Examining the Odd

The Switching Mirror

by Dario Cannizzaro

I was a little kid, probably eight or ten. My mom would bring us to visit this very old aunt, Maria. I was already as tall as she was, which I liked. She lived alone since her husband, my uncle Ciro, died a while back. I still can picture the image of my uncle – a bald man in his seventies – looking outside the window, with a checked blanket on his lap, the light from the sun shining through. That’s the only image of him I have in my memory.

The house they were living in, the one my aunt lived alone in, was in a very old building near Via Foria, in the heart of Naples, in the south of Italy. Those buildings were built for rich people in the 1800s, and were then reconverted to normal apartments. They had a big…

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It’s always hard for me, as an indie author, to advertise myself. I’m usually very vocal about things I do like – books, movies, tech gadgets – and very critical of things I do not like. To me, endorsing something I like comes easy.

But I’m crap at advertising myself. All the shenanigans about “Hey! look at me!” repel me. Of course I think I did a great job! How can you not trust me? I seriously know it. I’ve spent so much time (two years!) writing this novel. Most of my waking time since 2015 has seen my mind working on this book. I woke up at 5am for months to write the first draft. I used many weekends editing and re-editing and re-editing.

I’ve pestered people with talks about religion, philosophy, death – and you don’t want to talk about death usually, do you? – for an incredible amount of time.

I’ve lobbied people into reading first drafts – and we all know how much first drafts suck! – and some people I nagged so much that they read also second and third drafts.

But I didn’t invest just time. I invested hard earned money on this. I had the pleasure to hire a superb developmental editor when I was still unsure if I had what it takes to write a full novel. She helped me immensely, and didn’t just made this book better – she made me a better writer. I hired another editor for proofreading, and all in all, between all the specialists that have worked with me on this book, I’ve spent a few dollars short of 3000.

That is the amount of investment that I put in my first novel. And now that this novel is ready, I’ve the jitters. There’s so much of my life in it, that of course I recommend anyone to read it. It is weird and funny and dark and deep, and it definitely doesn’t follow the usual cliches for novels. I’d love for you to read it, to love it, so much that you’ll want to come back and tell me you loved it, and want to read more of me, and talk about this to your friends and family, and say Hey have you seen this novel? It’s from an indie guy – yeah, it’s self-published! – No, it doesn’t suck, actually, it’s pretty good! – all of this, you know. I’ve learned myself that in this world, either you have a great budget for marketing (which I don’t), or you create something so spectacular that word of mouth itself will help you lift it up above the normal stuff.

So, Dead Men Naked will be out soon. You’ll be able to buy it soon. Paperback will be out very shortly, I think 3-4 days tops, depending on Amazon timelines. The eBook is scheduled for the 7th of May (but if you do buy the Paperback, the ebook version is free).

Thanks for listening.

Namaste,

Dario

 

We did it! 

The issue 1 of the Literary Magazine I’m working on together with a bunch of incredible people is out! One year after our first meeting – look at all the road we’ve traveled!

Thanks to all the artists that submitted, thanks to all the readers – now go there, and enjoy the read!

(and if you’re a writer/visual artist, why don’t you submit?)

Dario

Great interview! Thanks Sophia 🙂

Of Pens & Paper

Back in September the wonderful Dario Cannizzaro approached me to review his first published collection of short stories: Of Life, Death, Aliens and Zombies.
And no, I’m not usually the type of person to read about zombies! But I gave it a go, and was quite astonished at the level of contemplation on life, plus the quality of Dario’s writing. Read my review for the book here.
Sweetheart Script Medium
Dario was kind enough to agree to be interviewed… read on to discover more about his writing, life, and advice!

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One early morning, I wrote the two magical words THE END after finishing the last chapter of my novel, Dead Men Naked.

Then I learned that THE END was not there yet. Sure, the story was over, but I discovered pretty soon that something else just started: the endless quest for a definition. If you’ve written a story, a book, a poem, you know that eventually someone will ask you, What is it about? And if you’re half like me, you’ll mumble some incoherent words about all the things that your story is not, without being able to find what definition your story would actually fit.

This feeling stayed with me the entirety of my quest for an agent, and resurfaced when I had to write the blurb for my short story collection, Of Life, Death, Aliens and Zombies. Was it Fantasy? Urban Fantasy? Modern Mythology? Magical Realism? All of those tags seemed to only grasp the surface of what I wrote.

So I did the most sensible thing – I avoided labels wherever I could, which for a short story collection was easy, because Amazon has a category just for it (even though I had to pick a second category and forced myself into Science Fiction – for now). I thought, let’s leave the definition to my first readers and reviewers.

When the first reviews came in, I was incredibly happy – because they were very good, comparing my work to authors such as Vonnegut, Fante, Bukowski – but I was also lost, because those same authors struggled with finding a defining name for their genre. My own readers couldn’t define my genre.

And now that the collection has traveled a bit, and Dead Men Naked is about to be published, I face the same challenge again. What genre do I write in? Is it Speculative fiction? Transrealism? Mystical neo-renaissance? Zeitgeist-y fiction?

I know my stories are quirky. I know they’re whimsical, poetical, and yes, philosophical in nature. I know there is a fairy-tale like air to them, if fairy tales were written for adults. I know they exist because I had something to say, a story to follow and share. So I hope you’ll forgive my lack of a definition – and hope you’ll enjoy them nevertheless.

My friend, poet exquisite Mr. Kevin Bateman, has a knack for gathering together great minds in spiritual places all around my favourite island.

This time, Kevin organised a great event called “Live Inside our Dream” at the Blackrock Castle and observatory, in Cork City, Ireland, and I’ve had the honour of being one of the participants, together with great writers and poets like (in order of appearance) John Mee, John W. Sexton, Danielle McLaughlin, Marie Gethins, and Kevin Doyle.

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From left to right: Kevin Doyle, Danielle McLaughlin, Dario Cannizzaro, John Mee, John W. Sexton, Kevin Bateman, Marie Gethins.

I’ve read “The Name of the Rose” upon request of our good Kevin (starting at 16:30 in the video) but my suggestion is, if you have 40 minutes to spare, watch the full event, because in this time and age, having so many great writers all together reading their work is a pearl to be cherished.

Here’s the link to the live Periscope.

Enjoy and happy Sunday!