As you might know, I live in the Netherlands, and therefore no longer experience summer. Mostly here, Dutch people spend the middle of the year weeping uncontrollably as Hollywood repeatedly plays with their emotions by pretending that other countries have four seasons instead of just wet. Thankfully there are summer holidays. In the modern age this is where people fly thousands of miles to lay somewhere in sunshine whilst reading, in the hope of getting sunburned, dehydrated and some form of local food poisoning. If you are one of those people, you may be interested in what comes next.
The good folks at #Smashwords have launched their summer sale and you have exactly one month to take advantage of their generosity, providing you are an eBook reader. They are offering:
Existence Is Futile for half price
The Story of Albert Ross for free
Go get them now!
And just in case you live under a rock and for some reason haven’t seen the new music video from my band #Yu, you should definitely watch this video. The lyrics, the music and the video was all created by us, which is #Yu and not only me #GodDoesntLoveYou
It’s with great pleasure that I can finally announce the release of our album on May the 6th 2016. The album entitled ‘We Are Sorry’ is guaranteed to be a massive hit, so don’t miss your chance to immerse yourself in the glorious sounds of Spandau Synthpop.
In the meantime, before you run off to preorder the album, here is a short video which really gets to the heart of what we have tried to achieve with ‘We Are Sorry’. Take a look…
First, here is the news. Sometime ago I was sitting up late on Facebook, and occupying myself with human interaction. I am aware that the primary function of Facebook is to stay in touch with people you never meet or speak with, without ever speaking to them. In essence, it is a tool which enables us to stalk ghosts from our respective pasts. Anyhow I like to break taboos. Where was I? I was conversing, or is it Facebooking, or Facewriting with an English comedian I met sometime ago at a gig in Warsaw by the name of Matt Price. We got to talking about a new project he has become involved in, namely ‘Natural Born Storytellers’. The simple principle of these evenings is that each event has a given theme, and every single person in the place is invited to share a story. I absolutely love the idea. After all, a writer has to love a story. Whilst we chatted about the demise of spoken stories, and the depressing culture which has replaced it, I couldn’t help but whine that it was impossible to for me to participate. Matt was quick to offer me the opportunity to do so by emailing him by story. Quite incredibly, not only did he read it, but he passed it on to somebody else too.
A few days later I was invited by another comedian, Mr Rob Heeney to record an episode for his podcast entitled ‘People With Stories’. I was apprehensive at first as the idea of actually telling the story was quite intimidating. After giving it careful consideration, and listening to a number of his podcasts I decided to give it a go. Within a week I recorded my episode over Skype. And I can happily say that today I saw my face on the ‘People With Stories’ coming soon photo album. As soon as the podcast is released I will post something here.
In the meantime I am slowly trying to get myself organised and finish the next edit of my forthcoming book. Admittedly, today I got somewhat distracted by an incident involving Justin Bieber and a beaver. You can read about the whole thing on Storify.
Whilst you wait for the release of the podcast, why not check out some of the following –
Matt Price official Facebook page
My favourite Matt Price YouTube video
‘People With Stories’ Facebook page
Why not listen to a ‘People With Stories’ podcast or two (Why not start with Matt’s?)
Each and every one of us is an armchair critic. We can’t help it. It’s part of human nature. We are all insanely competitive whether we like it or not. It’s the reason we feel a compulsion to grade strangers farts, to use names rather than descriptions and to lie constantly to people who demand that we tell the truth. The truth is that we need our own opinions to comfort us, yet from time to time we are willing to sacrifice them for some other perceived greater good. Which is why publishing something is a form of psychopathic masochism.
Perhaps I will start with a picture. Imagine a county long jump competition. A young boy takes his run up, speeds down the runaway and leaps with all his might. And lands considerably shorter than the rest of the competition. He is conscious of the fact and looks around towards his mother for confirmation. She smiles and says ‘well done’. And yet he knows it’s not. He knows that despite the fact he gave his best, it wasn’t anywhere close to good enough. Yet his mother’s lies are enough to cast doubt in his mind. This snapshot, this moment, could be the moment that ruins the rest of his life. It could be the exact second when he discovers that finishing last is acceptable. Or perhaps that his efforts are futile so it doesn’t matter if he tries. Or maybe he realises exactly then that he is shit. That he can’t win.
The reason I mentioned the previous image is to highlight that life is a constant stream of momentary perceptions. When I first published my book, I was amazed that I sold one copy. The idea that someone, somewhere was reading my book was a thing of beauty, a source of amazement. After sometime reviews began to appear in different places. To start I was terrified each time I found a new one. It was as if deep down I felt as if I was a fraud, and that eventually someone would notice that and I would receive a 1 star which would outline exactly why I am a shit writer. A year and a half later and that 1 star hasn’t appeared. I still struggle not to overanalyze every single review. I still find criticism where there is none, and I probably always will. And yet the reviews still roll in, in batches of 4 stars and 5 stars. From time to time, when I am feeling low, I read the reviews again. And I pinch myself, and can’t help but wonder whose book they are really talking about.
In the beginning I was sure it was just friends being friends. Only saying nice things because they were duty bound. Now I have read reviews from a considerable number of strangers and have been blown away by their kindness. I suspect it’s something like what a doting parent feels. This thing, that grew from within me, has now left me and made a number of people happy. I’ve come to realise that how I feel no longer matters. The most important thing is how people feel about Professor Henry Tomlinson. I no longer feel anxious or scared when I read people’s reviews. I only miss Henry Tomlinson.