Reach.

If the internet thinks I am going to now stop mentioning my recent free essay collection, it is mistaken. Please take a look, as I think it will bring a smile to your face more than once.

That being said, my stronger attentions have now turned toward my next major project; the as yet untitled, Novel 3. (Though I am close to picking one of the finalist titles.)

I have not chosen a release date yet, though I have one in mind for summer. I have no reason to believe that I won’t make that date, but it’s still too early to be 100% certain of when I will complete it. I’ll announce the date when I choose it here first of course.

I won’t talk much inside baseball, but I will say that I’ve been taking a somewhat different editing/revising approach to this novel than that which I normally employ. It has been more tiring on certain days, but the end goal is the same of course-quality fiction I’m proud to put my name on, and ask people to pay for.

The plan is also for this to be available as ebook and paper form, just as the last novel is. (Also still available.)

As I gain more confidence and skill in indie publishing I will be able to do things quicker, and with fewer obstacles.

This novel isn’t strictly speaking literary fiction. Broadly it’s either fantasy, or perhaps one form of magical realism. Still, I’ve employed a bit more symbolism in these novel than in previous ones, and I’ve been playing with language a bit more. (One reason, though not the only one, that the editing process is a different and more tiring than usual.)

I’ll also be initiating a more complex marketing and promotional plan for this novel than any of my previous works thus far. That is an aspect of indie publishing that I have the most to learn about, I dare say. But that’s why I’ll be investing some money and some more time into different approaches that while new to me still are not impossible for me. (As some common marketing strategies would be for me.)

Not only that, but I’m taking some steps to better promote myself as a person as well. I already dusted off and re-purposed a youtube channel in hopes of using it to not only promote my works, but my “voice” or “brand” of whatever they call it now. Promoting it, not changing everything I am to look like something shinier. We will see how that goes.

I have about 300 followers of this blog, and if you do in fact read these posts on a regular basis, feedback on how I am doing, (and especially a interest in my books) is appreciated. I’ve heard from so few of you over the years…

So, it’s not time for a book launch yet, but time for the launch of an improved approach.

 

Launch! “Thoughts I Wrote Down…” is Now Live!

The time for even more of my opinions has come. My essay collection, Thoughts I Wrote Down Because I Hate Talking to People is now live at several merchant sites. It will become available in several others in the coming days. Here is a universal link to see if your preferred source for ebooks has it.

 

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As with my last free book, it is not available on Amazon itself at the moment. The reason for this is that to make something free on Amazon, it must remain exclusive for a time to Amazon, and I did not want to take that step with this book. You can, however, find a file of it among the sources that is Kindle friendly, if that is you preference. (Something should be done to make free books easier to place on Amazon, however. That’s getting a bit old.)

I don’t yet know if I will have paperback copies of this published, since by page count it is rather short. I will consider it, however.

Until then, please enjoy my thoughts, ramblings complaints, pleas and ponderings that make up this volume. As always, if you enjoy, leave a review if you please, at your preferred source.

 

Perspective on Perspective

A week from today, my collection of lie essays, which I have titled, Thoughts I Wrote Down Because I Hate Talking to People will become available for free as an ebook. Though there are some reminiscences in the collection, it isn’t a memoir, per se.

I’ve joked about writing a memoir someday. I tell people that  I’m not sure when that someday would be, but it would at least have to be after my life became interesting.

I did write a sort-of memoir once, if you stretch the term to its limit that is. It wasn’t published, and wasn’t intended to be. It relayed the experiences I had being a member of a cast of a play in college.

The play, the first full length production I was ever in, had in many ways been life-changing, or even life-affirming at the time. Not because of the script, (much of which we ourselves wrote) but because of the process. From start to finish it was about a sixth month process of workshopping, writing, editing, rehearsing, fighting and eventually bonding with one another. Or so I thought when it was happening, as people I didn’t like evolved into people I did like through work, through social activity, and through familiarity.

The show, which we took out on the road a few times, brought me the largest, most responsive audience I’ve ever performed in front of. It was because of this production that I not only knew I wanted to keep acting in some way, but also came to realize (so I thought at the time) that I did in fact have the means within me to make positive impressions on the lives of people. I could befriend people. I could, in essence matter to people in the way I wanted to matter. This, perhaps more than the play itself, was the source of the power of the experience. A connection with people who at last seemed connected to a part of me I never was any good at bringing forth.

So moved by and appreciative of the experience was I, that I wanted both to remember it forever, but also gift my thoughts and feelings about it to my cast mates. After all, they helped make it all happen. So the following summer, I spent much of my free time writing a brief but detailed account of my experience in the show, wherein everyone came out looking good, and I confessed my own contributions to some of the early difficulties we went through. Inside jokes and stories we all loved to tell one another were included, as was acknowledgment that the people changed my life for the better.

The memoir, like the production itself, became a labor of love for theatre, for the production, and yes, for the people involved.

Of the six people for whom I in large part wrote this heartfelt memoir, one read it and enjoyed it sincerely. One other read it but didn’t have much to say about it. One read it, said it had it’s moments, but that I hadn’t been totally fair to everyone involved. He said his wife, (also in the show) straight up refused to read it at all, preferring to remember the show “in her own way.” Two others never read it at all, as far as I recall, though they had scattered to the four winds by the time I finished it, and may never have had the chance.

The note from the cast mate on behalf of his wife and himself was the last thing I ever heard from him. Attempts to befriend him or his wife on social media in the years since have been met with silence, and I have long since given up. I still talk to three of the others on Facebook sometimes.

Hurtful. That’s the most direct way to describe it. While everyone experiences something a little differently, I didn’t think that my memoir would cause reactions ranging from indifference to irritation. The bonds I thought that particular group had formed weren’t strong enough to enjoy the memoir for what it was in the end; a gift to all of them, as a means to look back and recall fondly what at the time they seemed just as excited by as I was.

I’m used to people opting right out of my life without explanation. Happens a lot. But their lack of explanation remains one of the more perplexing of them all.

The short, lazy lesson to take from this would be, “my undiagnosed autism at the time made me think everyone was having a great time with each other, but really they were not.” I tell myself that sometimes, but it isn’t totally convincing.

I’ve also theorized it was the memoir, and not the experience that I got wrong. I guess I wasn’t supposed to write a memoir of my own experiences. I suppose that for some reason, certain parties within that once seemingly indivisible group felt embarrassed or threatened by my own account. Even though I said nothing in it I did not say in person, and made no jokes about anyone or anything I did not joke about during the production along with the rest of them, maybe seeing it in writing was the kicker. (Though I told all of them I was writing it ahead of time.)

Perspective, correct or incorrect is a powerful thing. It’s a scary thing. Taking someone else’s perspective of common events presents us with the possibility of less stable ground, potentially challenging our own reality to its core.

Immersing ourselves in someone else’s perspective is scary for a different reason too; it’s intimate. If one presents an honest perspective on an event, a reader must partake in a certain intimacy. Both parties are powerless to truly ruin anyone else’s interpretation of events, but only if the other person possesses fundamental security in who and what they are. Perhaps some of the people I was in the play with were too insecure, are too insecure to not only read my perspective on an event, but to connect with me again long after same.

Or maybe I just pissed them off somehow. I’ll probably never know. I do know that experiences such as what I thought were taking place that half-year are for various reasons cruxes in my adulthood, and it has been no small thing to accept, with the passage of time, that in fact the experience seems to have meant little to most of the others. It no longer haunts me that this is so, but it will always perplex me.

However, I take my own advice on the matter, and conclude ultimately that the surprising and once sad distance some of the others have constructed from those events need not destroy the totality of it all within my memory. For I’m secure in what I experienced. It is what I experienced as me, far more than what I experienced reflected off of any of them that has altered the trajectory of my spiritual life.

And if some of them don’t want to acknowledge that, (or me) anymore, well, I’m afraid they can adopt a new perspective on my ass and pucker up.

Announcement on Essays

Though in Maryland February felt like March, or in fact felt like May, it is still winter, officially, for a few more weeks. Come the 20th of this month, however, regardless of the temperature, spring begins.

Also on that day, I will be launching the collection of essays I’ve been working on!

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Yes, that is really the title, and yes, that is really me, intentionally disheveled. And yes, assuming I can get all the grooves lined up, this is the actual cover I hope to use for this ebook. What it lacks in artistry I hope will be made up by the sense of comic weariness and total candor that I have tried to infuse with the 30 or so essays in the collection.

It’s memoir-ish in places. In other places it’s a curmudgeon’s rant. And, if I’m any good at my job, it is in places funny, thoughtful, and even touching.

But mostly, it’s me giving my opinions on stuff.

This will be my first foray into publishing a non-Fiction book. It’s also taking quite a leap to ask readers to take a visit into my mind for a while. So, this volume will be free.

I just felt there were some things I wanted to express. I also wanted to see how I would progress with a non-fiction collection, now that I have two novels and two short story collection under my indie-author belt.

The word “shit” appears 71 times throughout these 30 essays. (Longest length being about 1600 words. Average is about 700 words.) So I wanted to get that out there for you more sensitive types.

I also talk a bit about sex, in a round-a-bout sense a few times.

So if none of that bothers you, of if it does but you want to try this out anyway, stay tuned, and be ready to download on March 20th.

The Play (Dialogue) Is the Thing.

I’m near the end of a latter draft-a stage script I’ve been working on for about two years or so, with some time off. Comedy, with a few touching (one hopes) moments.

It’s the first full length play I have written. I like it. I think it’s funny when it should be. The plot is not complicated, but I hope the dialogue is fun for most people to listen to. And of course, fun for future actors to deliver.

The plot is straight forward for the most parts. Not many sharp twists and turns. Maybe a surprise here and there, but nothing to blow people away. It wasn’t designed to blow people away.

Some people will argue against this, but I’ve always felt that in script if the characters are memorable and the dialogue fun to  both speak and listen to, half the work if not more, is done.

I’ve been in theatre for a lot of years now, in all kinds of different plays. Some had complicated plots, and some had virtually no plot. Everything in between. And while upon reading a script I can be impressed with plot depth or twists to a certain extent, as an actor it means little if none of the characters say anything memorable.

This is not to suggest that plot doesn’t matter in a play. Of course it does. But Shakespeare himself wasn’t considered a keen plotter. In fact, most of his plots are structured around plots that already existed. May not be totally fair of me to pull the Bard out like that to prove my point, but when it fits it fits; Shakespeare is not beloved for his plots. he is beloved for his language and characters.

But set him aside for a moment. Goldman’s “The Lion in Winter” (in which I played Geoffrey once) is bar none my favorite non-Shakespeare script. At times it dips its toes into “convoluted plot” territory. But I, and I imagine many thousands of people over the years (thanks in part to the movie version as well) find it easier to overlook some of that thickening plot due to the absolute brilliance of the dialogue. Seriously, if you took the 30th best line in this script and put it in just about any other play, it would be the best line of that play.

But if the characters were flat? If their speeches were droning, repetitive affairs? The script would deservedly be long forgotten, if it ever would have been published and produced at all.

Boring characters doing something interesting will to me always lose out in a head to head battle against fascinating people doing mundane things.

Even in such genres as farce, wherein nothing is to be taken at face value and nobody represents any realistic person, we still must recall the nature of a character and what he or she brought to the absurdity. Otherwise, it’s boring people yelling, falling, and slamming doors for two hours. Who cares?

Other people will almost certainly not be amazed by the plot of this play I am writing. But I hope they will remember with a smile the characters and some of what they say.

If that happens, I will have done my job as a playwright.