Sometimes Zombie Happens

My GOD it has been a long time since I posted a blog entry. I often forget that people actually check out this blog, other than, like, my wife and father and mother-in-law. I apologize to the dozen or so “Rans” (aka “Ross Fans” and, yes, that’s what my t-shirts will say) and make a vowed promise to keep up with posts. Or at least post more than once every two months.

In my defense, there has been a lot going on. For example, last night I got home to find an American Girl catalog addressed directly to me. Now I know that when you buy a gift for someone, especially online, that they put your name on a mailing list. But I never bought any American Girl shit. So after a long day at work, I felt like the universe was calling me an American Girl. Thankfully, the night turned around and I finished Season 2 of Big Love, so all of the wrongs in my world were righted.

The month of January was spent writing my first of three work-for-hire novels. Nancy Drew is the name of the main character. I had never written anything like this before and, to be honest, it nearly killed me, but only because it was the first time I was working with pre-existing characters. I spent about as much time studying previous work and outlines as I did actually writing. I am told the book will be out sometime this Summer, but if you ask me which one I wrote, I probably won’t tell you.

The month of February has been spent overhauling, outlining, and writing a collaborating YA with my wife. She recently signed with an agent too and, although we both have our own individual novels we are writing, we felt compelled to give this idea a shot. Thankfully and surprisingly, these past 26 days or so have been the most gratifying and fulfilling days for several reasons. Conquering a novel by yourself can be extremely lonely and unforgiving with self-doubt and blank pages. But when you work with another person, and that other person has strengths where you have weaknesses and your strengths are her weaknesses, the creative process becomes kinetic. We are submitting the outline and sample chapters to our agent on Monday and at that point will cross our fingers in hopes that it is in good enough shape to pimp out to publishers, to test the waters of the market and see if anyone wants to buy me a yacht.

The month of March will then, inevitably, be set aside for my long standing novel of doom–ALPHA HOUSE. I should mention that it is no longer called ALPHA HOUSE. IT has a new name, but am keeping mum on it for the time being. The next revision of this book will be quite extensive. I realized after my agent received feedback from publishers that my book about self-amputation wasn’t DARK enough, that the structure, pacing, and timeline needed to be upended. So the book I will be working will be its own new creation. I have been outlining, sketching, reflecting, and researching topics for this revision and am ready to tackle it come Monday after my wife and I deliver our YA to our agent. The hope and goal is that by the time I go to see the Drive-By Truckers on April 2 with my father, that I will have finished a final draft and for the first time move on to a brand new project.

Finally, in all of this madness, I have become obsessed with Zombies. I am critically and seriosuly examining the Zombie movie genre, dissecting its intricacies and analyzing approach, execution, content and symbolism. I have dozens of zombie movies headed my way via Netflix. Two that I am giddy about are Dead Snow (zombie nazis) and Zombie Strippers! (zombie strippers in a world where Bush Jr. was elected to a fourth term). My hope, here, is to eventually be able to share with you why I am obsessed with Zombies and where this is all going. But I cant just yet. Soon though. Soon. All I can say is that, no, I am not writing a zombie novel, or screenplay, or essay, or poem.

Sometimes Zombie happens.

Now that’s a t-shirt.

Keep on.

About J. R. Angelella

J. R. Angelella is the author of the popular debut novel ZOMBIE: A NOVEL (Soho Press) and a contributing author to the murder-mystery anthology WHO DONE IT? (Soho Teen), benefiting the nonprofit organization 826NYC. His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals, including Sou’wester, JMWW, The Collagist, Literary Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal and The Nervous Breakdown. His short story “Sauce” won the 2012 Short Story Contest held by The Coachella Review. He received a BA in English Literature from Ithaca College and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College. He taught creative writing at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City and currently teaches professional writing at the University of Maryland at College Park. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, the writer Kate Angelella.
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2 Responses to Sometimes Zombie Happens

  1. Anonymous says:

    When Zombies became fast, the genre was transformed. The Zoms went from being Lazarus dazed creatures with bad teeth, poor eyesight and a funny walk to being an apocalyptic freak show that was terrifying. They are always Hungry!

  2. The classic zombie caricature comes from the belief that Haitian mystics brought the dead back to life using magic, hence the catatonic state. They were under a spell, zombie-fied. Most of the early films (White Zombie and I Walked with a Zombie) literally have some kind of voodoo/hoodoo involved, but post-Night of the Living Dead is when zombies became hyper-aware and agile.

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