To Be Read | Sam Shepard’s ‘Spy of the First Person’

Reading the description for Sam Shepard’s posthumous short novel, “Spy of the First Person”, I’m immediately reminded of Paul Harding’s ‘Tinkers’, and C.S. Richardson’s ‘The End of the Alphabet’. Both novels feature main characters faced with their impending death, and forced to search their pasts and consider their limited futures for meaning and validation. Each goes about it in completely different yet equally beautiful ways and if you’ve read and enjoyed Shepard’s final book, I’d recommend checking both of those novels out.

How do you share the experience of dying? Of slowly losing control, not simply of your life, but of your body itself, and carry on knowing the end is bearing down on you? How does that change a person?

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From the Publisher:

“The final work from the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, actor, and musician, drawn from his transformative last days

In searing, beautiful prose, Sam Shepard’s extraordinary narrative leaps off the page with its immediacy and power. It tells in a brilliant braid of voices the story of an unnamed narrator who traces, before our rapt eyes, his memories of work, adventure, and travel as he undergoes medical tests and treatments for a condition that is rendering him more and more dependent on the loved ones who are caring for him. The narrator’s memories and preoccupations often echo those of our current moment—for here are stories of immigration and community, inclusion and exclusion, suspicion and trust. But at the book’s core, and his, is family—his relationships with those he loved, and with the natural world around him. Vivid, haunting, and deeply moving, Spy of the First Person takes us from the sculpted gardens of a renowned clinic in Arizona to the blue waters surrounding Alcatraz, from a New Mexico border town to a condemned building on New York City’s Avenue C. It is an unflinching expression of the vulnerabilities that make us human—and an unbound celebration of family and life.”

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Buffalo By AM&A’s 1987

Recently, I came across an old clock hanging in a customer’s bathroom. It was a cool Buffalo skyline illustration, and then I noticed the AM&A’s name and year and thought it would be cool to clean it up and make a new clock.

The original one was square, so looking at it now, I may need to go back and move the 9 & 3 out a bit to fit the new circular clock face Society6 uses.

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https://society6.com/product/buffalo-by-amas-1987_print

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Buffalo By AM&A’s 1987

https://society6.com/product/buffalo-by-amas-1987_print

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The Obama Inheritance

The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir by Gary PhillipsI heard about this crazy book at the tail end of an episode of NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ and I almost missed out on it, since I thought it was going to be all ads loaded up at the end of the podcast.

The bulk of the episode featured journalist Anne Applebaum; a conversation about her new book “Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine” on Stalin’s forced collectivization and the resulting famine in Ukraine that killed millions and was intended to break the spirit of Ukrainian nationalism while strengthening the USSR.  Throughout this period Stalin killed, by some estimates, more people then the Holocaust, and it was largely ignored or hidden from the rest of the world, and effectively erased from history until the fall of the Soviet Union.

Once I finish “Red Famine”, I’ll probably have to pick up “The Obama Inheritance”, a collection of fifteen short stories that cover a variety of insane topics.  The story goes that each author was told to dive into the astounding number of and astoundingly stupid conspiracy theories centering around President Obama and his administration, and pick out their favorite one to go to town on.

I wish ‘Fresh Air’ had spent more time on this book what with the time traveling secret agents, Supreme Court judges who can clone themselves, kung fu androids out for justice, a race of ancient lizard people, and humans coexisting with dinosaurs.  This collection sounds bizarre, quirky, fantastic, outlandish and all the more ridiculous because there are probably more than a few Trump supporters and Fox News fans that will cite these stories as verifiable historical accounts.

I hope these end up attaining a Philip K. Dick meets Ishmael Reed rolled up with some Buckaroo Bonzai levels of entertainment.  In short, these stories sound pretty awesome and from just the few minutes ‘Fresh Air’ was able to spend teasing the collection.

Plus it’s short stories, and we all know that’s about I can handle right now. And I mean… lizard men.

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