If you’re a subscriber to this Stack, you’ve noticed radio silence from AI® for months.
This was intentional. After the election, I was burned out. It was a mix of general mental exhaustion, family medical issues, and personal mania as well as strange parts of my body hurting. Things are cool but are they ever?
One thing I’ve learned from writing to y’all is that in the rush to react and respond, things aren’t always delivered or received with the way my brain intends them so I decided to be more purposeful with my writing. There were plenty of things happening in skating that I wanted to address but I have other outlets including an upcoming text with Dr. Indigo Willing.
You can peep that here.
I don’t like the pay-to-play model of this platform and just feel odd asking for money to hang out in my digital space but I do feel fine presenting y’all with a mini-book/short story titled Heaven or Las Vegas.
I don’t know the future of this newsletter but I’m fired up about writing and being able to self-publish is powerful to me and… fuck, it’s exciting, so here we are.
Last year I decided to look back on an old work of fiction I wrote because I knew something was there. It was a rough process. The sentences, the metaphors, the tone was off but there was a story—it just needed to be retooled. I never retool. Ever.
I spent months going back in, changing each chapter, and cutting out a lot of nonsense. I thought about the narrative, I thought about the context, and what was over 100 pages was cut to a tight 60.
The original story felt like it was written by a different human—one that had some ideas about telling a story but not the insight or toolbox to do it. Now, I’m not big-upping myself and saying that this jawn is a masterpiece but I thought it was important to share the value of going backward. You know, people—those motivational types—love to say how “looking back halts moving forward” or some shit. That’s fine. I thought it was a worthwhile exercise to do so but if you know me, my brain is anything but linear, so what happened was me having several Google Docs of drafts and notes and things and cursing myself out and over analyzing shit to the point where I had to say “FIN.”
So is this a book? A novella? A short story? A zook (zine+book?)
I dunno but it’s up for order now and I hope you enjoy this short work of fiction that’s been bouncing around my skull for a decade.
Thank you to Jeff Neumann for the help editing and Walker Ryan for the guidance.
Heaven or Las Vegas by Anthony G. Pappalardo | 60 Pages First 300 Copy Edition Soft Cover | Fiction
She's a popular girl leading a dark double life. He's an intentional outcast, happily existing out of their small town's social hierarchy. They both use every moment outside of school and work to escape the suburban malaise, often with severe repercussions. Nothing ever happens in their town but there's so much going on.
Heaven or Las Vegas is a work of fiction set in early-'90s New England, oscillating between two strong-minded teenagers' distinct worlds and the subcultures they choose as home, no matter how unstable.