"I'm going to publish this book, after reading this story. I don't need to read the rest." That was what my first publisher said to me when I submitted a collection of short stories to him.
This story is set in the suburbs, a dark coming of age tale where under the bright veneer of suburban, middle-class life there lies tremendous darkness and pain.
People know me these days as a pretty outgoing guy who enjoys parties, has given more than a few public readings of his books, and recently split his pants dancing at a friend’s wedding. I have a successful business that has me putting myself out there in dozens of ways every month, from webinars to chatting with strangers.
But things weren’t always this way.
I made a fateful decision: I sold my house in Philadelphia in the fall of 2009 so I could afford to write a book. Not just any book -- it would end up winning a prestigious award and putting me on the map.
It was an amazing two-year process that taught me a lot about myself, and made me a far better writer. And it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
As a culture, we've moved squarely into the post-feminist era. Talk of "male privilege" has become common, and things like Goddess circles, women-only power groups and organizations, period parties, and a reclaiming of the objectification of women's bodies are more and more common. But there's an elephant in the room, and he has a penis.
Many aspiring writers view their creativity through a lens of sacredness or specialness or inspiration. As in, “This is my sacred craft,” or, “I’m an important person, a special person, and I have something important to share with the world," or, "I need to cultivate my inspiration."
This is the kind of self-important chatter that will leave you with writer’s block so thick it feels like a 2-ton rock sitting on your chest.
We brand ourselves with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest everyday, so we’re less susceptible to being branded by others. We’re more cynical, and less likely to swallow the message that a pair of shoes will improve our basketball game, or a soft drink will help us meet friends.
In an increasingly noisy world, manipulation becomes increasingly less effective. Which is why it’s fading from view.