Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sharecropping/Writing for the local paper. Check out my latest editorial.

I have mixed feelings about my editorial that ran today in the Tacoma News Tribune.

You can read it here.

I like the piece. It's funny and makes a few points I care about--like the value of bakeries and paint jobs--and it gives me exposure. Hopefully it even spreads the word about my books. Because Lord knows I'm not above shameless self-promotion.

I'm not getting paid for it, but I'm giving this for-profit business free content. And this is how the world works now. We post on Facebook, Twitter, blogger (like right here).

We are all content sharecroppers.

We type our fingers to the bone, hand over our hard-earned thoughts to a media outlet, and in payment, they give us teeny bits of whatever--exposure, connections, maybe even a dollar or two here and there. Meanwhile, they are some of the richest companies in the world.

OK, The News Tribune is far from the rich company list. But you get my point.

Even as I type this, I realize I'm playing right into the system.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Entering the dragon's jaws. And yes, I do mean high school.

I apologize deeply to my 17-year-old son for what I am about to do.

Volunteer in his class.

My writer friend, Mary Boone, asked me to come into her high school writing class at Tacoma School of the Arts and talk about my latest book, my publishing journey, what it means to be a writer, and all sorts of other crap like that. I said yes.

I've done dozens of author talks to elementary school kids. That's fun stuff, because fourth graders think anyone with their name on a spine is cool. Doesn't matter if they've read the book.

For high schoolers, my out-of-this-world hope is that they'll be grateful for the distraction.

I also hope a few of them have actually read the book. In case you forgot, it's called A Matter of Life and Seth. Coincidentally, it's about kids in a high school in Tacoma. We'll see if they think I'm totally full of shit or not.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I love this quote from Flannery O'Connor on writing

This is from Flannery O'Connor, in her essay, "The Fiction Writer and His Country," written in 1969:

"St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in instructing catechumens, wrote: 'The dragon sits by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of Souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon.' No matter what form the dragon may take, it is of this mysterious passage past him, or into his jaws, that stories of any depth will always be concerned to tell, and this being the case, it requires considerable courage at any time, in any country, not to turn away from the storyteller."