#FridayReads AKA You Are What You Eat

When you’re a parent, there’s so many things you need to teach your children. Things like: Don’t kill people, don’t rape people, don’t marry stand-up comedians. But probably one of the most important things you teach them is their taste in music.

If you have your kids listening to Kidz Bop and Radio Disney, you’ve already doomed them to a life of glue huffing and handing out hobo blowjobs at the Greyhound station. (Kidding, but not kidding) However, if you want your child to be normal, you just let them listen to whatever, because, really, who gives a shit? They’ll be fine, it’s only entertainment. Just make sure you’re REALLY pushing that no killing/raping thing.

I’ve raised my girls with distinctly different types of music. With my oldest, she listened to Cash, Waits, Dylan, Sigur Ros, Mogwai, The Pixies, and Kanye and Jay-Z. The Midget more or less HATES all of this music now (it probably has a lot to do with the fact that she’s becoming a shithead teenager and pretends to hate everything I like). But I think–maybe, just maybe?–the music she listened to as a small child helped shape her into the thoughtful, intelligent young woman she’s turning into.

With the baby, I’ve been bringing her up on a solid diet of hip-hop, Bowie, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and 1970’s soul. I’m pretty sure she’s going to turn out as well as her sister … I’ve just gotta get her over the whole headbutting me in the nose and profanity thing.

Yeah, anyway, that was a long preamble to my #FridayReads: Please Kill Me.

It’s really good, you should read it.

No Fun Being The New Guy

I get a chuckle when I hear/read writers brag about their rejection letters. (Mostly read, as a general rule I don’t hang out with other writers)

“I’ve been rejected so many times I could wallpaper my room with them!”

That one’s a favorite because everyone uses it and it’s not in the least bit true.

Don’t get me wrong, rejection is part of the game just like the rest of life. There isn’t an abnormal amount of it unless you go looking for it. For the most part, though, you send your work to people you know who are going to like and appreciate it, and the threat of rejection is minimal and you hopefully build an audience with those handful of publications who think you shit gold. I’m sure no one is shocked by this. You most likely have your job/career because a buddy turned you onto it; writing is a job/career so the same rules apply. The main difference between being a plumber and a writer is that writers tend to be huge pussies who take criticism way too hard. More or less, if you’re smart, you avoid rejection like you do pain: At all costs.

No one’s ever accused me of being smart, and over the last nine or so months, I have actively sought out rejection and I’ve been submitting to literary journals and websites. At my peak, I had 110 pieces of writing out for submission, at my lowest–which is right now–I have 35, including 2 books.

Can you guess how many times I’ve been rejected in the last 9 months?

Yeah, all of it, except for five pieces.

And you know what, it ain’t all that bad. I can’t say I like it, but it’s not the end of the world, either. I am fully aware that I am submitting to new genres outside of the dark fiction community, I’m a stranger. The only solution to not being a stranger is write more, submit more, pretend to wallpaper my office with rejection letters, and become the guy who shit’s gold for a whole new group of people.

Afternoon Soundtrack: Juju By Wayne Shorter

Dark (But not really)

I wake up and read the news every morning. I call it reading the paper, Mrs. Rawson thinks it’s cute I call it that. Although, it’s nothing but a stubborn compulsion on my end; I’m like an extremely old man who calls the internet “the email”. It’s a phrase I’ll always use, like calling music records, or my e-reader a book.

I’m sure most of you do the same as me, take in a trickle of information before you begin your day. For a hefty chunk of you, that means logging onto social media. I used to, too. Now it’s the Post, Al Jazeera, AP, and Reuters.

Here’s the thing, I acknowledge your opinion, you most likely have good points and a lot of you have really shitty opinions, I acknowledge those, too. I just don’t want to read your opinions over coffee. I don’t want to engage in discussion. I want a semblance of privacy.

I won’t get into the myth of privacy, but I still believe in the unexamined life, the truly private.

Am I killing off my social media? No, not really, it’ll all still be there, I won’t be a good chunk of the time. I’ll be here quite a bit (Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to join my email list, that shit’s annoying.), everything from here will post automatically to my social. You can find me on Twitter: @keith_rawson_ and I’m on Instagram (Being lazy, no link. You can find me there if you really want to). I’ll check in every few days, though.

Don’t get me wrong, social media’s great. I love being able to connect with people. But I kind of want to start being creative with the internet again, use it as it’s meant to be used: As a tool.


Morning Soundtrack: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today By David Byrne and Brian Eno

Child Free Weekend: Aftermath

I’m fortunate to have in-laws who love spending time with their grandchildren. Every six-to-eight weeks, they’ll take both the girls for twenty-four hours.

It’s nice.

I know a lot of people who don’t ever get a break for one reason or another, and raising kids becomes a grind.

The downside of the night over at Grandma and Grandpa’s is the adults of the house let the kids do whatever they want, including letting the two-year-old stay up for twenty hours.

She’s just been hanging out in her playpen for the past couple hours and I’m sure she’s not going to want to get out of here any time soon.

Not complaining, only stating a fact. I’m feeling a bit beat to shit today. Mostly sore knees from running and swollen knuckles from typing, I need a bit of extra time to catch my breath, even though I just had a weekend away from the kids.

Guess what? She moved, but just into her stroller. She’s been in here for about an hour now.


Caught Ingrid Goes West with Mrs. Rawson while the kids were gone. Strong performances, solid direction, so-so script. Kept feeling like I’d seen it before.

This is middle-aged weekend excitement. I also stayed up until 2 AM writing and playing videogames.

Definitely partied like it was 1999.

Happy Monday, Bitches.

Try and stay awake.


Afternoon Soundtrack: Bobby Tarantino II

Soon to be a Major Television Event!

Hey! This is soon to be a major television event!

I got this one the other day. To be blunt, I probably won’t read it. That’s the life of an unsolicited book, though. (Don’t feel bad, unsolicited novels. I sometimes have to put books I’ve requested on the back burner.) It’s another post-apocalypse thriller, a genre that’s pretty much lost all its Omph for me after five years of reading a couple of great ones, and then the rest of them. (I won’t call them shit because I know the authors of these end of the world epics worked hard on them and weren’t attempting to cash in on the trend AT ALL! Post-apocalypse novels are the not so new replacement for zombies and vampires, albeit vampires and zombies are usually a vital part of armegedon.)

I’m not writing about that today, though. I’m writing about the the tagline: Soon to be a Major Television Event!

This has become the new standard for how publishers sell books. This tagline is becoming something I avoid when choosing a novel.

Why, you ask?

Easiest answer: Mediocrity.

Yeah, I read those words and immediately put it back on the shelf, because I know it’s probably not going to be very good. Because I know the author never intended the novel to be a novel. What they really wanted to write was a television series. True enough, novelists tend to be the best television creators. Nic Pizzolatto, Noah Hawley, Jordan Harper, all the cats who write The Duece, David Benioff, all accomplished novelists, they know how to rock long form.

The issue is, most writers don’t know how to rock long form. They don’t know how to character build, maintain tension, or create a plotline that I care about. I’d like to say I’m a victim of the television glut, but I just don’t watch that much television. I read tons, though, and these Soon to be a Major Television Event! novels are becoming the literary equivalent of an envelope full of anthrax.

I DO NOT touch and call the police.

How about you? Does the tagline draw you in or does it repulse you?


Sorry to pick on The Feed, it’s nothing personal.

Parenting Through Sarcasm

See this kid. This is my eleven-year-old and she’s awesome. She’s literally my Midget: She’s into horror flicks, comics, and her generation’s version of Punk rock. I love her to pieces and she’s at the point where she still thinks Me and Mrs. Rawson are kind of cool to hang out and talk with (She’s a little bent on on conspiracy theories at the moment), so I feel lucky. Most kids her age are already starting to feel alienated from their folks.

And she absolutely, completely, and totally hates school.

Just like her old man.

I HATED school. Nothing about it interested or challenged me. Most days I was just bored out of my mind. I hated it so much I skipped out on college, which I know was a mistake now, but after I graduated from high school, I was done with being told what to read and study.

So I get it, the Midget never wants to go to class. Over the last two weeks, she’s been trying to fake sick.

And I mean literally every day.

“My stomach doesn’t feel good.”

“My head hurts.”

“Dad I just threw up.”

The first couple days of it were kind of funny, but by the fourth straight day, all it did was annoy the shit out me.

And continued to do so for the next week and a half.

I attempted a preemptive strike, saying last night:

“Kid, how about not pretending to be sick tomorrow, huh? Can you just go to school without trying to get out of it?”

“Okay, Dad.”

I thought it would be fine this morning, and you know what, she didn’t pretend to be sick. Instead, she gave an impassioned speech about why she should be allowed to stay home.

It was an Oscar winning performance. It was like one of those speeches Denzel Washington delivers to whatever team he’s coaching in his vast string of unfortunately forgettable sports films. Seriously, I was impressed. But then my parenting with sarcasm gene kicked in, and here was my response:

“Okay, you can take the day off. But, you have to spend the day at Grandma’s, no iPad, no TV, just you helping Grandma around the house, and your mom has to agree to be the one who drops you off, then I’ll pick you up at four.”

Here’s the thing with the Midget, she hasn’t been wanting to hang out with her grandparents that much. Don’t get me wrong, she loves them, but their older and A LOT more conservative than me and Mrs. Rawson, so she’s not very comfortable talking about the things she likes. I figured she’d balk and just go get dressed and then walk to school.

Nope, she totally called my bluff.

“Okay! I’ll go to grandma’s!”

She then rushed upstairs, asked her mom to drop her off. Luckily, Mrs. Rawson vetoed my slip up. Thank Jebus for Mrs. Rawson.

Biggest downside of my little slip up, I’m pretty sure no one will be speaking to me when they get home this afternoon.

Morning Soundtrack: Soul Jazz Records Presents PUNK 45: Extermination Nights in the Sixth City – Cleveland, Ohio: Punk and the Decline of the Mid-Wesst


Hey! Look! My Website is Like Instagram!

I take a lot of pictures. Sometimes I post them to Instagram, most of them just sit on the camera roll. So I figured, hey, why not post some of them to my website?

Me and Mrs. Rawson had a child free Saturday thanks to my lovely in-laws and we decided to go hiking in the San Tan Mountains, which is one of my favorite areas in Arizona (luckily we live only ten or so miles from the range). I love it because it has some great trails, and the other reason is it’s creepy as Hell.

It’s Cormac McCarthy country. It’s Apaches turning the ground red with Mexican and European settler’s blood

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Herzog man (The universe wants nothing but murder, chaos, and renewal, blah, blah, blah), I have no belief in an afterworld, but if I did, my guess is the San Tan’s would be brimming with a shit ton of angry sprits.

Anyway, here’s some pictures.

Moonlight Trailhead. This leads to an amazing vista called Stargazer.


Screaming cactus!



Mrs. Rawson laughing hysterically at the cactus’ world of pain.




I found some large pieces of peridot in this pile of shale. The whole area is a rock hound’s wet dream.



Near the end of the trail. I don’t know why I like this shot so much? I think it mostly has to do with human made things that nature reclaims so quickly once we don’t densely populate an area. Or maybe it’s just ’cause I like rusty barbed wire?


End of the trail and heading back.

Another quick book recommendation for your to be read pile. The Three Body Problem By Cixin Liu

Here’s the skinny from the publisher:

“Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.”

It’s a seriously great piece of writing and one of my favorite novels from the handful newly translated genre novels I’ve read over the last several months. I say the more translated material, the better. The American grasp of how the rest of the world works is tenuous, at best. Maybe some imaginative fiction will spark an interest in folks to look into other cultures.

Afternoon Soundtrack The Goldberg Variations performed by Glenn Gould

The One Piece Of Advice …

If I could travel back in time, let’s say six or seven years ago, I would go and create a time paradox by paying a visit to past me. Once the corporate-casual shitbird got done freaking out about coming face-to-face with his balding and significantly thinner future self, I would bitch slap him.

I would bitch slap him twice.

And while he was in the fetal position, I would bend over his shaking body and whisper:

“It’s only a first draft, numbnuts. No one gives a shit. Stop fucking around and finish it already.”

There’s a better chance than not past self would chalk up future self as an acid flashback and not listen because the little know-it-all son of a bitch didn’t listen to shit back then, especially not something generated by chemical residue.

Seriously, though, that’s the one piece of advice I wish I’d gotten and taken to heart:

Finish a first draft. Finish it and then start doing the real work.

But I think most writer folks have their wish list of things they wished they knew.

Quick weekend book recommendation: Cut You Down By Sam Wiebe 

Here’s the skinny from the publisher:

“Tabitha Sorenson is missing. The bright but unstable student disappeared in the aftermath of a scandal involving millions of dollars in college funds. Professor Dana Essex doesn’t think the missing money and the missing student are connected, but she hires Vancouver PI David Wakeland to find Tabitha, with whom she is in obsessed.

When Wakeland discovers Tabitha has in fact stolen the money and is hiding out with her lover and reports back to his client, Essex is crushed to learn that Tabitha is in love with someone else. The next morning, Tabitha has been murdered and Essex has disappeared.

Meanwhile, Wakeland has his own problems. His former girlfriend, police officer Sonia Drego, believes her partner is corrupt. With her job–and possibly her life–on the line, Wakeland may be her best hope of uncovering the conspiracy in the department before it brings her down.

Hounded by Tabitha’s friends, the police, the press, and his own troubled conscience, Wakeland tries desperately to find Essex and make sense of what happened. Could it all have been a ruse from the start, and is Wakeland just another in a long line of suckers?

While searching for Essex and investigating Sonia’s partner, Wakeland encounters criminals, anarchists, and crooked authority figures–all of them desperate people who will stop at nothing to guard their secrets.”

I’m normally not into PI fiction unless your name is Coleman, Lippman, or Bruen. But Wakeland’s a compelling character and the story’s great so far.

160 pages in and it’s a ton of fun.

Morning Soundtrack: Relatives In Descent By Protomartyr

Maybe It’s Time to Shit Can Facebook?

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile: But why the fuck do I have a website?

Seriously, even though I get a fair amount of traffic even when I haven’t published on it for months. But it gets no where near the amount of traffic that my Facebook posts receive–as long as the post originates from Facebook.

If I post from the site, it’s hurried and I’m fairly certain maybe three people see it in the first (and, yes, I’ll be automatically posting this to FB) day.

It’s annoying as shit.

Normally, I wouldn’t repost anything from Splitsider (last I heard, they don’t pay their contributors), but I thought this interview with comedy writer, Matt Klinman was worth passing along.

The whole story is basically that Facebook gets so much traffic that they started convincing publishers to post things on Facebook. For a long time, that was fine. People posted things on Facebook, then you would click those links and go to their websites. But then, gradually, Facebook started exerting more and more control of what was being seen, to the point that they, not our website, essentially became the main publishers of everyone’s content. Today, there’s no reason to go to a comedy website that has a video if that video is just right on Facebook. And that would be fine if Facebook compensated those companies for the ad revenue that was generated from those videos, but because Facebook does not pay publishers, there quickly became no money in making high-quality content for the internet.

“The problem is that Facebook is our editor and our boss. They decide what is successful and what isn’t successful via seemingly meaningless metrics. They hide behind algorithms that they change constantly. And it seems to me that they are not favoring things that are high-quality — they are favoring things that are clickbait, things that are optimized for Facebook, low-quality things that appeal to the lowest common denominator and, honestly, just things at random.

“Facebook has created a centrally designed internet. It’s a lamer, shittier looking internet. It’s just not as cool as an internet that is a big, chaotic space filled with tons of independently operating websites who are able to make a living because they make something cool that people want to see.”

Here’s the whole interview, make sure to give it a read.

So, maybe it’s time to give Facebook a rest? Maybe it’s time we stop having a single website choose what we do or don’t see?

By the way, hat tip to Max Booth III for passing along the article.