in the world is GZO Jones?
been following your little publication lately. It's good stuff;
maybe not as meaty as the underground newspapers we used to make
in what is now called the "Beat" era (we never called
it that), but good stuff nonetheless. The attention to art is
especially good. It's hard to get good reporting of a non-verbal
medium, at least without sounding pretentious.
But I didn't write you to lavish praise upon the
magazine in general. There is one of your guest writers, one Jess
Gulbranson, whom I feel deserves serious praise. Now, I know Jess
as much as one can know someone through correspondence, and I
feel it is my duty as friend and mentor to send some recognition
his way. You know that his e-mail address is gzojones@. Did you
ever wonder who GZO Jones is?
Jess tells me he has been using my name as his nom
de plume since high school. He claims that he thought I was dead;
a reasonable assumption in the early 90s, and I don't fault him
the theft of my name. After all, I wasn't using it.
After some unpleasantness in late October 1991,
I left the East Coast and fled to Brazil, where I now reside in
the capital city, Brasilia. I gave up writing at that point. As
my career has always been somewhat sub rosa, there wasn't any
clamor for new Jones material, which freed up my spare time
for practicing Portuguese and indulging my vices. In January of
1999 I was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent all manner
of treatments, to no avail. My last resort was a shamanistic cure
involving psychoactive mushrooms. My cancer was arrested, but
unfortunately I had a reaction that
sent me into a 16-month coma.
I discovered that Jess had started to make his presence
felt in various places on the Internet. The first stories that
I read were his post-apocalyptic Wasteland tales. Brilliant. They
read like Dashiell Hammett, with the feel of Mad Max. I was inspired
enough to start writing again.
Of course, I needed my name back.
I wrote Jess and asked him to pick another. His
one condition was that I grant an interview, and maybe do a collaboration.
Fine. He went ahead and gave me the e-mail address, and took a
new one for himself. He's also helping me set up a Web page on
the Brazilian net. It's not much to look at yet, but I'm sure
I have something up my sleeve.
Anyway, my mission was to praise Jess, so here goes:
"Mel" is genius. It's even great translated to Portuguese.
No one does cliffhangers anymore, and this one should go on forever.
Treat that boy right. He's going to be big some day.
Well, enough of the ramblings of an old man. Perhaps
I'll send you a story or some poetry for your NW Drizzle. I'd
be pleased as punch to see my name up there. It's a far cry from
the mimeographed copies of "Saddlebags" that made their
way from Bleecker Street to Deux Magots and back again in '58,
but that's just fine ...