phil, you know, so I will be a Phil. Some other day, I'll be Joe and the day after that I'll be Ralph. And some days I'll be a John. You know, stop labelling me, man!

Fair enough. How would you describe your work to an audience that has never read it?

Deep, man, very deep. An audience that never read my work? How do you mean that exactly, because, you know, some people may already be familiar with my work through, you know, like, the universal train of thought. It's all out there, you know, all these... ideas... that I've had, they're not mine... you know... just... stuff...

Oookay, so where do you get your inspiration?

Everywhere, man! The truth can be everywhere, even in that cockroach right there, crawling up your chair, you know. It's all One Big Universe, One Big Thing that just sort of crawls and slithers and makes you think, you know. Like... all connected.

Your work has been described as 'non-sensical' and 'utter trash'. How do you feel about that?

You know, man, I am God, sometimes, because sometimes I'm the Devil and sometimes I'm just this Spirit in the Sky that sort of speaks through a maiden fair on a hilltop in a storm, you know. Nobody has to 'get' it, but it's out there.. you know, blowing in the wind... everything is just so... real... Maybe that's it: I'm just too real!

Your work is not very well known. Of your last book 'Molly went over to the counter and bought a container of milk and a popsicle' no copies were sold. How do you explain that?

My work is not for the masses, man! I don't cater to the prole... proletariat! My work is a window to the Soul of the Universe. The deep-seeded feelings of every human being on this planet, a Testament to the Human Condition throughout the ages! I am the Translator of the Will of the Universe, I speak of Planets and the Great Devourer of Worlds! I am The Man with the Tongue of an Angel and the Mind of the Common Man!

But the common man doesn't read your work.

I bet they would, man, I bet they would, if they would just, you know, stop filling their minds with mind-numbing commercials and game-shows and reality TV and fantasy books about little boys growing into wizards. When all of that drops away, you know, when they have nothing left but the bare minimum, when all entertainment has ceased, you know, then they'll read my book....

Who would you list as your greatest inspirations?

Oh man, that's so square! No man, I don't read other people's books. I keep my mind clean, you know, a Vessel for the Soul of the Universe. I don't want to poison my brain with, like, other people's shit.

Okay, I think that's all the time we have for today. Is there something you'd like to share with the people?

Yeah, man, just for them to, like, you know, Keep It Real. And to flush... every time... that shit is disgusting! Peace out.

January 26, 2013

Why It Kicks Ass: the Life of Pi!

Tiger eat Pi or Tiger eat Fish; it's one of the deeper
questions in life!
(No spoilers ahead; it's a guy in a lifeboat with a tiger. Which spoilers are you looking for?)

Okay, about to kick in one of my famous open doors, but Life of Pi truly kicks ass. I went to see it the other day and although I wasn't quite as blown away as I expected to be, I slowly discovered it was just the kind of story I would like to write! And therefore, it kicks ass.

For the ones who have lived in a cellar for the past few months: Life of Pi is the story of a young man (Pi) who leaves India with his family and the animals of his father's zoo to settle in Canada. Around the Mariana Trench (the deepest point on Earth) the ship sinks in a major storm and Pi finds himself in a life boat alone BUT for a dangerous tiger, hilariously called Richard Parker (after the hunter who caught him).

Throughout the next two hours, Pi needs to find a way to co-exist with the tiger. Of course, at first they try to kill each other, but slowly a sort of symbiotic relationship starts to develop between the two. In the meantime all the stuff happens to them that happens to anyone stuck on a raft in the Pacific. Sunburn, hunger, thirst, hopelessness, hallucinations. But also wonderful moments of hope and wonder (the scene with the jellyfish is be-eau-ti-ful!)

Now, I've never read the book before I heard of the movie. I'm not very attuned to all the contemporary, fashionable writers out there. Hell, I just bought two books, published first in 1972. So, you could say, I'm pretty late adaptor. The book is from 2001, written by Canadian writer, Yann Martel and received numerous accolades.

The movie was done by Ang Lee. So we're expecting some pretty amazing pictures and we're not disappointed. The photography is wonderful, the CGI spectacular. Simply amazing.

The actors are devoted and it shows. Suraj Sharma's Pi is wonderful and intense with the sort of boy-ish charm you'd expect from a role like this. Please get this guy an Oscar, really. If only because he was acting in nothingness for two hours (the tiger is CGI).

But what makes the story so great is the fact that carefully interwoven is a deep understanding of religion and why we believe (God, Allah, the numerous gods of Hindoeism).

Cool thing about this movie is, it deals with religion in the beginning of the movie. But then the whole religion-thing drops from view. It is only slightly touched upon at the end and then comes the wonderful conclusion! In one sentence! It's so subtle and elegant, if feels like a slight tap on the shoulder. This makes Little House on the Prairie feel like a run-in with the business end of a sledge hammer!

And one other things I was pleasantly surprised about: this is NOT Old Yeller all over again! The relationship between tiger and man evolves into a natural symbiotic relation, but never a friendship! There's also no overly emotional ending to their relationship. It's all very adult and low-key. Kudos for that! Last thing we want is blubbering 40-year old women all around us, do we?
Even if you don't like religion and are just into a good movie, go see it because of the photography, the CGI and the excellent acting. Believe me, I choose an indie horror flick over a mainstream big budget block buster any day, but this was one that blew me away!

Highly recommended.


January 22, 2013

About Winter and the Slowness of Writing

Winter... I wish I was here.

I just gotta get this off my chest, okay. And you'll excuse if for once I write a personal message on my blog. After all, it IS ... MY blog!

See how I changed the picture to the center instead of the left. I can do that! IT IS MY BLOG!

Right, so here goes.

I recently finished another story. A 9000-word yarn about a guy who slowly transforms into another guy who turns out to be a... ah well, if I ever get it published you can read it. I was really psyched about it and even thought of making it 10.000 words and sending it off to an agent or something.

But I have several stories out at various magazines, most of which I found through Duotrope (you know that one, right?). One of them was for the Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (Aus) to which I have been submitting on a regular basis, but never got in. But then, I got an e-mail from ASIM that my story got through to the second reading round! Woohoo! I was even more psyched!

For three days I floated on this purple cloud and the world was filled with unicorns and leprechauns (the good kind). I didn't even minded my day job. It would be great to put ASIM on my CV.

But after three days I got the news from them that my story did not make it past the second reading round. As always I got a nice personal e-mail with some ideas about how to improve the story. But still I was pretty down.

Luckily, I'm past all the depression that rejection brings. I got rejected so many times and then I got accepted many times as well (I wish I could say one evened out the other, but no...). So I know I'm an okay writer and this new story probably will do great. And the other story I'll revise and send in to some other place and get it published as well.

Maybe it's because it's winter, but this one really hit me hard. Just the thought I'll have to go back to this old story I wrote in 2009 and rewrite at least the first chapter just makes me extremely tired. Then there's two new stories that need revising for a second time. The process of writing is so extremely slow, sometimes!

That's when I think back of my photographer days and recall how you could see the result of the photo straight away on the back of the camera! Wonderfully quick! Instant gratification!

But writing is different. It takes a 1000 words to set a scene, explain a character, describe a situation. It is slow, it is thoughtful, it is intense. It takes endurance and stamina! And little by little you'll see something you created! And if you do it well others will see it too. And if you do it really really really good, they will pay you for it!

So, the point I'm making is to never give up, because it IS a slow process. And the slowness is what makes it great! If it was easy, everyone would do it! See what happened to photography?

Every Tom, Dick and Harry has a nephew with a digital camera that does their marketing ad-campaign for next to nothing. Okay, that was very 2003, BUT YOU SEE MY POINT!

Writing is slow and difficult! DEAL WITH IT!

 Marcel out!


January 15, 2013

The Darkness Within now available!

The new horror anthology
The Darkness Within!
Available Now!
Okay, I'm not going to make excuses. I've just been very lazy lately. And the holiday-season did not help with me finding the time to write a blog post. And I'm not going to make a New Year's Resolution about blogging more. Honestly, I hope we are past that. I do wish you all the best of health and a lot of reading/writing pleasure in 2013!

AND... I do have something extremely nice for you to start the year off with! Some time ago I send my short, short story The Faces of the Dead (1600 words) in to this little publishing house called Indigo Mosaic and it was accepted for the horror anthology THE DARKNESS WITHIN. Recently I received the cover art, so now I can show you what it looks like. Also, as of today...


Woohoo! So I beg of you all (I'm on my knees, pictures available on request) to have a quick look and get your card out! Here, I'll send you the link: The Darkness Within on Amazon!

As the title already gives away The Darkness Within deals with the horror that lurks in the darkness within. It could be in a house, a person or even a ping-pong ball (as it stated in the submission call), but the darkness within is an ever-present force in our lives and invokes some real feelings of dread and horror. That's what attracted me in the submission call in the first place and it's why I URGE you to check it out now!

Indigo Mosaic is a small but determined publishing house with some great upcoming projects in the speculative range (sci-fi, horror, fantasy). For 2013 they have 4 anthologies planned to be published and the first closing date is on the 30th of January. The rest is later on in the year. As a writer, I URGE you to check it out. Might be a nice way to get your story out there.

So, there we have it, my first post of 2013 and it's already a good one! I'm sure 2013 will bring us all lots of success and happiness.

Keep writing,


November 5, 2012

WTF Movie of the Week: The Cabin in the Woods!

"There's zombies and there's Pain-Worshipping Zombie
Red Neck Torture Family. They're two very different things."

Okay, so I'm a busy man. Or maybe I've just been lazy lately. But last night I finally got to see what the rest already discovered ages ago: The Cabin in the Woods is a surprisingly good movie. And I say 'surprisingly good movie' because I think it's too early to use 'effing modern classic'.

Expecting to see some teenagers get slaughtered in a ...yes... cabin in the woods, I settled myself in front of the TV only to find the movie opened with a couple of middle-aged button-down office clerks (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) talking about their private lifes. Flashes from Severance came to mind, but that was all quickly disspelled when the teenagers actually showed up and they actually went on a weekend retreat to a ...yes... cabin in the woods.
They quickly meet the odd stranger telling them the cabin isn't safe... blablabla... but they go anyway. In the cabin they find a strange book with words in Latin that they read out loud and ...wait for it... the undead rise... Since you're here on a horror blog I guess you can fill in the rest of the movie.

BUT... snap back to the two office clerks who take bets over which of the evil monsters the teenagers are actually going to conjure up, who seem to orchestrate the whole damn mess and who pull mysterious levers when one of the teenagers die. So, there should be something more to this movie than meets the eye, right?

Right! The movie ends about half an hour early when the last of the teenagers supposedly dies and the office clerks open up a batch of brewski's and champagne. All is well. But wait, the mysterious red phone rings and one of the office clerks feels the blood drain from his face (one of Bradley Whitford's finest moments). And then all hell breaks loose. Literally!

Trying not to give away too much: the rest of the movie I watched with open mouth!

Everything about this movie is just right. The tension and suspense in the Cabin holds a candle to Halloween, the deaths of the teenagers are done in gory, 80's-style, the humour is on a par with Scream (remember that one?) and some of the most beloved characters in the horror genre make their appearance including a very ominous version of Pinhead holding not a cube, but a puzzle sphere.

The movie's most lovable character has a huge roll, which is a joy to watch (Donnie Darko's Fran Kranz) and the office clerks are well over-acted, especially Bradley Whitford who keeps complaining he would've liked to have seen the kids killed by a Merman.

For once I DID NOT get the feeling the writers dug themselves in a hole of which they couldn't dig themselves out anymore, as so often is the case with these type of movies. You can clearly see the writers had a clear vision and goal as to where they wanted this movie to go and they had a lot of fun making it. And it shows!

A solid movie. Don't be surprised to find this on the classic list one day.

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