The Hep Cat Book Club

IMG_20160513_072133What are we reading?
Joe wrote a book.
Really? What’s it called?
Penina’s Letters.
Who’s Penina?
Are there any cats in Joe’s book?
One, Castus.
I hear Joe’s working on a sequel.
Tell him to put more cats in it.

“Penina’s Letters,” get yr copy!


  1. johndockus says:

    Life sucks when what one worked so hard on, pouring in heart and soul, swirls around the drain, compelling maybe the wrong kind of interest and emphasis going round and round, then finally disappears down the memory hole. Maybe it’s the way of all truly aspired to art to be passed by mostly in silence in this contemporary world filled with so much noise and schtick and ephemera. While the true art despite all the artist’s best efforts to save and promote it is at last pulled down the memory hole and forgotten, the majority of others remain swirling all around with the world’s waste and debris, oblivious scatterbrains. In such a state they couldn’t possibly devote closer attention to one’s work and understand. It’s not necessarily indifference one receives from others. Individuals inwardly are wrecks and can’t bring themselves to speak, except in more superficial and safer ways, resorting to flattery or whatnot. If only the silences which arise like walls around one’s deeper and more nuanced work could speak. Maybe the first step to regaining honest dialogue is the confession, which requires some courage and risk. Not many are willing to do it, especially in a public forum. Most would rather keep up an illusion and hide what’s really going on inside them behind it. Keep heart, Joe, and keep working on your art. I haven’t been in touch with you for a while, but something about these latest posts of yours moves me to sympathy, having interacted enough with you to know you are a man of quality.

    P.S. I look at the photo of your hepcats all of wood and nicely polished on your bookshelf and couldn’t help but think of that Dali painting The Burning Giraffe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Hey, John. Thanks for the visit. I looked up the Dali reference. Love the drawers. In my case, it was more like “The Burning Draft.” I’ve had some good support with “Penina’s Letters.” Limited, of course, but positive enough that – no regrets. And thank you for checking in and giving the book some attention! Much appreciated. Good to hear from you again.


      1. johndockus says:

        Very glad you’re getting support from others for your work, Joe. I just saw the tag “reading crisis”, and the comment section of late, to say the least, not overflowing, and felt like putting in some words. On the most obvious level, on the sunnier side of it, I know this post with the hepcats is meant as ironic humor.

        I’d say the same of my own work as you have of yours. I have no regrets. My own work is too much an organic part of me, true to who I am. Even if no one says a word about it, I’m confident in its value, though by no means is it perfect and I still have much to improve on. The voice deeper inside us is perhaps our truest audience, telling us more honestly than anyone else when something is sound and good and stands on its own, and when something needs more work. Put me on a desert island with some paper and pencils and I’d be content, most vitally and essentially not needing outside validation, though of course it feels good to receive some words of encouragement, some recognition, from time to time. It’s simply human. I recall a while ago you mentioning seasons of the soul. Periods of indifference when one receives hardly any attention or feedback are like Winter.

        Individuals like us keep on trekking, knowing that eventually the snow will melt and new growth will emerge.

        There’s a time to swim and surf, and there’s a time to skate and sled.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Joe Linker says:

          John: The “reading crisis” is something I’ve been studying since the blog opened in 2007. Click on the tag (reading crisis) and you’ll see the threads. But no, yr right, the novel has not shot off fireworks of comments on the blog. I’m thinking about this. Reading a novel (particularly one that must be purchased) is a commitment requiring more attention than a blog post. But where readers have made that commitment, few though they may be, the response has been good-interesting-surprising. I’ll try updating “sales results” this next week.


          1. johndockus says:

            By my assumption and going off on my tangent, I’ve probably revealed more about my own state of mind presently than where you’re at. It’s still a pleasure exchanging words with you, Joe. It’s always a pleasure dealing with a fundamentally decent individual, feeling confidence that even little disharmonies or dissonances in getting reacquainted will be tolerated and even accepted with gratitude, because it breaks the silence and provides a spark.

            I don’t mind making a bit of a fool out of myself. I’m so chronically solitary, I swallowed my pride a long time ago.

            It’s so easy to misinterpret each other. It’s interesting you mention commitment in your new publishing experience. Numbers or stats are interesting up to a point, but a demographic breakdown, types of individuals who go out of their way and actually have chosen out of so much work in the world to spend their time with your work, or with the work of this or that artist, and why specifically, would perhaps be more fascinating, if such a thing could be found out with any truth and accuracy.

            There are readers more as gesture of friendship, networking friends, then readers because the author is loved as a human being. Sifting it down, there are then readers actually looking for art, interested in the content and how the material is handled and expressed. Those may be fewer, especially ones who are not mere nay-sayers but are constructively critical. That in itself requires time and energy and thought and is a commitment.

            The battle for art is being lost when it only becomes a numbers game. The best writers don’t necessarily have the most followers. Becoming a Best-Seller may doom one to dry up creatively and start one pathetically parodying oneself.

            I wish for you, Joe, a rich failure, a very fruitful unsuccess!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Joe Linker says:

              Thanks, John. Laughing out loud at that end wish. Reminded of Dylan’s Love Minus Zero, No Limit: “In the dime stores and bus stations
              People talk of situations
              Read books, repeat quotations
              Draw conclusions on the wall
              Some speak of the future
              My love she speaks softly
              She knows there’s no success like failure
              And that failure’s no success at all.”
              Don’t worry, John, that failure (the Best-Teller) is guaranteed. I hope you read Penina’s Letters. You could maybe “draw” up a review? Don’t wait too long – I’ve a sequel coming hopefully for summer reading. Amazon took the price down to 10.23, but it’s now back up to the original 14.50. Not sure why. I’m thinking of setting up some sort of marketing plan, reducing the price again, but it all takes time. As for making the best-seller list, the book is currently
              #15065 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Literary
              on Amazon’s hit parade countdown. Total number of paperbacks sold = 53; e-versions = 20. So if you do grab a copy, you’ll be one of an elite few experiencing this book that “maintains the same heightened, intimate [in]tangibility as the shorter [blog] narratives and does it in the same kind of weighted, quickening prose.” Just kidding – that’s from the 1926 New York Times review of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (brackets added by me).


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