I just turned 55 years old this past April 2. That in itself sounds weird, at least to me, but I celebrated in a place both wonderful and strange: Twin Peaks. Well, the locations where much of the original and recent series were filmed, about a half hour from our home in the towns of Snoqualmie and North Bend. In my last blog, I already wrote about how much David Lynch and his work, particularly The Return, as it's called, impact my life and work, only because I relate so much to his artistic vision.
However, it's not exactly my own artistic prism, because everyone has their own unique perspective on life and the Universe. We waste a lot of time wondering, debating, qualifying, denying and investigating the truth of our existence and surroundings, without any solid conclusions, unless you decide to simply have faith in the doctrine or philosophy that best suits your needs, desires, and interests.
|Images by Joseph N Frezza|
At this stage of my life, which is definitely on the downslope of whatever time I'm allotted, statistically and mathematically speaking, I've lost all sense of nostalgia and ambition. I've always wanted to be a successful writer, since I was a kid, but I've pretty much given up on that goal. I mean the success part, at least commercially. But I can no more give up writing than I can eating. It's my spiritual sustenance, my own "religion," if you will. Or even if you won't. That's just how it is.
Twin Peaks, Elvis, The Rat Pack. These have been my "religions" over the years. But my writing is really my source of faith. And my wife and cats. I love living in Seattle, city of my dreams. My marriage and my home are the only dreams of mine that have been realized, via both magical happenstance and proactive efforts.
|Rosey and me|
|Orzo and me|
|Bocce and me|
Now, frankly, I'm tired. Physically and emotionally. I spend my weekdays walking dogs, mostly via Rover.com, an occupation I never even considered, but which has turned out to be the healthiest alternative to my lifetime literary aspirations, in terms of mental, spiritual, as well as physical well-being. And spiritual. I post a lot of pictures on my Instagram account of not only my canine flowers, but my immediate environment, which is literally bursting with natural beauty.
|Bocce and Orzo|
|Harvey and Parker|
And of course we have our own kids at home...
|Monica and I are now full vegans after an evolving journey of empathy for fellow sentient beings.|
(at Viva Tacoma)
My ongoing battle with depression, most of which is organically sourced due to circumstances rather than chemicals, though there is a tragic history of mental illness in my family, is a daily reality I deal with, like many. But thanks to my smartest decisions - mainly marrying Monica and moving to the Pacific Northwest - I feel happier than ever. Mostly. Like I said, it's a day-by-day journey, but I'm glad I have such beautiful companions on my path, wherever it leads.
Also, I've started a new novel, titled VIC VALENTINE: LOUNGE LIZARD FOR HIRE. The title comes from my old "Will the Thrill" business card. Much more about it in my next blog, whenever that happens, but here's the synopsis so far:
MY VOODOO VALENTINE? Vic Valentine has finally retired from the private eye racket. And since his beautiful new black belt burlesque dancer bride, Ava Margarita Valentina Valdez Valentine, who may also be a witch or a vampire or both, has a mysterious and possibly nefarious source of seemingly endless wealth, he no longer walks dogs for income, either. He’s a happily kept middle-aged man. But he’s bored. So he decides to start a cheesy cabaret act, since though he has no talents to speak of, his supernaturally sensuous wife can sing torch songs while stripping. It’s a surprise hit! Vic is finally living the life of his wildest dreams! Until the Universe sucker punches him yet again, and it’s suddenly melts into a noir nightmare…
First a Yakuza hitman from Mrs. Valentine’s past shows up in Seattle with a score to settle. She conures demons from another dimension to not only protect them, but spice up their sex life, too (or hers, anyway). The ghost of Vic’s dead friend Doc Schlock still haunts him, literally. His old pal Ivar the sailor statue starts talking, and walking. And then there’s that doppelgänger of a young Vic suddenly popping up here and there around town, setting Vic up for a showdown with his younger self…
But no matter what happens, the show must go on.
This is a follow up to Vic Valentine: International Man of Misery, largely inspired by my trip to Costa Rica last year, which was a turning point in a series that just keeps going despite the fact I thought Hard-boiled Heart was the swansong, because it's so much fun for me to write, frankly, especially now that I've triumphed over much of my grief. Now I've basically merged the relatively realistic sensibilities of Vic's original universe with that of my non-Vic work, which frankly is closer to my brain, if not my heart. The results are over-the-top, psychotronic, free-flowing, and liberating. I hope the readers feel the same, but if not, c'est la vie. I do this primarily for the sake of my own sanity now.
|Promo art by Mike Fyles for my favorite of my own novels, as a birthday present! |
He also provided the art for the Thrillville Press edition.
Speaking of French, I had hoped to set the next Vic book in Paris, but I could only do that if I traveled there and experienced it first hand, soaking up authentic ambience while scouting "locations." The reason I even imagined this could be possible was because a prominent French publisher had expressed interest in translating my work, and part of the deal is an all-expenses paid book tour if accepted. But after a year and a half, he decided my stuff was too "gonzo" for that market, just like back here. Oh well. That's been the story of my professional life, which is why I'm resigned, if not content, with just going it alone. The only person that hasn't let me down vis a vis my so-called career is me, so I'm the only one I trust with it from now on.
And besides Thrillville, there's always Twin Peaks...
|With Kyle MacLachlan, 2016|
|With Sherilyn Fenn, 2015|
|With Sheryl Lee, 2015|
|My autographed copy of David Lynch's book|
At the "real" Palmer residence, Everett, WA
Here are some images from our Easter trip to "Twin Peaks" (Snoqualmie/North Bend) to celebrate. We stayed overnight at the Salish Lodge and Resort ("The Great Northern") and I woke up there on my actual birthday. I had a non-vegan breakfast at Twede's Cafe (The Double R) before heading back home to walk dogs, because my business is my pleasure. Fans will recognize the locations:
|"The Dale Cooper": a damn fine cocktail!|
|"I've just awoken from a strange dream..."|
|My birthday presents from Monica|
|"Twin Peaks High School" (Mount Si High)|
I actually started my birthday weekend the previous Friday with a tasting at the University of Washington Club:
GETTING RE-ANIMATED AT CRYPTICON SEATTLE, May 5, 2018
|With Jeffrey Combs|
|With Eugene "Big Daddy" Clark|
"Thrillville," my official theme song by The Moon-Rays
Interview conducted by Drive-In Radio host Alec Cizak, October 24, 2017,
broadcast from Missoula, Montana.
Podcast interview by Steven Gomez for The Noir Factory, August 2017
Original book trailer for The Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection, shot and edited by Christopher Sorrenti (2011)
Promoting the first edition of A Mermaid Drowns in the Midnight Lounge on San Francisco's Creepy KOFY Movietime, 2010
ONLINE SHORT FICTION
PEOPLE BUG ME (2013)
ESCAPE FROM THRILLVILLE (2014)
|New! VIC VALENTINE: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MISERY|
HARD-BOILED HEART from Gutter Books!