One of the largest problems with being in any sort of artistic venture is that when one starts, they are all about the art of the thing and then when people begin whispering in their ears silly little things like how they are going to make a living doing the things that they love, one of two possible outcomes happens:
Either the person slims down on doing the thing that they love and focus on the things that bring in the bacon, or they walk the other way and continue doing the things they love while trying to figure out where the next meal is coming from.
Of course it is also possible that there is a third option that combines the two and thus allows the creative mind to eat and possibly get some fruit from the trees they are planting. I am shooting for the third option.
Primarily because I think differently than most, and I tend to piss people off.
i might as well tell you
Some folks have figured out and others have not. I didn't want to really toot it like a horn, but since I stand on the shoulders of giants, it doesn't always hurt. Plus, if I get hit by a bus tomorrow crossing the street, perhaps you should know.
I had a wonderful mentor for a brief period of time, it is a detriment that he is no longer among us, and at the time we were not in complete agreement on social-political stances and such, but I find now that with age comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes changes in attitude.
Yes, the "Kurt" that I dedicated the work Almost Half to was in fact, Kurt Vonnegut.
I came across him in a roundabout way via email. I sent a shot in the dark email to him back when I thought much more highly of myself than I deserved, and he gave me some knowledge and advice that I largely ignored until now. Primarily because I had chosen to accept path #1 that I previously mentioned.
And so on.
I had just happened across his works and found so many things about him and his style familiar that I had the fear of being a "knock off", not that I really had anything going on at the time other than a bunch of poetry that seemed to be doing well. I was floating on that particular dust particle of self-importance as many poets do, but had wanted to move into new forms and for some reason felt that I needed to ask permission.
And I also wanted to talk to someone famous. Why bullshit about it.
He was incredibly decent, and as it turned out, one of the things he really seemed to enjoy was giving advice. It was worth it, I'll give you the spoiler. I should have acted on it then, but I waited some 12 or 13 years to do so, but that's because I can be stubborn and absent-minded.
I wanna be like Kurt when I grow up. If I grow up. I haven't decided yet. He encouraged writing by everyone of any age, any station. "Write everything," he told me. "Don't care if anyone thinks it's good or not, hell, don't worry about if you think it's good. When you're older, you'll have time and experience and can re-write it if you want to. But you can't re-work what you don't write in the first place, and what's worse is that nobody on this miserable planet will get to read it, either."
Turns out he'd given this advice before. And that's okay by me.
what to do, what to do
I have decided to take him up on it. I do several things at this juncture in my life, all of the header graphics and tweaks on the site here are done by yours truly. Like Kurt, I design all of my own book covers. I am not chasing a big publishing contract, and all I want to do at this point is learn and create. And then I want to leave it all out the ice so you, my fair and gentle reader, can pick it up and run with it when I'm gone to other places.
I was privy to a discussion not too long where someone came up with the idea of writing a short story and setting it to music. They wanted to know how to work with the licensing and if they could package a CD with the book. The poor writer was laughed out of the forum and publicly shunned.
Pissed me off. It was a good idea. If you are being creative the right answer is how, not why or if. It wouldn't make money, they told him. It was stupid, and no one would listen to music and read. Neither are germane to the question. I'm glad I didn't recognize any names. Although it might be fun to publicly shame them for you, but I honestly wasn't taking any notes on that, so I truly don't remember.
But I liked his idea, so much that I will be releasing a soundtrack playlist thanks to the good folks at Spotify. It will come out about a month before the books release, and you get to guess what the book is roughly about. I'll help you by making a game of it. Whoever gives me the best guess of either correctness or flat out entertainment gets a copy in paperback, autographed by me.
Suitable for trying to explain to your friends exactly who the hell I am and why they've never heard of me.
It'll be fun, you'll see. You can also hold that in your back pocket in the event you need to get out of a first date with someone that is otherwise perfect but you simply aren't feeling them. Bring me up.
They won't know who I am.
Then you can huff and act all indignant and call them a cab, or a Lyft, or whatever the cool kids are riding these days.
My point is that the art, the music, the packaging, the ability to get to free copies will all be part of the game. We'll have fun, you'll see. But don't expect me to hold to any specific genre, I'm not that organized. A series will be germane to the series, I'm telling a double Michener story, so it has to be divided out, but there will be other books on many different topics, and I might toss as much of my weirdness into the pot as possible.
It's good entertainment and I only get to do this once, so I might as well be content with what I am doing above anything else. Hope you read it. Hope you like it. If you don't, I'll just write more, and eventually your kids will.
Because somebody's gonna read it.