Between 1995 and 1997 I wrote my first novel, Mood. Because digital printing and imaging were nascent technologies, and because I was growing increasingly interested in doing art myself, in making visual art myself, Mood was conceived and designed specifically, with a graphic element that drove the creative engine of the work: the passage of an image of the changing moon moving through the margins, and the presence of the night sky on the pages by making the pages dark and the letters light, with the slightest alteration of color and contrast of the pages and letters as the book progresses to correspond to the light provided by the moon as it passed through a fortnight of phases during the course of the narrative of the novel. The pages were to be the night sky and the letters the stars – paragraphs were constellations.
The timing of the narrative takes place during the fortnight represented by the physical pages and artwork, and as a conceit, the main character’s name changes with each phase of the moon. Set in San Francisco, I employed many contemporary businesses – bars, restaurants – that were popular among scenesters then. I punnishly changed names, or not, on a whimsical basis. Anyone who went out to hear live music or DJs or art in The Mission, North Beach, SOMA or elsewhere in the mid 1990’s would recognize many locations by their descriptions in the novel, Mood.
I physically took Mood to New York City in August of 1997, and attempted to have it published. I hand delivered copies to Sonny Mehta at Random House and at all the major houses. This was the exact moment when many of NYCs oldest and most famous publishers were being bought out by large German corporations.
Response to Mood was almost negligible. Only one agent wrote back at all, a handwritten note to say he liked the style but that the work was too experimental. The book was never produced as imagined and for a dozen years has existed as only a single, 187-page hardcopy, bound in 1997 (which may be lost in India), and as files stored on floppy disk. In January 2000, one chapter of Mood was published as a short story by the Conde Nast women’s monthly, Jane magazine. That story, Shanti, was roughly 1500 words long and represents my first published work of fiction that had a national audience. More than 50 readers wrote to an e-mail established to receive feedback. All the feedback was good.
I stayed in New York to attempt to write more and address the publishing industry, but grew increasingly disappointed in the changing face of the industry and writing in general. The New Yorker rejected seven of my submissions between 1997 and 2009, though once they wrote by hand that I was on the right track, “this one is more like what we might run,” the unsigned note read.
In 2001, my short story, Close the Piano, was published in an anthology of South Asian writers out of Toronto, Canada, under the pseudonym Raj Balas. I did a public performance as Raj Balas reading a part of that story aloud to a group gathered at the Asian American Writers Workshop in Manhattan, in April of that year – four months before the September 11th attacks which changed my career trajectory, somewhat, as I began and have been doing much more art, performance, news and journalism rather than fiction writing, ever since.
After 9/11, I nearly stopped writing fiction altogether. This has been an intense period in my life that includes the birth of my son and years of writing hard news and politics for Pacifica Radio, as well as anti-war essays and e-mails for a half decade. I was very politically active during the Bush/Cheney era. I also completed a lot of art, performance and installation work that was politically motivated in response to our changing world.
My explorations into visual art – which began in 1996 with Rigo 23 in San Francisco – began to fruit in New York in part as a result of collaboration with Christopher Wilde, Marshall Weber, Mark Wagner, Sara Parkel, Amy Ferrara and others at Booklyn Artists Alliance, and also because, on an irregular but intense level, I began assisting Rigo 23 with large scale art and installation projects all around the world. I became a working artist somewhere between the year 2000 and 2003 – when most of my placed work found its home in educational and arts institutions in the U.S.A. This is also when I founded Fifty Foot Pine Tree Press (Los Angeles, April 25, 2002) to begin producing limited editions, artist’s books, prints and digital art, now on the web at
In the 21st century, I began to make artists books and to do collage, drawing and painting more than to write fiction, however, I did write one more novel and five more short stories while in New York City. None of this work was published, though the novel was posted page by page, online, in its entirety, by a now defunct website. That novel remained online for a full year, December 1999 to January 2001.
I have only finished one story since 9/11, as raising my son has made it nearly impossible to find the mental space and time to write what I want to write. The only fiction I have finished in the last 3 years is Before You Came, the opening chapter of a novel with the working title, The Outsider Inside.
We’ve proved that the electronic voting machines are made by highly partisan private corporations and feel strongly that fraud has occurred. There are dozens of very serious cases, allegations and simulations of sheer electronic fraud, by reputable academics. There are allegations of vote theft – the outright changing of results … read this excellent summative: http://www.wanttoknow.info/electronicvoting
And still as many as ONE-THIRD of U.S. votes are being cast into the black box of un-auditable e-voting without paper record trails. See who votes how here:
While this year’s presidential election has generated more interest than those in say 1996 or ’88, and perhaps even more than the Bush/Rove manipulations in 2000 and ’04, very few in the corporate press are preparing for what could be another utterly bogus presidential election night. The Republicans don’t need to actually win because they can negotiate the Democrats losing, and make the corporate press agree the polls were wrong.
“The Bradley Effect: that people won’t admit to pollsters that they didn’t vote for a black man” is already being paraded as an excuse, and races that are polling very wide are being portrayed as close! why? So it can be fixed again and presented as legit?
By contrast, many in the blogosphere of the Internet now feel that the outcome of the 2008 Presidential Election must be “either an Obama landslide, or definitively election fraud …” as it has been already identified in 2002 and 2004; including computer fraud via the alteration of votes in electronic voting machines, illegal vote purges and suppression in key states.
We have uncovered the exact ways in which HAVA (the “Help America Vote Act“) – forced county clerks in communities all over the country to rapidly accept UNAPPROVED Diebold, Sequoia and Premier electronic voting machines. We have testimonial after testimonial – all over youtube – complaining of what looks like rigging or suppression of votes. The outright changing of electronically cast votes by an exceptionally simple and quick hack is alleged nationwide. See these 3 movies on the facts:
So, on election night, what are we going to do? be transfixed by the corporate media? by Karl Rove’s fat face telling us a state has “flipped” from blue to red? or a “Too Close To Call” tuesday night and then a fixed election wednesday morning? how are we as a people to prevent election night and indeed our whole election process from being an utter joke?
Don’t let surprise turn into silent acceptance of a coup on election night.
Brad Friedman started with that attitude. The one-man election integrity super-blogger has been pursuing issue after issue in an organized fashion for the past four years. www.bradblog.com is indispensable now from the standpoint of election integrity awareness. It’s possibly the single best place to go on the day after election day to follow up on a priori complaints.
Black Box Voting, begun by Bev Harris, pursues similar goals – they are at www.blackboxvoting.org – and have begun a campaign they call: What to Do on Election Night “Protect the Count!” that advocates taking your video cameras where votes are stored on election night and being prepared to spend the night.
From the standpoint of long term solutions, so we can get together after this election and write the un-HAVA [maybe we could call it SAVA, the Secure America’s Votes Act] and have it passed by the new Democratic President and Congress, here’s one: Open-Source Voting http://openvotingconsortium.org/ It’s endorsed by many who care, as a good way out of the nightmare HAVA has produced.
“But MTK … ,” you ask, “ … all that’s fine and good, but what are we gonna do if it’s election night and they are freaking rigging the election and shoveling a result down our throats via the Corporate Press with bullshit numbers, un-investigated mysterious vote-shifts and hundreds of thousands of purged and missing ballots, again?”
First, I think be very open-minded, slow to judge and aware. Second, why not be prepared to bring the government and the press to a halt on Wednesday the 5th of November if necessary – a stoppage of the process for investigation. In all seriousness. Be prepared to say you do NOT accept a concession by any party or any interpretation of the votes by any government body without a full Congressional Investigation into the Election. Imagine headlines in the Times that read Election Fraud Alleged … Public Demands Results Be Investigated, and subheads:
impound the electronic voting machines
do NOT certify any election where voters claim the process was interfered with.
demand the right for a re-votes, tell people to prepare for a second ballot if necessary and entire re-votes of counties and states should be encouraged if necessary
Other than that … get ready to tell the people who want to take this country over illegally again that that isn’t what democracy looks like, ‘cause that’s what we will be doing. And it may take months.
mtk on the mic
Iran is a Stone
Iran is a Stone
China is a Tree
India, a Crow
From Turkmen to Yemen
the sands are shifting
Sudamérica demuestra la dirección
Islam is not the problem
War is not the answer