How to Help Your Indie Writer Friends

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This topic spills buckets and buckets of online ink. But it provides an excellent place for writers to communicate important needs to their unique audiences. Let’s face it, the average indie writer starts with a base of family and friends. Of course that is okay. The fact that anyone buys a book at all is a major accomplishment considering the near infinite choices of reading material on the web. If you want your burgeoning writer buddies find a wider group, there are some very important things you can do to provide a wider megaphone.

 

  1. Write a review

 

I can’t state this enough. Even BAD reviews are good because it provides evidence that people have purchased and read the book. Reviews on amazon or any other online retail space lend an important legitimacy to a work. It is a grand compliment to take time out of a busy day to sit and respond to writing. As you consider writing a review, don’t include personal information or discussion of your relationship with the author. The appearance that a reader came to the book blind lends even more credence to the book’s value outside of the friend/family connections, and make it’s that much more enticing.

 

  1. Discuss the book with friends, especially those who may have interest in the topic

 

Readers have more power than ever to influence the market. Each one of you is a walking ad agency that can influence the decisions of others. So many people have already made great use of this with Social Media like instagram and facebook, but even casual conversations are a great place to bring up a friend’s work. Every sale is cherished, and the likelihood of that new reader sharing the book with others is worth more than its weight in gold. Think about who in your friend circle may enjoy the book or has a vested interest in the topic it discusses.

 

  1. Bring up the work to book clubs, request at libraries and local bookstores

 

These can be tricky as you certainly don’t want to make yourself into a nuisance. Book clubs, library requests and local bookstores are chance to give your indie writer buddies a huge boost in sales. Taking time to make one simple suggestion or request won’t take up too much of your time and certainly don’t feel bad if the suggestion doesn’t result in a sale. Think instead that your discussion has spread word of the writing. Hopefully another will follow up on this request and organizations will soon take notice.

 

  1. Create a post on social media and tag anyone who may be interested

 

This is another item to put into the “nuisance” category. But one quick post on social media has so much potential. If the author has a website consider posting a link with a few comments about their work. Consider friends who do not live in the author’s area as a way to spread their audience geographically. Post a favorite quote, or even a short review. One post is certainly enough. No author wants to be treated like Amway or a MLM marketing scam. Sincere, concise posts take an author farther than most people realize.

 

At the end of the day, being a reader is more than enough, as being read is the single greatest gift we can give to our burgeoning authors! These suggestions are just a way to go the extra mile in a world where viral marketing is beast so few will ever tame.

 

Thanks for reading!

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The Cathedral in Rain

 

 

Her bells ring within our minds,

Slow, long, heavy thuds against

Some mystery bronze as if Tibet

Itself has lent the sound. Sorrow

Within cracks upon the drone,

A way…a path back to light

And strength upon her spires.

There are few instances where

One longs to drown. The constant

Echo of gunfire, concussions

From grenades, and the eternal

Wringing of withered, pious hands

Fade to silence in the pure orange

Flames feasting on ancient oak.

But somewhere, in a forgotten

Pocket of being, she stands still

In a cool, unending rain.

Lost in a sopping wood where

Men cannot scar her tranquil

Shade. Those bells from legends

Past ring though no hand pulls

Their ropes. If one stops,

Turns to the north and clears

The mind, their resonance cuts

Clear to the spine, tying us all

Into one healing flame.

 

I had a dream a few months ago of a majestic Cathedral in rain with bronze, thundering bells. It gave me the deepest sense of peace I have ever felt. When I saw Notre Dame burning, I could hear those bells ringing in the distance. I have been avoiding publishing poetry on this blog due to a new attempt to submit to publications. But I really wanted to share this.

If you would like to read more of my poetry, check out my works on Amazon.

https://totaltext.wordpress.com/poetry/cathedral-notre-dame-in-reims

Crush the Patriarchy: A Love Poem

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In the book of Genesis, God makes Eve from the flesh

Of Adam. He names her, describes her with the hebrew

Phrase Ezer Kenegdo. The wise ones who translated

The book had no words in English to equal Eve’s description.

 

In their foolishness, they picked “helpmate.”

That is not what this phrase means.

The closest anyone has come is “She who is over

And against me.” Ezer is a name of God as one

 

Commands and protects. Kenegdo is one who rises

Up against and meets another where they stand, equal.

There is a hint of threat and dominance to Eve

The ancients twisted the words to hide.

 

I understand them. Eve was the rock Adam would break

Himself against. The one, who digging for his strength

Would break his arms and legs while he laid tied,

Helpless to a wheel. In the depths of his pain

 

She would command him to stand, and he would.

My Eve.

My love.

My one who stands over and against me.

 

You are the chisel to my bare stone, cutting

Away what hides my truth. You hold my greatest

Fears and deepest agonies within your delicate,

Fickle hands.

 

Fickle. Fickle in the way a child holds a moth.

My love for you is the love that moth holds

For the light that sets its wings aflame

And burns its fragile frame to dust.

 

You break me. Shatter me like glass

And expect my parts to reassemble

Themselves. In this way, my Ezer,

You find the strength I hide even

 

From myself.

Depression and the Failure of Memory: An Introduction and Plea

My memoir is almost done, and I am thrilled to share the introduction! Writing this book has stirred up some strange and awful emotions, but it has been well worth the struggle. I won’t say I am proud of this work, but it has been struggling to escape my mind for years. Now that it will soon erupt into the world, I can sit back and say a dream has come to fruition. My greatest hope is that someone will understand the extremes a mental illness at least a bit more. I hope that they find some new well of empathy to draw. God knows we are in short supply as of late.

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Much has been written about the effects of major depression on one’s cognitive capabilities. To summarize, they diminish in some fairly shocking ways, though the fact that they diminish should surprise no one. I have wrestled long and hard with the stories contained here, not just in their shocking content, but even their veracity. I have long had a bad habit of embellishing things that happen to me for the purpose of milking those experiences for more dramatic effect in the telling of the story. I think all story tellers do this in one form or another, but I believe it vital to disclose some suspicions I harbor for my own memories.

 

To keep this somewhat short, let me get right to the point. A major milestone of this journey is disputed. I remember my sons suffering awful digestive issues in their very first years. I remember losing sleep, crying through nights and accepting that both had feet planted on death’s doorstep. These memories are as real to me as the keyboard recording my words. They are tangible with sights, smells, touch, and dreadful sounds that still drive me from the peace of sleep. I have written pages and pages of poems and other material cataloging these experiences not only to share with others, but to try and better deal with the horrors myself.

 

Just recently, my wife informed me that none of this ever happened. There had been problems with their stomachs and it caused more than a little discomfort, but the intensity of these memories are apparently misplaced. The specifics, my memory of actual things said and nights spent in dread are almost completely denied. For me the story is true and the past is something that we shape as our lives twist through life’s harrowing course. My wife doesn’t have the best memory in the world, but her vehemence in denial leaves me cold and shaking with doubt. Afterall, my sickness is one of the mind. I descended into a place where thought fails, collapses into the confusion of fantasy and wanders amongst the fears of things that never were.

 

I caution the reader that this is the story of a time when the boundaries of dreams and reality blurred. I am honest. These things happened and the people in the facility were real. The names have morphed through the years and the order of events is somewhat scrambled, but it is a truth I defend. At the very least, I like to tell myself sometimes that the Mandela effect is real and we all cross a few rogue parallel universes from time to time. If it didn’t happen exactly as I describe it, it probably happened to another David somewhere in the cosmos. That logic helps me sleep.

 

For the record, James Frey did nothing wrong. At least in my universe.   

 

It has been a struggle resurrecting my ambition and even summoning the strength to put these words on paper, to tell my story of a journey into the belly of our mental health system. To be committed is an experience wholly unlike anything else that I have ever endured. I am thankful for the lessons I learned, but even more thankful it’s over. One of the tech’s at my hospital told me the world would be much better if everyone suffered a nervous breakdown at least once. At least there would be more empathy for those struggling with minds that don’t behave. My hope is that this work opens these doors and gives us all a chance to lose our minds, at least temporarily.

 

Contained here is only the first part of this story. I stayed in the facility for more than a week and the real work of self care didn’t begin until day four. Just as Allison said near the end, we can’t begin to reassemble ourselves until we shatter completely. That moment is still incoming. But for now, lets dip our toes into these tumultuous/ hallucinogenic waters.

 

  1. Bailey

1/17/19

Why I Just Assume I Will Commit Suicide

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No no don’t call the authorities. I’m fine I promise.

 

Well at the moment anyway.

 

There are tons of articles on the web exploring “risk factors” for suicide, ranging from middle age, race, mental health conditions, psychiatric hospitalization and of course past attempts. The amount of boxes I check on these lists is simply staggering.

 

It can leave one overwhelmed with a sense of impending doom. You start adding up a 10% increased likelihood from one category, to a 5% increased likelihood in another category and when it’s all said and done you sit at a 75% chance of offing yourself because a parking ticket broke your mental back.

And yes I know that’s not technically how the statistics work, but damn if it doesn’t start to feel that way.

Then you factor in the constant visages held over dying family members as the years drag on and on with their endless procession of suffering loved ones crying out to God as they slowly drown in their own viscous sputum. You start to think, “when I get that far gone, maybe I’ll just put a gun to my head.” You think this not necessarily because you don’t want to suffer the indignity of the end, but more to spare the ones you care about watching a hollow shell just wither away.

You think of your wife opening the bills years after they plant you in the ground. Imagine her sitting at the table as your teenage sons play video games and skip showers. They have started to curse and even though their mom begs them to stop they just go right on. She can’t keep the accounts straight. She can manage them, pay them, but it’s the constant stack, the dividing and sorting that keeps her awake and makes her eyes sink into their sockets.

You realize that just assuming you will die of bowel cancer is grim. You have a family history of that. The percentage points just tick up and up as you finish off a three musketeers bar and a bag of doritos. You are diabetic. The end will likely be blind and helpless.

You joke about this with friends and colleagues. You casually include “when I commit suicide” in normal conversations. When they gawk at you like your pants have fallen to your ankles, you laugh and talk about the statistics. Gallows humor is funny right?

It’s not funny. They are unsettled by it. They walk away with a grim frown and likely report you to someone who is mandated to follow up.

You are not suicidal. But the reality of it, the seduction of it as a solution to awful realities lying in wait offers a morbid comfort. It’s there. The idea sits on the edge of your brain and assures that no matter what, if it gets too bad you can always just check out. Don’t obviously. At least wait until you can get shit straight and tell someone what you are planning. Be of sound mind and body and all. Don’t be stupid. Don’t cause more pain than you have to.

Maybe don’t bring it up in conversation so much. And for God’s sake don’t fucking blog about it.

 

Buy a book!

https://totaltext.wordpress.com/poetry/

The Second Day: Final Preview For Cyclops: A Memoir of Mental Health Collapse

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I float into the hall and see the techs lined up at main junction where all the security cameras converge. The east wing doors are shut with chairs braced across them. A zip tie binds the handles. It’s been a fun night I think.

A woman runs from the end of the wing and throws herself into the glass window separating the wings. I don’t even startle at the zombie like scene, even as blood smears from her nose and lips at the impact. She wears a bra and sweatpants and in the midst of her screaming, I notice a missing front tooth. It is a fresh loss. After a moment of dizzy stumbling, she rakes her fingers through her black hair and pulls out an impressive clump. I begin a slow, methodical stride to the junction. I smell bacon.

I arrive among the techs just as she raises an ugly, brown chair above her head and lunges with it toward the glass. She throws with all of her might, but the glass merely bends as the chair betrays her. Both the zombie and the 70’s porno furniture reject crash to the tiled floor. For the first time I notice how savagely brown this place is.

“Don’t you guys have a padded room for shit like this?” It’s nice to know my cruel sense of humor has returned. She begins to gnaw on the skin of her kneecap.

The techs chuckle. “No we don’t have padded rooms here. She is coming off a Xanax addiction. It’s a good drug, but God help you if you get addicted.” She screams. The same black tech that processed me turns from the glass. He looks me straight in the eye as if sizing me up. His goatee is now less distinguished. He hasn’t shaved in a few days.

“She’s gonna be fine. She has to get over this hump. We see this a lot.” He yawns and stretches as he returns to his station. “You’re getting a roomie though. She is gonna need that wing to herself for at least a whole day. Tom is gonna be staying with you tonight.”

Oh no…not fucking Tom…