World as Ecstasy: June 2023
What I've been up to and thoughts on living as a creative.
What I’m Working On
I spent the last two weeks working on a personal essay that I had hoped would answer common questions made on social media about relationships (providing value), but from the standpoint of a Dom, before realizing it would be better for the reader if I wrote a story instead.
The problem with writing essays for that purpose is that it would make anyone ask themselves, Why should they listen? Who do I think I am to write with such authority and make so many assumptions and generalizations?" Because I don’t want the points I need to make to be lost due to the tonality of an essay, a story would be a better use of our time and also be a lot more fun for both of us.
I’ve already written approximately 32,000 words to the first draft of a small novella where I already did something with that approach, where I explore the pitfalls of trauma bonding in relationships. When I am done with the developmental editing in August, I plan on publishing chapters through this platform on a weekly basis, all the while still working on edits, before publishing through my imprint, Marfa Lights Press. The tentative title for the novella is Zoë and Isabella and is set in the same timeline that my novel series, The Desert Road of Night, is set in (specifically in the second book, Athena, which will be published early in 2024).
The first book, The Beautiful World of the Alive, is available now on Amazon. If you're not only a reader but also a writer, I hope it will help you to know that it's beneficial to give yourself a hard deadline. Otherwise, the novel you've spent years working on will never see the light of day. With my first book, that's exactly what I did. Knowing that Amazon imposes a significant penalty for not keeping to the deadlines set when you self-publish your novel for pre-orders, at the beginning of the year, I dropped all my other projects to focus on meeting my deadline.
I met it knowing that I could go back a month later and revise the eBook version for those errors that could only be seen with the fresh eyes that come after publishing the work. Once that’s done, I will publish the paperback version as the final one and then begin editing the second book.
I might publish drafts from that through this platform, always looking for feedback.
What I’ve Loved Lately
I made use of that break from editing to sit and read for pleasure.
My friend and developmental editor, Meghan, who I had dedicated the first book to, bought me a copy of The Fuck Up by Arthur Nersesian.
Here’s the following description from Goodreads:
Arthur Nersesian's underground literary treasure is an unforgettable slice of gritty New York City life.
This is the darkly hilarious odyssey of an anonymous slacker. He's a perennial couch-surfer, an aspiring writer searching for himself in spite of himself, and he's just trying to survive. But life has other things in store for the fuck-up. From being dumped by his girlfriend to getting fired for asking for a raise, from falling into a robbery to posing as a gay man to keep his job at a porno theater, the fuck-up's tragi-comedy is perfectly realized by Arthur Nersesian, who manages to create humor and suspense out of urban desperation.
The book took me back to that era, name-dropping the same places I used to go to when I was a broke but artistic slacker myself in the early 1990s. It was great to read a story with the same pace—beats—as that of a punk rock song.
Some of the reviews crack me up—most of which sound like what would be written by a Redditor whose only living has been through video games and engaging in VR porn.1 Meanwhile, the setting in The Fuck Up was true to that era, where the writing style used by Arthur Nersesian was in demand by literary agents and publishing houses of the time. Everyone was trying to capitalize on the resurgence of the Beats with choppy prose, similar to that found in some of the works of William Burroughs.
It was popular because it was different from the work created in the 1980s. How do I know? I had a literary agent go out of her way to write a handwritten note in a manuscript rejection, saying, "Know your market—be like the Beats, not Baldwin and Roth."
It would be no different if a writer were to query a literary agent now, and the feedback they get is that they’re looking for stories that focus on what they say the market is demanding now, among other things, inclusivity while avoiding problematic representation. An example of this can be found in this YouTube video by the BookTuber, Meg LaTorre.
I can only imagine the reviews in thirty years for books published now, for the reasons listed in this video: Instead of choppy prose, why were the stories so bland?
It’s one of the reasons for self-publishing. What am I more interested in doing? Developing an audience of readers who like to read stories based in consensual power dynamics, that touches upon the perspectives outlined in Nature, Man, and Woman, with character driving a story that may be problematic to some who wouldn't understand BDSM, but at least it wouldn't be bland.
Many of the scenes in my novel series that allude to a Buddhist verse illustrating the rarity and preciousness of human rebirth were written while playing this song on repeat: Satellite Serenade by Keiichi Suzuki.
It's one of those songs that reminds me of that era, written not only in The Fuck Up but in my books. This song, and songs like it, would be the final track played by the DJ in places like Save the Robots before all the lights would come on, and whoever was left on the dance floor would be stumbling out into the morning light. It’s a precious memory that inspired so much of what’s in the story.
As for why it was on repeat while I was writing, you'll have to read the books. Click here to learn more.
News and Updates
If you love listening to DJ podcasts, I have two produced under my stage name, Karma of Dove, that I invite you to check out.
A monthly mixtape-style set devoted to underground techno, house, and nu-disco sounds loved by die-hards who are still on the dance floor at 3 a.m., while others are starting to make their way home.
A monthly mixtape-style set devoted to world music and indie dance sounds made popular by the Buddha Bar series.
My main social media profile for music can be found at soundcloud.com/karmaofdove.
My main portfolio can be found at https://vemares.co/austin-boudoir/.
I continue to have an Instagram profile devoted to my photography, which remains under my real name. That can be found on my website.
For now, my novels and books of poetry are available through Amazon. Click here to see my current catalog.
Follow the Instagram profile devoted to my author platform at instagram.com/viktor.e.mares/.
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This is the tone that would’ve come through in a personal essay: the contempt I have for people who tear down the work and effort of those who are in the arena, actually doing it. I can’t help myself.