Today’s blog: the teaching life, writing/publishing progress, review of Nevertheless
Still writing, but the pace has slowed. I’m back to full-time teaching at a high school that specializes in fine arts. It’s good for me to be among people again — they provide great inspiration for stories… and there’s less loneliness.
How do I fit in the writing work? Thirty minutes to an hour, here and there. Right now, I’m starting the first draft of this blog at 4 a.m. on a Thursday. It takes grit to keep at it. I’m proud to say that I’ve got grit. I really believe someone should nominate me for a Gritty.
I’m excited about a new, BIG project that I’ve proposed at school. A massive fusion of science and visual art! It involves all (or most) of my students (over 100). (They are excited about it as well. Most are excited. Many are excited. Quite a few are excited.) How big is this project? It will take all year to complete AND approval by administration is necessary.
Still in progress: Kevin-and-Jack Part Two, a short story, a third novel.
New: another short story has emerged.
I’ve submitted Something for an IPPY award (literary fiction with a southern U.S. focus). After researching contests for independent publishers, the IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award) seemed to be the most reputable. A win, or at least showing, would increase my exposure to the publishing industry. (That’s my hope.) Results are announced in May, 2018.
BOOK REVIEW: NEVERTHELESS
Alec Baldwin: A man who (like me) loved Seconds.
I still read, even with so little extra time on my hands these days. Since I now have a two-hour commute to work (one hour each way), my latest reading project was done with a book-on-disc. This was fortuitous because the book is Nevertheless, a memoir by Alec Baldwin — hearing him read it aloud in that great voice of his intensifies the best parts.
One of the strongest aspects of Baldwin’s Nevertheless is his brutal honesty. It begins immediately with his admission to us that he wrote the book to make money and that if we are offended by that admission perhaps we should stop reading. The writing and the story are so good that even if you are offended… you continue. (And you soon suspect that there’s more to this than the money.)
Nevertheless has much to say about Baldwin’s perspective of the politics and mechanics and history of the acting industry. I suppose that it would be a good book for aspiring thespians, a source of inside information regarding what to do… and not do, whom to adhere to… and whom to avoid. BUT… what makes it really good, captivating, read-it-to-the-end-worthy? — The stories of his youth, those formative years that made him the sensitive, emotional, and admittedly flawed (admitted by the uncomfortably honest Baldwin himself) man that he is today.
Nevertheless begins with a description of Baldwin’s early family life in New York — grim and insightfully dysfunctional, informative and inspirational at the same time. I was especially fascinated with the details of his father’s career as a frustrated, yet committed, high school teacher. (Father Baldwin sacrificed the “good” life for his “art.”) For me, the story of Alec Baldwin’s family and how his life and his siblings’ lives played out in a sort of middle-class chaos (an existence that many of us are all too familiar with) was the best part of this multifaceted book.
The following is a particularly telling and well-written passage about Alec and his five siblings.
“The six of us were lost souls washed up on the shores …. Six pieces of driftwood, just bobbing through our neighborhood, without a current to carry us in any particular direction .… always mindful of how little we had.
One day, I was walking out of my house, headed to see some friends or ride my bike by myself, and I saw my brother Stephen up the road, bent over something. As I got closer, I could see he had a stick from a tree branch in his hand and was poking at a squirrel that had been crushed by a car .… ‘We have to bury it,’ he said. .… ‘Will you help me bury it?’
And as he looked at me, I thought, ‘He’s that squirrel. So am I. All we have is today and the hope that we don’t get crushed by something. We have nothing. And everything seems so fragile.’”
Link to the Goodreads review:
“Het fo reeth file ni yaw gritheousessn si.”