July 1, 2012
Categories: crazy controversial nutty weird . Tags: book discussion, fiction book reviews, writing ideas . Author: Arnold Snyder . Comments: Comments Off on FICTION BOOK REVIEWS & THOUGHTS ON WRITING
Thanks to the courage of women like Caitlyn Jenner, our society now recognizes that God does occasionally make mistakes—notably, accidentally putting the souls of women into men’s bodies, and vice versa.
Before we criticize God’s errors too harshly, however, let’s consider how small the human embryo is when God makes his decision to infuse it with a sexual identity. Our best scientists cannot determine the sex of a new human in the womb until 18 – 20 weeks. Yet, God gets it right at the moment of conception 99% of the time.
But these small errors of God are only the tip of the iceberg. Recently, when I noticed my dog, Nemo, a 110-pound male German shepherd, was acting despondent, I took him to an animal psychologist for testing and behavioral therapy. After months of treatment, Dr. Broncluvistoish came to the conclusion that although Nemo was a male German shepherd on the outside, he identified sexually as a female poodle.
Nemo’s treatment regimen began with a trip to a canine groomer, who gave Nemo a classic poodle cut, shaving most of his torso, but leaving a tuft of fur on the tip of his tail, some little fur booties on his feet, and a bagel-shaped hank of fur on top of his head, with all of this remaining fur conditioned and fluffed to look like balls of cotton.
But that wasn’t enough. I had to retrain myself to stop calling Nemo “Nemo,” and start calling him “Fifi,” and instead of praising him with “good boys,” remembering to say “good girl” instead.
But there was still a major problem. Fifi, my good girl, was still lifting her leg to pee against trees and hydrants, as all male dogs do. Fifi’s habit of lifting her leg was due to her instinct to spread her scent higher as a warning to other male dogs that she was the biggest dog in the territory. Lifting her leg also prevented her from peeing all over her own belly if she were to attempt urinating while squatting the way female dogs do.
To correct this, Dr. Broncluvistoish recommended that Fifi begin expensive female canine hormone treatments to eliminate her male scent-spreading instincts, and also get her penis amputated and reconstructed to leave just a peehole, enabling her to pee while squatting without soiling herself. Yet, I could not find a veterinary clinic that would perform this simple operation. It was the same old story. Fifi was essentially being humiliated and victimized by the canine version of being forced to use the wrong restroom.
It is up to us to correct God’s mistakes. What we need is a more compassionate veterinary establishment that will start performing the necessary operations and hormone treatments to help our dogs (and cats!) live the lives they should have been born to live had God not screwed up. We do it for humans. It’s time we gave our pets the same love and respect.
I’m starting a GoFundMe page to raise $100,000 for Fifi’s hormone regimen and sex change operation. If I fail to raise the necessary amount, I promise to use the funds collected to enhance my own quality of life. One of God’s other mistakes is that I am actually a rich man trapped in the body of a starving writer. Please, for Fifi’s sake, and mine, donate generously.
… Writing was never work for me. It had been the same for as long as I could remember: turn on the radio to a classical music station, light a cigarette or a cigar, open the bottle. The typer did the rest. All I had to do was be there. The whole process allowed me to continue when life itself offered very little, when life itself was a horror show. There was always the typer to soothe me, to talk to me, to entertain me, to save my ass from the madhouse, from the streets, from myself.
©2013 Arnold Snyder
Hollywood is the last installment of Bukowski’s autobiographical Henry Chinaski series. It’s the thinly-disguised story of the making of the 1987 movie, Barfly, which starred Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway. The Chinaski of Hollywood is a radical departure from the Henry Chinaski of the earlier novels. In Hollywood, Hank is prosperous and content, doing what he wants, living in a comfortable house with his wife, whom he calls “my good Sarah,” driving a new BMW. Henry has it made. Read More…
― Louis-Ferdinand Céline,
©2013 Arnold Snyder
Pulp is the only one of Charles Bukowski’s novels that’s not written from the perspective of Bukowski’s alter ego, Henry Chinaski. After all the agonized and hilarious autobiographical accounts of pain, frustration, poor health and madness of his earlier novels, the great man had at last come to a subject too enormous and painful to deal with directly. This was Bukowski’s last novel, published in 1994, the same year he died of leukemia at the age of 73. As he was writing this book, he knew his days were numbered. Read More…
Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all–ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity …
— Rainer Maria Rilke,
from Letters to a Young Poet
©2013 Arnold Snyder
Charles Bukowski’s fourth novel, Ham on Rye, was written in 1982, after he had found success as a writer, moved from East Hollywood to the harborside village of San Pedro, and had established his relationship with Linda Lee Beighle, whom he would marry and stay with the rest of his life. Ham on Rye is an autobiographical novel about Bukowski’s childhood during the Great Depression, and from this vantage point of relative security and well-being and love, he could look back on the harrowing forces that formed him in a way that transforms his personal pain into a brilliant work about what it is to be human. Read More…
Concentrate on what you want to say to yourself and your friends. Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness. You say what you want to say when you don’t care who’s listening.
― Allen Ginsberg,
from On Being a Writer, edited by Bill Strickland
©2013 Arnold Snyder
A “factotum” (Latin for “do everything”) is a jack of all trades—a guy who can trim your hedges, tune-up your car, fix your leaky kitchen faucet, and build a tool shed in your backyard. As the title of Bukowski’s second novel, the term Factotum is used tongue-in-cheek. Although Hank Chinaski, Bukowski’s alter ego, describes some twenty jobs he had as a struggling young writer, he had no talent for doing anything other than writing, and he had no desire to work at anything but writing. He didn’t fit in as an employee anywhere and clearly never could—he sees the way the world works too clearly and can’t hide his contempt for his “superiors,” especially after selling a story to a top literary mag. But he had to pay the rent and buy booze. So, here he is, pushing the boulder up the mountain over and over again. Read More…
©2013 Arnold Snyder
Okay, here’s the premise of John O’Brien’s The Assault on Tony’s.
A handful of rich Republican alcoholics stop in at their favorite bar near the country club to ride out a riot. They all arrive at the bar with a couple of weapons—a Glock, a Walther, a couple of Dirty Harry .44 Magnums, a Beretta 92F. Apparently they’re always packing, but now they’re packing double and thank goodness, because the riot soon turns into Armageddon. Read More…