Friday, August 27, 2004

It's about time an' all. I was never comfortable with this funny writing name - nobody ever understood what I was trying to achieve with it and I could never bring it out into the public without a twinge of discomfort.

My name is Mike Philbin. I have also dropped the SURREALIST sub-moniker. It was all too corny - confrontational is good until it becomes corny. This will be the last Hertzan Chimera post and from this point on, people interested in reading more of my work will have to look for the name Mike Philbin on the mass market book shelves. It may take some time to get back up to speed but that's the whole idea.

go here to continue this blog

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I usually don't give a shit what people think about my writing; it's none of my concern. What I don't like is misunderstanding about my motives or belief. One well known writer Ray Garton responded to an announcement I made about the exclusive PRETTY SCARY feature interview of the 8 co-writers of CHIM + HER (my new book from Cyber Pulp). He was wondering (quite understandably, I guess) if I talk the same as I write, he was also wondering if I talk about myself in the third person, "like the Royal WE the Queen of England might use" (as he put it) in real life. Was he really calling me a queen? His question did come across as an attack, or at the very least a hugner for blood (maybe Ray is a vampire - I'm sure he won't find this in the least bit funny either). I sometimes don't understand the American psyche or their humour (and I'm sure this is mutual in the other direction across the Atlantic). I'm not sure what riled Ray - maybe it's that I sign on to writer boards as Hertzan Chimera (I have to, nobody knows Mike Philbin in writing circles, nor should they, he hasn't written a word) but then talk about Hertzan Chimera in the third person, something I do a lot when talking about Hertzan Chimera fiction...

HERTZAN CHIMERA does not exist.

Hertzan Chimera is a writing entity; a label, a ghost in the machine. In the same way that Nike doesn't exist other than to describe a brand of sports wear, so I attribute the name Hertzan Chimera to those things I write. It's not like Mike Philbin writing something (I don't even know what a piece of Mike Philbin writing might be like). Mike Philbin lives in the realworld, he has to take public transport and talk with people in shops on a one-to-one level. He certainly doesn't lead anything like the surreal life of the characters in his Hertzan Chimera books. Nobody could. And that's the point, they're fiction.

The joy of going through the fiction-al Hertzan Chimera 'writing membrane' is that I don't need to concentrate on ANYTHING. These extreme pieces of writing aren't dreams as such, they're not transcribed directly from a dream diary (though I used to keep dream diaries to enhance surreal content).

I do feel a little 'uncomfortable' when I am greeted in person as "Hertzan" or "How do you pronounce 'Chimera'?" at some trade show or writerly get together here in the UK. I tell them, "Mike, my name's Mike." I KNOW in my own mind that the Hertzan Chimera identity only exists when my fingers move across a keyboard. He's not even there when the interface with the keyboard is not necessary (like when I'm eating my tea or riding a bike). I can think of subjects, I can plan things to write but it's the Hertzan Chimera entity that actually puts the words in the sentences and attributes mood and motivation.

Yep, this is dangerous and can lead to delusion.

I live once and with that life I will do as I please.

I am happy that the 'invented' Hertzan Chimera entity is allowing me to fully explore ANY subject without censorship, editing or self-debate. I feel like a landlord with a skeleton key to every door imaginable. It's a liberation. But also strange because when I talk about 'it' (the writing persona) I have to use the third person.

And that's the way our 'relationship' has to be. I often look back on pieces of writing I have done using the Hertzan Chimera free-form and sometimes do not recognise it at all. It IS as if somebody else has written it. And I like that. I like the fact that those things can rise automatically from the psyche. Though I don't publicly associate my self with the output of the Hertzan Chimera writing device, I do realise that it is transcribing a silent partner or never-normally-used part of my self.

This is fine, but doesn't have to be integrated into my daily persona. It is a separate thing. A machine that I only switch on when I need to write Hertzan Chimera fiction (which I always do at a keyboard in one sitting). I know I am the power behind the Hertzan Chimera writing label but I don't feel subservient to it's personality. I am in control and it only exists when I let it.

famous last words, eh?

Monday, August 23, 2004

Just spent my Uk-equivalent of $10 and I must say, cut off the first five minutes of sickeningly blatent adverts and the last five minutes of wet-eye, and what an enjoyable film this way. They even had that kid in it Shia LeBeouf out of Even Stevens - he's probably the funniest actor in America right now.

Great fun - but I still wonder why it's okay to show full-frontal animal sex on "Natural History" shows and fully-explicit-robot violence on a 12a certificate film.


Pretty Scary dot Com - the site for women in horror have just uploaded their latest feature, an interview with the co-writers of CHIM+HER.

Women are strange beasts. Under their skins lie terrors, fears, desires and horrors the likes of which men never see, can never understand. In this unique collaborative collection, Hertzan Chimera takes on eight of the most extreme female authors ever.

thanks to Heidi Martinuzzi and Elizabeth Blue for putting this together.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I think I've broken the middle finger on my left hand. I can't be sure but I went to Cambridge last weekend (like ten days ago) and played some volleyball, no it wasn't the volleyball. There was also an American football. There were four or five of us over the course of that Saturday who enjoyed throwing that ball around the field. Right at the end (isn't it always the way, making errors when you're tired) I caught the ball as it came in from altitude and the tip of my middle finger on that left had bent back. It swelled up real red all through Sunday and still now nine or ten days later, it's still swelled on the knuckle there. I am not sure if it's broken but the joint there is still a bit sore and swollen, the colour died down though, so I'm thinking it's just a bad bruise.

Despite this, I've been tapping away at my new story THE PLANET OF THE OWLS. I don't wanna say too much about it but it's going real well. I don't wanna even say if it's a book yet or just a very long story. It's at a stage now where I have the first part of the book done now, a comfortable 11,500 words. This could live on its own, as is. Or I could get further inspiration and write the second part of the story, I am not sure yet if it will sustain itself through, there's potential though. Some place like Interzone might go for such a long, kafka-esque work. I've had the sketch of "Owls" for a few months now, gestating - finally, the little chick has pecked its way out. It's gonna scare some people and I like that.

more updates as/when they occur.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Well, the weather this week here in the U.K. has been absolutely horrible. Torrential rain, floods, mud slides, thunder & lightning. But still, I managed to reach the 50,000 word limit on A NORMAL LIFE? after two weeks of effort. I decided at the end of last week that I would actually start naming names. I began by making up some names for people in my life, people you know only through my subjective view of them - I decided to call them names like Moustache Man and The Twitcher (this gives sufficient description of the person in question. Pure subjectivity rules, remember). That's what a diary/journal is all about. Nearly truth, subjective observation. I decided to actually name all the towns and cities I had lived ina during the first 38 years, it was getting a bit too disorienting even for me calling them Northern Town 1 and Southern Seaside Town. If you work it out, that's a mere 1000 words for every year on this planet. Not a lot is it? But that's all I can manage to want to put into it anyway it's not really about the whole year. As long as I have at least one or two memories to jot down from each year, I'll have a sense of achievement if not fulfilment. Just those examples of what I've got out of life so far. I'm sure there are writers out there who could expand my short and normal life to well over 400-500 pages but for me that's the majority of the problem with fiction (or auto-biographies) today - 50,000 words of added filler or "editor-advised expansion".

fuck all-a that for a game of soldiers.

Friday, August 06, 2004

What the hell are you talking about? You're writing your memoirs? But you're only 38 years old. Why bother? What have you ever achieved? Who cares? You'll never get that published until long after you're dead.


That's the provisional title of it. I spent the week in the sun. Two sessions each day of a couple or three hours. Got 25,000 words entered this week - I have no idea how long it'll end up being; it could be 30,000 or it could be 50,000. The latter is more likely as there are still many things yet to unravel. It's really like I am tesing the remembrances from a distant friend or cousin I haven't seen for ages. It's important to be firm but fair in the self examination - wouldn't wanna scare off honest revelation in favour of histrionics or melodrama.

Hope next week is as productive and as nice weather. I used a style of writing that is very similar to this blog, because I have real gaping holes in my memories of the past, I thought it would be better to go for a more organic approach to the memoirs and hopefully the lost or hidden memories would rise naturally to the surface, spurred from the shadows by oganic association.

it's working so far.
I had the editor of a website called EROS&RUST email me the other day. She was going on about how great the CHIMERAWORLD #1 collection was and how we had to do something.

So, starting with the September issue, there'll be a critical appraisal of CHIMERAWORLD #1 to accompany the story WEB by Kevin Anderson.

The special Halloween issue will run two stories, A STRANGE BREED by Queenie Tirone and NEED by Steve Short. This special CHIMERAWORLD feature will also include an interview with the editor, that's me, about the extremely gore-dripping #1 and the more sombre and downbeat Chimeraworld #2 (which I'll be reading for in September). Yippee!

It's great to receive this much positive attention for one's travail.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Apart from the excellent re-mixed and re-issued ICE COLD GUINNESS adverts that are currently doing the rounds on terrestrial TV here in the UK, the winner of the never before mentioned Hertzan Chimera Surrealist award for the best advert goes to...

hushed expectation from the audience of one...

It starts and continues like the classic movie Alien. The chest burster scene. It's such a delicate and loving pastiche you gotta love it. Another bonus is it's an X-rated scene depicted in a prime-time advert with just as much attention paid to the horrific effect of the reborn beast. But it's an advert for Nik Naks. It's so irreverent. Only in England my friends, only in England.

Eat The Freak, indeed.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Remember that thread? You can't give this shit away? It laid to rest once and for all the claim that you couldn't in fact give away Hertzan Chimera fiction in book form. It was a remarkable success - I had actually donated SZMONHFU and ANIMAL INSTINCTS to the Oxford Library. Those were two copies of books that will never be in print again, in that form. They were unique treasures from a local author who was willing not to take a cut on them so that others in his home town could get to read them FOR FREE. Experience his vision. Well, just heard back that they are NOT SUITABLE FOR PUBLIC DISPLAY. This from a library which stocks such cinematic filth as VISITOR Q, ICHI THE KILLER and SEX AND LUCIA. Double standards? Maybe these two different library factions, video and books, don't use the same criteria to measure what is palatable for the public.

hangs head in shame