Falling into Fall
Hello, backers. I hope you’re all having a wonderful fall thus far.
But enough about the gathering nightmare of global warming. Let’s talk about me, shall we? More specifically, let’s talk about where your lives and mine intersect, which (for our purposes here, anyway) is where you were kind and generous enough to support the KS campaign for my novel, “What I Did To You.”
I last wrote you in late March. At that point, my wife Cat and I were hoping to move into our new house on July 1. Wonder of wonders, that actually happened.
Up until that point, I had, agonizingly enough, been unable to finish the final editing process of WIDTY, because our house had proven so unexpectedly expensive that I’d been slammed with the freelance book-editing job I’d been forced to take on so that we could afford to get the house finished at all.
As it’s hard for me to imagine you might actually recall, the book I was then editing/ghosting was due back to its author on July 15th. I turned it in two weeks early, and we moved into our new house. And then something extremely unexpected occurred.
The person for whom I’d done the editing work asked if I’d be willing to ghostwrite a whole new book for them. I can barely express to you how much I did not want to do that. Suffice it to say that I take no pleasure in wholly writing books which are then published under the names of people who rarely even bother to read them—but who nonetheless use their ideas to fuel their careers, via the talks and media products they produce and then deliver everywhere they can (which is usually in a lot of places over a long period of time, because they’re usually pretty famous).
It’s a weird thing for me—and, increasingly, I’ve found, a distinctly disheartening one—to see or hear famous people touting books and ideas—on TV, on the radio, online, in talks they’re repeating to packed auditoriums across the country—that only they and I know are wholly mine.
Anyway, writing such books brings in some money, and of course sometimes you just, well, need money. So … you know: you dig as deep as you have it within you to go, find your deepest truths there, coax them out, craft the language needed to as perfectly as possible express them, put them in book form, and then … let a manifest liar put their name on it.
Um. But anyway … so, yes, I took the job writing this new book for this person.
But you can believe this: This is the last such work I’ll do, ever in my life. Writing other people’s books has simply become too toxic for me. It makes the worst of me turn on the best of me. Cat would seriously despair if I took on one more freelance editing or ghosting job after this last book is done. I think she hates my doing such work even more than I hate doing it. Because she sees what it does to me.
Anyway, bottom line: Instead of spending fall and early winter finishing my two editing/proofreading rounds of WIDTY, I’m going to put that work off yet a freakin’ gain, and ghostwrite one final book.
(In the Too Much Information department: I very rarely get offers to write or edit books anymore. In order to spend one year doing nothing but writing and wholly finishing WIDTY, I stopped blogging in 2014. At that point, mine was one of the most read blogs, written corporately or individually, anywhere on the Internet. So in those days I was regularly being offered writing and editing work, which for years I chose from and took on whenever I needed the money. But those days are over; once I basically disappeared from online, the writing/editing offers started coming in less and less often. They long ago trickled to a stop. It’s a freak that I was asked to ghostwrite this latest book. So I had to take advantage of the offer, since it was money we knew I’d probably never get another chance to make. And we really needed it just then—being now. So. Yeah. Done. And grateful for it.)
The ghosted book is due in late Winter 17-18. After that, if I ever need to make money, I’ll become a greeter at WalMart. I’ll mow lawns. I’ll take in laundry. I don’t care. As long as I'm not editing or ghostwriting anyone else's writing, I'm good.
I want to make sure that one thing is perfectly clear: WIDTY is finished. It was finished before I did the KS campaign. Between finishing the writing of a book, and actually having copies of that book in hand ready to mail, a lot of work must be done. It’s that work which I haven’t been able to get to, because of all the other work I’ve had to unexpectedly take on.
I just don’t want you thinking I haven’t really finished the book. It was finished before we moved here from San Diego. We waited for it to be finished before we sold just about everything we had and moved here.
Being essentially forced to delay putting out the book has been a deeply painful experience for me, to be honest. It hurts every day. That novel is the complete and full expression of … everything that I ever really wanted to say in my life. I trained, and worked, and waited literally my whole life to write it. And when it was done, and (thanks to you all) I actually had the money to put it out, I couldn’t, because of the vast chasm that opened up between what we were told our simple, green little house would cost, and what it actually cost.
(Though it’s a little more complicated than that: we chose to have some stuff done on the house—like putting on a metal roof, or installing a heat-pump water heater, or a mini-split AC/heat system—because, going in, it simply costs more to do a green house than it does to do a regular one. And we wanted a house with as small a carbon footprint as we could possibly afford. And doing all that after the house was built would just be a waste.)
Thanks for listening to all of this. Sorry to bore you with it all. But … I didn’t want to let you, an actual and true partner with me in WIDTY, not know what’s happening. And it's kind of a complicated little story.
I’m sorry that getting the novel out to you has taken so long; I hate that that’s happened; the good news is that Cat and I are now living in a two-story, 1,100 sq. foot all-cement home that’s as green as a house without solar panels can be (if WIDTY takes off, those panels will be the first thing we buy)—and that, slowly but surely, we’re turning the decades-old literal dump that was our plot into an organic vegetable garden and a native habitat for the birds, bees, and general critters around here.
(Oh: If you’re interested in our house, awhile back the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper made it their House of the Week. So there you can see some pictures of what it looked like then, and also read an article I wrote about the house. As you might recall, I also write an advice column for the Citizen-Times. My latest in that regard is Ask John: Does my Bible belief make me a bigot? You can find the rest of my advice columns here. If you get blocked by the AC-T's subscription thing, just clear your browser history: you get to read 10 articles before you’re blocked with that message again.)
I appreciate your love; I appreciate your trust; I’m depending on your patience. Suffice it to say I haven’t forgotten you, the goodness you did me, or my obligation (not to say need) to put into your hands what is easily the most important book to me personally that I’ll ever write. (Though, that said, I can’t even begin to tell you some of what I’m going to be writing the moment I finish ghosting this final book. I’m basically living now for when I can start that work.)
I’ll turn in my final ghostwritten book in February, and then God himself couldn’t stop me from getting “What I Did To You” into your hands.
Thank you for everything,