“You don’t just say one day,… ‘Now I’m a writer.’”
“Hannah” (Mia Farrow) in Hannah and Her Sisters.
This is my third book. I’m pretty sure it’s the longest of the three. It’s a monument to 40 years of psychotherapy. I would like to acknowledge Russell Freeland, Margaret Stulbarg, Donna Johns, Ernie Johnson, Peter Roehrig, Etta Martin, and every other counselor who has ever given me talk therapy.
In 1999, I wrote a book of poetry, The Caterpillar, and self-published exactly four copies. One day, a denizen of an online writers’ workshop I was involved in suggested I needed a high colonic. Shortly thereafter, I stopped writing poetry and didn’t write another poem for 10 years. I did, however, continue to write songs with funny lyrics.
Early in 2011, I started keeping a notebook of anecdotes, quotes, gags, and twisted aphorisms. I pulled them together into a really thin book called The Depressed Guy’s Book of Wisdom. After that book was published by Chipmunka Publishing, London, God bless them, I decided to try my hand at writing stories. These are them. (I also started writing poetry again.)
So now I’m a writer. There, I said it.
This book is dedicated to my wife and muse, Carol Holden, and to my heroes, Woody Allen, Elaine May, Lewis Black, Steve Martin, and Kurt Vonnegut.
This is the preface to my third book, The Depressed Detective and The Case of Boston Baked Beans, and Other Stories. I just got done revising and expanding and formatting it to submit to the University of Iowa Press short story book competition. Except for a couple of the longest pieces, every one of the 24 stories originally appeared on Gather. I owe a great debt to the people who have encouraged me here.
In its present form, in ms. format, it's almost 190 pages. I was struck by the sight of the pile of paper it made on my coffee table, printed out double-spaced and single-sided. It's almost an inch thick. I thought, "Wow, that's kinda impressive. It looks like one of those manuscripts you see in one of those movies about writers." (Wonder Boys, Celebrity, Barton Fink, e.g.) I know, it's silly.
My dream is to publish my children's adventure book, become the next J.K. Rowling or Amanda Hocking, use that as a platform for my songs, poems, stories, and advocating for abused children, and make enough money to retire with Carol to a nice little pied-à-terre on the beach.