Blog Archive

November 3, 2019
The Wall Is Always There

I remember two professors I had as an English major. Though one was a College Writing older female professor and the other, a World Civilization older male professor, they both shared the remarkable trait of seeming completely oblivious to all of us students in the classroom. As if, we all just suddenly decided to noisily pack up and leave the room, they’d still be talking as if nothing had changed.

I am Zarathustra! I am the Sun! My history professor suddenly and crazily proclaimed with his arms in the air as nobody paid attention.

I am a writer! Thus spoke me. On,

Twitter,

Amazon, Smashwords

Patreon, to a rock, anything really. *shrugs

It all seems incidental to what is always there. As if, all of this stuff just suddenly decided to pack up (which it will), I’d still be talking almost as if nothing had changed (oh, I will).

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist


November 2, 2019
Art as a Lived Experience: A Review

OK, so let me make that more clear:

There’s your life as a writer, and then there’s your life as a writer:

You live to write the books and stories inside of yourself, live in the books and stories you write about, and then there’s your life despite and as a result.

I recently read a pretty cool short piece entitled “Starving Artist” by Waden Greaux. It was filled with so much imagery. The climax of being so broke that you throw your shoe at a rival’s painting, only for it to miss and hit your own. I could picture it so perfectly: the rote ridiculousness and Absurdity of it all. I read it and thought, wow, what a coincidence: I was just in eviction court two weeks ago.

Despite, I felt no more or less compelled to support the artist after reading. That’s my business as his audience. But I didn’t relate my experience because I want money as a result of my experience. Or do I?

It just so happens that I’ve always been a walking Facebook profile, constantly updating people on my status whether they like it or not. I also write Nonfiction for chrissakes. My life is an adventure. Where’s the separation.

And as for what I did: well, I supported the artist because I liked how he wrote about his life as a struggling artist.

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist

P.S. “Starving Artist” by Waden Greaux


November 1, 2019
Selling with Integrity by Knowing Thyself

I read a blog post yesterday by this guy named JA Konrath. I’d never heard of the chappie before but for this resource page on Kobo Writing Life, but apparently he’s sold a bizillion books and still has the nerve to be snarky.

I signed up right away.

Anywho, the post is aptly titled “On Writing S**t” with the refrain of,

I never do anything that doesn’t work on me.

It stems from, he explains, his past, well-intentioned confrontations with hordes of authors giving away their signature bookmarks at book fairs, conventions and conferences:

Do you even use bookmarks yourself?

And I can almost picture them: their poor author smiles cracking with the realization, No. No I do not. What the hell am I even doing?

I recently wrote a post about how we as humans sometimes lose sight of the true meaning of things, how we stop being able to put things in their proper context. We detach, because a new kid on the block tells us that we must sell! sell! sell! when, really, it’s all about being able to revisit the basics.

What works on you?

If it’s sell! sell! Sell! Well then, by all means necessary, carry on. But if that’s how you market and not how you consume and that rubs you the wrong way, well then, by all means necessary, go back to the basics.

There’s a reason for the American saying, the devil is in the details, and why most people don’t like salesmen.

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist


October 31, 2019
Is Amazon Your Daddy? … and Other Spooky Halloween Stories

Human beings have an incredibly spooky knack for contributing to the very things they complain about. While the saying, “if you can’t beat em, join em”, doesn’t really sum up what I mean, we’ll throw that in too.

It’s problematic, sure, but more scary because it underlies how we can totally cease putting things in their proper context.

I have grown to abhor Kindle Unlimited because it incentivizes authors to encourage others to throw even more money at Amazon. Now, there are probably many authors who do well with KU, but I’m convinced that more authors do not, yet they still happily enroll into a program that makes their book free to people who pay Amazon 9.99/month for unlimited titles while they make cents for every page read.

But I don’t hate Amazon.

People have been complaining about Amazon’s literary “pursuits” for some time. They’ve been known to delete book reviews in suspicion of authors and reviewers sharing a relationship, or authors reviewing themselves. Or, prohibiting reviews from people who don’t have Amazon accounts and haven’t spent a certain yearly amount with Amazon (at least $50, I believe).

This is not to say that authors don’t have legitimate complaints, but what are we really saying when we call Amazon “unfair” and its practices “Draconian”? That we expected more from a blatant symbol of consumerism with little cultural value, powered by us?

Amazon in its proper context is Amazon and not my friend, so I am mindful about how I feed the machine and realistic about what I get from it.

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist


October 30, 2019
Libraries & Bank Robbers

Today I visited my local library and just so happened to remember to chat it up with the guy at the desk.

Is there an acquisitions librarian? I asked, because I’d read that in an article somewhere.

If you mean the person who gets the books, he said, and I nodded. He got the books, turns out.

In short, it’s always just as simple as asking. He looked around for a second and then held up a paper with a local author holding up his own poetry book for a talk in a few weeks about the importance of writing accessible poetry.

We don’t get all the books we want, of course, he said, looking around again and then holding up a paper of their monthly budget for new books. Yes, I know Overdrive, he answered. But we get the books from Baker & Taylor.

But just say you’re a local author, a resident of Boston, he said. ISBNs don’t really matter. We carry self-published books, you just gotta ask.

Like on the central library’s website, for instance. You got a sec? He asked. And spun around his screen so that I could see the short request form.

Huh. I marveled. It’s just that simple, I said.

Yeah, he said. One guy called around to all of the libraries in Boston and gave a talk here about his memoir not too long ago.

Oh yeah? I perked up. What was it about?

He reddened. His experiences as a banker turned bank robber, he said.

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist


October 29, 2019
Race & (Book) Marketing

I saw a tweet from a (white) woman say something like,

I am not a “woman writer”. I’m a writer.

And it made me wonder when and if parts of our identity are marketable.

It made me think about my own book, The Incredibly True Confessions of a Black Female Union Steward, and how I once went on this odd Twitter rant about how I didn’t want to be marketed as a “black writer” while marketing myself as one. But there’s some semblance of logic in there. I bristled when a white woman asked her followers to “buy this book of a black woman” because I don’t want you spending money on my art because I’m black, but because I am providing a unique experience and perspective that just so happens to be black and that I don’t see a lot of myself. I mention my identity as a matter of fact: I don’t point it out with my finger. How gauche.

Do you market yourself as white? Why or why not?

As a man? As a woman? As any part of your “identity”? Does it matter?

I say that the woman saying that she was a writer and not a “woman writer” became even more of a woman to me when she pointed that out. After all, isn’t even having to point that out part and parcel of “belonging” to a historically oppressed group?

Is identity only important insofar as it gives us a social advantage, like making money?

Ha, imagine that.

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist


October 28, 2019
The Indignity of it All

Several weeks ago, I woke up, opened my shade and saw two bums having sex in the public grass enclosure several feet across the way. Bum sex.

Now before you get all up in arms about me calling bums bums, let me just say that one of the last things you retain whether you have too much or too little is your sense of dignity.

I didn’t even realize what they were doing at first until I realized that I could see the skin on her bum area and she started moving crazy and fast back and forth atop him as he leaned against the tree.

Frantic, I wondered who I could call this early in the morning to tell, so I called my 70+ year-old aunt.

They’re doing what? She said. Oh my goodness.

I asked her if I should go out and yell at them and she egged me on and told me yes, so with a tank top and shorts on, my braids sticking up all over the place and an unwashed face, unbrushed teeth and unshaved pits, I grabbed my keys, still on the phone with my aunt.

Get the hell out of here! I yelled. You f***ing bums, I said. (I’m slightly ashamed now, more so because of my mouth “in front of” my aunt but what’s worse is that the enclosure was right next to a house that operated as a daycare.)

I started to say something racist to him because he was black even though I’m black too, and something racist to her because she was white but I didn’t. Instead, he called me ugly and a bum too, as the girl told him let’s get out of here because apparently they were finished.

This is the fault of the Democrats! I told my aunt. Or is it the mayor? Who handles this, is it the statehouse? I asked.

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist


October 27, 2019
Lousy Book Covers

So my book, The Incredibly True Confessions of a Black Female Union Steward, “made” a “lousy book covers” list. And I don’t know whether to laugh or laugh some more since my book cover is deemed “lousy” by a guy who runs a very lousy looking website. I think I’m more offended by my book appearing on a lousy looking website. Anyhow, imagine me just innocently googling my book title and coming up with that find.

Actually, one of the first things I thought was, wow, look at how clear my book cover is. I’ve never seen my book cover appear this clear before—even on reputable sites!

Luckily, I’m going through some sort of God-inspired spiritual transformation at the moment so I’m experiencing a lot of emotional flatlining these days.

Anyway, I’ll take the PR wherever I can get it.

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist


October 27, 2019
The Unwitting Memoirist

It’s like I’m an unwitting Memoirist. I just looked up and realized that as a Nonfiction writer, I’ve written about nothing but myself … either because I think that I’m very interesting, or delusional enough to think that everyone thinks so too, or both. Anywho, someone should interview me about continuing to write in an unpopular genre like Nonfiction, and in an even more unpopular sub-genre like Memoir (unless you’re a celebrity, and even then; or ranting about childhood abuse, mental health issues and/or alcoholic parents (I’ve got a memoir about that too, incidentally)). It produces something like an existential crisis of Sisyphean proportions.

I’m writing about that too.

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist

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