I'm not really a blogger, but I appreciate the chance to ramble on here for a week. I wasn't sure what I was expected to write about — I guess I was supposed to work my books into each entry, and I was successful for the most part. Maybe they weren't the right books, though. I plugged some articles on The Five Percenters
, but the book came out a while ago, and I mentioned The Taqwacores
, but that's not the most current release, either.
Soft Skull's been great to me, and this year I have 5 books coming out with them. Their re-issue of The Taqwacores was #1. Now we're on book #2, my memoir, Impossible Man. Publishers Weekly called it a mix of Augusten Burroughs and Malcolm X. Maybe that works, I don't know. You could also say "Imam Husayn and Mick Foley." A friend described my teen years as "Napoleon Dynamite + the American Taliban," which had me saying things like "I'm trying to make my frikkin' salatul-fajr, gosh!" for a week. People say all kinds of things. I did an interview in Canada and the dude compared me to L. Ron Hubbard.
Impossible Man is all over the place: letters to Charles Manson, barbed-wire wrestling, schizophrenic white-supremacist fathers, teenager at a Catholic high school converts to Islam and runs off to Pakistan, religious angst, sexual angst, I don't know what else. I don't know how to plug it. If pouring water from Mecca's sacred Zamzam well onto the grave of F. Scott Fitzgerald could ever make sense to you, then give the book a shot. I originally wanted to give it the subtitle "F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Rise of Islam," but they turned that down because it'd confuse the marketplace. But it all confuses the marketplace, and I don't know if any of this stuff makes sense. I'm kind of a weird guy. Islam itself isn't weird, but my particular Islam is weird, because I just made it up myself out of spare parts from a bunch of marginal subcultures. My Islamic materials often deal with spaceships, which is weird. Apparently, "Muslim punk rock" is weird, or it wouldn't have received all of this media hype. Of course, the wrestling stuff is weird. This is me getting whipped by a burqa-wearing woman with a giant dildo wrapped in barbed wire and slammed onto thumbtacks:
I have another novel coming out this summer, Osama Van Halen. It has Matt Damon in it, and also zombies and psychobilly jinns, and someone gets decapitated. And it has Muslim emo, because that's the next big thing. Muslim emo, just you wait. Burqas at Hot Topic. During my residency here at Headlands Center for the Arts, my main concern has been finishing book #5 for Soft Skull, 120,000 words detailing my international travels and pilgrimage to Mecca... but I've also been writing fiction that's weirder than any of this stuff. It's so weird that this is probably the last that anyone will ever hear of it.
Here's a recent interview with CBC's The Tapestry where I do an okay job of sounding like a human being. And just yesterday, I had the chance to go on "Drinks with Tony" with Tony DuShane at Pirate Cat Radio, you can check out the podcast.
I have one more book to plug: Blue-Eyed Devil, which came out first with Autonomedia and is now getting re-issued with Soft Skull. This one deals with my traveling 20,000 miles by Greyhound in 60 days, trying to find the real "American Islam." I was actually sued over this book, so the new edition is dedicated to my attorneys who fought for me, and also the First Amendment Project, which helped to connect us.
That's about all I've got left for this blog. Much appreciation to Powell's for inviting me on here, and to anyone who took the time to read these posts. Peace, up the taqx.