Hi. My name is

Hi. My name is
and no, I've never heard of you either.
I'm the author of a novel called PUNKER THAN YOU (plus some other stuff) -->

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Welcome to my li'l corner of the internet. On this website you will find various writings of mine, including fiction, essays, and the like. Feel free to peruse the archives, though I do ask that you respect the copyright on my work -- no unauthorised copying, re-printing and so forth. All opinions are my own, and all characters and scenarios depicted in my fiction are, indeed, creations of fiction and should not be mistaken for people or situations in real life. Cheers.

*** new book reviews posted in What I'm Reading ***

The Shallows: what the internet is doing to our brains (non-fiction) by Nicholas Carr - added August 18/10
Girl Crazy (novel) by Russell Smith - added July 11/10
Argh Fuck Kill: the story of the Dayglo Abortions (non-fiction) by Chris Walter - added July 11/10

PUNKER THAN YOU by Dave McIntyre

Hey! YOU! Come check out some excerpts from my novel: PUNKER THAN YOU!
(conveniently located in the Fiction section)

Buy it directly from the author for $15.00cdn plus shipping/handling (details on the FAQ page)

Also follow Dave McIntyre on Facebook and Twitter, if ya feels like it.


WARNING: some blog links tend to go out of date and eventually disappear from other people's servers; the newer the lead-off date, the more likely the listed link will actually work. Otherwise, caveat h4X0r.

June 6th, 2011
- Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.
Being poor is knowing you’re being judged.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually lazy.
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.

January 23rd, 2011
- Sometimes it's tempting for a fiction writer to pound out a story set in the past rather than deal with an ever-changing present. Market demands aside, it's difficult to accurately depict a condition that is still rapidly transforming; yesterday's hip reference to AOL or MySpace becomes today's amusingly outdated pop culture references if the author is not careful. But fiction fans who still believe in the power of the novel to diagnose the modern condition do have options. Here one commentator describes how modern fiction writers deal with the internet:

The further literature is driven to the outskirts of the culture, the more it is cherished as a sanctuary from everything coarse, shallow and meretricious in that culture. It is the chapel of profundity, and about as lively and well visited as a bricks-and-mortar chapel to boot. Literature is where you retreat when you're sick of celebrity divorces, political mudslinging, office intrigues, trials of the century, new Apple products, internet flame wars, sexting and X Factor contestants – in short, everything that everybody else spends most of their time thinking and talking about.
It is what the internet lures out of us – hubris, daydreams, avarice, obsessions – that makes it so potent and so volatile. TV's power is serenely impervious; it does all the talking, and we can only listen or turn it off. But the internet is at least partly us; we write it as well as read it, perform for it as well as watch it, create it as well as consume it. Watching TV is a solitary activity that feels like a communal one, while the internet is a communal experience masquerading as solitude.

November 21st, 2010
- In case anyone was wondering: yes, I am still alive, and so is this website.

The last few months have been very busy. Work and school and school and work, that's all I have been doing since September started. I have three books on my coffee table, half-read and waiting. Frankly, there has been little time to finish any of them, much less post a review. As for writing, well...

I have been considering for some time whether I am done with fiction-writing. I certainly have nothing to say at the moment -- not that having "nothing to say" has stopped a lot of writers. With so much attention to the craft of writing, and obsessions with "beautiful prose" devolving into outright sentence fetishism, it is awfully easy to say nothing at great length. Seeing as how book-reviewing is all but a dead sport in North America, it's not like anyone has really noticed, apart from the die-hards and hangers-on to the tradition.

And here I am, saying nothing at great length. I believe I am part of the problem after all.

Speaking of problems: Laura Miller at Salon.com recently wrote a semi-scathing article where she takes apart the event known as NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. For those of you who are unaware, NaNoWriMo is an event where aspiring writers spend the month of November pounding out the rough draft of a novel. What started as an informal challenge among literary friends has morphed into an annual event including writers' groups, discussion boards, and boasts of a cumulative word count broaching the infathomable: "1,804,056,207" words written so far for 2010, according to the most recent main page refresh. Harmless fun, perhaps; but Miller is skeptical:

NaNoWriMo is an event geared entirely toward writers, which means it's largely unnecessary. When I recently stumbled across a list of promotional ideas for bookstores seeking to jump on the bandwagon, true dismay set in. "Write Your Novel Here" was the suggested motto for an in-store NaNoWriMo event. It was yet another depressing sign that the cultural spaces once dedicated to the selfless art of reading are being taken over by the narcissistic commerce of writing.

The key word here is "narcissistic". There is no doubt that writing is an act of selfish egotism at its very base, much as practitioners like myself would prefer to deny it. But when everyone is encouraged to indulge in that selfishness, the result is little more than ego run amuck. When everyone is talking, no one is listening. And it's hard to tell if no one is listening if you're wrapped up in your own speaking voice.

Writing my novel, and publishing it myself, was one of the most egotistical things I have ever done. I spent more money than I should have, and sold fewer copies than I want to admit. But I have no regrets; in fact, it's probably one of the best things I have ever done for myself, if for no other reason than I got the bug out of my system.

See? It isn't hard to get people to talk about themselves. The hard part is getting them to stop.

What was interesting, however, was that when I talked to people about my experience, many people said that it inspired them to try to finish their own books. Apparently a lot of folks have unfinished drafts sitting in drawer bottoms or hard drives, and I suddenly pictured these drafts being pulled out and revisited, reworked, revised. Under the circumstances, I could not help but feel like an enabler.

"There's no shortage of good novels out there," Miller states, following up with a plain summation of the bigger problem: "(But) there is a shortage of readers for these books." What was intended as a critique of the indulgent celebration of writing at the expense of reading itself, however, has been received by the NaNoWriMo crowd as a churlish admonition. After reading a few pages of the comments section, it becomes obvious that many amateur writers take umbrage with the claim that not everyone should be pounding out novels and stories.

"Why is it," one early commenter types under the heading Well aren't you just the Queen of Everything, "that the ONLY hobby that invariably attracts snotty people with their sneering and condescension is writing?" There are many such comments that take Miller to task for suggesting that the swelling ranks of proto-Hemingways are causing problems -- Miller notes, for instance, that literary agents have come to dread the months following November because of the deluge of submissions by writers, many of whom used NaNaWriMo to create their wobbly masterpieces. The same commenter from above continues: "And it's always people who are actually making money writing who carp the loudest and proclaim it's 'wasteful' or 'immature' or whatever." The barbarians want in at the gates. They know what they want, and they are convinced they deserve a shot at the king's fortune.

Another comment further on:

My first reaction to that article was "Like someone ASKED you for your opinion?????" (let me emphasize that I knew absolutely nothing of this competition before reading your article).

Oh well....you're smarter and much-more better than they are. So, you win. Right?

Have fun with it.

More than once Miller is branded as "elitist", a member of some sinister inner circle determined to protect their inbred fiefdom. Many took Miller to task for insinuating that amateur writers are not also readers, which is fair; it is quite likely that those who write also read a fair bit. Sales figures for new books tend to prove otherwise, but that doesn't take into account the existence of used bookstores, libraries, or drop boxes in office buildings and apartment lobbies where tenants leave their used books for others to read. But as a critic and columnist specialising in literary issues, Miller is all too aware of the fragility of the book industry, caught as it is between the spectre of anti-intellectualism ("Reading sucks! Watch MTV!") and the Internet's democraticising effects both on distribution and pricing ("Paywalls suck! Use BitTorrent!")

Then there is what has been described as the Oprah effect: the push toward self-fulfillment through participation in events like marathon-running, where an endurance test once reserved for dedicated athletes becomes open to anyone with a pair of running shoes. The goal is not to win, but to finish; to challenge yourself and overcome personal obstacles, to perfect the person that is You. "It's no coincidence," Miller notes in passing, "that the event (NaNoWriMo) is scheduled for marathon season." And so last year's National Novel Writng Month is declared a success inevitably, with "21,683" winners completing their allotted fifty-thousand words. All the kids get a trophy. What was once a vocation is demoted to an esteem-building exercise. Or as that first commenter casually called it: a "hobby". Curiously, Miller's observation that the publishing industry treats this "hobby", with its how-to books and Creative Writing courses, as a lucrative income stream is cannily side-stepped -- possibly because sheep don't like to admit to being sheared.

Then there are professional writers chime in on the comments pages, claiming that the motivational aspect is what drew them to particiating in the month-long event. Getting words to pages is all that matters here, and that is fine in and of itself. The craft of writing -- word choice, syntax, and much-needed editing -- unfortunately does not receive the same emphasis. At the same time, many of the unpublished writers reading those same comments might start to regard the professionals as comrades, which leads to amusing cases such as Annie Proulx expressing dismay over people sending her fanfic adaptations and supposed "fixes" of her story Brokeback Mountain. If everyone deserves to write and be heard, surely everyone deserves to be published? We're all equals here, pardner, no matter what the pinheads in the publishing houses say.

So it might finally sound hypocritical, and egotistical, and even "elitist" of me to say that I agree with Miller's main points, at least in principle. The more energy that is devoted to writing means that less energy is left over for reading. In a reply to one rejection letter I told the editor that after all is said and done, I might be better off spending more time buying books rather than foisting my own verbiage on the world. I meant no malice by this: having a novel rejected usually means little more than what you wrote might not necessarily warrant being shoved in front of others' eyes. I reached my conclusion, and so I have to be careful when I try to suggest that others should not try to learn through their own mistakes.

So go ahead and write. Make every month a NaNoWriMo month. But for the sake of all those elitist literary agents whom you may well call in December, at least take some time to go through your work and edit it down some. Writing is a skill and a craft, not a hobby. Remember that.

August 18th, 2010
- Hey aspiring writers: hang around long enough, and put out enough classic titles, and maybe you will have a hot young comedienne with great pipes singing songs about wanting to have sex with you. Presenting Rachel Bloom with her soon-to-be-a-hit single, Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury (NSFW language, obviously...)

June 5th, 2010
- So what's killing off book review sections in newspapers and magazines? Reasons cited typically include profitability and the need to cut production costs, but John Palttella at The Nation cites something more insidious: anti-intellectualism ...

In 1999 Steve Wasserman was three years into his tenure as the editor of The Los Angeles Times Book Review, and that July he published a review of Richard Howard's new translation of Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma. The reason was simple: Howard is among the best translators of French literature. As Wasserman explained several years ago in a memoir of his days at the Los Angeles Times published in the Columbia Journalism Review, the review of the book, written by Edmund White, was stylish and laudatory. The Monday after the piece ran, the paper's editor summoned Wasserman to his office and admonished him for running an article about "another dead, white, European male." But the paper's readers in Los Angeles thought otherwise. Soon after the review appeared, local sales of the book took off; national sales did too when other publications reviewed the book. The New Yorker ended up printing a "Talk of the Town" item that traced the book's unexpected success to The Los Angeles Times Book Review. In his memoir, Wasserman relates a similar story about Carlin Romano, then the books critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer, who was scolded by an editor for running as the cover story of his section a review of a new translation of Tirant Lo Blanc, a Catalan epic beloved by Cervantes. "Have you gone crazy?" the editor asked. "Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of America's newspapers in the 1990s," Romano reflected, "is their hostility to reading in all forms."

May 13th, 2010
- Maybe you're tired of the whole argument over downloading music and whether it benefits or hurts the artist, but I have trouble letting it go. No one who creates art should be expected to give it away for free, be they songwriter, author, painter -- whatever. Rather that ramble on at length on the topic as I have done before, here's a reply to an angry fan letter from singer/songwriter Dayna Kurtz (FYI, I resisted the urge to capitalise Kurtz' words here, much as I wanted to):

musicians relying on the largesse of patrons has a history going way back. i'm in the company of those famously degraded sellouts mozart and bach, sir. there's nothing new to complain about here. for centuries, artists have been scrambling, hustling and, yes - grovelling - to keep food on their tables in a fashion that still leaves them enough time and energy to create something that makes their life feel worth living, that makes them feel connected to something universal, something that moves people.

i'm sorry you regret buying those 2 records when you were so terribly poor. that's about 8 beers you could have drunk or 2 paellas you could have eaten or two films you could have seen (with popcorn!) and it's all gone to waste! i hope at least you enjoyed listening to them many, many times before i disappointed you by not passing your test for artistic purity and therefore making you feel like your money was badly spent.

April 24th, 2010
- Anyone here remember the movie Idiocracy (previously described here)? It posits a future where the human race has devolved into incredible stupidity through constant advertising, junk entertainment and plain laziness. A number of curmudgeons such as myself claimed that we are already living in the world depicted in Idiocracy; if you want proof, look no further than --> this video <-- by Insane Clown Posse. Everything about this clip is cheap, incompentent and, above all, irrefutably dumb.

"We got this theory..." begins Violent J (the fat one), giggling like a stoner philosophising about the world. "You see, like, we got a theory about magic, and miracles." From there the duo rhapsodise about giraffes, shooting stars, rainbows, and how their children actually look like them. By the time Shaggy 2 Dope (the skinny one) blurts out "Fuckin' magnets! How do they work?" and then complains about scientists "lying" and pissing him off, you may start to wonder if it's time to start stockpiling canned food and rifles to ward off the mob of stupids who will be crawling the Earth after World War Three -- wait, George W. Bush Dick Cheney doesn't have the access codes to the missile silos anymore, right?

So, er... yeah. If you ever wondered where flat-earthers and Sarah Palin fans get their support, consider the fans of ICP and how their parents completely failed in raising their children. Ye gads...

BONE-ASS LINK: "Learn Your Motherf#@kin’ Science: A Textbook for Juggalos", presented by the good folks at Cracked.com

April 11th, 2010
- As some you already know, my book got a glowing review in this month's issue of Maximum Rock'n'Roll. There was a part of the review, however, that questioned certain views of the narrator, Poker Cartwright (and, by extension, the author's views as well). I wrote a letter to MRR about this, and I have decided to also include the letter here in full, in case anyone came to the same conclusions at the reviewer, Jesse Luscious. I am also including the excerpt in question in case anyone wants to compare Jesse's conclusions with the work in question.

Anyway, here's the letter I sent:

PO Box 460760
San Francisco, California
USA 94146-0760

Att’n: “letters page”
r.e. review of the book "Punker Than You"

Greetings. As the author of PUNKER THAN YOU, I would like to thank you for the glowing review you printed last month (April 2010 issue, no. 323). I am glad to see that your reviewer liked it overall.

I was admittedly concerned that certain parts of the book would rub certain readers the wrong way -- the book is meant as an honest look at the scene from one individual's point of view. There are also some scenes, like the Morganfield kids accidentally crashing the White Power concert, that I felt were risky and had potential to confuse or even anger some readers. However, I was thrown by the part of the book that did cause some offense. I'll quote the second-last paragraph from the review:

"(Narrator) Poker Cartwright does have some odd views about female punks, and I'm not sure if the author shares these views or if they're injected into the story for purposes of juxtaposition with his straight girlfriend. In early sections of Punker Than You he is madly in lust with multiple punk girls while in later sections he equates punk females as having 'skin scarred with tattoos'. The punk women by drinking and looking 'offensive', giving in to failure and degradation. To be fair he only mentions 'drunk punks' in these passages, but unlike pretty much every other part of the book he doesn't differentiate between the particular women he's talking about and all of the other punk women that exist both in his literary world and in the real world. It was a jarring enough section that I took note of it and upon re-reading it I'm still puzzled about its inclusion."

While it's rarely a good idea for an author to respond to criticism in a review, I did feel I should try and answer this one point. I'm a fan of bad ideas, in any case.

At the time Poker is making these comments, he is coming from the viewpoint of being a bit older and more conscious of his own mortality. By the second half of the book he is dealing with a work injury that is going to limit his mobility for the rest of his life, and he has also cut back on his drinking and no longer dabbles in drugs, unlike some of his former band-mates. He is trying to describe the contrast between the punks who live as if there is no tomorrow ("No Future") and his non-punk wife who has strict plans for her future. It was a passage that came out awkwardly on the page, and I thought at the time that this awkwardness suited Poker's character.

Moreover, Poker’s speech was intended to be a condemnation of both male and female punks who seemingly throw away their lives. To quote Poker from the same passage:

"Time eventually destroys you even if you don't contract a disease or get hit by a car or get stabbed by a mugger or die in some other act of random misfortune. Why try? Why strive when failure is so much easier to accomplish, when the bulk of existence is nothing but a day-to-day drudgery that only a fool could enjoy?"

Upon re-reading my own manuscript, however, I can see how the reviewer drew a different conclusion, and a different idea of who and what Poker was railing against. A more through editing might have fixed this problem, but that is one of the risks of self-publishing, I suppose.

Writing in the first person is always risky, in that the writer can easily and unintentionally put his own ideas into his character's dialogue. I won't lie: some of the ideas expressed in the novel are indeed my own. Jake Punkaholic's anti-tattoo rant in the book's first half is based on opinions about body modification that I have held for some time, though I did try and make the argument true to Jake's own life experiences and character.

As for Poker, his twenty-year-old self and his thirty-year-old self differ wildly on a variety of topics, from the music business to drug consumption to hometown pride to male-female relations. In the case of his observations on the apparent self-destruction of others in the punk scene, he is speaking from a different level of maturity that he might have earlier, and the speech in part was meant to convey that maturing viewpoint. Here, as in other places, I made a clear effort to separate my own prejudices from that of my characters wherever possible. That was my intention as the author, at least.


On a much more self-serving point, I also noticed that when you printed the cover price, your review header did not include shipping cost. One of the things I have learned from this whole self-publishing exercise is that a 400 page book costs a ridiculous amount of money to ship, at least in Canada ($12.00cdn per copy, believe it or not, and that's ground shipment). If any of your American readers are looking for a copy, they will probably get a much better deal if they order it online from Interpunk.com -- if you could mention that, I would greatly appreciate it.

Finally, it was nice to have an excuse to read MRR again after so many years. The cashier gave me an odd look when I was buying my copy (I suppose I could have said I was getting it for my nephew), but it was a fun trip down memory lane nonetheless.

All the best,

February 20th, 2010
- Okay, I know I haven't done much in the way of updates lately -- not even a new book review since December (NOTE: I finally posted a new review on March 14th - DMc). What can I say? I've been busy.

Anyway, I wanted to announce that my book, PUNKER THAN YOU, is now available to order at Interpunk.com. If you're in the States, this means you can order it for close to the same price as you would have to pay in Toronto (pronounced tuh-RAH-nah, in case you're wondering). Click here for the direct link.

On the other hand, if you do live in Toronto (you lucky bugger, you!), you can now go down to
Chapters at John and Richmond and buy a copy of PUNKER THAN YOU. Hopefully by the time you read this, there will be a nice stack of books on a table for you to check out while browsing for candles and knickknacks and books that are much less interesting than mine. Like I said, I've been busy.

That's all for now. I'll get around to a book review sooner or later. In the meantime: if you want some advice on writing your own novel, why not
get advice from the experts? (PART ONE) (PART TWO)

ADDENDUM-DUM-DUM-DUM-DUM: And just for the heck of it,
some additional advice on fiction-writing from Kurt Vonnegut...

January 30th, 2010
- I found this YouTube link on a thread discussing the recent death of JD Salinger: a monologue from the film Six Degrees Of Separation that discusses The Catcher In The Rye and what might be called "The Death Of The Imagination" -- and it's delivered by none other than the former Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air!

BLAH BLAH BLOG (cont'd):

[July-December 2009]
[January-June 2009]
[July-December 2008]
[January-June 2008]
[July-December 2007]
[January-June 2007]
[July-December 2006]
[January-June 2006]
[July-December 2005]
[January-June 2005]
[June-December 2004]

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