Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Book Update

My partner in crime, Chris Colantino, who nailed the cover art on "Dogs On Main Street" sent out a photo of me holding copies of two books.

"Everything I Know" has been done since about last May.

It was an idea that I toyed around with because as a kid the one thing I wanted to do was write a newspaper column. I had a lot of favorite columnists through my early years. One of them was Lewis Grizzard, a comedy writer from Atlanta, Georgia.

Grizzard, who died young, put a lot of his columns in book form. His writing made him larger than life to me, and my buddy Al DeCarlo, who read the books with me. When Grizzard died I had an idea that the men who wrote the words I liked to read were living lives that I knew nothing about.

As my writing life played out, I started writing this blog every day...and it got a little weird...some of the people featured in the blog...like my beautiful wife and my adoring children started making comments about how I was making things seem different than they really are.

(All writers exaggerate and make characters out of the people in their lives).

So...it gave me an idea...to form a character who has a column that provides inspiration to people...while writing words within the confines of a life that was breaking down.

"Everything I Know" features a very funny, wise old woman named Elaine who shines some light on the stupid bastard the narrator is becoming.

You'll love Elaine.

Yet a weird thing happened on the way to finishing up "Everything I Know."

I was on a lonely stretch of road in Iowa. It was the day that Prince died. I was struck by his death and I couldn't get enough of the coverage. He was a young man and a part of my youth!

Two radio announcers were chatting. One was a super fan who was near tears. The other was an old Midwestern guy who couldn't give two shits about Prince.

"What're you gonna' do?" He growled. "The Big D comes for us all."

Maybe it was the lonely stretch of road, or the endless corn fields, but I thought a lot about death, loneliness, and trying to figure it all out.

Over the next few months I carried a notebook with me (black) and I wrote a story longhand.

Someone buried in a corn field.

Karen Carpenter.

A Mom.

A Stepdad.

A sister he never knew.

And a lonely guy who was trying his best to find an answer a long ways away from where he usually lived.

The words came fast...fast...fast.

Fiction isn't easy...

...but it's fun when the characters take over.

They took over.

I had great fun!!

Now the tough stuff...

...the covers, the edit, the release date, worrying about what people will think...

...hoping everyone has as much fun as I did.

But there's one slight problem:

The next idea hit me before I finished the Big D...

...and I bought another black notebook.

Stay tuned!

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