RRRoze is an anarcho-desperado: a covert renegade waging a silent propaganda war against the shadow government to rescue the mass-consciousness from the hypnosis devices.
I met up with RRRoze not too long ago to talk about literature, activism and spirituality.
We also discussed his recent novel, So It Ends, which was released on August 2nd, 2012.
You can order it directly from the independent publisher, Black Rose Writing, here.
Generally speaking, how and when did you get started writing?
I started doing poetry at 18 and then the first story I wrote was a novelette. The first story I wrote was actually in 5th grade, but then I wrote a novelette when I was 18. The novelette got published under Publish America, but they were a scam press and it was a tiny book. I didn’t think anything of it. So, that kind of fell by the wayside. Then I put out an e-book of an autobiography that I had written on Smashwords, just because I could, and so that’s out there too, but… So It Ends… [laughs] …the answer to the question how did I get started: I got started with poetry.
What inspired you to become a novelist after being a poet?
It was common sense. Really, I wanted to be an actor, and then I wanted to be a musician, but all these things require other people, and it turned out that writing a book was the only thing that I could do alone, and so that’s what I did.
So you’ve already said that this isn’t your debut publication, but it kind of is because it’s not a scam and not just online… So It Ends is an ironic title for a debut publication, do you care to elaborate on that at all?
Well, it’s funny because it’s the first in a pair, and the sequel is called So It Begins. Then if you follow the story it creates this time continuum where the end of the book is really the beginning of the book and the beginning of the book is the end of the universe, and that’s just how it goes.
So it’s a circular time logic?
Yeah, so, So It Ends is the first and So It Begins is the second.
Can you tell me more about the novel itself? Maybe about what inspired it? What during your writing process was important?
Well, let’s see… I started writing it in 2008. It was inspired because I was really sick of what happens on the news, and how the news always reports the most terrible things, and it’s just constant terrible stuff. So I wanted to document terrible things and then create a whole book that was just full of terrible things. And I only got, like, a few terrible things deep before the story took off on its own. And then it became its own thing. But, that was initially the inspiration.
When I started writing it [So It Ends]I had never written a full length novel before. I had written tons of short stories, novels worth of short work, but I had never written a full-length novel, and so it was a learning experience. So through the first one, at the beginning you see I’m trying to figure out what’s happening, and there’s even short stories in the beginning of the book. There’s two short stories in the beginning of the novel that don’t really have anything to do with the rest of the story. It takes place over the course of two books, so you don’t even really notice that the short stories are in there. But that’s just how novelists learn, through short stories.
Were you thinking of any specific audience when you were writing the novel?
I try to write in a way that’s going to appeal to everybody, but, at the same time, being someone who’s always had suicidal tendencies, I have those people in mind at all times, and I like to think, ‘What’s somebody going to have to read to not want to kill themselves right now?’
Do you have any notable influences?
Yeah, influential authors are my influences, because they’re the ones who make legends: Poe, Kafka, Joyce, Castaneda… more recently Michael Crichton and Anne Rice
What would you say the book’s genre is… if you could pinpoint it?
They call it dark fantasy. I try to call it modern paranormal.
What distinguishes you stylistically in this book and otherwise?
[laughs] It’s the same thing that distinguishes me stylistically in life, because writing ultimately comes down to personality. You can only get so good at writing, but if you’re not interesting as a person it really doesn’t matter.
Releasing a novel can be pretty hard work. I’m wondering about the challenges you faced during writing and publishing, and if there are any difficulties specific to independent publishing that you’ve noticed?
There’s a typical thing that writers will always tell you: I could wallpaper my room with rejection slips… and you have to send out these things called queries…
The problem was that I had written a two part book, a two-book story. So when the first book was done I tried sending it out and sending it out and sending it out, and nobody really wanted it because the second book wasn’t done. So it got to the point where I was wasting so much energy trying to get it published that I had to stop and just write the second one, the second part. Once that was done it was pretty easy to sell, and everything kind of fell into place, and I found a good publisher.
The struggle was that for… it was like 8 years of solid work, and that whole time people think you’re a giant loser, and people think that you’re wasting your life, and people think you’re the scum of the earth because you’re not as enslaved as they are, when they don’t realize that you’re more enslaved than anybody because they’re getting something in return whereas you’re working twice as hard as anybody out there, and you’re getting nothing in return.
I hear you’ve been active in Occupy Wall Street and in 9/11 for Truth. When did you start getting involved in activism? What are the kinds of actions you participate in?
Well, before Occupy I had been doing a little bit of street activism. It was mostly online. My riff was harassing congresspeople and senators on Facebook because I could just have access to all of them, and since they’re all evil I just wanted to get in their face as much as possible. And so that’s how it started. And then we were talking… I mean I can tell you the history of how Occupy came to be: What really happened was we were talking and we were like ‘What are we going to do? What are we going to do? Here’s the problem with these protests. The problem is that these protests end.’ It’s not a new method, but we didn’t know about the history of occupation as protest. We were just talking amongst ourselves, ‘We’re going to have to go some place, and we can’t leave. We’re going to have to go there, and we’re going to have to stay there, and we’re going to have to protest every day until we’re done. Because that’s the problem, we just go there and we go home.’
So we were kicking around the ideas, strange things like sleeping in ditches or sleeping in trees… and what we were going to eat, researching food that will sustain you when you don’t have access to anything else and trying to figure out how to live in the streets. We couldn’t figure it out. We were doing protests, but while we were trying to figure it out Adbusters kind of picked up what we were putting down, me and a collective of other activists. You know, we’re all random when it comes down to it, we’re all anonymous. So Adbusters picked it up, and they put out the call for everybody to go to Wall Street. They picked a target, and we were like, well, that’s the tactic we wanted to use so whatever the target is it’s gonna work and so that’s how Occupy came to be.
And I mean, 9/11 truth is just so important. It’s the central issue, it’s the issue of our generation. It’s the silver bullet that’s going to take out the monster, ya know? I’ve always recognized that, and a lot of people are just now coming to terms with it.
Is your literary work connected to protest in any way?
No. I hate protesting and I hate activism, I do it because I feel it’s necessary. All I wanted out of this life was to write books and to tell stories, and in a lot of ways activism takes that away from me. So I really disdain the apathy of people in this country for that reason, because it’s really personal, not only are they hurting themselves, not only are they hurting their families, not only are they hurting the entire planet, but they’re hurting me directly through my work and hurting everybody I want to help with my work.
To change it up a little bit, do you adhere to any particular philosophy that you would say is important in your life, in your writing, in your activism…?
I was really into esoterica, like Astrology and Tarot and Metaphysics but that all sort of culminated in my discovery of Taoism and Tai Chi via Taoism… or Taoism via Tai Chi, actually, that’s how it was. And so now I consider myself a student of ancient Chinese secrets.
Does Taoism come through in your writing at all or is that more recent?
The book I wrote last winter…. Half of it is about a federation of martial artists and they’re all Taoists, so I’ve touched on it at this point in my last novel. But the book that just came out, it’s all about Astrology and Tarot, and then the sequel is also about Astrology and Tarot. So it’s a lot of different beliefs. They all just mix up.
What do you hope that people take away once they’ve read your work?
[laughs] Well, they’re supposed to just enjoy it. They’re not supposed to take anything from it unless they want to.
But I imagine, maybe with this first book, people are going to be like ‘Oh, that’s the most twisted thing I’ve ever read.’
And then, with the second book, they’ll be like, ‘That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.’
And then with the third book they’re going to be like, ‘That’s the most twisted thing ever written.’
Do you have any advice for new writers or aspiring novelists?
Don’t… don’t do it. Don’t, just don’t… it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it. I could have spend the last 8 years on the beach. Here’s why it’s not worth it: it’s because this planet has no future and the human race is doomed, and when you’re a writer you live in the future. That’s why they say writers never die. But you’re doing everything contingent upon, ya know, later on in life people are going to pick up what you’re putting down or after you’re dead people are going to pick up what you’re putting down. But if there’s no future, you have no audience. And if you have no audience, you’re just wasting your time. You should live your life, and you should enjoy being alive, which is the opposite of what writing is. Writing is living in a fantasy, and it’s sad, really.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any new projects, literary or otherwise?
I’m beginning to learn Mandarin language and writing, and in the preliminary stages of that I have to kick out another book. So I’m about to start another book and have it done by the beginning of Spring, just because I want to travel around and learn Mandarin and also study Martial Arts and Taoism.
Do you have any plans for S17?
Well, we have plans for 9/11. It’s the 11th anniversary. We have a lot of power behind the movement this year. We’ve done a lot of good preliminary work, and we’re getting everybody together out there, so the street actions happening from 9/8 to 9/11 are going to be off the chain. And we do political fasting, me and a friend of mine. So we’re going to be fasting beginning on 9/8 through 9/11, from 9/11 to 9/17, then through the festivities of 9/17. So by the time 9/17 comes around, S17, whatever you want to call it… By the time S17 comes around, we’re going to be like 8 or 9 days into the fast, and then it’s going to go for 12 days, and I’m a real skinny guy, so 12 days of not eating is horrifying to me, but I think I’ll do it.
And where are you guys going to be fasting?
In Manhattan. There’s going to be 5 days downtime between the 9/11 events and the S17 events. So, for those 5 days we’ll probably go to Washington DC and just, ya know, talk to people about things, and then go back for S17.
Cool. So do you have any stories you’d like to share or anything else you’d like to add? Anything you’d like to revisit?
This is why you should’ve let me do this on paper.
[laughs] Oh yeah?
This would’ve been a thousand times better. I told you, I’m an author, not an orator
You’re alright. So, your other literary projects that are coming up, you haven’t really talked about those by their titles. Do you want to just give a quick rundown?
It’s just a bunch of projects, I mean, like, the third one I can’t even… I already kind of said too much, because the way it happens is: you let your idea out there, and you’ll see it everywhere within a couple months. But I’ve got a book out now. It’s the first of many, and they get better and better as they go along. The one that’s out was a learning process. But the one that comes after it uses it. You can’t read the second one without having read the first one. The second one is so grandiose and phenomenal that it really, just… it blows my mind sometimes when I’m thinking about it, because I’m just some guy, but as far as literature is concerned I’ve pulled something off that has never been done. In particular, there’s my use of Tarot. Up until I started writing about Tarot the only other person who had done it was T.S. Elliot back in the 50′s. I plotted a whole book with something called Major Arcana, which is the story of the Tarot, the story of the fool’s journey to enlightenment. So by reading the second book if you’ve read the first one I’m fairly certain that you can attain enlightenment, because I found myself attaining enlightenment towards the end of the second book just from working that closely with the Tarot.