Yes, I’m still alive. My last post was five months ago and I’m sorry for the long wait, though it may not seem that long. It doesn’t for me. I’ve been busy and that’s a good thing.
I’m currently working on two rewrites for two new novels. I’m excited about them and can’t wait to put them in your hands. The first is titled Sins of Iniquity and the other is Bone Cay. They both feature a new reoccurring character, Leroy Cutter, a Detroit homicide detective hell bent on self destruction while trying to protect the city he loves, but often doesn’t love him back. As it stands, Leroy will appear in four novels in total, but if all goes well, he may continue on. I guess it all depends on how well he is received.
There is a Season is out of print, but is available on www.channillo.com as a subscription serial. I recommend dropping some pennies on Channillo. Not only do you get to read There is a Season, there are also some fine writers on the site producing great stories. One of my favorites is a series called A Touch of Noir. Check it out.
I’m often asked what’s happening on the movie front with The Final Round. Well, it’s a rollercoaster that I’m not really involved with and nor do I want to be. Investors come and go, producers come and go, but the core team is still going strong, so I’m told. The project is still alive. The movie business is a dark corner in a nightclub where shady deals are made. I prefer the dance floor. Until then, the book is still available. If you haven’t read The Final Round, then what are you waiting for? It’s a five star book written by a one a star man and it has a really cool cover. Seriously though, The Final Round is a fantastic read that might inspire a reader or two. Instead of handing out candy on Halloween, you can hand out copies of the book. It also makes a great Thanksgiving centerpiece and goes well with gravy. And, of course, there’s Hanukkah and Christmas. So many opportunities!
You can pick The Final Round up on Amazon in trade paperback or Kindle. Give it a read or, at the very least, buy it. As much as I enjoy hearing from people that have read the book, I enjoy even more the cha-ching of a purchase.
Finally, summer is over, fall is upon us, and soon winter will kill us. Enjoy it while it lasts. I will in my own way, which normally involves bourbon. I highly recommend it.
Anyway, as I move to rewrite mode, I’ll be a ghost, but be strong. I’ll be back toward the end of the year for my New Year perspective. Thanks for reading.
Happy Halloween, Thanksgiving, and all that jazz.
Brass balls, balls of steel, big ones, they’re all gone. In fact, nobody has any balls anymore. You’ve been neutered by technology, by peer pressure, by industry standards, by political correctness, by pseudo-manners, by boundaries, by safe zones, by candy-shell egos and soft hearts. The world has kicked the sack of the last great bearer of balls and now you suffer. You suffer a milk-toast existence where no one takes chances.
You live mediocre lives, dredging out your being, nine to five, Monday through Friday, home in time for dinner and a show (primetime laugh tracks and editorial news), paying bills while hiding behind virtual selves on an imaginary planet fueled by fiber and bandwidth. You care less about the hot blood pumping through your veins and care more about the cold gigabytes streaming through your homes.
Tweets, statuses, selfies and snapchats, are today’s headline news for the faint of heart. The meme is a dullard’s propaganda and substance a waste of time. No one is a critic and everyone is a critic, but the criticism has no foundation. It’s meaningless and your words drown in the pouring rain, soaked with bitterness, disappointment and boredom. So, you play it safe and everyone you come in contact with plays it safe and nothing gets done, no great art, no great movements, no history, no future, no true love.
Having likes has taken precedence over admiration, real love, real friendship, real life. In an effort to connect, you’ve become more disconnected. You’ve become more opinionated in a virtual world that doesn’t care about opinions. You shout from your couches, but no one hears you. Real life passes by and you smile and wave to her, hoping she doesn’t stop to talk. And what about real life? She’s a bitch. She’s always been a bitch and she always will be. But she has to love you, because you love her. So, you walk on eggshells around her rather than forcing yourselves upon her, because that would be wrong. You are a neutered society, eunuchs no longer having the ability to create, to master, to live passionately. Woe to you oh lost tribes of the human race! Woe to your children, to your marriages, to your friendships, to your works, to your cultures, to your cities on hills and to the future! Ask not for whom the brass balls of history toll, they toll for thee.
On February 1st, I announced to all my friends and family and acquaintances that I was shutting down my private Facebook page at the end of the month. However, I was keeping my public page, my professional page, active and if anyone wanted to stay informed or might possibly want to send me death threats, then they would have to like my professional page. Now some may say that this was just a way to get more people to like my page, which by the way is www.facebook.com/gwallisonjr. But they are wrong. This blog is a way to get people to do that, though. So, click the link above and join the party. I did, however, have some friends ask why I was shutting down my private page. And to put it plainly, it’s to save the work.
Many reasons went into this decision. Among them was the simple fact regarding privacy. I had grown tired of putting my life out there for display. I know that I didn’t have to, but in order to stay engaged and, dare I say, relevant, you have to put yourself out there. It was exhausting. Additionally, anyone could search or stumble across my page despite the privacy settings I had in place. If you were a friend of a friend, then you could possibly see just about everything pertaining to my life. That’s out there, man, and I wasn’t digging it.
But the absolute must do reason is the work. Social media is a great tool. It’s great for staying in touch with people around the world. It’s great for sharing life experiences. It’s great for promoting or selling. But it is also a trap.
I work in a peculiar vocation. I am a writer. I create worlds with words. I don’t paint. I don’t make films. I don’t dance. I don’t sing. I don’t play an instrument. I am a writer. Social media for other artists is a form of display. However, for the writer, it is a vacuum. It sucks the mojo from our souls, deflates the muse, arrests the spirit. Most of social media is made up of words and when I, as a writer, use my written words on something other than my art, I waste them. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was robbing my own house.
I don’t mean to sound pretentious. I’m far too self-loathing to do that. But it is true that if you talk about it, you lose it. My thoughts, fears, observations, hatred, love, and anger belong on paper; not Facebook. And this is why I’m shutting down. To save the work.
When my son was five years old, my wife and I attempted to teach him how to ride a bike without training wheels. I say attempted because he was a hard case. My son had a flare for the dramatics. We called him the sheriff as he would consistently point out whatever you were doing wrong with a sort of Shakespearean rebuke of word and gesture. He was also bullheaded about everything, almost militant. But he was also a fun child, always wearing some sort of costume and forever in make believe. All this made a perfect dramatic soup, if you will. For example, when he were in a moment of despair, be it injury or mental anguish, he would dramatically toss his body upon the ground and cry out with such conviction you couldn’t help but applaud. So, there we were, attempting to teach him how to ride a bike minus the training wheels.
Naturally, the boy fell a few times. Nothing serious, a few minor drops. He was still on board with the idea of careening down a street with nothing but two wheels and steel underneath him. I kept encouraging him and telling him that there was freedom in bike riding, that all the kids in the neighborhood had bikes, and that it was the best thing he could ever do with his life. Then it happened. He biffed and he biffed hard. We’re talking dirt, gravel and grass. He flailed around like a dying fish, crying out his woes for humanity. His heart was a tiny Hindenburg bursting into flames, taking all his hopes and dreams with it. That was the end of it. He wanted nothing to do with bike riding ever again. It was stupid.
Revenge of the Sith
I introduced my son to Star Wars as early as possible. It was big when I was a boy and I looked forward to sharing it with him. He took to the magical world of Jedis and Siths and droids and Stormtroopers and Wookies with such little effort, it was as if he were born to be a fan. We wore out the VHS copies of the original trilogy and when the first two prequels came out on DVD, he devoured them. So, when Revenge of the Sith was released in theaters, it was a big deal. He was old enough to see Star Wars on the big screen for the first time. It was all he talked about. He couldn’t stand the wait. My son was in a constant pee pee dance. I’m not exaggerating. He would get so excited that I would have to ask him if he needed to go to the bathroom. He didn’t, but man, that’s an excitement I wish I still had. But, there was still the issue of the bike.
I don’t know about you, but I thought it almost criminal if my child didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. His sister could and she was the clumsiest little girl I’ve ever known. Yet, somehow, the concept escaped him. No, that’s not right. He understood the concept. What he had was a bad case of the can’ts.
He was held back by fear. You know the fear I’m talking about. The fear of injury, the fear of disappointment, the fear of people making fun of you, the fear of failure. This was a defining moment in his life and he didn’t even know it. And it was up to me to lead him through it. This was his hero’s journey, his reconciliation and acceptance off the power of the Force. This was his destiny. So, I did what any good dad would do. I told him that he couldn’t see Star Wars until he learned how to ride a bike.
This is one of my favorite memories of him as a little boy. Obviously, he was very upset by this new contingency and if he had a jury of his peers to argue before, I’m sure they would have rendered a favorable verdict on his behalf. But, alas, he was alone and I was a hard judge. The question “Why?” was asked repeatedly, as I recall. Also, it wasn’t fair, according to the sheriff. Eventually, he accepted his fate and with tears streaming down his face and wailing like a fire engine, this little boy rode his bike in a circle for a half-hour in the driveway, never falling not even once. Little did he realize how strong the Force was in him. I wish I would have videotaped it.
The Force is also strong in you. I think it was Henry Ford who said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t. Not even you.
If you happen to find yourself in southeastern Michigan, around the Bloomfield Hills area, and have a hankering for some art, then I suggest a visit to the Janice Charach Gallery. Now until February 18, 2016, the gallery is presenting a collection of Detroit artists celebrating the human figure called Exploring the Figure.
There are some familiar names among the artists showing at the gallery. My favorites, Bowen Kline and Tony Roko are there, but I was elated to discover a new name among the collections that I had not heard before, as well. And that is always part of the experience when visiting a gallery.
Kline had a busy year in 2015 and it shows with his most recent works on display. Not only has he been keeping busy with portraits, something that he excels at, but he has revisited the nude, a practice that really set him apart from other artists early in his career. He has some breathtaking pieces at the exhibit that, I’m sure, will find a home rather quickly. Kline continues to push the boundaries of expression through his art, combining techniques and incorporating literature in his pieces. The experience can be a reflective moment and maybe even revolutionary, depending on where you are in life at that particular moment when looking at a Kline piece.
The exhibit includes paintings, sketchings, as well as photography from some of Detroit’s most exciting artist. And, of course, each work of art is for sale.
Now, you’re probably wondering who the new discovery was. I wasn’t going to leave you hanging. I don’t know much about this artist, but I really enjoyed the work. The artist goes by the name Slaw and I was drawn to every piece on display at the gallery. Such a vintage look, but so fresh, with zero irony. Simply put, I loved his work. Well worth the time and effort to go out to Janice Charach Gallery.
Congratulations on making it to 2016. It promises to be an interesting year. Here in America, we have the election and the circus that leads up to it. Always a guarantee for a good time. Also, around the world, it’s the same ol’ shit, but with the 24 hour news coverage, the world is ending. But that’s neither here nor there.
Let’s talk about what’s coming up in the world of books.
I just finished the biography, John Wayne: The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman. It was a glorious book and I cannot recommend it enough. If you like Hollywood biographies, you cannot go wrong with one about the Duke. People are much more complicated than their persona, even the famous.
I’m halfway through the first draft of Bone Cay, the second book in the Lee Cutter series. The first book, Sins of Iniquity, is with agents right now. Hopefully, we can get that bastard out this year. Bone Cay, on the other hand, is coming along nicely and I’ll finish the first draft by the end of the month. Lee Cutter is turning out to be an interesting and complex character and I’m enjoying the ride. I’m sure readers will agree.
The Final Round is a five star novel based on the incredible true story of heavyweight boxer Billy Miske. It’s a heartbreaker. Not only did I write it, but I read it. I think it’s pretty good. If you don’t win a free copy, then I suggest buying it. The book makes a great gift, too. Also check out my novella, There is a Season, available on Kindle and in paperback.
That’s it for the New Year. I’ll be missing in action until the first draft of Bone Cay is complete, but I read all my messages and emails, even the hateful ones. Keeps me grounded. I hope you have a great start to 2016 and remember those that left us in 2015. Unless, of course, that means they decided that they couldn’t be around us anymore and don’t return our phone calls. In that case, the hell with them. Who needs ’em?
This is an interview I did recently about writing, filmmaking and Detroit.
Gary Allison is the author of the book The Final Round; here is a link to his website:
Q: What made you start writing in the first place?
A: I’m not sure. I like stories. My family told stories, some good, some bad, some repeated. I wrote as a teenager. It was garbage. Writing was for sissies and I’d be damn if anyone called me a sissy. The teenage years were secret notebooks of cringe inducing plots, incomplete philosophical assaults birthed from a black hearted, greasy teen whose mind was preoccupied with getting laid or lying about getting laid. They were awful years: the pimpled years.
Once eighteen, the writing stopped. I joined the Navy and proceeded to indulge in worldly customs that mainly involved experimental liver endurance tests. I was an iron man. When I wasn’t working at defending this great nation of ours single handedly…
View original post 1,988 more words
Since the publishing of my novella There is a Season, I’ve received letters and emails, as well as had conversations with readers about the book, the origins of the story, and how it has impacted lives. I’ve enjoyed each and every one of them, good and bad, but mostly the good.
I thought I would write an article about the book, answering common questions and addressing aspects of the book that usually come up when talking about it with readers.
There is a Season was my first long form story. It’s a novella because it isn’t long enough to be a novel, nor is it short enough to be a short story. I like novellas, but I didn’t start out writing one. My hope was to have a novel; however, during the writing process, I realized that it was not to be. The best part about writing a novella is that it’s great practice for a novel. Forty-thousand plus words is no small feat, and it prepares you for the grandness of a novel, which I eventually wrote with The Final Round.
I’m often asked if There is a Season was based on a true story. I’m happy to say that it was not. Although, it was inspired by bad news that ran wild with my imagination.
The character of Tom Hatcher was tromping through my head for years before I sat down to write the story. I had the idea of a man that had everything and was living the American dream, only to have it snatched away by tragedy. Often the idea mirrored my worst fears and other times, it had a life of its own. Then one day, a very good friend of mine called and told me that doctors had diagnosed him with cancer. If you’ve ever had a close friend or family member share this sort of news, it has the ability to hit you square in the jaw, making you dizzy and sick with fear.
As I dealt with the news in my own way, Tom Hatcher kept knocking on my door. I didn’t realize it then, but he was also my muse and was telling me that I needed to write his story.
My friend had it all: a wonderful family, great job, a nice home in the country, friends everywhere he turned. He was living the American dream and loving it. The fear that swept through everything when he was diagnosed was unavoidable. Yet, my friend was a rock. Eventually, after surgery and treatment, he was declared cancer free, and all was well.
Yet, Tom Hatcher continued hounding me.
Finally, it was too much. His consistent knocking and nightly badgering was becoming a problem. He insisted on me telling his story, but I had a problem. Tom Hatcher didn’t have cancer. He was a picture of health. He was climbing the ladder of success and enjoying the ride. I knew something bad had happened to him, but I had no idea what. That is, until I took a look at his family.
Cancer is a terrible disease. I’ve lost family members and friends to it. I’ve watched family members and friends battle it. I’ve heard stories of triumph and defeat. Even the triumphant stories are terribly gut-wrenching. It’s something that just about everyone in the world has dealt with in one way or another. And I was going to make Tom Hatcher deal with it, but as a powerless bystander.
Tom’s daughter, Tiffany, is a precocious six years old. She’s adorable, friendly, instantly liked, and well loved. Giving her cancer wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. The only way I could show Tom Hatcher overcoming his greatest obstacles was to destroy the very thing he loved the most.
I had no idea how the story was going to end. I didn’t outline. I only had a vague idea of how Tom was going to come out in the end. Ultimately, I was just as surprised by the ending as every reader who has written to me. I cried, also, and my heart broke to pieces. It was a magical moment as a writer, but a horrible one as a reader.
There is a Season is a tragic tale, but I didn’t want to end on a tragic note. Some readers have disagreed with my choice, but in order to show Tom’s growth as a man, I needed to carry it through.
Another aspect of the novella that many have written to me about is the religion woven throughout the book. Some were pleased, even happy with its message. Others were disheartened by it. What readers don’t understand is that There is a Season is not a religious book or story. I didn’t sit down with the thought of writing a message story. I had no purpose other than to tell the story of Tom Hatcher. Religion just happened to be a part of it.
I don’t consider There is a Season to be a spiritual book or Christian fiction. It is merely the story of one man’s tragedy and how he dealt with it. What is important to note, however, is that no one in There is a Season is perfect. They are all flawed characters, just as it is in real life. And we all react accordingly.
There is a Season is a special book for me as it was my first. It is also special because it has had a positive impact on readers. A writer can only hope for such praises.
For the summer, this little book is at a special low price of $0.99 for Amazon Kindle users. If you haven’t picked it up, give it a shot. It’s worth the time.
Thanks for reading.
A Polished Token
By Gary W. Allison
West of the rising sun
My future, shining on
My life, just a con
California, full of fun
Playing a game
One in a hundred win
I could be wrong
Probably a million
A rundown motel
Hollywood high noon
An old woman whistles
A forgotten show tune
Driving wealth and fame
A brush with a great one
It’s just the same
California, full of fun
Write on, right on
One in a hundred win
I know I’m wrong
It’s one in a million
Getting a break
Or getting broken
Life is at stake
Fame a polished token
Write on, right on
East of the setting sun
My life, just a con
California, full of fun