Monday, May 27, 2013

YouTube Poetry Making Garble

I am doing some consulting work for a textbook company; I am watching some teaching videos and writing summaries for the company's web page. YouTube has a transcript function that allegedly gives you a word-for-word transcript of the video...only not so much. Not even at all, really.

Imagine if James Joyce and Allen Ginsberg got high with Kurt Cobain.

Now imagine they decided to write a poem.

What would result from such an experiment would be the YouTube transcript function:

"If they didn't do what I mean, they are
Watergate when the professor needed to stop."

"Letter Mister decided to make the eats lengthy, hopping around campus with a lot
Of hot . . .
That's right"

"Written linguistic-coated needy are part and parcel of
Video/audio/spatial patterns of meeting"

"Dependency credit is expected:
It's really quite a bit of equipments"

"Let's say that he has
at student,
we said

"He wants to get it in the inner peace for thirty-six eighty.
I hear your voice, and i hate to say justify, but why wouldn't you just give a shit?"

"I'm going to die for the powerpoint reputation"

"If you'd like more information on the Korea,
Certainly don't feel free to contact
Maniac R. Campbell Dot Martha"

"We that
and the people get off dub
make that that packed with parts"

"You did you, and I had pain."

"Studying literature,
According to recent caboodle
And learning tour, right well has
Individuals on people's lives, both in school, could be on school,
And ultimately even hands."

"The funny thing is empty:
It didn't eat much or help about this. Up with the human
Of a literature worker!"

"You know, you go back twenty years ago to where you know these billboards.
On a draft,
Ethical kateri?
They're doing trucks!
Separate separate us!
You know their
Products are having with it.
There do employees
Right whales.
Camp Read Well?
He's at the top
Of problems."

"If they don't have this,
It seems unlikely
That boasted, at least, will get a promoter up these
To Walt Whitman's boring ass."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Next Big Thing

The Next Best Thing’s a game of tag that scores for both writers and readers. The idea is simple: a writer answers ten questions on his or her blog about a work in progress, then passes the baton to three or more writers s/he admires. The baton passer provides links to his or her own tagger and to those s/he tags. In this way, each of the writers receives at least four touts…and interested readers can click on the provided links and hopefully find a new author to read, recommend, and enjoy.

I was tagged by Reb MacRath, author of The Boss MacTavin Action Mysteries, a series of action-packed, darkly humorous, and hard-boiled mysteries set in the South. His Q & A can be found here.

Reb and I share a mutual friend in writer, Brad Strickland (aka Ken McKea), author of the Jim Dallas Thrillers. Brad suggested Reb tag me as one of his three writers as I had recently published my collection of short fiction, Emily's Stitches: The Confessions of Thomas Calloway and Other Stories.

Let's get started, shall we?

1. What is the working title for your book?

Guns of the Waste Land

In it, I retell the King Arthur/Holy Grail legend as pulp Western. It's my first foray into historical fiction as well as the Western genre.

2. Where did the idea come from for this book?

In the mid 1990's, while researching for my Master's thesis in American literature, I came across an old college reader from 1968 titled Heroes and Antiheroes: A Reader in Depth. In it, editor Harold Lubin claimed that the cowboy was America's answer to England's knight in armor. He made a fairly convincing argument comparing, among other things, the so-called "code of the West" to the chivalric code of medieval times.

The idea of how the Arthurian legends would have played out as a spaghetti Western immediately occurred to me and clanked around my head for about ten years until I finally put fingers to keyboard two years ago to hammer something out.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Some kind of amalgamation of Western/Fantasy I guess. Mainly I think of it as a book.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ardiss Drake (Arthur Pendragon): Jeff Bridges
Lancaster O'Lock (Lancelot du Lac): Colin Firth
Guernica (Guenivere): Penélope Cruz
Merle Tallison (Merlin): Donald Sutherlin
Gary Wayne (Gawain):  Simon Pegg
Boris (Bors): Colin Farrell
Percy (Parsival): Bradley James
Red Mort (Mordred): Adam Beach
Ghost in the Water (Morgana):  Irene Bedard
Braddock (inspired by Richard Monaco's Broaditch): Ossie Davis

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The once and future king rides with more lead and added grit.


Quit fucking up the land and each other, y'all; grails don't grow on trees, you know.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Probably self-published. Less of a headache, about as many sales, and unless I find myself magically transformed into Stephen King, slightly more take home money in royalties.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

I am still hammering away at it, but I hope to done with the first draft by year's end or shortly after.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Little Big Man by Thomas Berger and The Parsival series by Richard Monaco (Parsival or a Knight's Tale, The Grail War, The Final Quest, Blood and Dreams, and The Quest for Avalon)

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I've been interested in Arthurian fiction forever. I first read Malory's Le morte Darthur in middle school, and in high school a friend gave me her copy of Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon to read, and I loved the idea of telling the old tales from new perspectives. As a senior in high school, I stumbled upon Monaco's Parsival series, and it became my absolute favorite retelling of the grail legend.

I never cared for the Western as a genre until writing this book. Since beginning my research on it though, I have become a fan of Little Big Man, True Grit, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, and the HBO series Deadwood

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The first chapter won second place in TAG publishing's 2010 Great American Novel Contest in the category of literary fiction.

And now the three authors I want to hear from:

1. Richard Monaco's Parsival series, as you've read above was one of my greatest influences as a writer. The first and third books (Parsival or a Knight's Tale and The Final Quest respectively) were also finalists for the 1977 & 1980 Pulitzer prizes in fiction. His most recent novel is Dead Blossoms: The Third Geisha, a hard-boiled murder mystery set in 16th century Japan.

2. Scott Thompson is the author of Young Men Shall See which placed first in TAG Publishing's 2010 Great American Novel Contest in the literary fiction category and has been nominated for Georgia Author of the Year in the first novel category. He is married with two little boys. You can read his other writings in magazines like Georgia Backroads, Southern Writers Magazine, and The Georgia Connector. Thompson's next novel, Children of the Mist, will be available summer 2013.

3. Tony Daniel is the author of the upcoming novel, Return To Sender. This is his first novel, and the book is the first in the Pyramid Investigations Files series, a paranormal mystery series. He is a devoted Parrot-head, classic movie fan, and writes every day, whether it be on his computer or on cocktail napkins. You can see some of his work on his blog, Tales of the Midnight Cruiser.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A New Blog

A few years ago, I had a blog, Musings of a Bored English Teacher. It was a lot of fun, and I updated it fairly regularly for a couple of years. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and it became more cumbersome to keep updating. Also, I had been writing a story in installments about a bizarre trip to Roanoke, VA I once took, and hit a writer's block. I have a tendency towards single-minded obsession, so I found myself unable to continue the blog if I was unable to finish the story, and about eight or nine years passed.

I've recently decided to try my hand at blogging again, so rather than returning to my old blog (which is still out there floating in cyber-limbo, I checked) and again obsessing over the unfinished story, I am starting completely over, and I am no longer going to pressure myself into posting regularly.

If anyone is interested, I am posting news about my new projects, readings, and other speaking engagements on my author Facebook page ( You may also visit my author page on ( or follow me on twitter (@levbutts).

In the meantime, enjoy this new blog!