Well, my old Henry Clay high school baseball team buddy, John, and current Facebook friend, because he didn’t unfriend me during the recent election, has encouraged me to write a blog, which I have been doing, here, on my author site.
But I have not tried to heavily advertise it. I’m a bit contrarian, a Capricorn, and chicken.
If I did become a famous author, my only real goal would be to be interviewed by Charlie Rose. I love that show, and his round wooden table. I’d have to get a brand new bow tie.
So, this blog post is for John, and my old friends from Briar Hill, Bryan Station and Henry Clay.
I am admittedly, not very good at marketing my writing, I’m a bit introverted, and my novels are about serious topics.
And I don’t write to shout someone to get off my well-manicured lawn, I’m not unhappy, or angry, or bitter, but thank you, Juan. Seriously, he’s named Juan, shows up with his army every Tuesday at 7:30 am, and cuts and maintains the exterior for this residential property. The grass grows 365 days a year in Houston, Texas, and Juan gives me a shrug, and as the King’s English is not his primary language, and I no habla … well, you get it.
Perhaps, if I really wanted to make a living as an author, I should write middle-aged porn? Or about a 50 something, pasty-white male, in good health, after 20 years, him dealing with re-entering the modern dating pool and/or his experiences with on-line dating sites?
I suspect my future dating stories would be more about my failures, than any real successes. But as my younger friend Trey, happy father of three, has counseled me, “Dude, it’s about numbers, hey, fat chicks need love too? Don’t forget them. Consider them a confidence builder, I bet they’d consider you a conquest.”
I do appreciate his scattered nuggets of wisdom, but then I arrived back at the house, I look down at the picture of Mark Twain that I have under the glass-top for my writing desk, and he seems to be looking back up at me saying, “Really? I wrote about real problems, in my own way, and by the way, what’s on-line dating?”
If you want to know what in part, inspires me to write, it’s the look in Mark Twain’s eyes from a portrait that can be found in Connecticut. I used to travel up there for business, for some odd reason I have kept the marketing piece for the museum, the tri-fold can be found in every West Hartford hotel lobby.
I think he’s looking back at me, in a sense, Mark Twain is saying to me,
“Well? Step-up, buttercup, you really want to write? I wrote about ugly things, I used ugly words that they now want to edit out of my stories, ugly words I used with intent. It’s the whole point behind the story!
So, Bobby, or Nathaniel, or Robert, or whomever you are, what have you got in that brain of yours?
And don’t go all weak-kneed on me, hey, you’re the one with the Henry James quote set next to my face, what’d he write? … blah, blah, blah, ‘Go on, my boy, and strike hard… Try everything, do everything, render everything-be an artist, be distinguished to the last.’ Blah, blah, blah,
So Bobby, I can’t write anything now, my fingers are gone, and I’m only a specter within your imagination, but you can write, so, what ya goin’ ta do ’bout it, hoogie, cracka, honkey, or, betta, white-devil?”
I’m curious if I’ll even obtain a publisher for my current novel, 5th&Hope. It’s not like I’ve got this magical track record that attracts big time literary agents. To be clear, if you’re not represented by one of them on the island, you are not going very far in that world. And 5th&Hope has rather tough content, I’ll tip you off, it’s about abortion, racism and my constant underlying theme for all my novels, is there really a higher-power?
After all, my second novel was entitled, Fishing for Light.
Even so, my NYC editors sent my current manuscript back with their recommended edits, that I’ve been – slowly – accepting or rejecting. It’s a process. If you want to write a well-written story, do the work. But don’t expect any reward.
It’s unlikely anyone in the big-time publishing world will stop to take notice, because truthfully, it’s about them making money, and writing a novel or a screen play are about art, and those two they don’t always make for a happy marriage.
But most of all, I write my blog posts when I feel like it, and I typically write posts just for fun. I write these posts for me, I write posts to talk back to me. Why?
Because most eyeballs are over on YouTube, or Instagram, or, well, insert your preferred visual distraction… be honest, when was the last time you read a serious novel? It’s okay, I know I was born a hundred years to late.
However, I do get asked what it’s like to write a novel, or even a blog post … and the how? Okay, consider what I just wrote, here’s the trick, have an ending in mind, then turn off all the noise that surrounds you, and begin to listen to that inner voice. I promise you a voice will appear, it might get a bit scary, not in a Meet Joe Black way, but in a, “how did I grow gray hair inside my nose, or, how did I get gray hair – there, next to my Mister Happy? I have to pluck that off me, oh crap, that hurts.”
As former President G. W. Bush might say, “I’ve become a good notice-er, helps with my right-in, paint-in.” (Insert his typical mischievous nod and shrug.)
Are you still with me?
In truth, I write my quick screeds simply to communicate, and for my own writing practice. After all, writing or telling jokes or painting, are muscles that need to have regular exercise.
But it would seem, perhaps, my nom de plume, Nathaniel Sewell, might have tricked some of my old friends, well yeah, my Facebook childhood and school days friends might have said, “it looks like Robert, I have not seen him up close in 30 years, and yeah, the goofy bow tie, the poofy hair – but naw, can’t be him. His names not, Nathaniel, or Sewell. And he was always the funny kid, the comedian, the class clown, he’d never write about…”
Are you still with me?
First off, I have a REALLY good reason why I chose a pen name, not ego, my first published novel, Bobby’s Socks, was about child sexual abuse and the epi-genetic link to suicide.
Yeah, I know… it’s okay, but don’t cry for me Argentina.
(By the way, I don’t bring up the fact that I’m a published author on a date, or with a female prospect, or suspect, or Hooters waitress, because they’ll ask, “Oh, what do you write about?”
Seems like an innocent question? But it’ll kill the mood. RED ALERT, RED ALERT, AVOID, AVOID!
I don’t need any advice from Trey for this one, I know this to be true from hard-earned experience from my youth, I’ll not drop a first or last name, but let’s just say when I was 24, we had not even gotten through dinner and I’d already fantasied about experimenting with her through the first-half of the Kama Sutra, and then, THUD!
Have you ever released words past your lips that you instantly think, COME BACK! Don’t say that, IDIOT!
Well, I have, and almost 30 years later, I still remember the exact moment. I’m not kidding. I’ll stop there, but I’d really like to have some of that testosterone back, I think it might come in handy, someday, I hope, maybe? I don’t know. But it would seem there are magical pills out there that only Alice can see?)
Sorry, I digressed…
Now, I’m a big-boy, I can take a punch, but I know there are ‘others’ out there, way beyond me that CAN NOT take a punch, people that take their lives, many times, I read about a sad teenager, those are the folks that I intended to help. I wrote Bobby’s Socks for them, not me. I’m lucky to be alive.
And I cannot tell you how many men and women have told me – “that’s how I felt, thank you.”
Even so, at the time that Bobby’s Socks was published, I ‘thought’ I had a lot to lose, and I didn’t want my business contacts to shun me. To the chagrin of my publisher, the book did not sell well, it did okay, but I was not surprised.
Funny how life works, I thought at the time, I should continue to hide behind my pen name, it would allow me to share a part of my life, share about thoughts that I suffer through, every-single-day-of-my-life, and I could equally remain hidden within the cold, hard calculating business world?
In truth, I have always thought the business world was an easy place to roam and hide. It might seem cutthroat to others, but I like being the captain of my pirate ship. And I’ve been quite fortunate, I actually do enjoy my business career – I’ll explain why another time, but after Bobby’s Socks was published, what I didn’t expect, happened.
Instead of being ‘shunned’, or being judged for that, YUCK, or, ICK-factor.
I got hugs. I was told I was loved.
And I was encouraged by those that I feared might shun me, some who are highly successful, well, they told me to keep writing, to keep at it, as Henry James wrote, “The way to do it- to affirm one’s self sur la fin- … be an artist, be distinguished to the last.”
So, I will at least try.
Well, you get it…
I hope this worked, John?
aka Nathaniel Sewell