I’m Karl, and I’m, well, an acquired taste.
In 1997 I took a left turn at photography, swerved sharply towards web programming in '98, and skid to avoid software engineering (and slow death) a few years later; I tumbled down a cliff of unemployment into a car cemetery. Shakespeare was roasting quail, there beneath a tent he’d fashioned out of sonnets and a rusted 1963 Honda. This was well into 2006, and I’ve been a full-time writer ever since.
Not making any sense? Yeah, humor me.
Selling articles back home (Lebanon) is about as easy as selling canned sand (is this a cultural crack about Arabs and deserts? Oh yeah) but with time and luck I was contracted by a local publication, then two, then an international publication, then two, and finally when the kitchen got too hot and the instant coffee too mild, I broke off. There isn't enough whiskey in the world to endure a desk job.
I like reaching out to people, mostly to entertain (myself) and educate (us both), and show the modern world that we *gasp* no longer commute on camels – I of course own a camel ranch, but they’re modern and soft spoken camels, not at all barbaric – and while I’m at it perhaps kick some countrymen straight in the nostalgia, and remind that we’re all in love with the same woman, despite our differences.
Please hold for presumptuousness. Thank you.
I’m not entirely clear on how a writer is born, or if he is at all; yes I’m a reformed software engineer, but I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t write, or exactly when the programmer croaked. I do know that I was uncomfortable calling myself a writer until I found my voice, an elusive skank of a muse through which writers define their work. For me, Ambrose Bierce was that skank.
See, a style without a name can’t really exist – if a random tree falls down in a forest, who gives a crap? But call the tree Roger... So when someone asked me what I wrote, I knew I had to do better than: ‘Well, ya’ know, it’s like… well not so much…’ One had one’s reputation to consider. One considers much, as one would guess. One; what a funny word.
Where was I?
So Ambrose here had a clear voice, a clean minimalistic approach and he didn’t give a Mesocricetus auratus’s (really, just Google it) ass what people thought. He worked as an editor and a journalist, and fought in a war he later milked for material, and rightly so. I’ve had more war and less editing, more software and fewer short stories, but whatever he wrote resonated with me; I just knew what he meant. I was in love.
Very few authors have, for lack of a better term, bruised me quite as much (although Mark Twain is a close contender.) The Devil’s Dictionary was a masterpiece, and I don’t know if I’ve ever thanked my best friend enough for that book. Oi, thanks yeah?
So there you had it. The ‘Well, ya' know,’ was replaced with ‘Think Ambrose Bierce, and I’m somewhere around trying to shine his shoes;’ no clearer perhaps, but perfectly logical.
Satire is my favorite adult-education tool, and he so excelled with it that I often trashed my own attempts before they had a chance to mature. With the right word in the right place he could strip down preconceptions like they were some analogy I don’t really need to come up with.
Because that’s what it’s all about back home: it’s about violent, barely sentient masses blindly following religious and political leaders as though they held the keys to heaven, and could solve everything from famine to bowel consistency. And while you could politely ask a zombie to unhand the brain and adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, modern gaming has statistically shown that shotguns are more effective. Somewhat.
Satire is a literary shotgun; there is nothing quite as fascinating as making a man feel like an idiot in the privacy of his own mind. It numbs away the mob madness and creates a vacuum that forces the suddenly isolated moron to think for himself. There are no guarantees where he’ll go from there, but it is a fighting chance; and for every nitwit I kick in the brain, I’m assured a shot of scotch in heaven. Oh wait, the Druze (Google is your friend!) reincarnate; well I guess there’s no rush then.
I am articulate, funny, and not at all conceited