Confronting a writer’s text is often more enjoyable than falling into it, empathisizing with it. I’m a sensitive new age guy, but Tsaurah’s text cuts deep into one’s Reichian armor . Like Woody Allen’s Kugelmass I wanted to write myself into Flasher. I wanted to be George Michael Father Figure, her accountant, her bodyguard, and describe science to her like a child. Why is the sky blue? —refraction of light against the atmosphere at a certain angle! I confess to images of control and force- anything to stop the flow, the Fury: the rush of myth, sensuality of story and the grind of fleshy release, spillings of textual visions etched into hard pavement of the day to day. I sensed the skin on my very bones, it asked me questions. I wrote some of them down.
Tsaurah’s answers told me to stop measuring wavelengths, to “listen with the ear of my ears” as e.e. cummings once said.Flasher moves fastly forward as the narrator's many doppelgangers swerve and dodge among the people and debris of the New York City Streets, her memories and her dreams.I don’t want my salvation from dark places (he stated resoundingly), but there are no glowing crosses in the skies above my battlegrounds. Dark saints cannot save us, for we are not damned, she whispers loudly right into my ear, her hand on the back of my very neck —(blasphemy!) —they only guide us, male and female alike, not to our redemption, but our transformation. I asked Tsaurah for a quote to title the interview with and she chose wisely; some things, she reminded me again, cannot be reasoned with and are un-comparable.
"I will not Reason or Compare, my business is to create." - William Blake
Brian McFarland :
From the intrawebs:
From my thoughts:
Looking back a few years, I would have done that differently, then a few years later realize there was no way of knowing what alternative option, you would have to be the wiser self Walker Percy. Our existence precedes our essence, we are not paper cutters. Thrown into the thick of things, we make do, paddling as fast as we can, in the muck of being. Maybe this is World1 and when we are born again on World2, we will have full memories of this life, as a reference point or comparative guide post for our new beginnings…. Or will we always be left with “The truth is I don't know, I can offer no explanations or justification “?
From the text:
“Who knows what he was used to?”
“Sometimes her heart reaches out and confronts a blind wall….”
“Our existence precedes our essence”? Maybe our essence precedes our existence? How do you know? This kind of speculation has no meaning for me. Flasher is a book about transformation and change. This is what fascinates me, changing a negative to a positive, which is what finally happens in the book. In today’s popular void of cynicism, I know how Pollyanna-ish that may sound, but I don’t care. Art reflects life, not the other way around, at least for me. This morning the milk turned sour in my coffee. I threw it out, made some tea, put in four spoons of honey for sweetness, best tea I ever had. In an attempt to find my way into this interview I look up “Parthenogesis” in my father’s old 1935 Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (my favorite of the fifteen dictionaries I own). The definition is “Reproduction by the development of an unfertilized egg. Natural parthenogesis typically involves the development of eggs from virgin females without spermatozoa. It occurs chiefly in certain insects, crustaceans or worms.” How does this pertain to me? I’m certainly no virgin. However I have been accused by more than one lover of being cold and off-putting, (so much of perception is reactive —Is it not?) of having a hard crusty shell like a barnacle or crab. Yet the heroine of Flasher remains open hearted, does not become bitter or cynical, at least not for long. She may fall down, she may roll in the gutter, but then she picks herself up, puts on new lipstick and moves on to the next adventure. I despise the cultures of victimization, of he done me wrong, she done me wrong. I agree with V.S. Naipaul, To be a victim is absurd.
I play the Shriekback Nemesis video with which you begin this interview. Now I know where the “Parthenogesis” comes from. I hear the singer sing, “very little is forbidden.” In my imagination, nothing is forbidden, another reason I am a writer. The video makes me want to put on a horned mask and diddle myself or better yet find a similarly masked man to have a diddling session with. When I was in grammar school we were taught never to end a sentence with a proposition. Sometimes I think the best of learning is unlearning. My current favorite writers are John Cheever, Bukowksi and I. B. Singer.
“The truth is I don’t know, I can offer no explanations or justification.”
“Who knows what he was used to?”
Quoting lines from chapters in Flasher out of context can lead to narcolepsy or a hole in the seat of your pants. You have been warned.
A Jungian Response/Anima/Animus/Compulsion of the Other/ she exists in a world of flesh and feeling, I felt the desire, (a desire I should have long abandoned) to enter into that narrative and enforce some rationality, order, structure, some patriarchal paternity upon her, forcibly sit her down, make her listen, restrain the stream of her….
Yes, you should have abandoned this desire, as well as the concept? idea? existence? (yes, there is that word again) of rationality. Have you noticed the world recently, the suicide bombers, the starving babies in Africa? The increasing plethora of natural disasters? Our heroine cannot and will not be restrained and certainly never by any patriarchal paternity. Flasher was set in the mid 1990s, in a NYC reeling from epidemics of crack and HIV, certainly not a rational time if there is such a thing, which is exactly the point I am trying make. Damm the torpedoes and full speed ahead is the warrior’s way to face the day and then there is the way of Zen.
Testicles hang outside his body, his extension of himself, the production of his primal bits swings low and this external flesh defines his construction of himself within the world …perhaps…male genitalia , a penis, it’s inundated with myth, and code and slander and phallic description and investigation, but the balls are the place where his intimate skin wraps around his himself, balls to the wall, discuss the flesh of men, the external drooping body bag underlying their center and this coloring of their world, the difference.
It must be quite the embarrassment sometimes to have the genitals on the outside i.e. the obvious embarrassing hard-on at a cocktail party, clearly visible though your boho chinos, that lump too big to hide under a cocktail napkin, etc. Those hard-ons tell me what you are thinking or hoping for. I have known men who are not embarrassed at all by their public hard-ons. Indeed I have had my hand seized and guided in a crowded bar to that obvious lump to show me how attracted the owner of the hard-on was to me. It’s true that the prick (I dislike the word penis) is surrounded by myth and gets much attention in art and science, and I have to say while I love cocks in the flesh, erect or not, or in photos, scrotums for me hold an even greater fascination containing as I believe “the access code to eternal life.” This belief is not popular among contemporary feminists but I am not comfortable around women who do not love men or blame men for their own unhappiness. I like to think of all my lovers scrotums and all mens scrotums as magic carpets or sacred places containing all the riches of the Orient.”(see the chapter in Flasher titled Scrotums.) I have to say balls, balls, I love them all, big balls, small balls, balls shaped like boxing gloves, balls hanging from the clouds above, I love them all. The beauty of the scrotum, that tender sac within which lies such infinite mysterious possibility, is even more precious to me when I consider the scrotum in the metaphorical sense i.e. he’s got a mighty pair or he’s got brass balls. The inference then is that the owner of those balls has great daring, chutzpah, courage and that these virtues are inherent in men. Alas! in our still pathetically patriarchal culture men are considered to have these virtues to such a great extent that they are inherently stronger than women. However, these virtues are not reserved for men, far from it!
Still I have to say (please do not get me wrong here, I have no envy of the prick, I do not want my own dingle-dangle) that when someone calls me a ballsy dame, I do feel flattered.
There was a time when porn stars had names, but now the internet is filled with a multitude cornucopia of free flesh, one site: quit jerkin off to twenty second clips! But why not, why pay when adaptation saves money and quickens the release. Still…images blur into images faces to faces and there are no names, but simply the turn of a new screw —this one has a lip ring, this one hair very short, small breast in champagne glass shaped, funny dimple on the left buttock, no connection, no identity, but an aesthetic intriguement, satisfaction gained within a new unique naked body part, turn of eye, snarl of lip, snake brain touching forebrain to generate excitement in random non-events…not sure of the question…it’s about being a male target-brain..a spear chunker that babbles , a targeting computer that can form sentences, but also about the sheer surfaceness of things
I don’t/can’t, won’t believe there is such a thing as a 100% male target brain, and in terms of “snake brain touching forebrain to generate excitement in random non events,” I respond to alluring, sensual images both female and male and I am not the only twenty-first century woman I know who does this, although maybe not so many women would admit they like and enjoy porn, I don’t know, I can’t say…... However, I do believe the response is hard wired in all of us, and not necessarily gender specific. Why not, whoever you are, enjoy the fleeting image, the pendulous breast, that deep cleft between the buttocks as long as one never looses the desire for the “real” thing, the heat of skin on skin. When I write and am describing a sex act or sex acts, I want to create a sensuous prose that will arouse anyone who reads it, regardless of gender. Two of my favorite books that do this are Nedjma’s The Almond and Steve Cannon’s classic, Groove, Bang And Jive Around.
B. Mc :
Franzen: to ‘like’ is not enough, one must love..but why? Surface is an illusion, but so is depth, our paths will guide us within the sound and the fury and amalgamate the inner soul, not despite of, but because of all the chatter…what’s love got to do with it?
‘Love,” “love” an irresponsible word, and what does it mean? For one thing, experience teaches us that “love comes with no guarantees. I do have to state that I always see “love” and sex as irrevocably linked. I always make this “irrevocable” connection between love and sex, although some and perhaps many would disagree with me, because I consider all sexuality, even what some might consider as its most abhorrent forms, to be a manifestation of Eros, the need to love, the need to connect with another being.
However, there are other kinds of love than the love/sex kind, and while everything is relative, these other kinds of love also exert enormous power. I will start with love of one’s vocation, one’s calling, that is —if one is lucky enough to have a “calling.” For me, my vocation as a writer is extremely powerful, a grand passion that sweeps everything before it. I dislike the common trope, “I’ve sacrificed everything for my art.” I’ve sacrificed nothing, my vocation has given me reason to keep thinking, growing, searching, making love, masturbating, cooking and dancing through the toughest of times. I have no children, but I do have family, (described in Flasher) as well as true friends of the heart. (also described in Flasher). Their LOVE is move valuable to me then anything, to me it is the nectar of the Gods.
From the text:
Maybe I am indeed old fashioned but I believe in courtship, at least a preliminary cup of coffee or a shared doughnut. What’s your favorite kind of doughnut?
My favorite doughnut is custard crème with chocolate icing. Indeed, as soon as I finish
this interview I will take myself to the local Dunkin Donuts and buy two.
Consciousness is epiphenomenal, and after result of biochemical reactions of hormones and neurotransmitters within the brain, specific areas of the brain, the limbic system, the frontal cortex interact with each to provide the illusion of a stream of consciousness, the illusion of free will, perhaps, maybe allowing for Dennett’s “elbow room,” rooting around like pigs, forming packs, spewing forth words…
And along those lines, a poetic variance spills from her, a bumbling hyperactive narrative of stories, poetic emotions indeterminable skin-felt, river rush of emotions, at one point she mentions one word from physics, terminal velocity, can one survive on only the bread of words, exist only with a play of talking animals on a stage, a menagerie of apes banging rocks together? How can she abandon science leaving it completely out of her awareness?
As for poetic variance, I am a poet as well as a writer of fiction, creative nonfiction, erotica,book and art reviews, plus I even wrote a play. However, poetry is my heart and suffuseseverything I write. As for abandoning science, I do not. Flasher is written stream of consciousness, and “Terminal Velocity,” that is the term that came out that describes the action of the events in the chapter of that name. An overview of the book chapters would yield interests in biology (Frogs), anatomy (scrotums) plus behavioral science and the interpretation of dreams (Sleeping with the Enemy, Marrakesh.) Also I am increasingly passionate about the possibilities of neuroscience and am taking my second online brain-training course.
B. Mc :
Gary Snyder's Rip Rap Poems and George Trakl : both of these poets deal with the world of things, they utilize descriptive analogy of the natural world to convey a sense of meeting outside of a personal stream, Snyder translated Han-Shan’s Cold Mountain Poems, and those are told from the viewpoint of the mountain itself…. One can sense her need for that quiet world, a world of objects and place, of solid muteness, the clarity that comes from sitting atop a ranger station years on end…there is, of course, no sense that this pathway will ever be open to her, it is a road she can glimpse but never understand fully but perhaps gleam an inkling of because the method of transmission- the poetry is her syntax, she can listen because the language is hers, understand that silence... but maybe never know it (her “salvation” is her own, we will come to it later).
I treasure a copy of Rip Rap Poems, it has been a stalwart companion. I’m also quite fond of Georg Trakl’s work. However, to mention the “the pathway to” “the clarity that comes form sitting atop a ranger station, etc., and then say “there is no sense this pathway will ever be open to her” is absurd. Hints of this kind of clarity are threaded throughout the book as a leitmotif pointing to her growth and transformation. Re-read just for starters the chapters Vision Quest, The Year in Review, The Book Of Life, Circe in the New Year, The Wheel, The End of the World, Dating Dylan Thomas, etc.
B. Mc :
Saint Huncke, who is guilty of everything, in the end, it his intervention, her road to Damascus moment, because he alone has descended deeper into the pits, Hell, Hades and has returned with a voice, why she senses she should prevent herself from moving forward with Louis, she has already tried to talk herself out of relationships, actions before and failed, her mother, friends father cannot reach her, only Huncke waves her off, and because he has descended further she respects that….
Huncke is one of my heros for reasons that I will discuss shortly. However, in this book,‘she,” our heroine, succeeds in leaving some relationships, i.e. the writing instructor in Vision Quest, Ace in Sleeping with the Enemy and perhaps most striking in her “moving on” is her decision not to not reconcile with Steven and ultimately divorce him. Also her friends can and do influence her i.e. Ursula in the chapter, The Leopard Coat.
Hunke is one of my heroes because of his infinite honesty and his world view. Also he expresses with great success a sentiment I hoped to convey throughout Flasher. I’m quoting here from the last chapter of his autobiography, Guilty of Everything :
“Me, I’ve fucked around a lot and I’ve wasted a lot of time, but it was nobody’s fault and if
nothing else it taught me that I do need other people.”
Werner Von Braun, Rocket Man: Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death.
As quoted in Gravity's Rainbow (1973) by Thomas Pynchon; also quoted as: Everything science has taught me— and continues to teach me— strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death. Nothing disappears without a trace.
I believe the above quotes also. I hope this interview encourages the reader to read Flasher. If not I hope the interview encourages you at least to buy a doughnut.
From the intrawebs:
But most significant in my reading is Martinez’ rearticulation of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Saints are important. They are sites of contestation between hegemonic powers and those peoples subject to this hegemony. In their bodies hegemony is asserted or refuted; in their changing skin pigmentation, clothing, pronunciation, in their rotting or miraculously preserved bodies they reflect complex, multi-stranded cultural exchange. A saint can be the initially node through which a metaphysics is received; it is through the saint, situated as saints are, on the borders of orthodoxy, that a metaphysics can be subtly reconfigured, made to work for those upon which the saint was imposed. http://joehalljoehall.wordpress.com/
As the reader may not have yet read Flasher, I need to point out that the first chapter contains, among other things, references to the narrator's i.v.-using- would-be-lover. You will meet him again in a subsequent chapter. Then in one of the final chapters of the book, you meet him again. That chapter is titled, St. Huncke, and the "Saint" is the master beat story teller Herbert Huncke, the vagrant, hustler, thief, and jailbird whose vital outrageous, truth-speaking talent as a writer is legendary. You will find out that the narrator's i.v.-using-would-be-lover is in "real" life Huncke's long time closest friend and companion Louis R. Cartwright. Louis was found with his throat slashed in East River Park, shortly after my last phone conversation with Herbert.
I have to say I mostly agree with the above quote, the Martinez quote. I am mostly agnostic although I am of Jewish descent, it is in my DNA, and I take some pride in that, We Jews don't have saints. We go in for prophets and holy men. In my perhaps skewered and balls-to-the- wall view of things I find them to be the same, saints, prophets, holy men. The part of the quote I disagree with is the very last part, the "made to work for those upon which the saint was imposed." I don't know if saints (prophets, holy men) are "imposed" They find you or you find them, and when that happens it's a lucky day. The apparition of the saints in my life I would describe as metaphysical in the purest sense. Herbert Huncke is indeed one of my saints, so is Isaac Bashevis Singer who I never met. Singer has blessed me with all his writing, especially his depictions of the perils inherent in the temptations of the flesh. I wonder how many writers, if asked to name their patron saints, would name other writers. This is something I shall never know. I only know that my saints, prophets, holy men pour me the good wine and keep my feet from getting wet.
I highly encourage you to read/confront/savor :
And more :
This past weekend I had the chance to help out with the RL table at the BKBF and it was awesome. I heard some funny stories, met some awesome writers and learned that sometimes smart, intuitive people make the hard choice and turn down gigantically successful books because they know you can’t fake enthusiasm and hope to do right by an author.
It was an opportunity to look behind the curtain and was an invaluable learning experience. Besides the chance I had to talk with the great volunteers who manned the booth and turned out to be some of the earliest champions and nuts-n-bolts creators of this site, it was a glimpse into what can seem like a pretty insular world, that of publishing as a whole.
For those who’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Richard Nash, the man is like a tweeked out puppy. In a good way, meaning he’s got tons of energy and when there are people who want or need his time he’s ready to give generously, unless the Steelers are playing. Because of who he is, Richard has built up a lot of good will in the world of indie publishing and friggin’ knows everyone, or it appeared that way based on the line of people queued up for the man’s ear. One thing I noticed, was that everyone who knew Richard, knew each other, in one shade or another and that got me thinking about community and what makes a site like Red Lemonade a tenable or untenable endeavor?
The simple answer is: you. The more complex answer is: you and what you can do. This community of users, readers, writers, editors, publishers and malcontents thrives or withers based on what you bring to it. So what am I saying; read heartily and comment frequently on every MS that’s posted? Yes, definitely yes, and start with my stuff. But what I’m also saying is think about ways of engaging with your fellow Fizzy-types in person, because looking someone in the eye while she points out your work’s strengths or weaknesses is way more profound than reading it on the screen.
After talking with Richard, I got a sense that many users are pretty centrally located, or at least there appear to be regional nodes of users within geographical proximity. That’s pretty fantastic, because right there you’ve got a network of people to tap into, all you have to do is reach out. For example, Richard Fulco lives in Brooklyn and he’s organizing a Red Lemonade reading on November 1st at Southside Coffee. This is something that Richard is doing on his own to put the community out there.
Think about what you can do to put RL out there, it doesn’t have to be putting on a reading. It could be orchestrating a bar crawl, or opening up your living room to members to have a discussion, or tweeting/retweeting/hastagging anything to do with RL indie publishing (see: http://redlemona.de/brian-mcfarland/blog/tweet-tweet-red-lemonade) to everyone you know. Or barring that, showing up to another member’s event that you know about and just saying hey, I’m this person from Red Lemonade, nice to put a face to a name. Everyone can do something, embrace the community and it’ll embrace you back, because none of this means anything without you.
If you are not already doing so, please follow on Twitter : @red_lemonade.
Tweets can support your publications, blog post, readings and manuscript postings here on the site, mention @red_lemonade. It's easy to see in the Mentions that way. Feel free to DM.There will be tweets from and about RL authors, indie authors, as well as community members. Every carnival show needs a barker and some priest have to sell the indulgences.Everyone is encouraged (fervently) to RT anything that strikes your fancy-pants. Fill the pitcher and let the tweets flow. Just tryin to keep the conversation lively.
As a reader-writer community it's fun to support our brother & sister indie presses along with fellow travelers who address topics of a similar vein; let the blood spill. Please recommend us to friends, family and most important your followers. This is all the noise outside the gates of the temple, if your powers and energies are more in tune with editing and commenting, stoke that fire, sharpen the quills, and continue your sacrifices to the crimson aurochs and cherry-colored angels.
The twitter feed seeks out "alternative" (still a figurin' and discussin' that) tweets on,authors, culture, philosphy,publishing, dolphinsong, literature, brains, loanwords, books, ideas, writing and books, etc and etcetera.The @red_lemonade's holy mission and sacred hope is peeking the soulful interest of Fizzy-Ones-2-Be who have not drunk the red lemonade and are still craving transcendence.
I am not going to put a spoiler-alert here, because I am not going to reveal the ending. One needs to savor Kio Stark's Follow Me Down from start to finish. Having someone paraphrase Memento is surely not as evocative as watching it. Even the ending of Tale of Two Cities has deeper resonance after reading it through. Sure, the ending of Crying of Lot 49 may piss you off, but that’s by design. The point here being that the "pay-off" at the end of the book is part and parcel of the whole experience. Follow the narrator down. Good title, indeed.
Jeff Sharlet tweeted that the book was investigative fiction, or documentary existentialism, and I responded it was hard-boiled epistemology. It does read like a Chandler or Hammett book, with the grinding rhythm of a Philip Marlowe. It appears the narrator is far more lovely than Humphrey Bogart though. Who knows for sure tho, eh? There are three aspects to the novel that resonate for me.
The first is that damned envelope. The gnawing, grinding feeling that certain objects give to you. That dogged compulsion when you put all your crap into piles a) keep b) maybe keep c) throw away ... , and then you stare at the c) pile and realize it ain't gonna happen. Or a keychain with a band logo on it. That love letter you “threw away.” Or a worry stone. The envelope comes into the story and then it sits around, it waits on the refrigerator. There is so much suspense built up simply on the opening of the damn thing. That, and the basic and furtive descriptions of place that seem to refer to actual brick buildings but also hint at some grey-scaled every-city-of-every-film-noir-filmed. Physical objects and the world of them have a power all their own within the book, a solid world that also invokes mystery, as objects and brick houses and empty fields plainly draw you in.
Second, the small interactions and descriptions of casual encounters rings very true—but how can that be? Again, no spoilers but the whole drawn out meandering mystery trail spawned by the envelope finally feels like gossamer threads , insubstantial and verging on snapping. We see only a brief glimpse of the monster behind the dumpster, Citizen Kane shadows in a rows of shadows. On the other hand—brief conversations with boyfriends, coworkers, people on the street, neighborhood guys feel real and complete, even though they comprise only a few sentences. Kio does a lot of work with stranger interactions and brief encounters. There is a sense that these fleeting glimpses of truth—well, that's all we get folks. The only real knowledge will come at you in brief sporadic spurts, randomly and most likely from an actual living breathing person. Perhaps training yourself in reading facial ticks and eye-movement might be your best and wisest move. Otherwise envelopes will lead you down rabbit holes. One cannot weave a complete tapestry of the world, these territories are not listed on the map in your pocket, trust instead that catcall from the construction worker or the brief hand and reassuring smile of a complete stranger after an earthquake. You cannot know the Master, but you can tickle his creatures, as someone once said.
Third, the character name of Madder is just fantastic. Madder—growing increasingly frustrated, Madder—growing increasingly insane, and if you say it a few times it gets a little harder and turns into Matter—the heart of things. It's one of those words that spins out based on the quirky (quarky?) turn of phrase modulated by human speech and language. In a world where brief hints guide the narrator to the next destination and warnings only increase her desire to know, the multiple meanings of this one word hint at the difficulty in such a quest. Of course, this reading is only from a reader’s point of view, the narrator herself notes the name, but never applies such relevance to it. She overlookes, perhaps, an important piece of information. Kio Stark’s use of language does make the whole trip more enjoyable tho. Indeed, certain phrases, quotable lines, and bon-mots flow seamlessly in the narration, speaking directly to the reader. There may be a tale within a tale here, where the author is using the story to teach me something about the inability to be taught something. I get madder just thinking about it.
Finally, a reviewer mentioned that the book ending will leave you either enlightened or infuriated. And it will. Either one or the other at a time as you run it run it through, stopping the film reel and playing it back in your mind. But most likely it will leave you both, because we live in a world of un-opened envelopes and small truths. That may be all we have to cling to. It may not be necessary, indeed may even be harmful, and perhaps futile, to imagine and seek a deeper story and harder truth waiting to be exposed at the end of the street, hidden in a gated field, or ...maddeningly... within someone we best not know, even if that means pasting together truth from bits and pieces, hints and allegations.
Given the circumstances we see ourselves thrown into: best to have a Red Fizzy and enjoy some music and words tonight at the Bell House, Gowanus, Brooklyn, surrounded by the empty fenced lots that inspire the novel with Kio Stark in attendance celebrating the release of her book. Tuesday,Sept 6th. 7pm.
So our online bookstore has finally gone live. Buy early and buy often: our author contracts provide for the author to get paid every month on direct sales, rather than every six months as is the industry norm, so purchases from our store help writers!
However the main thrust of this post is not to prod publishers toward that model (though it would be nice of they did) but to prod farther towards DRM-free. Why?
Well, here's a theory about DRM-free that's widely-held by advocates of DRM-free.
"Don't treat your customers like criminals."
That's true, though it's not the only reason we do it. Another theory is:
"Make something convenient for folks and they won't pirate."
Also true, though also not the only reason we do it.
The deep reason we do it is that we want you to forward the ePub to someone you think will really like it.
It's not that I trust you not to pirate it—it's that I trust you to pirate it responsibly!
Because the primary reason folks don't read a particular book isn't because it costs money (though for some folks that can be an issue), it's because it takes time, and brain power, and emotional commitment. And you don't give those things up lightly. You give them up mostly when a trusted friend advises you to.
So if I want to make new readers for Kio and Lynne and Vanessa, a good thing for me to do is give you tools. You have come to Red Lemonade and bought a book, I shoud give you the tools to get that friend of yours, that friend you believe will enjoy it, give you the tools to get her to actually read it. (Though, if you don't want to be sending them attachments, you can always refer them to our site, where folks can browse the full text of our books online for free and check out a whole community of writers similarly inspired.)
And if they do, and love it, somewhere down the turnpike they buy a paperback, or another digital download or a limited edition or the next book or a previous book or a class.
So I am empowering our readers to be advocates for the writers they love, thereby increasing readership.
And here's my gauntlet thrown down: If, as a publisher, you don't believe your writers can motivate readers to do that...then you shouldn't be publishing.
In order to ensure that Red Lemonade remains insulated from the pressure to make a lot of money now, to grow to a uselessly generic size now, we (Mark Warholak and I) have decided not to take a salary from the business. But this has been a labor of love for us, we'll continue as before to support both the site and the publisher.
This does of course mean we have to take care of our respective familiies somehow! So I'm starting to work for a rather cool start-up called Small Demons and Mark is in the process of doing the same. But Red Lemonade courses through our veins, so we'll always be here for you, fear not.
Speaking of which, we're sharing a table with Electric Literature at the Brooklyn Book Festival! Sunday Sept 18th 10am to 6pm in downtown Brooklyn. Looking for volunteers to help table, sell books, help me keep an eye on the youngest Fizzy One, my almost-four-year-old daughter. Email me if you've a little time—it's a great event to visit for the day.