inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #76 of 85: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Thu 17 Feb 00 13:47
Matt--thanks for that minireview of New Rose. Since they didn't use my
script I'm sort of relieved it was a bad movie--though that's very
uncharitable and ungenerous of me! It's a visceral reaction.

Richard Evans--I dunno, short stories just feel done sooner, what can
I say. Novellas blur into novels. DEMONS was intended to be a longish
short story/novella and became *almost* as long as a regular novel and
is longer than many successful Jerzy Kosinski books published as

I suppose I enjoy writing short stories most. I'm writing a
dark-fantasy horroresque (but not outright horror) *western*, replete
with a gunfighter, for an anthology that will only print 500 or 1000
copies and, chances are, won't get into mass market, and I'm sure not
doing it for the money. Unfortunately I'm under such financial pressure
I can rarely *enjoy* writing anymore. Scripts do not flow as well as
prose and are therefore more uncomfortable to write especially as I
have to stop and ask myself, constantly, "Is this what *they* want?"
And that's like having to put the brakes on your bike when you're
already riding uphill. Sometimes you roll backwards.
Short stories are not such a financial risk as a novel would be (time,
sadly, is money) and I can write one now and then in good conscience.
There will be a collaborative short story with Rudy Rucker called
TUNNELS TO POCKETS...A new short story in Paula Guran's erotic horror
anthology --a book which I don't *think* she has titled yet but which
has a publisher...a new short story in Paula Guran's other publishing
project, "Horror Garage magazine" which is going to be a fat magazine
with lots of stories by people other editors *wish* they could get,
coming out in May or June...And my first new science fiction story in
years, called TO MAKE CHILDREN GOOD which will probably come out in an
online publication (don't want to say yet till I hear for sure) and
then in my new story collection DARKNESS DIVIDED...So actually am doing
a lot of short story work in the interstices and intervals...

Richard SMoley--I was thinking about our discussion of punk-rock--and
wondering how you (a kind of authority on the esoteric) take my
comparison to shamanism...and if I could justify it...Think of a voodoo
priestess, for example, dancing to a redundant, raucous, rhythmic,
simple, volatile music, dancing in a way that is very much 'in the
moment', a dance that is also a state of consciousness; a state of
consciousness that is subsumed to the dance, and then guided to
openness to spirit-input (or more likely to deeper states,
egarchetype-fed collective consciousness). Some punk-rockers get into
fierce altered states in raging full on  where they sort of commune
with some essence-self manifestation, they embody their rage, their
desire...From this springboard of essence-being there's a chance to see
the possibilities of inner freedom...
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #77 of 85: Alan R Cook (cook) Thu 17 Feb 00 15:16
Just lurking and reading for now, but thanks for the introduction to
some interesting discussion. 
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #78 of 85: (jeffk) O o . o O (jeffk) Fri 18 Feb 00 09:35
Just trolling for TIPs, but I thought I'd mention that I absolutely adored
VR5, and miss it greatly.  I remember being all pissed off when they
canceled it.
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #79 of 85: Richard Evans (rje) Fri 18 Feb 00 22:34

It sounds like the coming year is going to be another fiction treat
publicationwise, John- the idea of a Shirley Western is particularly

Today also marks the formal end of this interview and I would just like to
thank John for his candid and eloquent comments, as well as all those that
have offered various opinions and questions along the way.
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #80 of 85: Richard Smoley (smoley) Sat 19 Feb 00 08:51
John, re your comments about punk rock and shamanism: I see what you
mean, but I think it could go either way. It COULD, as you say, connect
someone to his or her essence and point to inner freedom.

On the other hand, ever since the punk phenomenon was new I've found
myself wondering whether it isn't just a valve in the mechanism of
social control. You get out all your rage on the dance floor so you can
fit in to your Dilbert job the next day.

OR you adopt the pose of the Romantic rebel against society. At one
time this may have had a positive value, when social conformity was
much more oppressive than it is today. But conformity has become more
flexible, and the Rebel is just another category of off-the-rack
identities you can purchase.
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #81 of 85: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Sun 20 Feb 00 10:51
Thank you, John, for participating in this conversation. And thank you,
Richard, for leading it. Not that I'm suggesting anybody has to stop, you're
welcome to carry on til the cows come home. This is a fascinating
discussion, indeed!
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #82 of 85: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Sun 20 Feb 00 16:07
You're right, Richard Smoley, but remember that there is such a thing
as an authentic rebel. Anything can be twisted, distorted, entropically
subsumed to become its own opposite--and inevitably will become its
own opposite without fresh infusions of energy. Just look at what has
happened to the original teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, or the idea of
the "republic"; the Founding Fathers did not intend that the freedom
they extolled be reduced to the freedom of big corporations to engorge
themselves mindlessly on the country, the world. The original impulses
decay along the way. But that energy that led to the great ideas of
freedom, to unreserved self expression in art, to spiritual
renaissance--that intelligent, insistent energy always returns. The
Song called Youth, if you like; whatever you want to call it, renews
us. It's like a spring that seeks an outlet here, or there, and 
there's always someone, out there, who is the right new medium for that
energy's expression. 
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #83 of 85: Richard Smoley (smoley) Mon 21 Feb 00 09:07
I agree with what you say, John. And there are always signs of life,
no matter how much signs of death there are as well. Always some
insistent little blade of grass pushing its way up through a crack in
the concrete...
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #84 of 85: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Mon 21 Feb 00 11:54

I read between the lines of some of the questions in this interview
that there are aspiring writers out there. For those aspiring writers I
offer my essay, Advice to Writers--you find it by clicking on the
title at the index page at (it will be
changed to Advice to New Writers, to avoid misunderstanding, shortly,
so it may be briefly down). New info there on the new book DEMONS, etc,
too. Thanks to Paula Guran for the creation of that website. She does
a great job.

And thanks to everyone who dropped in here. I'm grateful for your
interest in my work.

 JS in the year 2000.
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #85 of 85: Richard Smoley (smoley) Wed 23 Feb 00 09:00
I'll certainly check it out. I _do_ have aspirations to become a
writer too...

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