1000 Reading Hoarders?

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Discovered this cool milestone today at Smashwords, an ebook distributor in the midst of their gi-normous summer giveaway. My ebooks have 1,000 “purchases” via Smashwords.

Now, most of these purchases have been free in giveaways. And people tend to hoard ebooks, unopened, after such sales. But at least a few have read my books. They post reviews; during future sales, they acquire later volumes in series; they bookmark me as an author they want to find again.

Nowadays I don’t care much about getting customers for my books but I most definitely want readers. Through the month of July, you can download any/all of my books from my page at Smashwords, in any/all ebook formats.

10 lords a-leaping, 1,000 readers hoarding…

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The Lyrics That Mattered Most

I keep meeting folks who are writing their memoirs. Guess it’s something about getting Up There, years-wise. Writing a memoir never interested me — until I thought to write my life story using only the song lyrics that most profoundly affected me. The result is Self, Sampled

This was lots of fun to do, and taught me stuff about myself in the process. I recommend the exercise! I’ll understand if you don’t make it far through this memoir, though. The impact of a lyric is such a personal matter.

A few take-aways:
+ damn am I white;
lyrics really really matter to me…
+ … and yet, some of my favorite musicians never wrote or sang lyrics that snagged me like these;
+ I bet I would have turned out different if I hadn’t listened to so much Leonard Cohen during my formative years.

Maybe I’ll make a Spotify playlist of my memoir.

Dear Miss Diciuccio

Dear Miss Diciuccio,

I hope you don’t mind that I’m still using your maiden name. I don’t know who I’m talking to, otherwise.

You were my high school English teacher and I’ve long long long meant to tell you that you changed my life, forever and for the better.

One of our ongoing assignments was to keep a journal. We turned them in, you read them, and for me it was all awkward. The writing, the sharing. However, it soon became clear that you meant it when you said we could write anything. That freedom was a novelty. I could write Whatever, without judgment or consequences.

I was surprised when I saw your margin note in my journal. This is goodI’d been writing Whatever – venting about something. I re-read the paragraph. I didn’t think it was good, but that note taught me so much: Writing could get me praise. Writing could connect me with someone else.

People had always told me I was a writer, but this was the moment when I felt it. It’s taken me decades to feel it again. In between, I’ve done a lot of writing, published my writing, and taken long writing hiatuses. I’ve grappled with big issues, including my needs for praise and connection. Through it all, I kept seeing your margin note.

Thank you.

I’ve also wanted to thank your friend and compadre, Estelle Tucker, who left us way too soon. She transmitted so much confidence and respect. In her class we debated current events and discussed Dylan records. She was always cool and she helped me see that art must change to stay alive. She had us read Hamlet then attend a big city performance of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. (Which was new, back then. She would have taken us to Improvised Shakespeare Company if they’d been around.) My hands-down favorite high school moment was the day I was in a deep funk and she ignored the rules to let me skip her English class and hang out in the library. Maybe it’s time to re-read her favorite novel, Madame Bovary. I was too young to appreciate it, back in the day.

Ours was a nondescript suburban school named for an administrative functionary yet Marion A. Peterson High School had many exceptional teachers. A couple more shout-outs to:

Mr. Kim. You divided our journalism class into four groups and had us report on the Vietnam War based strictly on the writing in a single news magazine. Our four reports sounded like four different wars. This was a profound lesson in slant and bias that forever changed how I hear the news, any news.

Mr. Parsons. I was a hippie and you were, well, I thought you were a fascist but maybe you were mildly right wing. When you teased me about politics you showed me that people of opposing views could get along. And that chemistry quiz that I failed. I never forgot your lesson about staying open to what we don’t know. The quiz required us to balance a chemical equation. But – it didn’t balance. I somehow forced it to fit what I had learned. Fail. Only one guy in the class got the right answer, which involved saying “the result includes a new and unknown particle with the following properties…”

Thank you all for shaping my thinking and choices. I’ve tried teaching and I found it difficult, tedious, exhausting. I don’t know how you did it, frankly, but I’m grateful you did.

 

 

Vast Quantities of Free Ebooks

Thousands of free and reduced-price ebooks now on Smashwords in the end-of year sale.

The free loot includes all of my novels.

Oops. Pardon my mug.

If obliviousness were a respected skill, by now someone would have awarded me an honorary doctorate in it.

Walking along the hallway of the home where I’ve lived for a decade. Stop in surprise. “Hey, how long has that wall sconce been there?”

I’ve spent most of my life living almost exclusively inside my head, so I am proud of my recent accomplishments. Nowadays, each day I experience the outside world, for many minutes at a time. (The minutes are not consecutive. But still.)

Several decades ago, a friend gave me a mug for Christmas. It was covered in cat drawings. (Drawings of cats, not by cats.) I was surprised, because that friend was not known for kitschy or cutesy. I glanced at one frolicking cat on the mug, forced a smile, thanked my friend, set it aside.

The mug sat in a cupboard for ages, until I came to appreciate the camp value of having a cat mug. I began to drink my public coffee in that mug. I carried the mug with me around offices, into meetings, probably even as a volunteer in my kids’ classrooms. It turned out to be a hell of a sturdy mug. All those years, all those trips out in the world, hardly a chip to be seen.

Only very recently, washing the mug, I realized.

Those cats aren’t frolicking. They’re having an orgy.

I can’t tell you how many people noticed. My obliviousness extended to other people’s reactions to my dirty cat mug.

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Flash and Other Short Fiction: Git Some Here!

Lots of creative peaks for me these days. I’m writing daily, with results I’m excited and proud to share. I’m getting into drawing – and cartooning – and some of those pieces may see daylight soon.

I love the creating and I love the sharing of it.

But. Every day I wake up less enthused about marketing and promotion. As long-time blog followers can testify, these have always been sticking points, so by now my enthusiasm is in minus territory.

Until now, I haven’t minded the formatting demands of self-publishing. The list-making, i-dotting, t-crossing parts of me have enjoyed it, sometimes.

However, given my current creative spurt, I am way way behind in making my work available as ebooks or print-on-demand volumes and I don’t expect the situation to change any time soon.

And yet. I want people to read my writing. So. I’m going to post more of it here.

The Short Fiction menu atop this page has now got several stories and I’ll be adding more each week. Ish.

DDsE used to have its own daily blog. I’ll be re-instating that as soon as I finish editing the 7th in that 9-novella series.

Nica fans – coming soon is a FRAMES short story that takes place right after Nica of the New Yorks.

While I was writing this, seventeen bizillion other pieces of writing went on-line. Still, I hope you can find the time to read some of mine. And I hope you enjoy them!