Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish—a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow—to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whiskey, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested … Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.
Hunter S. Thompson
Coffee with a Heavy Side of Nostalgia

My 6-yr old was up at 6 this morning and decided he wanted to read comics. I’ve subscribed him to books like Tiny Titans, Teen Titans Go, Captain Action Cat, Superman Family Adventures, etc., but I also buy him a lot of 70’s Marvel and DC from the quarter bins.

He loves the advertisements in those latter — a box of soldiers for a dollar, whoopee cushions and x-ray specs, life-size wall posters from Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, etc. All the stuff I had as a kid. All the stuff that I have to keep explaining to him we can’t order for him, because the companies that sold them are long gone now, as are the Marvel and DC who published those books originally.

Same As It Ever Was

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to look through an archive of rare Poe manuscripts, notes, letters, and books. Among them was a copy of Poe’s first collection, for which he was paid only in copies (25 of them, to be exact), and three issues of Southern Literary Messenger, in which serialized installments of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym appeared, for which he was paid only $3 per page.

Payment in copies and payment per page are nothing new. Many still get paid that way today. But when you adjust for inflation, etc.? Poe was getting paid more.

Good morning, fellow writers. Have a good day at work…  

First edition of Poe’s NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM.View more Brian Keene on WhoSay


View more Brian Keene on WhoSay

The view from the podium for today’s event.View more Brian Keene on WhoSay

The view from the podium for today’s event.

View more Brian Keene on WhoSay

A Writer’s Prayer* by Brian Keene

I’m not a religious man, but I am “spiritual” (as I think most creative people probably are). And while I don’t prescribe to any one particular dogma or faith, there is a little prayer (or chant, if you prefer) that I came up with years ago. I always utter it before making a public appearance. It goes, "May the journey be short, and the line be long."

After I finish this cup of coffee, I’m heading to the Poe Museum in Richmond, VA, where I’m appearing today from 2pm to 5pm. I hope the journey there is short. I hope the line of folks waiting to get in is long.

*Not to be confused with “A Writer’s Prayer” by Neil Gaiman

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Us, Opus?

I missed the news that Tammy Faye Baker had died. Every time I think of her, I can’t help but remember her depiction in Bloom County. (“I think I’ll sing!”). I miss Bloom County. It was the absolute lifeblood of my teenage years, and is, along with Hunter S. Thompson, single-handedly responsible for my interest in politics and socio-issues. If kids today had Bloom County…and that sounded old. And that is the problem. Kids today couldn’t have Bloom County, because the strip was very much a product of its time. Remember Michael Jackson and Ozzy Osbourne’s appearances in town, or when Steve Dallas filmed a video with Tess Turbo? Replace those with Beyonce or Robin Thicke or Maroon 5 and hear the vast whooshing sound as the funny is sucked out of it. And while the Bush and Obama administrations are ripe for satire, they would have never responded to Bloom County with the self-effacing laughter and good will that Reagan, Carter, Weinberger, Dukakis, and other pols did. Instead, they’d have drones hovering over the dandelion patch. We were reading Bloom County in high school, but maybe we should have been reading 1984, instead.   

Batman For A Day

Yesterday was Batman Day, a nationwide celebration of the Caped Crusader’s 75th birthday. My 6-year old and I celebrated by watching Batman: Brave and the Bold, listening to my old Power Records Batman book & records that I had as a child in the 70s, playing with his Imaginext Batman figures and playsets, and then heading off to Comix Connection, where he saw cosplayers and got a free mask, cape, and comic (along with the latest issue of Tiny Titans, and — for Daddy — the latest issue of Moon Knight and the tpb of Jericho Season 4). On the way home, my son, who just spent a week at Disneyworld and Legoland, said, “Batman Day is the best day ever!”

And so it was. 

Stuck In The Middle With You

Coke or Pepsi. Left or Right. Marvel or DC. Fox News or MSNBC. Rush Limbaugh or Rachel Maddow. Giants or Jets. Muslim or Jew. Catholic or Protestant. Progressive or Conservative. Facebook or Tumblr. “Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right. Here I am. Stuck in the middle…fuck you.” 

New Monsters

Finishing a vampire short story for Christopher Golden’s new anthology. Was on a monster panel at NECON over the weekend. My peers thought the “next new monster” would spring from bio-engineering and GMO foods, a new twist on Cronenberg’s “body horror”. And maybe so. Chuck Wendig and Craig Davidson are already doing some neat stuff in that direction.

But I think we’re also going to see new fictional monsters stemming from the overwhelmingly increasing tribalism that the human race seems content to wallow in. Left vs Right. Coke vs Pepsi. Ravens vs Giants. Progressives vs Conservatives. FOX vs MSNBC. Muslims vs Jews. Marvel vs. DC. Shout at each other until everything comes to a screeching halt. Build walls around your individual fiefdoms and refuse to consider the other side’s views. Let xenophobia and tribalism turn society into a mirror image of the Mad Max movies. New monsters spring forth as a result.