There was a time, long ago, in a world not unlike our own, where a writer would produce a manuscript after many laborious hours spent hunched over a typewriter of such heft and weight it could easily be used to bludgeon a burglar to death. Writers would not bash ne’er-do-wells’ heads in, of course, for multiple reasons, chief among them being that writers have nothing of value to burgle so the situation rarely arose (but also because those barely-movable metal contraptions were precious to them, strange alchemical chambers where sweat and little drops of whiskey and the smoke from a thousand cigarettes entered, and beautifully amateurish fiction emerged. This did not make typewriters expensive or burgle-worthy, just neat).
The manuscripts would make their way, in battered manila envelopes, out into the dangerous streets of major American cities (this world had an America, and people in that America were just like people in this one, which is to say they honestly can’t conceive of a functioning planet full of actualized human entities outside of their own borders, so everything they think about occurs only in some sort of Ur-merica that is the template for all other countries and the reason anything legitimately foreign seems wrong and/or dismissible even though that attitude is precisely why so many countries hate America, etcetera) and then, after much battering and postal abuse, find themselves deposited upon the desks of stern-faced (oftentimes mustachioed) editors, whereupon they would have coffee spilled on them during some perfunctory and halfhearted thumb-through before going to seed on a pile of rejects while dour, bespectacled young secretaries (with rich inner lives and hopes and fears as unfathomable to the stern-faced editors as the motivations and histories of foreign nationals were to both of them, respectively, as Americans) typed out apologetic but unquestionable rejection letters which would make their way, back through the same perilous postal routes that brought the manuscript to the office in the first place, to the dingy apartments and seedy motel rooms of the writers, who would either hang themselves in despair or turn once again to the bottle and the typewriter.
This went on for ages, until Al Gore made the internet and our world was born.
I mean, there was some other stuff like women’s lib and moustaches falling out of fashion (and then coming back on hipsters) and the invention of word processors and 9/11 and whatever, but mostly it was the internet I think. That’s how we ended up here, now, with my typewriter sitting mute in the corner and the sound of me hitting the keys on my poor, flinching Apple wireless keyboard with far too much force (the same amount of force, amusingly, as typewriter keys require to make a good, dark strike on paper), writing to inform you, dear readers, that some maverick goofball of an editor has expressed the desire to make this little pile of … whatever this is … into a book.
The irony of having sold thousands of self-published ‘zines, written articles and essays and music reviews until my tiny, effeminate hands were gnarled into little Tyrannosaur claws, only to be recognized for captioning animal photos in capslock is not lost on me. The world is funny. Not funny “ha ha” but funny nonetheless.
BUT HEY, FUCKIN’ BOOK DEAL, RIGHT? AM I RIGHT? ANIMALS TALKING IN ALL CAPS BOOK? YEAH?
Woo! All right! Yeah! Uh huh!
Let’s talk about it, shall we? Because without you this wouldn’t be happening, so while they probably can’t fit everyone’s name on the cover, it’s as much about all of you and your weird tastes and pleasant tumblr messages and the little piles of Paypal cash you donated to help me get married and the way I feel about you, collectively, and in some cases individually, that has kept me shackled to my desk, holding down the shift key and making fish talk about dance clubs or whatever, as it is about some sort of deep well of prose talent lurking somewhere in my brain (I checked all my MRI scans from the time I got hit by that car really hard; there is no well in my brain, so it’s actually all about us and not about me at all).
First off, thank you. You are my sunshine, my secondary sunshine (my wife is obviously my primary source of sunlight. The actual sun is number three). You make me happy when skies are grey, etc.
Secondly, I have set up a cute little gmail account appropriately entitled ATIACBOOK@gmail.com to which I would like you to send any and all ATIAC book-related inquiries, hints, helpful suggestions, submissions, etc. This will help me keep things organized, which is one of the things I am absolutely horrible at (notable others being tennis, intercourse, baking, and/or not jaywalking).
Third, I am not rich now. I still have to work full time getting burnt and cut on my fingers, cranking out weird rostis and olives niçoise while the chef sings popular radio hits in which he has replaced key phrases with sexual innuendos, something he finds endlessly amusing. Hopefully, if a billion people buy the eventual book I am now contractually required to produce, I can buy a new bike or go on vacation or something.
Fourth, what are your favorite ATIAC entries from days gone by? A portion of the book will be ‘greatest hits’ but my idea of greatest hits is not always yours. I still love Steve The Tube unconditionally, above all others. Please send answers to the aforementioned email address, and if I can find the photo source and secure licensing rights, then into the book it will go. If not, womp womp.
Now, number five is important, and it’s a two-parter:
If you have submitted photos in the past and they are yours (as in: you took the photo) and you would like it to go into the book instead of on the website, please re-submit to ATAICBOOK@gmail.com and let me know. Unfortunately, there are resolution and image size requirements, so not everything will work. I’m pretty sure Instagram is out. Apologies about that. 300dpi would be great.
If you are a photographer of animals (including insects and fish) and you would like to submit photos for me to caption, just send them, or a link to them, to that same email address and I will get back to you with publishing details.
2. PHOTO SOURCES.
I have tried to find and link to photo sources for as many of the pictures on here as possible, but I get 75% of them from my tumblr feed, and if there is a larger vortex of uncredited photography on the internet than Tumblr I will eat my hat. If you know who took any of the photos that don’t link to a source, please email me and let me know. Just include a link to the ATIAC post and one to the photographer’s portfolio or Guardian article or whatever it came from. If you want a full-time job just hunting down photo sources, call me. I will pay you in gourmet food and tiny bits of money.
Sixthly, I will not derail the tumblr during this process. You may still tune in relatively often for the … humor? absurdist nonsense? red panda photos? whatever it is you normally tune in for, and I will do my best to ensure it keeps coming. I will not clog up your dashboards with things like this announcement, either. Announcements and huge rambly updates about the book will happen on Sundays only, unless something crazy happens, like international nuclear war or Liev Schreiber comes over to my house to watch Game Of Thrones or something and I have to talk about it because I can’t wait until Sunday, but the odds of those things occurring are SUUUUUUUUUUUPER SLIM, so you will probably get intermittent Sunday book updates from now until whenever the thing gets published. Many Sundays you will just get a polar bear talking about art or whatever. No wordy updates at all. I have a commitment to simplicity going here I don’t intend to alter.
Seventhly and for seven, I would like to thank Stacey for asking me to collect all my talking animals in one place so she could giggle at them, which is how this whole thing started (and also for being just a generally cool person that is inexplicably nice to me). I would also like to thank spinning-around for being one of the first people to follow this thing, and for sticking around this whole time. Every time I see your little icon/photo thing on an entry I go “Aw, man. Spinning Around is still following me? That’s awesome.’ and it makes it very hard to quit.
Shit, gals (and guys), I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I just sit down every day and try to make you smile. Most of the time I feel like an idiot, but that’s never stopped me from doing anything, ever, so I idiot for you, preferably three times per weekday and once a day on weekends. I just want to get to where my wife is, and I guess see my work, limited in scope as this format may be, on an actual bookshelf somewhere, even if it’s that shelf at Urban Outfitters where books-that-come-from-blogs go to hang out with each other. I want to go over to my friends’ houses and see that book leveling the tables in their houses that have uneven legs. I want to see someone on the train giggling at it, because I always have to picture you guys in my head smiling in your cubicles or classrooms, but I rarely if ever get to see anyone actually smiling at it in real life (IRL, y’all).
I’m going to shut up now. In conclusion, and just to wrap up:
I got a book deal for ATIAC. I have a very small photo budget which I will likely spend on ‘fan favorites’ provided someone tells me what those are. Other photos will have to be found and secured during several grueling months of desk work, or you can submit some if you have them. You are my sunshine. ATIACBOOK@gmail.com. I love my wife, and you, in that order. Life is weird. Stay in school or you’ll end up like me. Etc. Whatever.
Sorry if you read all that. I know it’s hard to look at so many words on the internet.