10 Things About the Shane Jones Phenomena

1.) Where can I get this book by Shane Jones?

I know one thing. I’d like to own one of the 200/300 (I never did get an exact number on the printing of the 1st edition.  I asked this drunk woman in Chicago AWP and she said 20014) copies of the PGP original copies of Light Boxes. Wouldn’t it be sweet to have one now? Like you would have hipster cred (leave it out, atop your Sony turntable or your skinny jeans) and a possible investment for Ebay down the road.

Where were you in 1957? Some of you were vapor. But some of you were kids. And you could have gone to the store and bought a medical book by a doctor, The Cat in the Hat. It is now worth 20,000 dollars, although the shipping is free.


Have you seen this book?

2.) The Shane Jones Phenomena has been under-blogged.

I am introducing that term into the language: under-blog. Meaning an event or instance clearly not blogged up to its due level of recognition.

(At least we are finally getting some news media type net coverage…)

If you want to option the film rights to the super hero, Under-blog, contact me at leapsloth14@hotmail.com. Under-blog is a flying opossum that battles Dan Rather and the NBA. His sidekick is a red shoe.

BTW, The word blog was introduced in 1997, by an employee of Pyra Labs named Evan Williams. Williams was that dude that always brings his soda to work wrapped in aluminum foil. BLOG means weblog (the early version of the word blog), a log being a record, like a ship’s log. Blog can be a noun and a verb, and a person who writes a blog is a blogger.

No shit, Sean.

3.) Is Shane Jones a phenomena?

Uh, no. I was luring you in with that title. I have held (some briefly) 21 jobs by my unreliable count and one involved a radio station. That title up there was a TEASER. Many Indy books/music/films have gone mainstream in the past, and will in the future. But for Indy Lit, Shane Jones is refreshing and hopeful and exciting and real; and has been under-blogged.

4.) Is Shane Jones a sell out?

WTF? Didn’t I just say he was real, folks? Here is your Dave Eggers rant about selling out. Go ahead and read this link then get back to my list here that I am writing while drinking oily coffee. Man this coffee tastes like old dogs smell.

Was Nirvana a sell-out when they left Sub Pop for DGC? No, because they were real. They didn’t change; they simply took full advantage of all DGC had to offer (technically, talent, publicity, drug connections, on and on) and then released an important album in the history of music, Nevermind. This one album made Axl Rose go away forever and then return with corn-rows and 18 pounds of baby fat. Hair bands went from sexy to glossy to gross. Why are grown men wearing garish teenager makeup and screaming at me? Dude, spandex don’t come in silver. Etc.

Did Mozart sell out when the aristocratic patron and fellow Mason prince Karl Lichnowsky paid for all his travel, food, nachos, bail money, and whores during the infamous “Berlin Journey” series of concert performances? Uh, no, and don’t forget it was during this time that Mozart soundly beat the king of Prussia in a piano duel.

I can kid because the question is a loaf of soap water. Jones isn’t going to write a holiday cookbook next (though he does make a mean mint soup), folks. His writing originates from his soul, a decent one it appears.

Dennis Cooper started as a punk, in the true sense of the word. He was a bad-ass then and he’s a bad-ass now, Harper Perennial or not. Also his blog kind of kicks exponential chainsaw. Be careful if you open this link; you can get lost in there for days…


5.) Last night I was sitting in room B, right by the doorway leading to room A. In room A a friend typed on a computer.

“Have you ever heard of Shane Jones?” I asked him. I was going to tell him about Shane Jones.

He mumbled, “No.” He made zero eye contact.

Then I start telling him about Shane Jones and the movie option thing and about Penguin and I’m about 7 minutes into this and my voice is clearly inflecting in a Hey-I-Am-About-To-Say-Something-I-Find-Interesting tone and I notice he hasn’t even looked up from the computer, like I’m talking to a fucking zombie, or a lab coat or something. He does not care, to put it plainly. So I just stop talking and he hardly notices that either. Jesus. Where is the intellectual curiosity in this world? Do people even listen to one another anymore? I am trying to talk about a book that emphasizes empathy and community, and now I felt like a boulder next to a Wal-mart.

I said, “You don’t even care, do you? You haven’t even looked up from the computer.”

He got annoyed I was annoyed. This annoyed me. We were in a stupid human cycle.

He said, “Go ahead and tell me then.”

I didn’t tell him. I decided I was going to be stubborn. I should have taken the high road here but my ankles were bleeding by this time. And you know what? He didn’t care. He never even followed up with something superficial like, “Really, I want to hear it.” He just went right back to that little box. I could see the blue glow off his face, the whirl of his eyes. His eyes looked like pinwheels.

This story doesn’t have a point. I am just writing things about Shane Jones. See the title. I went to bed about level 4 depression last night, but this coffee is working now.

6.) How much money did Shane Jones get?

Lord, what the hell kind of base, petty question is that? I hope you don’t have a mirror in the house. OK, I’ll be honest, I thought it too, but only a for a few minutes. I am trying to increase my decency quotient and Light Boxes is such a decent, empathetic book that I felt like a real ass thinking that. But I am human, too.

Don’t write to a market, folks. Shane says writing this book was like “playing on a jungle gym.” He was having fun. He probably spent his time while not writing thinking excitedly about where all this was going, this February balloon thing he had on his hands. This fun thing.

(Bookslut interview here)

He should buy the first round of beers for the next 6 months, though, just as a matter of protocol.

7.) Is Light Boxes worth a damn?

It really is. I was going to review it big time a few days back, but then read all the reviews, and what was I going to add? Serious people took this book seriously–that’s what you want. I will add a few thoughts in a second.

Here is the main web page for the book, if you want to know more that way. I say “that way” because why don’t you read the book? Oh, because you can’t find a copy. Well, Penguin will take of that, my friend. So wait. I bet you wish you had a first edition though. Penguin won’t give you a first edition.

This is where I add a few thoughts:

I think Light Boxes falls under a category of empathetic literature. That’s why it worked for me. I think Chekhov is God. He’s the well-spring for literature that can actually move and shape and make us, make us better. Or at least make us think of the idea.

Here is an excellent example, and a father of Shane’s February, no? See how the snow IS the grief?

George Saunders is Chekhov’s son, and Shane’s brother. Read Saunders and you are reading Chekhov, and isn’t that odd, on a syntax/sentence level?

Do you understand me? This Sherman Alexie story is Shane Jones’s sister, sister of Light Boxes. Yes, Alexie sometimes has dialogue that sounds written, but please stop now and read the damn story, all the way through. Did you feel the empathy?

Look, if you don’t see what I’m saying by now, maybe Light Boxes isn’t for you. Are you the person who never buys the round when it’s your turn then meets your friends the next day and says, “I didn’t spend much money last night at all”?

Are you that person?

I’ll try one more time, using Chekhov’s words…

Literature that “…opens us up to the possibility of tenderness.” Note, the qualifier, possibility. Chekhov wasn’t stupid or naive. Some people will never be better to each other, meaning to their self. But many will. Or might.

8.) Do you know Shane Jones personally?

What is this, a gossip column? Yes, I saw Shane with his 8 kids beating up a wounded owl. Etc. Ok, ok, here’s my Shane Jones story.

I was in this big-ass room full of books in Chicago and I see this guy who looks pretty hipster, like hipster beard and one of those shirts and I said hi and he said hello and I got this vibe that he was really nice, I was thinking, This guy’s quiet and nice and polite it seems.

Not too exciting a story, huh?

9.) I worked for years as a psychiatric RN in hospitals, treatment centers, and in an ER in Denver. So the scientific part of me enjoyed Light Boxes as a discussion of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), where February really does kill people and a light box is an actual, very effective treatment modality.

The light enters through the lens, charges up the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (a tiny section of the brain’s mid-line found in a shallow impression of the optic chasm), stimulating the Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal ganglion cells, thus, obviously, leading to an improved hormonal and neural balance (which we all need).


Fuck off, February…

10.) You actually thought I didn’t own a first edition of Light Boxes???!!!!!!!!

I love/support/prefer Indy Lit, peeples!


Of course he signed it! I just said he’s a nice guy.

Look for this copy on Ebay in 2044.


Are you people even listening?

This copy I am KEEPING in my hands and heart like July.



5 responses to “10 Things About the Shane Jones Phenomena

  1. Fun.
    I made Shane Captain Crunch French toast — which is French toast dipped in crushed up Captain Crunch and fried. Everyone should try it.

    And I have two copies of LB, one signed.

    You are still very cool, though.

  2. evan williams is my sister-in-law’s brother. i think you are right about the aluminum foil.

  3. Totally had me. I was just about to ask how much you’d be willing to shell out for a well-loved first ed.

    Shane IS a nice guy. He even forgave me for saying he has a ‘measured ambition’. Probably won’t sign my copy, though. Damn. See you in ’44.

  4. ah, sean. Another fab post. Now I gotta find that book.

  5. possibility of tenderness, yes.

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