A native of upstate New York, born in Albany, schooled in Buffalo, and currently living and working in the State Capital, Shane Jones is acutely aware that winter isn’t all sledding, skates and snow angels.
That he’s turned a particularly nasty and lingering bout of seasonal affective disorder into a highly original novel/novella that gives magical realism and allegory an athletic work out, perhaps exorcises the literary demons of winters past.
Published by Baltimore based Publishing Genius Press in 2009, after a brief round of chilly no’s from other indie presses, Light Boxes pits a put upon community against a powerful unseen foe.
A fabulist tale of a strangely familiar yet disturbingly foreign/obtuse wonderland where Alice and her kind have mysteriously gone missing due to the untreated malaise of a monstrous month named February. A mean-spirited sprite with a list of grievances and caprices that must be blamed entirely on the people of the town, February banjaxes his minions into an extended climatic misery.
February is the cruelest month, cold, unhappy and very spiteful. When discontent. Or cycling a day or 888 of existential angst. Even superhuman folkloric meanies get the blues and wreak tempestuous havoc on a susceptible nature.
His first act is to ban flight. Nothing must fly. All is grounded from balloons, kites and clouds, to the expectation that the never-ending cold, snow and darkness will ease into spring.
Enter Thaddeus, real from history, “the most shot at man in the Civil War” a balloonist who scoped out enemy territory, and in this reading, will not let the air be removed from his sails or those of his wife, Selah and their beloved daughter Bianca. At first an army of one, when tragedy strikes further, and nearer to his heart and home, Thaddeus is enlisted by a posse of beaked-nosed vigilantes and former balloonists named The Solution. In addressing the crisis, their methods are oblique and fantastically mechanic. Hooking clouds from the skies, tricking February into a false sense of springtime. United finally as The War Effort, in league with the giant loyalist Caldor Clemens, The Professor and the ordinary turned by necessity into something extra townsfolk, they imagine hyperbolic ways to give the recalcitrant February his Marching orders. This includes the creation of Light Boxes to refract the pale chimera of a deadened sun.
Behind the phantasmagoria, the richly imagined interplay of heartbreak, whimsy and war – and at the denouement, is the mysterious Girl Who Smells of Honey and Smoke.
Melancholia and Memory, the entropy of a nuclear winter, Jones sews together the scraps of paper bearing an intertwined narrative through these prisms of boxed up light. The underlying Puritanism of a New England beset by clergy and climate is never far from the surface frost.
There are myths and folklore, fairy tales, fable and fact melded with some violent yet hauntingly beautiful imagery that is poetic and visceral. Otherworldly references are plentiful: Persephone and the underworld, a vengeful Pied Piper, Brothers very Grimm indeed. Shades of Roald Dahl, Carroll and Calvino; Icarus even Aristotle’s Daemon sub-textualize a parlance both contemporary and quaint.
It’s punctuated too with clever devices: using typography sotto voce, decreasing a font size to illustrate a whisper. Announcing acmes in bold face 14-point type, and lists that in bullet points cite information and aim it squarely at the reader with economic purpose.
That people either love or loathe Light Boxes, is a polemic that neither troubles nor electrifies Shane. He’s just happy to be read on and offline.
Scathingly British in its disdain, The Guardian’s assessment of Light Boxes is nonetheless, “my favorite negative review” he writes on his web site linking to it, perhaps acknowledging in a Wilde way that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
And it was the indie reading community and press that first started the conversation. As a poetry student at Buffalo University, Shane published his first chapbook anthology, Maybe Tomorrow in 2002 (Boneworld) aged 21. He’s since been published in scores of literary journals, released another chapbook of poems entitled I will Unfold You in My Hairy Arms (Greying Ghost, 2009), a book of poetry, A Cake Appeared (Scrambler), authored The Failure Six (Fugue State press) and has a new mega word tome on the burner ready to be served, Daniel Fights a Hurricane (2010?) But it was the diet-sized Light Boxes, his first novel written whilst working at a book-store and living in his parent’s basement back in Albany that excited attentions.
Adam Robinson at PGP noticed its potential and in 2009 and released a 500 copy run. The web world saw the light and wrote, blogged, reviewed and talked up its charms and chances. Director Spike Jonze, followed by agent Bill Clegg at William Morris came calling to market prompting Penguin to reissue it in 2010 and take it to Europe. It’s currently slated for translation into several international languages. Light Boxes is no longer optioned for the Jonze treatment, something of a longish short story in itself, but the options for its author are plenty. A possible move to Brooklyn, reviews of other writer’s work, more poetry and prose, a good rest and the wait to see if battling the forces of nature once again, yields a flurry of interest in Daniel’s ill wind.
Whatever the prevailing opinion, Light Boxes remains an elegy on the futility of war, a return to campfire storytelling and a posit on the power of words to change the course and discourse of seemingly random events.
Lani Steinberg interviewed Shane Jones by email and because we are that modern here at indiereader, followed it up with a g-chat to make the discourse seemingly random.
Lani Steinberg: What is it about winter that inspires writers?
Shane Jones: I don’t know if it really inspires writers, but for me it pretty much means not going outside and having more time to write. Less distraction, more isolation.
As a native of upstate New York, how did the ‘cruel’ month of February inform your year round creative life?
I’ve always just had a strange relationship to the month of February. For me, it’s the worst month.
Why so dystopian? What is an ideal writing environment for you?
Why is February so dystopian for me? In the northeast it’s just really dark, cold, icy, and the end of a winter that is already long. I lived in Buffalo for five years and my friends and I would joke around that ‘February was coming.’ To anyone living in a warm climate, it probably sounds insane, but believe me, February is a horrible month. As far as an ideal writing environment, it’s different for everybody. For the most part, I can write anywhere, but I prefer to have headphones on, sitting on the couch or in bed.
What was it about the real Thaddeus Lowe that struck you as a protagonist for this fable?
Just how odd and amazing his life was. I don’t think many people have heard of him. It was really one single image I had which was Thaddeus Lowe in a balloon and a bunch of people shooting rifles at him. The mix of whimsy and violence struck a chord with me.
Flight and, by association flights of fancy are banned in February’s endless season. Why do you think flying is such a potent motif for people, and having one’s wings clipped a really horrible reckoning?
Well, flight in the book is banned because I thought ‘What would be the worst thing to happen to a character like Thaddeus Lowe?’ And I thought about killing his wife, his daughter being kidnapped, things like that. But what really kind of caught my interest was the idea of having no flight. How that would affect him and the town? I guess the larger metaphor here is flight as freedom. But I didn’t really think that when I wrote the book. I just wanted to see what would happen to Thaddeus if he couldn’t fly his balloon anymore.
What was your starting point for Light Boxes?
I had written a few pages (which became the beginning of the book) where I just tried to be as visual as possible. I was also writing a lot of stuff with tons of winter imagery. That, combined with learning about Thaddeus Lowe, was the starting point.
Who were you reading at around the time you were imagining Light Boxes?
I think I have a list of about 50 books, art pieces, cartoons, and songs, that were an influence. From Calvino and Brautigan to the Muppets to Radiohead to Edward Gorey. So much.
If you could soundtrack particular passages in Light Boxes, who/what would choose?
John Madera actually wrote a soundtrack to the book. It’s pretty good. Anything atmospheric really – I can hear Mogwai in parts and also the band Salem.
The magic realist structure allows the writer a great deal of freedom in exploring meta themes. Was this your chosen style from the onset and how did you arrive at it?
I didn’t ‘choose’ any kind of style. At least I don’t think so on a conscious level. I did want to write a book where I could do anything I wanted for the most part. I didn’t want to feel restrained in any way. I made a conscious decision to have fun. I’m really not sure how to answer this question. I just tried to write exciting sentences and images and scenes that surprised me. I wanted to write a book I wanted to read.
Reading some of the reviews, The Guardian was not at all kind using damning phrases life ‘solipsistic’ and ‘cringe-making,’ – sorry to repeat that, BTW. However, the online rebuttals leapt to your defense with articulate and insightful critique, almost reviewing the reviews. Does it make a difference who examines your work in the wider web world?
I think if a reader or writer I respect writes a thoughtful and critical review, that hurts a bit. But if it’s George from New Jersey reviewing it on Amazon, those I like to read and they don’t bother me at all. So, I guess it matters a little. The Guardian review was written by some [guy] in the UK I had never heard of, so it didn’t bother me. Light Boxes tends to get really positive feedback and tons of negative feedback. It surprises me how much people love it and how much people really hate it. And I read all of it. I’m just amazed and flattered that someone would spend x amount of time writing a blog entry about how Light Boxes is a piece of shit work.
How did your relationship with Publishing Genius come about?
I first met Adam [Robinson, Founding Editor] in a bar in Baltimore. I was on business for work and he had just gotten laid off from his job. We both got a little drunk and went back to his place. We fooled around for a bit before I noticed all these chapbooks on the floor. Turned out he was a publisher. I sent him my book a week later and a month after that he accepted it.
Was it really a chance meeting with a stranger in a bar? Sounds bookishly romantic. Like you were fated to be… published.
Fine, I’m joking. The truth is I sent the book to bunch of indie presses and everyone either rejected it or ignored my emails. Adam was the only person truly interested in it and he happened to like the book.
Although rich in imagery and character driven eccentricity, there’s little that’s superfluous in the narrative. Was it difficult to be restrained? Did you self-edit as the writing process evolved or take total stock ‘at the end of the day?’
No, I don’t think it was difficult to be restrained. I just wrote a few short sections a day until I had about 130 sections. I guess the medium of writing it — mostly on scraps of paper — restrained it some. I did some self-editing, yes. I did want the book to have a high level of energy and be efficient.
Light Boxes is a very visual allegory. I read that you wanted to ‘overload the reader with images.’ Much has been made of the cinematic qualities of the book. And Spike Jonze came calling. Given our multiplatform environment, did you sub-consciously write with a big screen adaptation in mind?
No, I never once thought of the book having movie potential. I never even thought the book would be published. All I wanted to do was write a novel. I set a goal. And I think most would say the book is too short of being considered a novel. Oh well.
What happened with the whole Jonze film option go-round? And are you tired of answering that question?
Spike Jonze optioned the film with Ray Tintori slated to direct. The idea was that Spike would produce. It was a really odd and exciting experience and mentally, I got way too wrapped up in it. Looking back, it was doomed from the beginning. Spike is an extremely private person and here I was blogging and giving interviews about it and so was Ray. It never got off the ground floor and was canned several months ago. I probably lost 4-5 months of writing time because I felt so distracted.
What do you think of the guerilla marketing/viral PR of which Tao Lin, for example, is a master to connect with a readership, community and self-promote?
I think it’s wonderful. I think Tao is great at marketing. The internet makes it possible to promote yourself when before a writer really couldn’t. It’s really pretty amazing. I’m all for it. It can be really fun.
But is much of the generation online ‘writer slash marketer,’ a kind of triumph of style over substance?
That’s a good question. Yes, style is important in some way. Your blog, the pictures and videos you post, that all culminates in a certain style and aesthetic and if people are turned off by that, they probably won’t buy your book. Maybe they will. The writing still needs to be good. You can have the most amazing site and work all you want on a style and image, but if the writing is shitty, people will just move on.
It’s also very hard to be grilled by strangers about your life’s work. Should writers have to talk about their work?
I don’t know if they should do anything but write more books, but yeah, talking about their work allows for the possibility to connect with readers. It’s good and bad. The one question I got a lot was ‘What is your book about?’ which I really hate. I wonder if this is strictly an American kind of question. The idea that a book or piece of art has to have a meaning and you should be able to sell it with a short description.
Well, selling yourself is the Great American Way. Especially in New York. Perhaps the experimental nature of the book throws traditionalists off, so it prompts the ‘what’s it all about?’ question. So, if you had to, how would you ‘sell’ Light Boxes in 20 words or less?
It’s about a group of balloonists who fight a war against the month of February.
The clergy are pilloried, marching about, self-interpreting and executing the presumed bidding of the higher being/good. Yet February is a ‘god’ with real feet of clay: ‘I want to be a good person but I’m not.’ He does feel guilt but is February’s compassion seasonal only?
I don’t think it’s seasonal only. I think February’s guilt and his compassion comes and goes and it’s complex. He knows what he’s done and what he’s doing to the town, but he continues to do so. He’s good and bad and mean and compassionate. I think a lot of people are like this.
Concepts of Good and Evil get a grand grey workout. The children who tear heads off owls and lie, contrast with young Bianca who whether alive or spirit, is light and airy and has kites drawn on her hands. Good = Bianca, Selah and The Girl, Destiny = Thaddeus, and Bad = Clergy and February — the unseen ogre in the sky. Did these personifications ‘ground’ the story’s trajectory in some way?
What a question. I never set out to write a book with concepts of good and evil. I know you’re not saying that exactly, but what I was doing was trying to balance extremes in violence and tenderness and I think that grounds the story a little.
There’s an almost medieval context to the village and yet the tale is a modern folklore in that the scapegoat February, the one who resides on the Edge of Town lived in his parents’ basement and was a perpetual college student, his girlfriend more ambitious for him than he was for himself. The Solution, too seem to be Clockwork Orange type vigilantes. Was the town setting a deliberate counterpoint to some of the more contemporary references?
I’d say it was deliberate, yeah. I wanted the town to be a village, to have this old-world/old-school feel to it. There’s just a lot of open space and possibility in a setting like that. But there’s little hints of the village being modern. Someone asked me at a reading what the mailbox in the village looked like. That caught me off guard. I just wasn’t thinking about it. I think I said it was a box made out of wood.
How important is folklore, myth and story telling to a local community in a global world? Did you re-read much Carroll, Greek myths or even Brothers Grimm in formulating the narrative balance between light and dark, whimsy and melancholia?
To me, story-telling is important on many levels. It’s a form of entertainment that can condense a lifetime of experience. I’ve decided it’s important. And yeah, I did read Carroll, specifically The Hunting of the Snark which is really incredible. The Brothers Grimm I read a lot. There’s a part in Light Boxes where a wolf opens his stomach and that comes directly from Grimm.
How did playing with elements such as typography size and the lists found in various pockets, for example, assist in the construction of the tale?
Adam Robinson at PGP helped a lot with the font choices. He gets a lot of credit there. I wrote the book with various lead-in headers, character headers, small fonts for whispers and large fonts for noise, etc. The lists were just that — lists that I wrote on lunch break at work while sitting in my car. The lists move the story along and alter the pace in a way that the paragraphs can’t do.
On the List of Artists who created Fantasy Worlds To Try And Cure Bouts of Sadness, I understand Anne Sexton, Marquez and Calvino were early influences on you, but tell me about the inclusion of the creator of MySpace…
I didn’t want a list of just artists because that would be boring, so I threw in a few light ones. I was trying to make the point that artists, or anyone who creates, is trying to escape their sadness by creating a new world. MySpace is a new world just as much as Calvino’s Cosmicomics. Both have merit.
The love story and its accompanying sturm und drang between February and the Girl who Smells of Honey and Smoke is integral to the narrative’s progress as is the sense that this nuclear winter could all be the nasty result of a writer’s block from a capricious god-like auteur. Was Light Boxes written for or inspired by anyone specifically?
No, not really. All I wanted to do was write a novel. I had spent about eight or nine years writing poems and short stories and I just thought it was time to push myself. I wanted to create a bigger world. The Girl Who Smells of Honey and Smoke is partially my wife, Melanie, who at the time smoked and used Burts Bees products.
The war of the words between The Girl and February to save Thaddeus is a terrific exchange. Is the pen still mightier than the sword even though “in war anything is possible?”
What? As a parable about war, it seems that all efforts to arm up and attack/defend against February, the winter wielding despot don’t really work out. But the war of words does have impact and ends up changing things for the better.
I guess in Light Boxes, that yes, the pen is mightier than the sword. I would agree with that cliché. Man, my book is such a cliché…
The poetic nuance and license is very evident. You began your literary life as a poet at 16. How do you compare your experience of writing poetry with the novelized format?
There’s not much of a difference. It’s just words. My biggest challenge was writing something longer than 5,000 words. I remember looking up ‘standard word count for a novel’ and seeing things like ‘a novel must be over 50,000 words.’ That was scary. I didn’t even make it half way. The biggest difference in writing a novel is characters and plot, but I didn’t pay much attention to those.
Did the characters and plotline evolve in their own time at their own pace then?
They did, but in a really strange way. I wrote the book and assembled it in a collage format. With some editing, the plot evolved and so did the characters.
Size wise, Light Boxes is a slim tome and written with succinct style and chapter interface. Given your experience with chapbooks and the necessity of the internet platform, was this structure purely stylistic or were you conscious of writing for the online medium/dissemination?
The structure and style is a direct result of me not knowing what I was doing. I simply could not write more than three or four pages of traditional stacked paragraphs. So what I did was write these very short sections. It was manageable for me.
Your dedication acknowledges the world of online and independent literature, a community that is now the starting point for aspiring writers around the world. How do you see the traditional protocols vs. the new tools of the network trade?
I’m not sure what you mean by traditional protocols. I wrote that in the acknowledgments because I felt like a core group of online writers and editors supported and promoted my book, and without those people Light Boxes wouldn’t have gotten the attention it has.
How do you think blogging and tweeting and endlessly diarizing have changed writing as a literary pursuit and profession?
It hasn’t. The pursuit is still: I want to write a book. It’s that simple with people that truly want to just write. Now, if you’re writing as a profession, a job, then I guess that’s different. Then you’re writing so you can have money so you can eat and have a place to write. Blogging and tweeting then become tools to promote your product so you can buy a hamburger. I’ve always had a day job. I’ve never been able to fully support myself on my writing and I doubt I ever will. If anything blogging and facebook and tweeting open up a portal to show a glimpse of someone human, not just a writer.
Is it still the ultimate aim to be published in print rather than solely in the online realm? I’m thinking of Clay Shirky’s Russia-Poland Theory that the current generation of writers is like post Communist Poland and Russia, in that Poland had a sustaining generation that could instruct on what it was like in the old days, but Russia did not. So, in 2010, a 19 year old writer bypasses the ‘received wisdom,’ is tech savvy by nature, uploads first and foremost and is not ‘hamstrung’ by history.
My opinion is that yes, writers would rather be published in print. Maybe not for a poem, or a short story, but I’m thinking of longer works. I don’t think anyone would trade having a printed book versus have 1,000 online publications. I mean, I really love online lit journals. They are getting better and better. But there’s something really magical about a printed book. When I’m at a bookstore, or even the library, I get such a great feeling. Not sure I get that same feeling when I look at a dozen online lit journals. I’m not even sure I answered your question there.
You did answer, but mostly as a reader. How do you find reading your work aloud to a group of gathered readers? Do you feel proprietary over the words at all?
I’m not the biggest fan of giving readings. I like the before and after (meeting and hanging with people), but the actual reading is really hard for me. And no, I don’t feel proprietary over the work. Writers who think they own their book, or have this ‘this is MINE’ approach are just the worst. Yes, I care for and like my books. But it’s just that, a book. After it’s been written and published, it’s somewhat disposable for me.
You haven’t yet given up your day job, working at the seat of state power in Albany. You’ve described your book ‘The Failure Six’ (2008) as being like ‘Kafka at a dance party,’ which I read as bureaucracy and illusion worshipping the DJ under the influence. Does the nature of your day job inform your after school imagination at all?
It’s a different world than the world of fiction, so I’m sure it does. My day job levels me out. Most days, I enjoy it. I didn’t really have the option to ‘give up my day job.’ I think if I gave that up I’d be forced to move back into my parent’s basement.
Tell me a little about new writings in the works…
I recently finished a draft of a new novel. It’s more than twice as long as Light Boxes. I believe that it will go out on submission sometime in October. Once that’s done, and my head clears a bit, I just plan to read a lot and maybe start writing reviews.
THE G-CHAT BONUS QUESTIONS
With authentic idiosyncrasies in layout and syntax. In the spirit of online conversification, some liberty with the root has been taken.
ls: Hey Shane
sj: How are you?
ls: I’m very well thanks – a little concerned about the coming February – not a winter lass, me
sj: hahaha. Do you have a facebook profile? I just like to put a name with a picture
ls: No. I staunchly refuse to do it. Just being bloody minded
sj: I can understand that
ls: People get very upset too when we tell them we don’t do ‘the book.’ Very odd…
ls: I get sick of it every once in a while. Thinking of deleting my account
ls: That might start a whole revolution of anti-bookers. You probably have more influence than you know.
sj: Oh, I don’t think so
ls: Do you get much fan mail?
sj: Some, yeah. I get a little each week, emails, letters to my PO, facebook messages. It’s really nice to hear people have such a reaction but I don’t have a big fan base or anything. Maybe a few hundred people would consider themselves ‘fans’
ls: Do they talk amongst themselves? Like in a forum?
sj: I don’t believe so
ls: That’s something of a relief, I think. Did you write Light Boxes largely in Feb?
sj: Good question. Actually, no…
Maybe some parts
I’m trying to think…
Most of the book was written just after February
April to August was a big chunk
ls: In the recuperative spring?
sj: Yeah. Almost all of the book was written in the spring and summer.
ls: I did look at John Madera’s web site. I can sure see Mogwai in some of the more visual passages – the moss and horses maybe.
Oops. That should be ‘hear’ Mogwai
sj: Yeah, Mogwai for sure
ls: And maybe some Flying Lotus – all kooky electronic jazz
sj: Awww, I love Flying Lotus. Where do you live?
ls: Just moved from Chelsea to West Village. TINY studio – more a ‘stud’ – if I exhale my ribs touch the walls but it has a shared garden and nice appliances.
sj: Oh nice. I’m considering a move to Brooklyn
ls: Not Billyburg?
ls: Williamsburg – ‘hipster’ hothouse
sj: hahaha. I’m looking at Prospect Heights, Park Slope, and Fort Greene
ls: VERRRRRY nice. Fort Greene less of a stroller obstacle path/babymama central
sj: Yeah, my Penguin editor lives there now in Fort Greene. Like it a lot
ls: Does that mean new job/or no new day job?
sj: I’ll probably have to get a job, yeah. I just finished a new novel, so in a perfect situation that will get published and I’d have some money to live off
ls: I hope so. Lovely to actually be able to live off what you do and like to do. New themes, format in the new work?
sj: I just wrote an email where I tried to describe it… Maybe I can just copy it here….
The book is titled “Daniel Fights a Hurricane” and deals mainly with two story lines. One is imaginative (a group building a pipeline to the ocean and its subsequent destruction and recreation underwater) and the other reality (a man with a paranoia of hurricanes, who worked on an oil pipeline, and his retreat into the wilderness) and how the two weave together and unfold into a search for a man’s wife and his identity. It’s 45k words. I mean, it’s a bigger book with bigger ideas – the format is more traditional.
ls: MASSIVE! You got just about every existential, man’s search for meaning, self – and substance like water/oil – issue covered. Does Daniel actually battle the hurricane? Like the whale?
sj: Throughout the book people try to define what the hurricane is exactly and fight against it and I guess the format really isn’t that traditional. I wanted to write a book that looks really traditional – standard paragraphs, but once you start reading the book, it gets stranger. There’s pictures, lists, songs, etc… it could possibly be a giant failure
ls: Ah…There maybe more than one force of nature to deal with. Sounds like a handbook for modern lads. I like the additional artforms – that’s really how we live and work – companion pieces – songs, lists (shopping or to dos or otherwise, pictures we carry around or hang on our walls… books should reflect that maybe
sj: I love all those things in a book
ls: Kind of multimedia novelizing
sj: Well, there’s a kind of restriction to a novel. You pretty much have to read it from left to right, starting on page 1 going to page x – that’s a huge restriction right there
ls: Traditionally yes. I guess too that that format then informs narrative arc – beginning, middle, twist, end. Or is that a screenplay?
sj: Hmmm… I’m not sure
ls: When you consider that writers are exposed to so much creative input and interest in their day to day lives to just restrict their output to words in chronology is a bit limiting. If you write you often also paint or sing, or play music… And make lists. People are a bit afraid of the experimental novel though…
sj: I agree. But I also don’t think of myself as an experimental novelist. I don’t think Light Boxes is all that experimental. Sure, some of the images and scenes are strange and kind of surreal, but really it’s very old to me. I see it as more folklore and Native American – this ‘around the campfire’ kind of feel. I also love pictures and lists and lyrics because it’s incredibly fun.
But it’s not very new.
Vonnegut did all that.
So did Pynchon in Gravity’s Rainbow.
ls: I totally agree. But it’s strange that nearly every review I read of Light Boxes immediately ‘categorized’ it. And that category was ‘experimental novel.’ I think it’s the need to place something new in a taxonomy for easy processing.
sj: The format isn’t traditional paragraph stacking. People saw that and immediately thought it was experimental I mean it’s a strange book
I realize that
ls: As a novel/novella, it’s not what people expect esp. in terms of traditional layout but I don’t think it’s strange. Ironically, it’s probably more traditional given that it’s a piece of folklore as a community experienced tale – oral tradition just written down.
sj: I agree!
I think a lot of people also came to the book after hearing that Spike Jonze optioned it
So they had to put it in a category
Some kind of starting point
It’s too short to be considered a novel
It’s kind of poetic
ls: Well, Where the Wild Things Are was too short to be ‘a novel adaptation’ – but intensely visual, so I see where the Jonzian thing comes into it with Light Boxes. Too bad he couldn’t see the forest for the trees!
ls: That’s why I’m really surprised some film dude type hasn’t been lurking about the edges of the Net and leapt on it. You can really see a cinematographer having a ball with the shot set-ups.
sj: I think people still believe it’s going to become a movie.
There was all this hype because of the Spike Jonze thing
And I imagine people bought the book because of that
But no one read some interview I did where I said it wasn’t happening
ls: I suppose hype helps in expanded interest and sales so snaps to Spike
sj: It would have been a really difficult film to make
I can’t imagine trying to get financial backing for it
Who knows what will happen?
It’s definitely not going to be a movie any time soon
ls: Are you taking a writing break after ‘Daniel?’
sj: Right now, yeah. I plan on just reading a lot and seeing if anyone wants to publish it
ls: What about Penguin?
sj: Oh, I don’t have a contract with them. They have an ‘exclusive first look’ so they have 30 days to read it first
sj: No, not really. And it’s not because I’m confident. It’s because I have no control over what happens. Publishing is a strange world.
So I’m just going to try and relax and see what happens. Its possible Penguin will take it, and it’s possible everyone will reject it
ls: So true. Publishing Houses and Co-op Boards are the last remaining fiefdoms in NY. Good Luck!
sj: hahaha. Who knows? The book is basically done. I like it and hopefully someone else will like it enough to publish it
ls: Thank you so much, Shane. I’ve really enjoyed the (g) chat. So modern, no?
sj: hahaha, yes!
ls: Fingers are crossed for Penguin waddling the right way for you.
sj: Thanks Elana. Have a good day
ls: You too. Shane Jones.