My wife marched for me: A privileged white guy’s story

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Two weeks ago my wife asked me if she could go to the Women’s March on Washington. Only, in asking, she wasn’t asking, because I don’t tell her what to do under typical circumstances, and I certainly wasn’t going to tell her not to join the biggest movement of our generation. But why would a well-educated white woman living in a nice neighborhood want to deal with the discomfort of inauguration and protest crowds on the one weekend people like her should avoid D.C.? Or as one guy (the type who wears a golf visor and hangs out in the country club bar drinking Fireball) said on social media, “You grew up in a rich family and went to private school. What do you have to complain about?” People think the rich shouldn’t care about anyone else.

When I was born 43 years ago, one thing was fairly certain: My life wasn’t going to be particularly difficult…

Click HERE or on the link below for the rest of the story.

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Offensive Language and the Great Comic Sans

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Hot controversy on my column for Creative Loafing this week.  I took umbrage with renowned philosopher, neuroscientist, NYT Best Selling opiner Sam Harris mass emailing his list of subscribers for donations to support his blog. My wife said, “Are you sure you want to do that?” Sam Harris makes a living debating people in front of Ivy League audiences, so I’m pretty sure he could drink two bottles of grain alcohol and still crush me in a debate about anything. I just think – nay HOPE – that when you’ve had 5 or 6 best sellers, the days of blasting your list for donations might end. Where’s the publisher who supports their chart-topping author? The man’s blog is his lifeline to his readers.

So my issue wasn’t much with Sam Harris, whose writing I enjoy, even if I often disagree with him. And my initial draft was pretty soft on him. Unfortunately, the editor at Creative Loafing, we’ll call her Cathy because that’s her name, is not one to avoid controversy. She hates dolphins and Publix – which should get her kicked out of Florida. She declared the first draft to be “milquetoast,” which is about the most offensive thing you could say about someone’s writing. So I edited the piece, turned up the snark a little, and she published it. I assume it fell somewhere between milquetoast and inflammatorily offensive.

I did not get hate mail from the Sam Harris fan club. (Probably because they read “Waking Up” and instead of getting mad, they crossed their legs and did 20 minutes of mindful meditation.) But I did get a very, very, very, very long comment from a reader who declared, “I want to puke when I see or hear the term ‘indie writer’ being used.” He then rattled off a rant that consisted mostly of inspirational quotes he deemed to be “words of wisdom” that should resonate “big time.” The commenter, Ernie, is a bit of authority as he has been self publishing since 1989, and has sold WAY more books than I have. His titles include, How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free (score one for the Oxford Comma), Career Success Without a Real JobLife’s Secret Handbook For Having Great Friends, and The Joy of Not Being Married. The man is also a lover of the Comic Sans family of typefaces and using as many as possible in one book cover. But who am I to judge? I’m just a struggling novelist who is married, not retired, with tons of useless friends.

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An inordinate amount of my time was spent enjoying hundreds of memes on the subject of Comic Sans.

Who knew that it would be the use of the word “indie” that would get me in trouble? I’ve used the term “indie publishing” as a way to differentiate between the old days of self publishing with vanity presses and authors stockpiling boxes of books in their garage. To be clear, I’m still learning the ropes and that’s precisely why I’m writing about it. I’m not a best seller yet, despite my day in the Amazon top 20 that bought me a decent lunch. I’m hoping people can learn from my successes and mistakes. What did we learn this week?

Stay off Ernie’s lawn.

If you like, or hate what you read here, drop me an email at jkilewrites@gmail.com or leave a comment below. Sign up for updates on the left and I’ll never ask you for a donation.

Check Out My Guest Post on “Amid The Imaginary”

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Just a quick note to let you know that I have a guest post on a blog called Amid the Imaginary this week. Amid the Imaginary is devoted to reviewing Self Published books exclusively. Anela, who writes the blog, asked me to talk about how I persevere as a writer with all of life’s distractions. I told her to stop distracting me (no I didn’t.)

I’ve been looking over the the reviews Anela has posted and let me tell you, she does not hand out stars easily. I don’t know if she plans to review The Grandfather Clock, but if she does, I know it will be an honest one. She’ll drop 2 stars on a book and let you know why. Her commentary is thoughtful and she reviews a LOT of books. Be sure to check it out regularly.

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Amid the Imaginary: Reviews of Indie Published books.

 

Tomorrow you can also check out my next Self Publishing Notebook column for Creative Loafing, where I invent a new term: The Mess-U-Script. You learn a little more about the novel I spent over a year on, and then put it out of it’s misery like Ol’ Yeller.

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I’ve been getting lots of mail at jkilewrites@gmail.com. Join the wave and send me your comments. Sign up on the left to get updates, or drop a comment below.

-Jonathan

It isn’t the Oprah Book Club, but…

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I got a call the other day from fellow writer, Cathy Salustri, asking if I would mind if her book club used my book for their next meeting (check out her blog here.) Of course, I don’t mind, nor do I think I have the power to prevent any book clubs from reading my book if I wanted to. This club is a little different in that it is connected with one of St. Petersburg area’s literary organizations (Wordier Than Thou) and has unofficial ties to Creative Loafing, which is the free (and very well done) entertainment weekly. While it might not be the bump that Oprah can give, it’s cool to network with local writers. In honor of this, I’ve temporarily dropped the price of my book to 99 cents. If you want to come see a writer get critiqued by a bunch of other writers he doesn’t know, here are the details:

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Critical Drinking: A Wordier Than Thou Book Group, 7 pm, July 1 @ Gulfport History Museum 5301 28th Ave S, Gulfport, Florida 33707. 

Cathy’s last blog post has a funny quote: “Asking a writer about his work is like asking a cancer patient about the status of his disease.” – Jay McInerney. I wouldn’t go that far, but I understand the sentiment. Someone I’ve only met once just came up and asked me if I’m working on the sequel. I’m more than half way done with the follow-up to The Grandfather Clock, but I had really hoped it would be in my editor’s hands right now. I’m about to go into high gear and knock out the rest of the book…. gimme 4 weeks. By the time I stand before the Critical Drinkers, the draft will be DONE. I’ve be re-reading some of it and I’m feeling like it is far more polished than the first draft of anything else I’ve written. I’ll feel that way until I get the notes back. Circle August/September for the release of book 2… whose title will be announced soon. I said it would be out this summer, even if that means Sept. 20, it’s still summer.

Speaking of my editor, the other night she was beating me soundly at billiards, and I started giving her a preview. Explaining an unfinished novel is sort of like telling someone about a dream you had. My wife and I have a rule (that we don’t follow) that we don’t tell about “the dream we had last night”. It is never as interesting as it was when you first woke up, and you will not possible be able to tell it in a way that is interesting to the person who didn’t have the dream. I re-proved this rule the other day when I told her that I dreamt that she’d hired a babysitter – who happened to be Taylor Swift with gray hair, although my dream-wife didn’t seem to notice that she’d hired a pop superstar. Not only was this dream not interesting, but now my wife thinks I have a thing for Taylor Swift, which I would readily admit if it were true. The purpose telling you this story is to get the SEO hits for “Taylor Swift.” I didn’t mention Oprah for no reason. #41yearoldmanknowsnothingaboutSEO… (Caitlyn Jenner, Kim Jong Un, Stanley Cup, Lebron James, Amy Schumer, Josh Duggar, Apple Watch, Song of the Summer). Whew.

Thanks for reading! Drop me a note at jkilewrites@gmail.com.

P.S. An earlier version had the date of the book club incorrectly listed as July 8 because that’s when Facebook told me it was.