Hell or Alabama

And sometimes I find myself writing country western lyrics . . .


“If you’re looking for forgiveness,” she said, “I would recommend you go to Hell. There are devils down there eager to part with any such lie they can sell. But a human being can’t forgive any more than she can learn to fly. So I’ll flap my arms if you want me to. And in return? You can up and die.

“Now, you might call that trade unfair, but I suspect you’ve guessed it’s time to go—to Hell or Alabama, I don’t care and I don’t even want to know. Find another angel if you will, then beg her pardon when you stray. Just be advised that not all angels let a sinner like you slink away.

“For angels, much like devils, in Hell or Alabama, can be cruel. From Muscle Shoals to Mobile, down the Styx to fry in that infernal pool—you’ll find yourself descending into one Hell or another either way. And remember: all those halos and those horns, they all look the same when the bill comes due to pay.

“So when you reach Hell or Alabama rest assured you’ve found a home where demons and forgiveness and such other supernatural fictions roam. You won’t be the first I’ve sent there. Don’t think you’ll be the first to make it back into my good graces—for grace, divine and fallen, is the one true thing that neither Hell or Alabama claim to lack.”

The Adventure of Links: Why We DIY

This piece from Write On the River is probably the most cogent explanation I’ve read for why an author would turn down an offer from a publisher—a $25,000 advance, in this case—in order to publish his books himself. If you’ve ever wondered how the industry actually works and why more and more authors feel compelled to bypass it entirely, this is a good place to start.

You can also check out author Elliot Garber’s own website here.

A pro’s pro

Went to a reading by John Scalzi courtesy of Avid Bookshop, Athens’ own local bookery. The man is a pro. It’s always impressive to me to see an author–that is, a practitioner of one of the earth’s most necessarily solitary professions–excel at social functions. Not that I’m a wilting shut-in, but going from feverishly churning out pages to working a packed room must be a bit like walking out of your office (wherever and whatever that is) into the middle of a rugby scrum.