"From the banalities of the corporate work machine to the devastating effects of random brutality, 'Only Everything' is raw, riveting, and relatable. It’s heartachingly real, full of understated empathy. The interwoven storylines leave a lasting impression, an indelible imprint on the heart and psyche. If it doesn’t crack your heart open, you ought to consider seeing either a shrink or a shaman."
- Sarah C. Beasley, Author & Columnist
We were told we could be anything we wanted to be. To do what we love, and the money would follow. To follow our bliss.
So what happened?
Logan Downing set out on the artist’s path in New York in 1995, in a city that was dirty and daring. We follow him through the streets of New York as an idealistic young man writing his first novel. Logan believes he can have it all — happiness, wealth, success — and that he only needs to work hard and have a little luck. And he succeeds wildly, getting his first novel published with Random House all while falling in love with his college sweetheart. We get to know his older brother Franklin and his brother’s best friend Alejandro, who is gay, both of them fine artists working towards their own dreams.
Yet we encounter Logan in 2017, now in his early 40’s, living on the Front Range of Colorado in a different and dying relationship, working a job he hates, and battling alcoholism, insomnia, and a decade-long creative rut. He is writing about that magical time in New York while revealing what’s happened to him — and Franklin and Alejandro — in the 20-odd years since.
Logan is struggling how to metabolize an unspeakable tragedy that occurred at the same time of his greatest personal triumph. The harder he works to avoid his past the more it leaches into his present, impacting every part of his life.
‘Only Everything’ is about art and ambition, intimacy and love, privilege and access, and the ruthlessness with which life can crush even the most beautiful of dreams.
Early Praise for Only Everything
"Tragic, triumphant, and at times painfully self-disclosing, Only Everything beckons us into a world which, we realize once there, is actually our own. Martin-Smith 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? Through meticulous observation and magnanimous narration, Only Everything reminds even the most cynical post-modernist what great fiction can do: reveal downright existential truths in the subtlest gesture. In this way -- and countless others -- Martin-Smith’s exploration of the American Dream’s more disheveled and melancholy cousin, the Artist’s Dream, illuminates the humble, heartbreaking path of transformation. Nothing more, nothing less … only everything."
-- Angela Raines, writer and co-author of The Art of Money
"Now more than ever we’re challenging what it means to be a man. We’re challenging our career and relationship choices, power, sexuality, and our fantasies around success — everything that impacts the way we experience life. But when we tear down the stories that gave our lives comfort, we can get lost in the uncertainty. And maybe that’s the thing we fear the most. Keith’s autobiographical novel is the story of one man’s journey to tear down the limiting beliefs and bullshit from the inside-out. We get to join him 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