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

Archive for the tag “Alan Black”

Birthdays – A Retrospective View of the Future

Too many bloggers fall foul of introspection. Who, apart from their mothers are interested in what they had for dinner last night and the epiphany digested with that Big Mac? Not Ronald McDonald anymore, he’s vegetarian. Probably not their mothers either, through I wouldn’t want to make them feel guilty by asking.

But once a year, I figure it’s okay. Today is my birthday. I am thirty years old for the sixteenth consecutive year. I am excited: the stars have aligned. Today is the second day of the World Cup (I’m talking soccer – a once-every-four-years’ extravaganza – you really didn’t know?). England, yes I become patriotic once every four years, open their campaign against … the United States of America.

Now, since I still lack my citizenship, I will of course remain neutral. I will only wear that sleek England T-shirt (and every day during the next month until The Three Lions lose) out of obligation to Mrs. Blogger’s generosity.

Friends are being coerced to come round, drink warm beer, and watch a game that they have no interest in. Friendship counts.

Watching the endless TV programs about prior World Cups is a remarkable journey into one’s past. There is something about following a sport passionately that gives you an anchor in life, almost like leafing through a photo album (remember those?).

Here’s a quick plug for a book that truly illustrates the intensity of supporting your soccer team. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby is a hilarious memoir of one young mans’ year, as seen through his passion for our team, Arsenal, in a remarkable year. If you are a soccer fan or an Anglophile, it is a must-read lazing in a hammock during the summer. And yes, given that it is my birthday and I feel magnanimous, I forgive you America for rewriting the book about an American baseball fan. But how could you…

While I am promoting other authors, Alan Black is a Scotsman living in this neck of the woods. He tends bar at The Castle on Geary and is the author of Kick The Balls, a side splitting and irreverent look at how we parent our children, gleaned through the eyes of a Little League soccer coach in the US. He also has a new book out for the World Cup – The Glorious World Cup.

Now to the future. For my birthday, the family pooled together and has bought me a Kindle eReader. I’m stoked. Thank you Mrs. Blogger, boys, UK and US Mum and Dad.

I have wanted to enter the technological 21st Century ever since Ebooks surfaced. Honestly, I love my bookshelves, holding a book, the smell when entering the bookstore (quite a sacrifice for one who is allergic to dust), and passing books that mean something to me along to others. I am also apprehensive about reading an E-reader while nodding off in the bathtub.

But I also love this planet, those disappearing tall things – trees, hate the pollution and wasted energy of transportation and storage. And I remain mortified at the archaic and unjust system of publishers over-printing, while bookstores can order large quantities recklessly and then return books to the publisher to pulp or dump in the $5 bin. Never forget: the reader is paying for this wastage, reflected in the ever-rising price of books.

So onward into the digital age. I may not hold any desire for an iPhone, but I can’t wait to get tech with the new Christopher Moore book.

Now where is that on switch?

Good Writing,
Alon
http://www.alonshalev.com/

Out of the Paddocks

Last week I wrote about feeling the launch – the adrenaline and the surge of energy as the race began. Anyone who has experienced the beginning of a race or marathon knows that feeling when the gun goes off and everybody goes from static to motion. The moments prior to the beginning of the race seem eternal, while the first step so powerful.

So, Oilspill dotcom is out. The book was launched in two stages: On Friday, June 12th, my 45th birthday, many of my friends and colleagues bought copies on Amazon and we watched excitedly as the book climbed from 1.2 million to 4,500 on the Amazon rankings. Thank you everyone who made this possible.

Then last weekend, at the official launch. I was able to stand before a packed room and talk about why I write, what Transformational fiction is (another time), and about the amazing court case on which Oilspill dotcom is based.

Friends, and friends of friends, read out parts of the book in character. Alan Black, author of Kick the Balls, added his Scottish accent to provide an authentic rendition of Professor McGoughen (see earlier guest blogger). We talked about the book, about writing and drank wine together in what I hope was a great evening for all.

Now the dust of the launch begins to settle. What next? Even the title of this blog screams the question.

For a year I have collected ideas of how to market Oilspill dotcom. While I am sure that Oprah and Jon Stewart are madly juggling their other guests to find me a convenient spot on their shows, I’m not sure I should wait around for them.

This week I began sorting out those ideas. Over the summer I want to put together a few readings in independent bookstores, garner reviews and articles in local newspapers, and build a schedule that will allow me to market Oilspill dotcom, finish editing Barista, and begin writing another novel.

Oh yeah, and excel at a full-time challenging job, be an involved father and husband, keep fit and sane.

But then, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them, I shall use my time.
– Jack London 1876-1916

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: