05 Jul 2007


Don't you hate it when you've got an entire book manuscript completely finished (written, edited, designed/laid out, etc.) with the sole exception of the cover? Well, that's where I've been for months now with "Tales of the Midwest." Long ago, I envisioned what the book cover should depict, and I decided yesterday (July 4) that Independence Day was THE perfect day to shoot the photo. So, I went out in the back yard with the camera and mentally composed the scene. Then I made a small shopping list. All I needed was a pack of Swisher Sweets, a lighter, and a can of aerosol hair spray.

Seems innocent enough, right? But then the voice of reason stepped in -- that being my 12-year-old daughter, who began to lecture me about safety. That's all I heard all the way home from the Giant Eagle, aerosol can in hand. Turns out she didn't want to watch her daddy blow himself up in the driveway in the name or art (or literature, or crappy memoirs, or whatever you want to call it). Who knew? She felt pretty strongly about it, and (long story short) we didn't shoot the shot.

My blog name, for anyone new to this internet time-waster, is no metaphor. It's as true of a statement as I can muster, leaving off only the first two words, which are "I love." So: I Love Blowing Shit Up with Gas. That's where it comes from -- a quote from the book with no cover as yet. So, we're clear on that, right? It's no a metaphor for a man's interest in deconstructing societal issues, etc. Works good that way, aye, but it's really just about pyromania.

There should be a word for that -- for something that screams out "METAPHOR!!!" but really isn't. Or maybe not. Maybe our worlds would just pile up with one disappointment after another, with all of us realizing all along that we'd been reading too far into things and that, at the end of the day, people meant only that which they actually said.

I'm suddenly reminded of Nirvana. I was a huge fan of theirs, even collected bootlegs. Their breakout hit, of course, was "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Someone had told Kurt Cobain once that he "smelled like teen spirit" (hence the title). He thought at the time that this was some sort of highly poetic compliment, that his music encapsulated all of the rage, confusion, apathy, frustration, etc. inherent in Gen-Xers. He was wrong. The person was actually merely remarking that he smelled like a common brand of deodorant -- called Teen Spirit.

But, the question remains: How far should one go for their art, for their vision? I know a scene depicting me lighting up a Swisher Sweet using an aerosol can as a blow torch is exactly the vibe I want for this book cover. And, it's not like I haven't a ton of experience using aerosol cans in this way. But, I guess it is kind of stupid, as there's at least a small chance that something could go horribly wrong (even in the professional pyrotechnic hands of myself). So, I'm at a bit of a philosophical crossroads. Do I do the "responsible" thing and return to the drawing board? Or relive my misspent youth for another blazingly glorious moment in the name of realizing my initial vision?

Original Comments

Below, are the original comments on this post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On July 5, 2007, Anonymous wrote:

ask yourself this ... .can I pull of the eyebrow-less look? if so, then fire away.

cc rider

On July 6, 2007, Evil Genius wrote:

Hey, Pulp Fiction,

I am tagging you on the movie thing.


On July 6, 2007, Chaylene wrote:

The picture would be funnier if it was of your 12 year old holding the cigarillo/lighter *about to* light the aerosol spray on fire ... .

On July 6, 2007, hanmee wrote:

I think you should blow something up once a week and do a series on it.

Down the road, you could turn that into a DVD.

On July 9, 2007, Grant Miller wrote:

Have your kids help.

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