joni abilene

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Month: May, 2014

The fragility of ideas

Took my kids to the park and was asked by another parent what I do for a living. I told them I write. I’ve written. I am a writer. Oh really? That’s interesting. What do you write? That’s the tricky part, isn’t it? What do you write? It’s not so easy to put into words, which writers should be great at, but most of us are not. I write about life (that sounds stupid and boring) . . . I write about people (what else is there to write about?) . . . aliens? (now, I’m lying). “I’m writing a novel about Siskel & Ebert, their lives, growing up, how they became famous, their girlfriends, their failures, their marriages, how much they hated each other in the beginning, how insanely brilliant they were, how they had become almost one person in the end, and then one died, and then the other fought like crazy for years to survive. It’s going to be just like Midnight Cowboy, only about movies, not hustling.”

I got the “she’s crazy” stare.

Found this video the other day and, I don’t know if it helps my point about writing the book or not, but in my mind it’s like a golden arrow pointing to a big YES. It starts out with Ebert being a little bitch, which he was at times because he was so freaking brilliant, and then it escalates into these two gentlemen bickering and insulting each other in a brotherly battle of wits. It’s annoying, and just when you think you’ve had enough, something wonderful happens. These two guys, these kindred spirits, go on a rant that’s so insanely awesome I can’t even put it into proper words (which is evident by my usage of the word ‘awesome’). They shout about religion, government, society. It’s . . . great. It brought forward the missing piece, that undercurrent of anger and rebellion and refusal to give in for any amount of money or influence.  Here’s the clip.

Maybe I am crazy, and maybe this is all hogwash. But I still think this book needs to happen and that I’m the person to write it. But then again . . .


Skylab ’79

I have a story up for your reading pleasure and it’s only 99 cents. In the old days that’d buy you a lot of stuff. I think it’s a pretty good price for a short story, don’t you? It’ll get you through another miserable Saturday, or Sunday, or if you’re a slow reader, the next year. Take your time. Nobody’s got a stopwatch to your head, right? Imagine that, someone following you around with a stopwatch. Timing your morning coffee, your morning toilet run, your morning jog, or attempted Yoga position—cats watching from the couch—sex, your afternoon scarfing of Snickers bar and then a few carrots to make it even. Pretty soon you’ll see a digital face on everybody’s face. When you die, they’ll say, God Bless old speedy. Then they’ll time your burial, and your reincarnation. But, yeah, 99 cents is steal, my friends. However, on my side of things, 99 cents is a ripoff.


Skylab ’79

Cutting the strings

These last few weeks have shown me what I’m made of. I have now joined the ranks of self-publishers, or indie-authors as some folks call it, and I didn’t die or combust or anything else equally permanent and painful. Formatting was a bitch. However, I survived and it feels good. Can I tell you something? I graduated high school, and I took a big hunk of college courses, but I never specialized in any certain field, and I do not have a degree. This has caused me to feel quite inferior to most people my entire life. Perhaps that’s why I work so hard at this—I’m out to prove something. Mostly I think I work hard because I love it and want to make a living so I can keep doing it. I want to get to where can take my boots off and not wonder where the hell I’ll be the next day, or rather, what I’ll be trying to pitch, endlessly, failures all of them. Here’s something else—I have trouble speaking in real life, and writing has given me a great freedom. I feel trapped often, very often, and writing is like flying and dancing. Even as a child if something upset me I’d write a note, otherwise it stayed locked inside.

Was it disappointing giving up the agent search and deciding to self-publish? Hell yes. Do I regret it now? Hell no. I can see now that it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. As I said above, my entire life has been me locked inside myself. Finally I found a way to get out. Agents didn’t want to take me on, but I wanted to take me on. I know, I know, Jonathan Livingston Seagull and all that, but I mean it.

Learning to format, designing a cover, working on cover layout, submitting files and writing blurbs . . . it wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. How much did I spend? Zero. Zero dollars, my friend. All I spent was time. So, let this be a lesson to you younger folk—wash behind your ears, don’t watch too much of the boob tube, don’t swear (as much as me), and don’t let the gatekeepers kill your soul. Keep your chin up, child. Keep it up high.

The Moonflowers is available on Amazon for kindle and print.

Cover for The Moonflowers

Here’s the cover for my book coming out sometime this May. I’m doing final edits and read-throughs right-a-now. I really love this cover. If you read the book you’ll understand why the clouds are important, but also they’re just purty.