“Hola, amigos. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I been puttin' out fires left and right.”
-Jim Anchower, The ONION
I figured it was about time for a new blog.
I’ve been busy.
So this blog is more of a preview of coming attractions.
I’m writing, which is good. But it’s not exactly my book, which isn’t bad, but it’s not exactly my story either. I’m working as a ghostwriter for a nonfiction book, and while the subject matter is pretty cool, I’m itching to get at my own stories.
In the meantime, I’m working on the audio trailer for WORMFOOD. Paul Ohlson, marketing guy extraordinaire, created the action interview at Medallion Press. We’re recording on Tuesday and I’ll post a link when it’s unleashed.
I'm working out a soundtrack blog for Wormfood, so that’ll be up soon. Maybe. I wouldn't hold your breath.
And today I was at the Printer’s Row Book Literary Festival in downtown Chicago. Had a grand time. Sat on a panel full of other crime writers and we talked about our books, our processes, and even got to read a bit from the books. I read the first paragraph from Foodchain, got a few nervous laughs. It was fun.
Until the next time, then.
Actually, I feel a little guilty about not posting more, so here’s some more of the journal stuff I wrote a while back when I lived in Taiwan.
We eyed our bowls suspiciously, but tried to hide it by acting both appreciative and hungry at the same time. Truth was, we were a little nervous. One of the students in our Adult English class, Andy, had invited us out to the night market for dinner. His English wasn’t great, and our Mandarin was pretty awful, so even though we sat at a tiny, round table about two feet in diameter, we didn’t really talk. The chairs seemed to be built for children.
Our table sat near the edge of a cluster of about seven tables, all packed tightly together in a space that would barely fit a parked car. In fact, during the day, it was a parking space on the side of a busy commercial street. At night, the street was closed to traffic and the vendors moved into their spaces, lining both sides of the two-lane street for about five blocks. You could find anything here, from watches to radios to clothes to pirated CDs, but most of the vendors served food. This ranged from exotic fruit to snake soup. The snakes were kept alive in glass aquariums, and the customer could pick out the snake of their choice. The vendor would then kill the snake, skin it and chop it into bite size pieces. It was astonishingly fast; the whole process only took about ten seconds.
I thanked whatever gods of cooking I could imagine that our friend Andy didn’t take us to one of the snake vendors. Instead, we went to on of the meat and noodle places. Noodles were fine, but we weren’t sure what kind of meat was being served. I blinked and three bowls appeared. The waiter made it clear that he expected us to eat just as fast to free the table.
I leaned forward and sniffed at my bowl. Noodles and strips of white, folded meat floated in a clear broth. I repositioned my chopsticks, got a better grip, and then quickly scooped up some of the noodles and meat. I chewed quickly for a moment, trying to outrace my taste buds, then swallowed. The taste hit as the food and my stomach kicked and punched each other in a race for the exit. My hands shook slightly and I curled my toes as I fought to keep everything down. I tried to give Andy a grin but the look on my face must have been awful.
Christian, who was braver when it came to trying new cuisine, ate some of the meat. He also chewed quickly for a moment, then swallowed with a little difficulty, as if he had a sore throat. He reexamined his bowl with a puzzled expression, the kind that said he wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer. “What kind of meat is it?” he asked slowly, enunciating each word.
“Sorry?” Andy said.
Christian plucked one of the pieces of rubbery meat with his chopsticks and held it up. “What is it?”
“Um…” Andy thought for a moment. His hands fluttered for a moment, making swimming motions. “In water, um, in the water…”
“Fish?” I suggested.
“Yes. Fish. Fish.”
“I thought so,” I thought, trying not to shudder. I hated fish.
“But what kind of fish? What kind?” Christian asked.
Andy looked confused.
Christian spread his heads wide. “Big fish, or small fish?”
Andy placed his hands about a foot apart.
Christian pointed to his ribs. “What part of the fish?”
Andy smiled and nodded, then pointed to his stomach. “Inside. Inside here.”
“I know the fish is inside us, but—“ Christian began.
“I don’t think that’s what he means. I think he means we’re eating fish intestines.”
“Yeah. Oh boy.”
Andy beamed at us, pleased we understood him.