You, my cyber friend, are super-smart. Congrats!
Well, at least you are probably more intelligent than the average person. I once read that people who read blogs regularly are supposed to be in the top 15% of brainiacs or something. I’ll take any positive reinforcement I can get. There is likely some study somewhere that says those who stare at tree bark all day are on the verge of wizardry, so the grain of salt has been swallowed as well.
Regardless, I thank you for stopping by this blog. As I write this, it is the season of Thanks here in the U.S.A., so I’d like to mention something for which I am quite thankful.
Naturally, I am grateful for all the usual suspects: the health and well-being of my children, the contributions of teachers, cops, firefighters, nurses, our brave military, wonderful volunteers the world over etc. I am thankful for all of that every day, as are most of us, so this Thanksgiving I also want express gratitude to some other folks who have enriched my life.
People who actually give a shit.
Now, your list might be different than mine. Doesn’t matter. There is no right or wrong answer.
Do you know when you read a book, listen to an album, or watch a movie or TV show and you just know that those involved really gave it their all? You can tell, right in your gut, that they covered all the angles, sweated the details, hashed out all the minutiae (even if they hashed it out internally – losing sleep in the process).
I want to thank all of those people for having the pride and determination to not cut corners, hurry through the process, or simply rush out product.
As your list is possibly flowing through your above-average brain and hopefully giving you some happy thoughts, here’s part of mine:
Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, the Beatles, Bob Marley, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Ben Foster, and the entire cast and crews of Dexter, Breaking Bad, and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Also, everyone involved in The Beatles’ LOVE by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.
There are more, but since statistics show how smart you are, you are also more likely to bore easily, and if I’m nearly as smart as you, I wouldn’t want to be the cause of that.
I would love to know if any of my list overlaps with your own.
These folks have brought me such joy over the years, and I have such confidence in their genius and work ethic, that just the thought of any of them can bring a smile to my face. Yes, most of them have had some lesser moments, but probably not from lack of effort. Perfection seems impossible to me, but the goal of it should be what drives us all.
When I was growing up in Brooklyn, I knew kids who were always under the spell, and the hoods, of their cars. I was never much good with my hands (other than in sports), but these kids – wow! For every minute I saw them actually driving their cars, there was an hour of me seeing them under them, feet protruding, then emerging smelling like pit row.
They weren’t millionaires, award-winning novelists, or musical geniuses.
They were giving it their all, busting their asses, and striving for perfection.
I thank them.
I thank the kid who stays in the batting cage after hours because, though he has almost mastered the line drive, he can’t get that bunt to hug the line.
The landscaper who angered his buddies in the truck because he went back for the ladder at the last minute to even out that misshapen palm tree?
Though I don’t pretend to be Richard Matheson or Ray Bradbury, I do strive to be like those Brooklyn kids under their cars, and the proud landscaper, when it comes to the stories and novels I write. I can’t guarantee that you would like them, but I can unequivocally promise that I put everything I had into them.
Here’s what both encouraged me and knocked me silly: My first full length work, a 5 decade Brooklyn suspense novel called Sons of the Pope, was published by a wonderful indie house called Blood Bound Books. It became their fastest and biggest seller ever. No, not Stephen King numbers. Probably didn’t sell what one of his does during his lunch break, but it did mean that someone liked it. My hard work had paid off – not in dollars – but in the fact that I brought people – complete strangers – enjoyment!
Here’s where I nearly hit the tiles: Some of the folks who praised my book include writers and directors behind Dexter (yes, one of the shows mentioned above as my idea of brilliance), True Blood, the V.C. Andrews novels, Nurse Jackie, Sleepy Hollow, the Donovan Creed novels, Rectify, Red Widow, Unspeakable, Terrified, Only Son, Sister Sister, and The Devil’s Advocate. I even got a 5 star review from Rock Over America! To a frustrated musician like me, who can’t play a lick, having a music magazine review a book was more than I could ask for.
A man who has sold over 100 million novels, Andrew Neiderman, said, in writing, that my career was one to watch.
John Locke, who was the first author to sell over one million self-published e-books, actually ran an online contest for his readers to win copies of Sons of the Pope. My book!
Me – a kid from Brooklyn, who had lost both parents by the time he was seven years old, and all grandparents by the time he was eleven – had somehow, in some odd quest for that perfection we can never grasp, managed to receive kudos from some of the most talented people in the world.
Dean Koontz – Dean Freaking Koontz – recently sent me a note saying he was going to be reading my short story, The Binding, from the anthology, Blood Rites, because an Amazon review compared it to his writing.
No matter what happens from here on out, I will always have that note. For that, I am thankful.
To you, the reader of this (probably overly long) blog post, I am just as thankful. You could have been doing any number of things, from reading one of those books from the cast of Jersey Shore, to working on a cure for Arachibutyrophobia* (if you don’t have to Google that, you’ve just joined the Beatles and Alfred Hitchcock on my Awe List).
So then, I am thankful to you, dear blog reader. I am thankful for anyone who bought, borrowed or read any of my books or stories. I am thankful to those well-respected creative types who’ve had kind words for my work, and I am thankful to those, on my list and yours, who really, really care about the work they do.
If you celebrate it, please have a wonderful and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! If you don’t, just have a joyous and uplifting NEXT THURSDAY!
* Arachibutyrophobia – Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth.
Books, albums, and DVD/Blu-rays have always been my favorite holiday gifts.
Amazon 4.9 stars
Goodreads 4.4 stars