I’ve written three Westerns now. The first was Orphan Elixir, a novella about a demolitions expert who heads to California after the Civil War and does battle with a cannibal lurking in the countryside. That book was published by The Western Online Press LLC, after being serialized on their site in six monthly installments. They paid a maximum of five dollars per story installation at the time I solicited the piece, and they split the 30,000 word piece up into six monthly installments. In other words, I got $30 for 30,000 words, or approximately $1 per thousand words that I wrote. There are, it seems, more lucrative professions than that of an independent writer, like, for example, panhandling.
My next Western was a decent novel called War-Crossed Eyes, whose presentation was botched by a shitty cover that looked like it was shat out of Fabio Lanzoni’s ass during his tenure as a cover model for Harlequin romance novels. Don’t believe me? Google “War-Crossed Eyes,” by Joseph Hirsch. I hate to talk shit about a publisher, but goddamn!
My third (and best) Western is a little book called The Dove and the Crow. This book concerns a whore in the Old West who is blessed with an abundance of magical powers.
Orphan Elixir has been classified as a “weird Western” by readers, while War-Crossed Eyes has not been classified as anything by anyone, because no one other than me and the editor have read the goddamn thing (except maybe John Sheppard, thanks again, man).
I’m having a hard time classifying The Dove and the Crow. One oughtn’t to always feel compelled to categorize things, but I’m bored and I have a little time on my hands right now, so let me give the matter a bit of thought.
The Dove and the Crow is either a) a weird Western or b) an acid Western, or c) some combination thereof, or something else entirely, perhaps.
In brief, an acid Western was defined by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum as, “conjur[ing] up a crazed version of autodestructive (sic) white America at its most solipsistic, hankering after its own lost origins.”
I’m phenotypically white, and probably somewhat “autodestructive”; I mean, I have to stress the somewhat, since, while I did something dumb like volunteering for a war that didn’t have to be fought (which marks me as self-destructive), I’ve never had anything larger than a finger in my ass (and it was my own experimental probing at the age of sixteen). I mention this prurient detail not to debase myself or the reader, but to make the point that if one isn’t even willing to indulge in more than mildly masochistic tendencies, they’re probably not all that self-destructive.
I am somewhat solipsistic, because I’m a writer, and writing is navel-gazing, even when a writer observing the outside world, since that appraisal is being filtered through the writer’s own biases and sensibilities. I am definitely “crazed,” and so must concede that, since I personally bear the traits or hallmarks, in part or in toto, that Rosenbaum describes in defining the genre of the acid Western, my work will probably also reflect my personality, to an extent.
As for the weird Western, Wikipedia says, the “…Weird Western is a literary subgenre that combines elements of the Western with another literary genre, usually horror, occult, or fantasy.” Wikipedia is never wrong, and my book contains horror (skinning and scalping), the occult (a medicine man who summons beaver to devour his hated enemy, the white man), and fantasy (a goddess figure with the power to heal wounds at the merest snap of her fingers).
So…The Dove and the Crow: Weird Western or acid Western? I think Grandpa Simpson said it best, when the authorities asked him if his ranting was meant to stop them from pursuing Homer while the Simpson patriarch was off on a lark, or if, in fact, he was just senile. “A little bit from column a, and a little bit from column b.”
Readers who want a free copy of the book are invited to go to www.storycartel.com , or to contact the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org Feel free to read the book and make up your own mind, about which genre it may or may not belong to, or the more prosaic matter of whether or not the book is any damn good, in your opinion.
Peace and soul, as Soul Train’s Don Cornelius once signed off…
P.S. To all potential female correspondents, no “pegging” requests, despite my former allusion to previous anal exploration. I am saving my rectal virginity for my fortieth birthday, which is still some years off. At that time, if you wish to anally wreck me, direct all correspondence to the aforementioned email address.
Signing off for real this time,