One of my favorite small presses, Two Dollar Radio, is preparing to make some films. Two years ago I read The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich and it helped change the way I think about literature. Not right away. My first read of it, though charged with some enjoyment, felt like work, and at the time I wasn't in the frame of mind where I necessarily appreciated hard work in my reading life. That changed after I finished the book, a few months passed where it somehow was still digesting and decompressing in my subconscious. The desire turned up to revisit it. And looking at myself as a writer at the time I felt like a fraud. For a long time I was focused on telling clever stories. Whereas there isn't anything wrong with a fun yarn and a clever twist, I wasn't exploring and challenging myself with the fresh palette of the page. I was bound by old expectations of what I thought good novels should be. I wasn't handling language as a fine craft. Reading the book again moved me to reinvent myself as a writer, to explore personal landscapes and handle language with a finer point of respect and reverence and reshaping. So I credit this book as an important one in my development as a reader and a writer.
Then this past summer I read Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan and I had to do a double take because I didn't know sentences could be so lean and efficient yet saturated with personality.
I have some other Two Dollar Radio books on my shelf queued up and am already counting potential Christmas money I haven't received yet to load up on some of their newer titles that have intrigued me, like Jeff Jackson's debut novel Mira Corpora.
As the books of theirs I've read have been like the introduction of strange delicacies I never knew existed, I'm excited to see what they do with the medium of film. They already have an enviable handle on narrative and voice. In the age where Syd Field formulas have rusted many movies, and people's expectations of how a movie should be paced, I welcome and anticipate what they may be projecting in the realm of digital cinema, and how it may change us as movie viewers.
For anyone that stumbles on my little blog here in the next couple of days, consider tipping them in advance at their indiegogo campaign so they can make the first round.