Monday, January 28, 2013

Cyberflanerie: Newsletter, Mechanical Turk, Rose Mary Salum, Zack Rogow, William Kiesel on Occult of Personality, Agustin Cadena

I just sent out my newsletter which I used to say goes out 4 - 6 times a year but now say goes out 3 - 5 times a year. Probably more in the 3 x yr range. I figure everyone has too much email so I try to make it something worth surfing around in. If you haven't already signed up, check it out here-- all the new books (my dad's plus 4 -- count 'em-- new ebooks), new podcasts of interviews with Southwest Book Award-winner Sergio Troncoso and with Mary Baxter, painter in the Big Bend, a reading (tomorrow!!) in San Miguel de Allende, and recommended links for writers, news of Ann McLaughlin's novel workshop at the Writer's Center, and Marie de la Fere's eyewitness memoir, My Recollections of Maximilian, a rare circa 1910 English language manuscript from (and with permission from) the Bancroft Library, introduced and published by Yours Truly-- a free ebook. Just go to the newsletter and click to download it.

The photo is from Pinto Canyon Rd, a lonely but gorgeous drive from Marfa (right behind Paul Graybeal's Moonlight Gemstones shop) down to the Rio Grande, where, should you feel so moved, you could chuck a baseball into Mexico.

Cyberflanerie du jour:

An article on the Mechanical Turk (an oldie but goodie from
The future is looking mighty strange...

Rose Mary Salum does the Next Big Thing Round Robin
A Mexican writer, translator and editor of Literal Magazine, one of the finest bilingual literary journals ever

New over on the blogroll (look right) Zack Rogow's excellent "Advice for Writers"

Occult of Personality interview with William Kiesel of Ouroboros Press
The book as talisman and much more. And another, with more on talismanic publishing and the Library Angel

I am intrigued by what Kiesel is doing with Ouroboros Press. I sense that publishing is diverging, sharply, into 2 streams: artisanal publishing (what he does, but I would include some ebooks in this category) and mass market ebooks. And I think we're going to see a galloping development in both over the next few years. On that note, Agustin Cadena, one of my favorite and most prolific Mexican writers-- and my translator-- has just published his new novel, Maljuna Knabino, as a Kindle. This, seriously, is a big deal on the Mexican publishing scene. And I find that interesting because I live in Mexico, I write about Mexico and I translate Mexican writers-- but it's also interesting because Mexico is a leading emerging market. As goes Mexico, so goes the emerging world-- Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and so on.... Right now its digital marketplace is underdeveloped. Most Mexicans still get their books at Sanborns (a nationwide chain that might be described as a cross between Denny's and Walgreen's). Translation: huge potential. And the ebook market is going to develop-- I mean to say Mexican readers will start using iPads and Kindle and Kindle apps--- why just look at all the urban and suburban Mexican (mostly) middle class kids from Tijuana to Merida. They're all texting each other and facebooking with the ease of breathing itself. And I do believe every Mexican congress critter maintains a Twitter account. Watch the audience when (even) the President speaks to any urban business audience under the age of 60-- they're all looking at their laps. So when people say (and alas many Mexicans insist) that Mexican readers won't adapt to ebooks, I say, hooey. More about all this in the next post.

Comments? Please feel free to email me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

World Waiting for a Dream, Reading for PEN San Miguel January 29

Pinto Canyon Rd, looking towards Mexico
I'm reading for PEN San Miguel in San Miguel de Allende this Tuesday January 29th @ 6pm, from work in progress, World Waiting for a Dream... Lots of good reasons for that title, but I'm really bamboozled about the subtitle.

1. Travels in the Big Bend?
2. Travels Far West Texas?
3. Travels in the Big Bend of Far West Texas?
4. Journey in the Big Bend of Borderlands Far West Texas?

ayy, blimey

Maybe right now... #4

Who's the guy in the photo? That's Charlie Angell, Big Bend expert and expedition guide. Don't go snerging around the Rio Grande without him. Listen in to my podcast interview with him here.

>Read more, and listen in anytime to the podcasts-- so far 9 out of 24-- at Marfa Mondays.
Including interviews with rock hound Paul Graybeal, desert pollinator expert Cynthia McAlister, artists Avram Dumitrescu and Mary Baxter, and more.

>More about the event here.

I will probably talk a bit about Cabeza de Vaca, the ghost lights, and glorious Swan House. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My iBookstore Adventures

... have been at once exhilarating and head-banging. One the one hand, the iBook Author App is magnificent; on the other hand, the iTunes Connect delivery process has been unnecessarily labyrinthicallylabythincalesquelylabythical (yes I made the word up but it's exactly what I mean) and sometimes just downright bewildering. But I have persisted. To make a novel-length story into a blog post,  so far:

The latest in the iBookstore
Podcasting for Writers & Other Creative Entrepreneurs
(also in Kindle)

Los Visitantes: una visita a Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
(soon in Kindle)

The Building of Quality (the novelesque short story from the Kenyon Review)
(also in Kindle)

From Mexico to Miramar or, Across the Lake of Oblivion
Award-winning travel essay about a visit to the Emperor of Mexico's Italian castle
Originally published in The Massachusetts Review
(also in Kindle)

And yes, I had some help: from Rubén Pacheco, my outstanding "computer coach / IT guy."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

iBook editions coming soon:

Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico
(now in Kindle)

El último principe del Imperio Mexicano
(now in Kindle)

Sky Over El Nido
(paperback only at present; Kindle soon)

Spiritist Manual, the Secret Book of 1911 by Francisco I. Madero,
Translated and Introduced by C.M. Mayo
(now in Kindle, more editions soon)

My Recollections of Maximilian by Marie de la Fere
Edited and introduced by C.M. Mayo
(now in PDF, free)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Now, for reasons only known to the innermost iTunes / Apple bots, my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire (Unbridled Books) is in fact available on the iBookstore, however, it doesn't show up with my other iBooks as being "by the same author."

Kindle, it ain't. Though I really do love the iBooks Author app.

>>Comments? Please feel free to email me.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Next Big Thing: A Bloggy Round Robin, from Karren Alenier to Yours Truly on World Waiting for a Dream

Karren Alenier
My amiga the DC-based poet and Gertrude Stein (and Paul & Jane Bowles) expert Karren Alenier tagged me for this blog round robin (I guess one could call it that), wherein one answers a set series of 10 questions about one's own work, then tags few more writers to carry on the following week.

>>Read Karren Alenier's blog post about her fascinating Next Big Thing, The Anima of Paul Bowleshere. (We almost coincided in Paul Bowles' workshop in Tangiers... she in 1982, me in 1983.)

And going back from there, check out previous blogger, Sammy Greenspan of Kattywompus Press, here.

This week, along with me, Karren Alenier tagged one of my favorite poets, Bernadette Geyer, who used her round robin to talk about her forthcoming book, The Scabbard of Her Throat.

Now for Yours Truly:

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

C.M. Mayo on Pinto Canyon Rd, south of Marfa, Texas
1. What is your working title of your book (or story)? 

World Waiting for a Dream: Travels in the Big Bend of Far West Texas

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

More than a decade ago I visited this jaw-dropping place and have yearned to explore and write about it ever since. Finally got around to it.

3. What genre does your book fall under? 
Travel memoir / creative nonfiction / literary journalism. 

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition
Tommy Lee Jones would have to make an appearance at some point. I wouldn't mind being played by Deanna Durbin bursting out in a rendition of "Grenada!" Just kidding. 

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 
In-progress, starts with Cabeza de Vaca, the conquisitor who got lost (really), works its way through Comaches and Apaches, railroads, the Mexican Revolution, the arrival of the wizard of cubes aka Donald Judd, scads more about Mexico and Mexicans than one might expect, OMG the sky, and OMG the sky at night, meditations on dinosaurs, et voila

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 
Agency, but as I'm writing it I'm hosting a podcast series, Marfa Mondays: Exploring Marfa, Texas & Environs in 24 Podcasts 2012-2013. 

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 
I'm not there yet. My goal is to finish the podcasts by the end of 2013 and then spend a year on the manuscript. 

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
It will be similar in structure and style to my previous travel memoir, Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California the Other Mexico (Milkweed Editions). And that was modeled on a mashup of V.S. Naipaul's A Turn in the South, and works by various other travel writers / literary journalists, among them, Sara Mansfield Taber, Ted Conover, Bruce Chatwin, Ian Frazier, Robert Byron, and Alma Guillermoprieto. 

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? 
I was born in the furthest west of Far West Texas (that would be El Paso) and I wanted to write about this part of the country that, because I grew up in California, I don't know all that well, at but mainly, it was just a strong intuition that this book needs to be written. And I'm curious enough to stay with it for as long as it takes.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? 
Have a listen to some of the podcasts. Many are interviews with artists and/or about remote and beautiful places such as Chinati Hot Springs. The area is also famous for its ghost lights which were noted by the Apaches more than a century ago. 

Listen in anytime.

P.S. I'll be reading from the work-in-progress this January 29 for PEN San Miguel in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Tagging for next week:

---> Rose Mary Salum

PS I tagged Deborah Batterman, but she declined because she'd already been tagged! Read about her Next Big Thing, Dancing Into the Sun, here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cyberflanerie: 20-10 Historia, Hugo Brehme, Robert Darnton on Books, Pat Dubrava on Hillary's Hair, Ikimasho

I love-love-love these coffee table magazines with quality content edited by Mexican historian and publisher Carlos González Manterola
The latest issue is El Mundo Atlántico y la Modernidad Americana. Whose face is that on the cover? Ottobah Cugoano.

An interview with visionary librarian Robert Darnton by Rhys Tranter on the splendid Cardiff Book History blog

Pat Dubrava on one of the great little sideshows of our time (women talk about this more than one might guess): Hillary's hair.

Agustín Cadena, Noticias del mundo sútil

Bodacious cowboy boots out of Brooklyn (via Advanced Style)

More from Advanced Style, another thing to do with peacock feathers .

Must have tattoo: Tattly's Love Watch (in orange, please).

Justin, self-described "wee guy from Tokyo," visits Burma and blogs all about it on "Ikimasho!

More news:
"Hugo Brehme's Timeless Mexico"
A lecture by Susan Toomey Frost
Tuesday, January 29th, 6:30pm
At the Mexican Cultural Institute of Washington DC

P.S. I've kept comments turned off because of the avalanches of spam,  but I do welcome comments. Please feel free to send me yours here.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Mary Baxter, Painting the Big Bend

Just posted: My October 2012 interview with painter Mary Baxter about her luminous landscapes in her Marfa, Texas studio. This is #9 in the 24 podcast series, "Marfa Mondays."

>>Listen in here.

Mary Baxter came to Marfa years ago for the horses and cattle business and stayed to paint the sky-haunted landscapes. Recently returned to Marfa after a decade in (relatively nearby) Marathon, Texas, Mary Baxter talked to C.M. Mayo in her sun-filled studio in October 2012.

The Marfa Mondays podcasts are apropos of a work-in-progress about far West Texas.

Recent Marfa Mondays Podcasts include:

>A Spell in Chinati Hot Springs

>We Have Seen the Lights (about the Marfa ghost lights)

>Marfa's Moonlight Gemstones, an Interview with Paul Graybeal

>The Buzz on the Bees, an Interview with Cynthia McAlister

>Avram Dumitrescu, An Artist in Alpine

>Mary Bones on the Lost Art Colony

>Charles Angell in the Big Bend

>Ye Olde Introduction and Welcome

Read all about the Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project here.

Not sure what a podcast is? Want to know why I'm doing this? Want to learn to make one yourself? Click here.


Saturday, January 05, 2013

Cyberflanerie: Gisela Silva, Beniamino Bufano, Kevin Kelly

In Mexico City, photographer Gisela Silva has a beautiful new website. Viva!

From Hillsdale, CA "Shopping Can Be Fun!" an amusing 1950s video that --hang in there, you first have to watch several slooooow takes of whale-like Chevies tooling around the (wow! gee!) extra big parking lot-- features the sculptures of Beniamino Bufano (1898-1970), which have always struck me as a mysteriously powerful combination of Inuit soapstone carvings and a Picasso-like take on Byzantine mosaics.
>Beniamino Bufano on Public Art by Tommy L. Lott
>Mister SF offers multiple links to view Bufano's Bay Area sculptures
>Beniamino Bufano bio at Gallery 444
>Beniamino Bufano by George Rathmell, Nob Hill Gazette, July 2009

Kevin Kelly on The Post-Productive Economy
A blog post featuring a beautiful house that (errr) does not have a toilet.

Kevin Kelly on Better Than Human
The pictures featuring comedian Jimmy Fallon and a dummy are fun but distracting. This is a seriously important essay.
P.S. Yep, the bots are working for me. They are "shelving" and fulfilling orders on my Kindle editions. Download the latest, Podcasting for Writers & Other Creative Entrepreneurs. As for vacuuming, my Roomba didn't really work because the container was too small. Plus it annoyed my dog.

More anon. My Mary Baxter podcast for Marfa Mondays should be up within 24 hours.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Having Survived the Mayan Apocalypse

Decorate with taxidermied fish!

Think about games vs plays (Lucy Prebble writing in the NYT)

Contemplate the nature of fame (am I the only one who had not heard of Deanna Durbin?)

And the wherewithal of bookbinding (Viva JRR Book Works)

And check out the Esoteric Book Conference, Seattle, September 2013

Watch Jennifer Silva Redmond's short (under 7 minutes) film, 24 Hour Bug

Read Kevin Kelly's blog post on The Technium, "Pre-Globalism."

Read Washington Independent Review of Books

Check out Richard Perry's excellent blog, Exploring Colonial Mexico. He writes, "In the New Year we will begin with an extended series on water and water management in colonial Mexico, focusing on artifacts from aqueducts and fountains to baptismal fonts and basins, with special attention to their forms and decoration."

Listen to Margaret Dulaney on the meaning of earthly life and making passionate choices (January 2013)

Listen to my podcast on podcasting (not tiddly-winking peas!)

~ Happy 2013 ~