If you poke around this blog enough, you may stumble on the fact that I've got a couple of books in print, each of them self-published (as well as a short story in an anthology). I haven't plastered Scouring Monk with images of the covers, mostly because the covers aren't terribly exciting, and I guess I suck at marketing, much less providing a coherent direction to readers trying to figure out why they should bother reading the blog in any effort to know who Tony Laplume is, besides someone who loves movies and stuff.
I published The Cloak of Shrouded Men five years ago, and have sold maybe half a dozen copies (and that's probably being generous), and in that case can it really be said to be published at all? I'm not really good at promoting myself, and really not good about networking, because the people who really inspire me are creators who aren't looking to make friends with some anonymous bum in Colorado. My favorite social activity is watching movies in the dark with strangers, and I'm otherwise a comedian whose only stage has been a bookstore, torturing the ears off coworkers, and besides don't really like talking so much as writing, and mostly about the things I'm passionate about. I don't do conversation well, even at the exchange of a computer screen.
My writing tends to feel a little exclusive. I don't write so that you can immerse yourself in a narrative so much as in someone else's mind, their experiences as they think about them more than how they actually experience them. I wrote Shrouded Men as a superhero story where the superhero tortures himself over his failures, bad relationships, and nihilistic revenge against those who didn't share his crusade, destroying everything around him, basically, and then calling it a day, hanging up his cape, and letting the reader decide what the hell just happened. I wrote in a number of parallels to stories I love, or were influenced by at the time, and besides family members the one outside reaction I got said it reminded him of City of Heroes, an online game that I didn't and still don't see any direct relation to in the pages of the book other than the fact that they both feature superheroes. I wonder if he even read the book. I'm not kidding when I say that it's basically Watchmen as an internal monologue from Rorschach (with more complete sentences). I should note that it isn't literally Watchmen, because at the time I started writing it, I had never read Watchmen, and by the time I finished writing it, there's no way I was writing about anything else but the mad crusade of Cotton Colinaude, the Eidolon (a name I came across in a Hart Crane poem, "Legend," which should one day rightfully take its place in the book's pages), who gains and loses scores of allies, but most of them are already in his past by the time the story begins, with only glimpses of his erstwhile glory days sprinkled throughout.
Last week I published Monorama, and unless I start learning, I will probably sell as many copies, and maybe by the time Yoshimi is published, if Hall Bros. Entertainment ends up liking what it reads, I will start selling a few more books. Monorama is a collection of esoteric short stories, mostly in a science fiction vein, but in the same basic style as what can be found in Shrouded Men (this is exactly what I referenced a few weeks ago, when I went out of my way to potentially alienate some of the folks who might have cared from my time writing here at Scouring Monk). I figured I might as well make it available, in case more digestible chunks of this kind of writing may go down more easily.
I've been a lot less active in my blogs the past couple weeks than usual, even here, certainly since the grind of A-to-Z, perhaps because all that activity is finally catching up with me, or I'm more depressed about being jobless again than I thought I was, or I'm depressed that I still don't really have a significant amount of readers, even if I keep telling myself that I don't care, that the act of writing does not demand the act of reading, because I want to be able to make a living on my own terms, especially as it seems increasingly that I maybe can't do it on anyone else's.
Act of writing does not demand the act of reading...? I'm an eager reader, maybe not a fast one, but an eager reader all the same, and I have been all my life, and I still feel as if I've only read a quarter of what I should have by now. If I could make a living reading, I would. Some people do that, and they do so grudgingly, either as submission readers or as reviewers, and because almost no one actually reads and most publicity is self-publicity in this version of the world, most readers never really know what anyone else is reading. I guess that's one reason to care about Good Reads, or wish that I was back at least in the break room at Borders, where some people still did this crazy thing.
If I had the ambition, I would absolutely transform this blog into a record of everything I find interesting and would love to share with everyone, and perhaps that's something I will still do, or perhaps create a new blog and try to have a go at it (this one currently mixes "mouldwarp" in the URL and Scouring Monk in the title, and never the twain do they meet).
Anyway, as a writer and as a person and as a blogger, I guess I may have some improving to do, not the least figuring out how all those identities merge.