One of my favorite Facebook “friends” (as in I’ve never met him face to face) is Bill Ryan, whose threads make me laugh out loud (though never ROTFLMAO — I simply don’t do that). He has a terrific film blog, The Kind of Face You Hate, and has just done an interview with the website, The Grim Reader, in which he mentions yours truly as one of the writers he likes. Give it a read, and then check out his blog. Ladies and gentlemen and children of all deformities, please put your sweaty hands together and make squeaky noises with them for…Bill Ryan!
Writer David Niall Wilson has branched out these past few years into publishing, as the man behind Crossroad Press, which publishes the vast majority of my ebooks. They also do my audiobooks, both those I’ve written and those I’ve narrated, as well as the trade paperback of my most recent novel, Defenders of the Faith. He’s a helluva fine publisher and a good friend. Ladies and gents, I give you David Niall Wilson…
Can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last post…and I wonder why my career has plateaued.
Seriously, I’ve done a lot this past year — a batch of audiobooks, more ebooks, another print book, serial killings, the usual. In the next few weeks, as I continue to work on a new novel (a noir set in 1953, with a fantasy element) and the raft of audiobooks in the queue to be narrated, I’ll catch this website up as well.
Apologies to those of you who say, “Hey, wonder what Chet’s been up to lately,” come here, and then say, “Oh. Nothing.” THIS SHALL CHANGE!
In the past couple of months, I’ve turned into Digital Guy! I started off by recording several stories by Andrew Vachss as digital downloads for MPformance, then hooked up with David Niall Wilson’s Crossroad Press.
David has done three of my novels in e-book form: Ash Wednesday (the first time the complete version has ever appeared, with the final chapter that was deleted from the Tor edition), Lowland Rider, and Soulstorm. The first two of these are also available in Amazon’s Kindle Store (Soulstorm will be soon), and all are available from most other e-book dealers as well. I’ve also recorded unabridged audiobooks (as downloadable MP3s) of both Ash Wednesday and Lowland Rider, and I’ve just started to record Soulstorm, which should be finished in a few weeks. The e-book is included free with the audiobook. I’ll be doing as many of my backlist books with Crossroad Press as possible, and possibly some new material as well. Continue reading
I killed a bird this morning. I really had no choice, but I felt terrible about it and I still do.
I was sitting in my office, much earlier than usual. The cat was lying on her cushioned perch looking out the window. Suddenly there was a loud thud that made both of us jump, and I knew immediately that a bird had flown into the window. It happens occasionally, and usually when I look out the bird has already flown away, or, more rarely, is lying there dead. Every now and then I’ll see a bird sitting on the porch, looking a bit dazed, and then it’ll fly away, to my great relief.
But today the bird was lying on its side, beating its wing and panting, its small chest rising and falling quickly. I hoped that it would right itself, and it did in another minute, and sat on the pavement the way it would in a nest. But its beak was open and I saw a small bit of blood at its corner. One wing poked out helplessly while the other was folded under it. It continued to pant rapidly, as though panicked.
I thought of Robinson Jeffers’ wonderful poem, “Hurt Hawks,” long one of my favorites, and the lines “No more to use the sky forever but live with famine/And pain a few days…” I knew then what I would have to do.
My wife joined me, but as we watched the bird for some time, nothing changed, and I said that I thought I would have to end it, put it out of its pain and terror. She asked me not to, but realized too that it had to be done, though she couldn’t bear to watch.
Then I wondered about how to do it. I couldn’t cut it or crush it. That was too immediate, too tactile. But then I remembered my son’s old .BB gun that was still in the house. After the first shot, the bird began its death spasms, and the second stilled it. It was out of pain. It no longer felt that fear of something it had no chance of understanding. I thought of a line from the poem again, “I gave him the lead gift in the twilight.”
And when I picked up the bird, a young one, its coloring still speckled, it was like Jeffers’ dead hawk, “relaxed, owl-downy, soft feminine feathers…” But nothing soared up, no spirit of the doomed, unlucky bird. I had stopped the agony, but I hadn’t freed anything. On the contrary, I had ended it.
And though the first blow, the truly killing one, hadn’t been mine, I couldn’t help but think that when we kill something we take from it everything — all that it ever was and all that it ever might be. I’ll never hear that bird sing, never see it splashing its wings as it cools itself in the birdbath. When we kill, these can be the things we kill, music, beauty, joy.
We should never forget that, whether we kill to put meat on our table, to enforce our own beliefs, for retribution, or simply because we can without impunity. Killing is killing, ending that other life forever, every chance, every opportunity, every possible future.
Many of my readers and writing friends may not be aware of my acting, while many of my fellow actors and theatre people aren’t usually aware of my career as a writer. They’re two occupations that fit together very nicely, and I’ve been playing one against the other regularly for the past several years. While I see writing as purely creative, I consider acting to be more of an interpretive art, bringing to life someone else’s creation, and interpreting that preconceived role in your own way. Continue reading
I’ve promised to discuss things that interest me in the arts rather than just make this blog/website a self-promotional tool, and I’m keeping that promise by telling those who don’t already know about it what a transcendent and illuminating TV show HBO’s In Treatment is.
I’d been dimly aware of this show, but I recall that when I’d first heard about the concept I’d found it off-putting: a half-hour series about a psychotherapist who is visited by the same few patients week after week. I immediately envisioned thirty minutes of whining counterbalanced by Gabriel Byrne’s constant nodding and inquiring, “And how do you feel about that?” So I ignored the show. But after a friend highly recommended it, I decided to give it a try, and sat down in the chair across from Paul (Byrne’s character) and started undergoing treatment. Continue reading
After many days of scanning, stealing images, writing memoirs, consulting bibliographies, and bothering my immensely patient webmaster, Nick Setthachayanon, I’ve completed work on the Books page, also known as “You Wrote What?” Continue reading