Logan Downing trusted that with hard work, some talent, and a little luck he could have it all: fame, fortune, even the girl. Emboldened by the dirty, daring world of mid-90s New York City and spurred on by his older brother Franklin and the photographer Alejandro -- outsized characters embracing their own creativity and passion -- he launched himself onto the artist’s path.
And he succeeded. Wildly.
Yet when we catch up with present-day Logan, now in his early 40s, something, somewhere has gone terribly wrong. He’s battling alcoholism, insomnia, and a decade-long creative rut. As his claustrophobic job and dying relationship threaten to extinguish what’s left of his artistic passion, he can’t resist writing about that magical time in New York City.
Ultimately he’s forced to face an unspeakable tragedy that occurred at the pinnacle of his success. The harder Logan tries to avoid it, the more it leaches into his present, until the undertow of unmetabolized grief begins to pull him apart.
Only Everything explores art and ambition, love and loss, privilege and entitlement. It reveals how even the most beautiful of dreams can create unexpected pain, along with the possibility of redemption.
Praise for Only Everything
“From the banalities of the corporate work machine to the devastating effects of random brutality, 'Only Everything' is raw, riveting, and relatable, and leaves a lasting impression, an indelible imprint, on the heart and psyche….”
— Sarah Beasley, author and columnist
“Now more than ever we’re challenging our career and relationship choices, power, sexuality, and our fantasies around success… But when we tear down the stories that gave our lives comfort, we can get lost in the uncertainty. We get to join a man on the ride as each layer of himself is ripped away. I’d suggest you wear a helmet.”
—Tripp Lanier, host of the New Man podcast
"Tragic, triumphant, and at times painfully self-disclosing, 'Only Everything' … knowingly and lovingly kicks the rust off long-forgotten passion and questions whose urgency we’d often rather forget: What makes art stay? Can love and art exist without each other? What’s worth risking for the life you’d die to live? This exploration of the American Dream’s more disheveled and melancholy cousin, the Artist’s Dream, illuminates the humble, heartbreaking path of transformation…”
— Angela Raines, writer, consultant, and collaborator on the award-winning The Art of Money.
“…a rare gift of literary honesty, a treasure box of a story where dreams are the hidden character on every page, inside a man who hasn’t earned the life he wants because he hasn’t yet accepted the life he has. With dazzling insight and masterful prose, Martin-Smith takes us deep into the riddle of the human life, and we emerge far better for it…"
— Robb Smith, CEO Integral Life
"... a beautifully written story about a writer's journey, told with unvarnished truth about the stakes, the struggles and the sacrifice that come with the impulse to bring something larger than yourself into the world."
— Ross Hostetter, author of Keepers of the Field
"Broken dreams shroud middle-aged Logan, once a promising novelist, as he stiffly settles himself into a nine-to-five corporate life. Logan marches forward with a beautiful and brightly positive fiancé. He writes marketing copy. He pays his bills.He lives in a well-appointed home. But Logan feels weighted by a past that might be an anchor or a lifeline. With the narrative opening between the present and twenty-something Logan's life in New York City as he writes his first novel, we get bright future and bleak mid-life all at once, a jarring split-screen, with each side haunting the other. The novel pushes deep into the unsettling complexities of yearning for a true life. Freedom, talent and love shove themselves through modern life's relentless gauntlet of conformity and material success. Martin-Smith imbues Logan with a caustic earnestness, allowing him at times to be unlikable, slogging through the weight of the world.He drinks to erase the pain of unrealized dreams, but clings to a loosening grip on who he was and what he's had and lost. Martin-Smith doesn't flinch at the consequences of such brutal honesty. He shows us the repercussions of Logan's actions, the lives hurt by the pursuit of one's own truth. Yet, at the same time, Logan's life reveals the absolute necessity of those actions. Confronting core existential truths about personal authenticity and integrity and freedom allows a person to open themselves to life no matter what comes. That realization is more than worth the price of admission to this excellent novel."
— Greg Rideout, SPR Review