It's the last day of my vacation. I've had a fabulous time with family in Boston and then New Hampshire for two weeks. We've had great food, gone on hikes, been zip lining, toured caves, cooked together, laughed together, road tripped together and the younger generation all took a week of science camp together. This is very special to me because I live so far from family so it's like moving planets to get everyone together.
In addition to all the fun activities, I've also had some down time to read and listen to some podcasts and I want to introduce you to a few gems I've discovered.
I have always had eclectic tastes in art and literature. When I was developing my creative eye, I was really into absurdist theatre like Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Eugene Ionesco. The first play I ever had produced opened in Pittsburgh then was put on by a director at Hampshire College who produced it in an evening of theatre with Pinter and Beckett. Can you imagine what that felt like to a 17 year old girl to have her name on the program with Beckett and Pinter?
I'm getting back to my roots working on a new play "Divorce Party" that makes light of modern divorce. So far it's a hit with my online playwriting class. This fall I'll workshop it with my Playwriting group locally.
In addition to absurdist theatre, I was also hooked on black comedy, irreverent, anti-establishment voices. I've been thrilled recently to find some of these voices are still prolific and making waves and many share my same creative and political sensibilities.
The first I discovered was Walter Kirn who I met when I was in college and then reconnected with last year. He ended up writing about me in his latest Harper's article, Illiberal Values.
Recently, I have rediscovered Bret Easton Ellis, author of Less than Zero and American Psycho. I found out he has a podcast here on Patreon: Bret Easton Ellis Podcast
I have always been a fan of his writing because I've always loved irreverent voices and underground communities and subcultures. I've had an anti-establishment, rebellious bent in my personality for longer than I can remember, but confirmed by others who remember me. I've only listened to two episodes so far but the one I listened to yesterday as we drove from New Hampshire back to Boston was fabulous:
Bret Easton Ellis on Alex Israel - Podcast
In it, he talks about the insanity of the extreme left, the outrage culture and hypocricy of hollywood and the corporatization of speech and thought.
"Welcome to 2018 where corporate culture dictates how we express ourselves as comedians as writers as filmmakers as artists as citizens."
"We must adhere to the corporations rule book about humor about freedoms of expression what's funny what's not. As creatives, as artists it seems we can no longer push the envelope, go to the dark side, explore the taboo. Or you can I guess but that's depending if you want to feed your family "
Bret Easton Ellis is a liberal democrat, but he is also a free thinker who isn't hypnotized by the MSM narrative. He talks about his boyfriend suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and believes many people on the left are dangerously brainwashed in their echo chamber.
If you are looking for creative voices who aren't just droning on repeating what's popular, he's a great find. And of course, his old books are still fabulous. I wish writers today were taking the kind of creative risks writers like him were taking years ago.
In addition to Patreon, I'm testing out the substack platform. Many of my readers aren't interested in my opinions and essays, but they still like my fiction. Just like other of my readers like my opinion essays but couldn’t care less about fiction. Shout out to those of you who like it all or who can still enjoy part of my writing even if you don't like all of it! Hats off to you because we need more people like you to think for yourselves and not get angry about difference and thought diversity!
Free Thinkers Rock!
I'm going to be posting the serialized novel "Pleasures of the Damned" on substack as well. Those who subscribe there will only receive the novel. They won't get content to the membership essays on the blog or content on Patreon. One great thing about substack that isn't available on Patreon is that I can give away Gift Subscriptions. And so can you! So if you are enjoying my fiction and want to share it with a friend you can buy it for them! And if you are someone who has a big audience and influence who wants to help me promote my work, I might give you a subscription for free! I will also give you a free subscription if you are struggling financially, suffering from chronic illness or just super cool. I'm not in this for the money. There are benefits to asking readers to "invest" that have more to do with creative freedom than financial freedom. It's the creative freedom I'm after.
Creative freedom will lead to financial freedom, but creative freedom has to come first.
So, this is how I think the set up will work:
It doesn't matter to me how you subscribe, I just hope you do and I hope you subscribe to what you will enjoy most!
Pleasures of the Damned shares some key stylistic similarities with books like Bret Easton Ellis’ Less than Zero. It also shares qualities with Charles Bukowski's Women, Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers.
Pleasures of the Damned is about a Lydia, a free-spirited bird caught in the modern cage of dead-end job, loveless relationships and mountains of debt trying to squeeze a few last drops of life out of a catatonic world.
It's dark, funny, dirty, depressing and hopeful but most of all it's relatable and convicting. For as much as these characters look like aimless, pathetic losers, they also look a lot like you and me. Taking a step back and looking at the world we live in makes it look absurd and insane! Remove yourself from the day to day and you can see it for what it is. We are addicted to our phones, avoiding emotional attachment, working in jobs like hamsters while building up debt on impulse buys and wrecking our health with alcohol and stress. Sounds insane! It is! And here we are living it. You are. I am. And so are the characters in Pleasures of the Damned, though obviously to a more extreme level. You wouldn't read it otherwise. Stories need to be more dramatic than real life to shine that bright light on the issues.
In my research of Substack, I found some other writers of interest who are also blazing an alternate path to traditional publication through subscription based platforms like Patreon and Substack.
I listened to an interview with Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone writer and infamous accused mysoginist writer at The Exile, a job that got him in a lot of hot water last year and forced him out of traditional media. He wrote an anti-Trump book last year called, Insane Clown President. The interview was fascinating on several levels. He talks about how media has changed, particularly how it has become more biased and less objective and how reporters have become more like activists. He talks about the corporatization of media (this is a theme building momentum among writers it seems!) and he talks about his experience with self imposed exile in Russia being a badboy reporter and socially imposed exile when his bad behavior made national news and pushed him out of the "in crowd." He's writing a new book as a serialized novel on Substack called "The Business Secrets of Drug Dealing." I have subscribed both to see how he uses Substack as a tool and also because the book sounds fascinating. I think the guy himself is a douche but he does offer an unusual perspective that I'd like to witness and observe from an inside angle. Here is the free podcast. If you are a content creator or writer who isn't sure if traditional, self-publishing or subscription publishing is right for you, check it out. I think it's the future of content creation but I admit I don't really have my finger on the pulse. It's what I'm going with anyway.
#004 – Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi discusses the state of the media, his serial Substack novel, and the furor that almost brought him down
The last person I want to mention is my friend Goldmund who just started a Patreon recently to promote his photography and his writing on game. If you are interested in sexual dynamic, social skills, beautiful women and strong creative personalities, you will love Goldmund. He's a genius at generating interest in his work, a fabulous storyteller and a genuinely cool guy. He's worth checking out. Tell him I sent you!
Audio versions of my newsletter will return next week when I'm home and have access to my fancy pants microphone! These are only available to Patreon subscribers so sign up if you'd rather listen than read.
I hope you had a great summer too! Tell me about it at Kitten@KittenHoliday.com or on Twitter.