Tell Us About Your Life for Your First Book

Jeff VanderMeer • April 19th, 2008 @ 4:30 pm • Uncategorized

Pursuant to this post, I’m officially shining a spotlight (flashlight?) out there on anyone bookless who wants to be bookful. (WHAT? You say you don’t want to be bookful? Well, then, just pretend!) This is your day to dream, the way I was dreaming before my first book came out. What do you want people to know about you? Seeing as Secret Lives is finally coming out in a month or so, one winning entry will get a copy of that book. Seems appropriate.

Funny, serious, over-the-top, minimalistic. But, it should be based on something vaguely true–after all, this is also a way for me to get to know the readers of this blog a little better. Post until Wednesday and when the dust clears, we’ll settle who won. (This isn’t really a case of one-upping each other, btw. I really want to know something unique and wonderful about you!)

Jeff

So far we’ve got Larry, Matt, and Crowe:

Larry Says:
April 19, 2008 at 10:57 am »
Oh, so you want something snazzy, huh? Let’s see:

“Teachers are a society’s touchstone. From having to deal with bawling kids complaining about who got to be first in line to teen girls literally gushing to tell him about their menstrual cycles to a series of room invasions by greedy birds, Larry has seen it all. In a tour-de-force novel that exposes the painful hilarities of the US educational “system,” he cracks his knuckles multiple times down upon the knuckleheads slumbering through the school day and through life. A must-read autobiographical novel!”

Matt Staggs Says:
April 19, 2008 at 1:58 pm »
“Growing up fearfully preparing for a zombie uprising that never came after watching DAWN OF THE DEAD as a child, Matt Staggs grew to become a minor functionary in a psychiatric hospital, leader to a small clan of cats and eventually a clandestine operative in the murky world of public relations. He once fell asleep in Jackson Square Park in New Orleans, only to awake to find tourists posing for pictures over his exhausted body. Staggs swears that he finds Sea Serpent’ to be the most enjoyable phrase in the English language. His first novel, ‘Knuckles and Those Wot Cracked Em’ is a runaway bestseller among people who run away from novels and other inanimate objects.”

Crowe Says:
April 19, 2008 at 3:36 pm »
“By the time Crowe was 16, she had wrestled an adder, disappeared into a Roman canal hidden under snow, learned the secret language of rooks, and won the annual Sea Cadets’ “Knotting By Night in a Force 10 Gale” award for the second time – achievements that little qualified her to write anything at all.”

20 Responses to “Tell Us About Your Life for Your First Book”

  1. Larry says:

    Well, if I had known you wanted something like that for a contest, I would have copy-pasted this little post that I wrote a few years ago. Outside of fictionalizing my last name and changing the order of a couple of events in the last bit, all of this is based completely on things that happened between 2000-2003. Come to think of it, there literally are a few dozen more of those type of stories I need to write up at some point.

  2. Crowe says:

    @ Larry – those stories are really great. I hope you do write up those few dozen more as well.

  3. Horia Ursu says:

    after watching a big brown bear decapitate his cousin while on a peaceful trip through the forest, HNU decided to become a wrestler (which he did become), so as to be able to avoid the same fate, just in case. after a serious knee injury while in the fighting arena, he left the world of wrestling and became involved in rather unclear businesses involving weasels, crime lords and cleaning materials. this made him wealthy and bored, so he started traveling all around the world. upon returning from a hunting trip to the south china sea, he dedicated all his time to his family (a beautiful wife and a precocious five year old daughter with a deviant penchant for supercolliders) and to writing about book pornography. his latest book is an anthology of romanian fantasy translated to french, co-edited with an american friend who has no idea what that book was about, after all…

    is this what you had in mind, frog?

  4. GlenH says:

    Born in the obscure town of Tralgon things could only get better for G.A. Hewson second son of an air force man who was the second son of a air force man. Nonetheless his obscure heritage doomed him to a life of solitude – roaming the playground like the lone ranger until his nerdy traits were picked up upon by other riders of the long paddock. The friendships developed would result in idyllic lunchtimes spent discussing fishnet stockings, theology and Pratchet (with varying degrees of knowledge). Later school years saw him develop his nonexistent creative talents. This farce began with him accidently ripping off Mission Impossible (no one noticed) and ended with a story combining a giant cockroach, Marxist revolutionaries and experimental line breaks. His new book will showcase his current vocation, his excuse for a hobby and his misspent youth by including inadequate research into development theory, brains in fishtanks and humour less amusing than Andy Kaufman’s.

  5. GlenH says:

    “picked up upon” “G.A Hewson second son”

    Oh dear. The case for proof reading is made.

  6. Corey Redekop says:

    Now, I realize that as a published author – man, I NEVER get tired of that appellation – I am not eligible. However, I would like to offer my fantasy bio –

    Conceived in a barn, raised in darkness, never having known the touch of human contact, and with only the recorded cooing of his mother to keep him company, Corey Redekop spent the majority of his formative years curled in a fetal position and weeping softly. On his fourteenth birthday, he was released naked into the world, whereupon he was promptly arrested for public indecency, provided boxer shorts and sandals, and re-released by helicopter drop into the vast northern wasteland of Manitoba. There, he learned the ways of the raven, and soon became their king. Years later, Corey’s trusted legal advisor Ing-’be’toos the chipmunk led a bloodless coup against him, overthrowing what had become known in raven circles as “the dictatorship of the pale flightless one.” Corey’s remarkable first novel NEVER TRUST A FU@#ING CHIPMUNK has been praised the world over for its verisimilitude, its bravery, and its choice of font.

  7. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Yes–as long as you identify yourself as having a book out, I would very much like to hear from everyone. These are pretty amazing thus far.

  8. Alan says:

    Having fallen under the dubious influence of the written word at the impressionable age of 23, Alan F_____ vowed to one day write the kinds of stories that either a) render all other literary efforts superfluous or b) earn him obscene amounts of money. That said, he spent far too many years talking about the, quite frankly, astonishing book of tales you now hold in your hands to actually get around to writing it, until the happy convergence of several pressing gambling debts and a bout of laryngitis forced him to pick up the pen (literally; he sold his PC to pay off Claw-Hammer Carl). As someone would almost certainly have said if the publishers had bothered to send out any ARCs, ‘These stories are **** up. Seriously, seriously **** up’. A devoted exponent of the short story in all its many and varied forms, Alan F_____ may one day write a novel, but he can guarantee that nobody will ever read it.

  9. Deightine says:

    My shot at a serious one, all of the details are true if a little skewed in the direction of drama.

    As voiced by Robert Stack (of Unsolved Mysteries fame):
    “This is a story about a life, a miraculous but carelessly wrought spark brought forward in the dark to provide just enough light to see… yet never enough to guide by. Christopher Drake was born into an unsuspecting family at an inconvenient time, to parents that weren’t prepared despite previous children and did not think it possible. The family was filled with chaos, dissent and betrayal at the middle of an internal war that would prove to be world-ending for many. The descendants of Burgundian Vikings and Polish Gypsies, this was a family likely to carry debts and grudges for ages. A colorful way to begin a child’s path and it would shine through especially in his teenage years. Growing up with little external family contact, he lacked role models and began to separate into a split life. The first Christopher was a doting son and youngest of three, always hiding behind his mother’s skirt and taking up the role of inseparable shadow. Meanwhile the second entered a world of criminals and subcultures, dabbling among drug dealers, biker gangs and small hacker organizations on the still fledgling Internet. This dangerous duality would cause him to spiral further and further from grace, none of his family the wiser while he took up the mantle of many of those ostracized before him.

    Chance meetings in the night put him in contact with many of his exiled relatives and he began to see the greater, more diverse picture of the treachery that came before him… and he got a taste for it. Gradually he associated with worse and worse people in his efforts to unravel the mysteries of his heritage. He began to womanize and drink heavily while his grades suffered, slacking his way into adulthood in possession of what his counselors noted later as a ‘highly gifted but misused intellect’. This is a story of hardship, pain and remorse over past wrongs; filled with rage and self-loathing as a young man tries to stitch together a torn soul by putting words to paper. A story of that life’s misdeeds… and how it was saved by a jaded femme fatale from a distant country seeking completeness in the arms of a madman. A story about- Well, you get the picture.”

  10. Deightine says:

    Next time… I sleep before writing such a thing. Damnit, Jeff, you got me with the Borne Identity endings one too. Always seem to catch me in insomnia mode ;)

  11. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Naw–didn’t get ya!

  12. Michael Benton (aka Thivai) says:

    Here is my contribution:

    Thanksgiving

    Thanks for the weird pleasures of Veniss Underground. It was perfect remedy for the drudgery of the end-of-the-semester. I look forward to reading more of your books!

  13. Jami JoAnne Russell says:

    Unappreciated in her own time due to unfair weight discrimination, gifted vocalist Jami JoAnne Russell soon found herself abducted by time travelers from a future earth overpopulated by tone deaf “pop stars.” Most of whom were the crazed descedants of the unholy marriage of Britney Spears’ children to that of Michael Jackson’s. Her mission, to bring real music back to earth and show what real talent is. She will show the year 2525 that just because a gal is fat, it doesn’t mean she can’t sing.

  14. Jami JoAnne Russell says:

    And yes, I realize the time travel stuff makes my entry all fiction, but since I’m “too old” for American Idol (the age limit is 29, I’m 31) I had to think of some way for the world to know I CAN SING AND DESERVE A RECORDING CONTRACT EVEN IF I AM FAT!

    Cause looks shouldn’t matter. It should be about the talent.

    Besides, time traveling sounds cool.

  15. The Doctor says:

    @ Jami JoAnne – “And yes, I realize the time travel stuff makes my entry all fiction”

    Not necessarily …

  16. Grant Stone says:

    Dismissed at the time as the ravings of a lunatic, it is only now that an unbiased review of Grant Stone’s literary output can be attempted. Success is not guaranteed – we all still live in the shadow of his mighty achievements during the last reality war.

    Who could have known, seeing this young lad in his tie and blazer hop the fence for his morning walk across the playing fields, nearly late for his first class, that those skinny legs would one day grow strong as Totaras; that mind, currently on this chilly Christchurch morning occupied with the unbounded potential of the three Apple BASIC keywords taught to him the day previous by a new friend (PRINT, INPUT, GOTO), would comprehend before anyone else the inchoate threat years before the first reality storm. Sandwiched in his backpack, between his French textbook and the current English assignment (Graham Greene: The Power and the Glory), a hand-drawn map which at the time must have seemed no more than the doodles of an average teenager who had spent too long studying his D&D modules. It is only now we can see that map for what it really is; twenty years later, it was into this landscape that Stone, The Great Uniter, would plunge to his death, the brutal conclusion to his last battle against a horde of Nazi tigers waged on the top of the Electric Kaiser’s personal Zeppelin.

    Forget his achievements during the war. Forget the crucial role he played in the restoration; forget his work on the perpetual motion machines that allow every person alive today to live in luxury, forget his winning smile. We concern ourselves only with his literary output, which in this reviewer’s opinion can be summed up as:

    Eh. It’s OK. He’s no Barry Shakespeare.

  17. Lane says:

    Lane Bowen lives somewhere in the American South. He has never, to his knowledge, harmed a monkey. If he had though, the monkey probably deserved it.

  18. Andrew says:

    Fresh off a Destroyer, Andrew had nothing but a dance belt and a tube of chapstick to call his own.

    …and that’s where my imagination stopped working.

  19. Jami JoAnne Russell says:

    @The Doctor – any chance you’re willing to take on an American companion in the TARDIS this time around? *grins*

  20. Nadine says:

    God, I love these contests. :D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>