Checking-Out to Check-In

It has been awhile since I’ve blogged anything newsy on the official site (including Zanzibar strips) and there are reasons for that which I would like to take a few moments to explain.

First, I have been steeped for the past six months in the preliminary planning and initial creation-phases of my next, as-yet-untitled book, slated for release in 2019 by Brightbourne. It’s going to be a massive piece of work—lavishly illustrated and certainly the most ambitious project I will ever tackle in my lifetime, and the creative energy required to “pull off” such a feat is all-consuming, as well as a trifle terrifying, albeit in a good way. Drawing all the existential components together to essentially braid the synthesis of focus, desire, and discipline needed to accomplish such work makes everything else pale in comparison, by necessity.

Second (and no less crucial than my first point), I am repelled utterly by the tsunami-sized wave of pointless, trivial, hackneyed, and infantile “writing” that has swept across our popular culture at every level. The majority of people simply have no business venturing beyond the composition of a grocery-list when it comes to literary efforts, much less adhering to even the most basic standards of publication. I will gladly wear the mantle of “elitist” when it comes to this issue, and shall stand firm for the genuine writer’s dedication to superior craftsmanship, a trade that can claim roots in long years of steady discipline and talent well-nurtured.

Trust me: a master carpenter is not going to tell you that your uneven, uninhabitable birdhouse is a work of fine craftsmanship that merits an equal place alongside his (or her) professional creations. Not everyone deserves a trophy.

At all events, in a dead market flooded chiefly with thousands of puerile soft-porn “novels” written (and self-published!) by bored, illiterate housewives, or thrillers cobbled together with the creative equivalent of wallpaper-glue by old men who watch too much television, American Literature is, without question, at its nadir.

Then again, so is the culture of which the above-mentioned sort of dreck is merely a pestilential symptom.

That cannot be helped—the pendulum will have to swing in the opposite direction, and swing hard, before all of this detritus is brushed into the oblivion from whence it came, and where it belongs.

The same goes for blogging and for regularly posting opinions and ditherings and blatherings in a cyberspace already deafened by the roaring and lowing and chattering of the masses.

I don’t know why seasoned, professional writers even bother to do it, especially if they’re not getting paid. Look what incessant blogging has done to Neil Gaiman’s output. My G-d.

Another point: Nothing is ever really free, but if something is given away recklessly for “free,” I guarantee you that, 99.99% of the time, it is not worth even the most cursory glance.

Everything I shall have to say about the world, the cosmos, and its workings shall henceforth be found strictly within my books, and one shall have to pay for them. It’s a publisher’s job to entice potential audiences to do just that, at their cost, not mine.

Other than that, I’ll provide general-info updates when necessary and perhaps the occasional cartoon when fancy strikes.

Amid all of this, the greatest irony remains: the conglomeration of social media crap has got to be maintained to some degree by anyone in the publishing industry. These Official Facebooks, Twitters, .coms, and Instagrams should ideally be business cards for the serious writer, no more no less.

And no one should ever get excited about a business card.

Rather, get excited about the work that “card” represents. And if you’re a serious, seasoned writer, thank your lucky stars that literacy-levels are still high in Europe.

Ta, for now.

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Jonathan Kieran is the author of the Rowan Blaize series of epic contemporary fantasy books (Brightbourne 2012), as well as the critically acclaimed (Midwestern Book Review, Manhattan Book Review) Confessions From The Comments Section: The Secret Lives of Internet Commenters and Other Pop-Culture Zombies. His work has also been featured on The Daily Dot.com and in a plethora of other ‘zines, papers, and alt-weeklies. Click on the book covers above and to the right if you want to learn more about Jonathan’s titles and perhaps spend some of your hard-earned money on his multi-formatted gifts to the human race.
Jonathan is currently writing and illustrating a new masterpiece of epic dimensions. Drop-in once in awhile for updates. Mr. Kieran promises to provide them, but only once in awhile, because he doesn’t get paid to blog endlessly for free. That would make him a Wattpadder or a Smashworder, not a writer.

You know you’ve done it, too …

Zanzibar Circus 3-11-16image

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Jonathan Kieran is the author of Confessions from the Comments Section: The Secret Lives of Internet Commenters and Other Pop Culture Zombies (Brightbourne) as well as the Rowan Blaize series of epic fantasy books. He is also the creator of the comic strip Zanzibar Circus. Explore this site to learn more about Jonathan’s work, or buy his books on Amazon by clicking the cover images to the right in the sidebar.

When all else fails, pose with an electrified cat. #Standards

Lately I am loathe to play any sort of role as just one more babbling voice in what I call the “Great Cacophony” — this seemingly infinite and overloaded universe of disparate, narcissistic voices clamoring and competing for attention in the cyber realm and elsewhere. I do not want to become one of those paragons of vanity who bombards fellow human beings with pointless and banal quips, quotes, updates, adages, jokes, links, sound-bites, snippets, essays, recipes, shout-outs, opinions, ejaculations, emanations, contemplations, and all manner of self-absorbed and/or self-serving eruptions that, in general, amount to little more than a truly apocalyptic trumpet-blast of garden-variety flatulence accosting the already befuddled senses of Earth’s inhabitants.

Too many people are making too much noise … when so precious few have anything truly valuable to say.

Be that as it may, the masses will always determine what does or does not possess inherent value, and what merits enthusiastic adulation and attention — divided or undivided. Admittedly, the track-record of “the masses” in this regard has been (and remains) rather spotty throughout the history of civilization, cf. Witch-burning, Vegemite, Fifty Shades of Gray, Velveeta, A Walk to Remember, The Kardashians, etc. etc.

Nevertheless, it behooves any true artist in this potentially cataclysmic epoch to let his or her work speak for itself, without the frightful din of too much self-obsessed explanation or the adornment of superfluous exposition. Create and reveal, then let the precious chips of widespread approval or acclaim fall where they will, that’s what I say! I have learned few greater lessons in life than this one: people do indeed define “success” quite differently and according to their own measure of personal happiness and satisfaction.

It is for this reason that, keeping in mind the noble self-restraint about which I have so eloquently pontificated, I shall henceforth endeavor to promote and market my work solely by the means of posting naked and near-naked super-duper sexy photos of myself.

The rest can be managed by a particularly loquacious and over-caffeinated publicist.

Standards, after all, have got to start counting for something, again.

Happy November, y’all.

Yours Truly, Halloween 2014, The Clift Hotel Party, San Francisco. (Don't know who the electrified cat was, but few could keep their paws off me that night. Must have been the hat ...)

Yours Truly, Halloween 2014, The Clift Hotel Party, San Francisco. (Don’t know who the electrified cat was, but few could keep their paws off me that night. Must have been the hat …)


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Jonathan Kieran is withdrawing from contemporary human society to protest a multitude of offenses against taste and decency, but that doesn’t mean you need to head for the hills. No! Let Mr. Kieran become your Vicarious Hermit, serving all of your needs for solitude and isolated contemplation by proxy, as it were. Otherwise, stick around: some form of epic and expectation-shattering work is slated for release in 2015. News about future books and Jonathan’s in-development multimedia production company will be forthcoming.

For your current reading pleasure, Jonathan is the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize books and novels. Visit Mr. Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile . . .

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of works. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below to learn more.

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

Reality TV is the Butt-Thermometer: American Society is the Fevered Orifice…

"I thought American culture could not sink any lower, Barbra, and then I learn that MTV is about to produce a reality show centered upon young women competing to lose their virginity. So degrading! What's next in this sick society, I ask you--Cannibals Wars of LA County?"

“You know, I thought our culture could sink no lower, Barbra, and then I learned from those demure and highly intellectual ladies on The View that MTV is producing a reality show about young women competing to lose their virginity. Can you believe it? Well, it’s time for my family to get rid of the television set. I mean, what’s next in this sick society–Cannibal Cook-Offs of Calaveras County?”

conclusion gossip

"Come to think of it, Barbra, if a cannibal reality series featured that tubby schmuck from Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives roasting one or two Kardashians over a BBQ-pit, I'd bankroll the Emmy campaign myself."

“Come to think of it, Barbra, if a cannibal reality series featured that tubby schmuck from Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives roasting even one of the Kardashians over a BBQ-pit, I’d bankroll the Emmy campaign myself.”

conclusion gossip
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Jonathan Kieran is slowly withdrawing from contemporary human society in protest against a myriad of offenses against taste and decency, but his epic new novel is slated for release in 2015. Stay tuned for more news about the book in coming months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

Wiping Howards End? #satire #culturaldecline

"Listen, everyone! Oxford scientists predict that, given the current epidemic of blithering stupidity,  99% of the human population will, in fact, no longer be intellectually capable of wiping their own arse-holes properly. Meg, I can't believe it!"

“Listen to this, everyone! Oxford scientists calculate that, given the current epidemic of blithering stupidity and the ongoing plunge of attention-spans toward a state of widespread catatonia, 99% of the human population will soon be intellectually incapable of producing the specific series of coordinated movements required to wipe their own arse-holes!”

"My word, Helen, that is most distressing news to hear so soon after tea. Tell me, do the scientists mention anything about Google perhaps inventing some sort of device capable of wiping such an inordinately large number of arse-holes on behalf of these poor disabled individuals?"

“My word, Helen, that is most distressing news. You really could have saved it until after tea. Tell me, do the scientists mention anything about Google perhaps inventing some sort of future device capable of wiping such an inordinately large number of unclean arse-holes on behalf of these individuals?”

"Not a word, Meg. In fact, some researchers indicate that every family already has at least one member who has secretly lost the cognitive ability to wipe. Good gracious, Meg, it could be any of us!"

“Not a word, Meg. In fact, some researchers indicate that most families now have at least one member who’s already lost the cognitive ability to wipe. Good gracious, Meg, it could be any one of us!”

"Well, I can assure you it isn't I. My faculties are as lively as ever and things are ship-shape and Bristol fashion with my bum. Perhaps it's Tibby."

“Well, I can assure you it is not I. My mental faculties are as lively as ever, and, if you really must know, my bum has always been ship-shape and Bristol fashion. Clean as a pennywhistle. No odd business down there. Perhaps it’s Tibby.”

"NO, Meg! Not our poor, dear sweet Tibby!"

“NO, Meg! Not our poor, dear sweet Tibby! He can’t possibly become one of the great unwiped! I can’t bear to think of it.”

"We must brace ourselves for the eventuality, Helen. And if 99 percent of the population is destined to suffer such a repulsive form of decline, then we must do everything in our power to remain firmly in the fragrant 1 percent."

“I’m afraid we must brace ourselves for every eventuality, Helen. And if 99 percent of the population is truly destined to suffer such a repulsive form of decline, then we must do everything in our power to remain firmly rooted in the fragrant one percent.”

"The One Percent, Meg? Isn't that rather politically unfashionable?"

“The One Percent, Meg? But … isn’t that rather politically unfashionable?”

"Would you prefer the alternative, Helen? It will be most squishy."

“Would you prefer the alternative, Helen? I promise you it shall be most squishy indeed.”

"The One Percent it shall be, then. But what about the others, Meg? Our friends. Our neighbors. The grocer who handles our peaches. The cook who bakes our scones. How shall we ever go on in such a dreadfully incontinent world?"

“Good heavens! One Percent it shall be, then. But what about the others, Meg? Our friends. Our neighbors. The grocer who handles our peaches. How shall we ever go on in such a dreadfully incontinent world?”

"The same way we always have, my darling ... by holding each other close, cherishing every moment as if it were our last. Now ... excuse me, Tibby, but would you kindly go stand in another room until Helen and I have found a new place to live? That's a luv."

“The same way we always have, my darling–by holding each other close and cherishing every moment as if it were going to be our last. Now … Tibby, darling. Would you kindly walk away from us and go stand in another room until Helen and I have found a new place to live? There’s a luv.”


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An epic new novel by Jonathan Kieran is slated for release in 2015. Stay tuned for more news about the book in coming months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

I was still willing to give cinema the benefit of the doubt. Then I saw Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters #despair

Look, this film is not going to get an in-depth review because it doesn’t merit one, but I do have a few pointed remarks I would like to share out of what you might call an overriding sense of colossal umbrage, or something. I happened to catch Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters on Netflix while stuck in a hotel room in Santa Cruz, not really eager to leave the joint because about thirty homies were being arrested by the entire CHP (with Swat Team) at the Velero gas-station across the street outside and twelve different varieties of Swamp People (and others from Louisiana) inhabiting the rest of the hot-button hotel TV Channels didn’t really interest me. I will say this, however:

In the annals of truly execrable fantasy/action flicks, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a particularly corn-riddled piece of sewage that rises –doubling, toiling, bubbling, and troubling– above all other festering floaters to attain an incomparable stench at the apex of the Hollywood zeitgeist’s most agonizing bowel movement. EVER. This film is the pinnacle of bowl-swirling revulsion. It is the metaphysical triumph of the Fecal over the Feasible. If anyone doubts that our society of lobotomized, nihilistic sociopaths is on the ascendency, gaze at the positive reviews for this wretched cinematic slap in the face of coherence on Amazon (and elsewhere) and doubt no longer.

To begin, the premise was actually interesting: storybook faves Hansel and Gretel survive their post-traumatic gingerbread nightmares to grow-up and become avid witch-destroyers. So many imaginative, exciting, funny, ironic, satirical, scary and even MEDIOCRE things could have been done with that basic plot-line alone, but this Simmering Stew of Stool-Samples fails to even hit the level of mediocrity.

The dialogue is ludicrously bad: it was clearly written by the kind of 21 year-old college graduates who emerge as utterly illiterate as they were before their “higher educational” years, probably armed with BA degrees in The Ramifications of Pole-Dancing for Comic-Book Design Trends or The Sociological Implications of XBox Video-Character Motivation. These pungent examples of American aptitude then hitch-hiked to LA and offered their orifices in earnest for a chance to enter the Tinsel Town Collective and display their world-class creative chops, living six-to-an-apartment until someone from the AMC zombie-show finally noticed their “work” and rescued them from having to toil for the kind of people who greenlight toxic effluvia like Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Or, one could say that this ghastly piece of brain-sludge plays-out like a cheap video game from the early ’90s, designed by catatonic Japanese gamers trying to approximate an American fairy tale after reading a synopsis translated from English into Sanskrit into Chinese into Japanese and then back into English. It doesn’t have to be blamed entirely upon America.

The action sequences are toddler-level in conviction and, in contemporary film tradition, everything about this wreck is arbitrary, dimwitted, and utterly disconnected from any purposeful trajectory.

The performances are repugnant –all of them.

The CGI is half-baked. The witches look like diseased wax-figures in need of potent antibiotics from the free clinic. The story is a mangled piece of pork gristle.

And Famke Janssen … Oh, Famke Janssen has hit a Career Doom-Wall with such devastating impact and velocity that we imagine she signed all the necessary “Do Not Resuscitate” papers just before inking the contract for this epic. Yep, Dr. Tender Titties from X-Men: Wolverine’s Wet-Dream is looking awfully embarrassed as Ms. Big Baddest Sorceress in Hansel & Gretel, and deservedly so. Someone clearly needed a quick check and needed it bad. Famke sleepwalks through this travesty without even the decency to suppress her anguish at imminent home-foreclosure (or whatever caused her to take this job) and camp-it-up on camera as a sheer coping mechanism. She could have at least done that, since it’s obvious everyone is going straight down the sluice that leads directly to Hell’s Central Sewage-Treatment Plant. But who can blame Famke? One hopes she was heavily sedated during the “filming” of this barrel of sun-burned fish-guts. I watched her hit her pathetic marks during this “movie” and truly imagined the shrill, squealing fights she must’ve had with the director (Who Shall Not Be Named)–screeching and begging and probably scratching her own face with little razors in anguish:

“PLEASE, can I do this whole movie in the cheap CVS Drugstore Halloween mask so the crowds of ill-bred millennial spawn drooling into their popcorn will never know it’s ME? Please?”

Too bad for you, Famke Janssen, and too bad for those members of humanity who enjoy watching decent fantasy flicks. Our Entertainment Culture receives yet another nail in its already overloaded coffin. And there’s going to be a sequel because this work of art was so WELL-RECEIVED. A franchise is stillborn! Prepare the klieg lights, boys!

One star is given for the set-designers, who seem to have been the only people who believed they were actually getting paid to do a legitimate job in the making of this bewildering atrocity.

Otherwise, I say: “Long live the Stupids of the world!” (Because the more they multiply, the easier it becomes for the Rest of Us to recognize their physical characteristics and stay far, far away from them.)
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Jonathan Kieran’s new novel is slated for release in Autumn 2014. Look for news about the book here and at Amazon.com in the coming weeks and months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

Because we all know #anyone can do it. #trueartistry

miss teen
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Jonathan Kieran’s (as-yet-untitled) new novel is slated for release in late Spring 2014. Look for news about the release here and at Amazon.com in the coming weeks and months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads