I'm now committed.
On Friday my friend Pirooz, director of Shoplifting from American Apparel, signed a lease for an apartment in Los Angeles, California that he and I will move into in June, 2012. On that very same day — perhaps at the exact same moment — I signed a contract with New World Library to publish my next book There Is No God And He Is Your Creator. This could come out as soon as Spring 2013 or might be pushed back to Fall. We're not sure yet.
In the meanwhile, the audiobook of Hardcore Zen is on sale right now. Just in case you've forgotten.
And a new eBook collection called Hardcore Zen Strikes Again will be out any minute now. I think they're still working out some kinks in formatting. I realized I couldn't do it myself so the fine folks at Cooperative Press in Cleveland are handling that part. Up till now they've only done books about knitting. But Shannon, who runs the company, is a fan of my writing. So this will be their first non-knitting related title.
Hardcore Zen Strikes Again is a collection of essays I wrote for the old Sit Down and Shut Up webpage. Many of the articles I wrote for that page ended up reworked into chapters of Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality. Many did not. Others were so thoroughly reworked you wouldn't recognize them. It is articles from the latter two categories that I chose for Hardcore Zen Strikes Again. I've also included a chapter that was cut out of Hardcore Zen and an article I wrote for a Japanese monster fanzine consisting mainly of things I wrote about my work at Tsuburaya Productions that were also removed from Hardcore Zen. So the book is sort of like the bonus disc for Hardcore Zen. Hence the title. The essays are each accompanied by new introductions and afterwords talking about how my views on things have totally changed now and why the essays are shit.
Not really. But I am not nearly as loud in my writing as I was in 2001. I say pretty much the same stuff, just in a different way.
Those of you without Kindles or iPads or Nooks need not fret. There will be a print version as well. But the print version will be produced in limited quantities. Whether you'll be able to find it in stores or not is still an open question. Probably you will.
Going to California is a big move for me, and, in some ways a thoroughly stupid one. It's stupid because I could have saved myself a lot of hassle and just stayed in Los Angeles. But, really, things there at the time had become un-workable and I needed a change. It's also stupid because I'm now making way less money than I was when I moved away and am going to a place where the rent is more than twice what I'm paying in Akron.
But it's also a good move because I liked living in California. It's sunny. It's warm. It's L.A., with all the weirdness that means. I'm going to try getting a teaching gig out there or maybe work in the film industry. Pirooz has a company, which is mainly just him right now, called Sangha Films. Years and years before I ever met Pirooz I had the notion that maybe there could be a Buddhist sangha whose livelihood was supported by making movies. Lots of Buddhist sanghas support themselves with commercial endeavors. Some sanghas make tofu, some bake bread, San Francisco Zen Center runs a luxury tourist resort (Tassajara). So why not movies?
I'm hoping to talk Pirooz into moving in this direction with me. But every time I say something about it he just sort of grunts noncommittally. We'll see. I envision it as sort of a Zen version of Troma Films. Not in terms of the gore and splatter. But in terms of the way Troma is fiercely independent, knows its audience thoroughly, and makes its way in the world by producing movies that will never be big hits but always sell to its loyal core audience. Pirooz wants to make a zombie movie next. I'm trying to convince him to make it a Zen zombie movie. We'll see...
Every choice a person makes in life affects their future in ways large and small, foreseeable and unforeseeable. Even a smile or a frown can make a huge difference. But some decisions seem more momentous than others. Signing that book contract and committing to a huge move in the same day seem pretty momentous to me. To be honest, I'm scared shitless. Maybe a year from now you'll find me living in a cardboard box on Venice Beach trying to sell CD-Rs of my audiobook in order to buy burritos. But maybe not.
Sometimes you just gotta make a move.