Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Becoming the Personification

A new member at our writer’s group asked me what genre I write.

I answered: “Transformational fiction.”

“What’s that?”

I was asking for it, since I have adopted a phrase I heard from the presenter of a workshop at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.

“I write about change – people who want to make a change in the world and by doing so make a change in themselves.”

What followed was a meaningful conversation about my books. It progressed into which causes we each work for, and what organizations we are members of and support. I felt that I left him wanting to buy my book because he had connected to me. Best of all, it wasn’t false or salesmanship. I was being me and, perhaps the fact that I was being genuine is what was most attractive.

Brian Judd in a recent Booksurge webinar recalled a man who had written a children’s book about bananas. He would dress up as a banana, which naturally became a talking point.

I have tried to make my website (http://www.alonshalev.com) fit that transformative flavor: the Richard Wright quote, the request to purchase my book at an independent bookstore and showcasing non profits and causes that I support.

This urge to advance a persona behind the book and author feels right. It wouldn’t work if it wasn’t genuine, but since I have been a political activist and community organizer (no I’m not announcing my candidacy for President) for most of my life, it fits.

And so I will go out into the world: Alon Shalev, author of transformational fiction. And maybe one day, the person I am being introduced to won’t respond: “Transformational fiction – what’s that?”

Even better, maybe they’ll say: “Alon Shalev? Yeah I read your novels.”

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