Tonight’s (Independence Day themed) guest blog post is brought to you by novelist and short story author JD Mader.
Writing Independently by JD Mader
For a young, uppity country, America has a lot of amazing things going for it. We make good music – they’ll even deep-fry it for you at the county fair (seriously, we can deep-fry anything). We’re good at fighting wars that don’t accomplish anything (keeps everyone on their toes). We have lots of nice forests (some of which we haven’t clear cut yet). Um … if you’re getting the idea that I have no idea what to write about America that doesn’t make me sound like an America-hater, you’re right. It’s easy to become distracted by the terrible things America does and has done, and forget about the great accomplishments we’ve made as a country. Like most countries (and most people), when it comes to America, you have to take the good with the bad.
My homeland was started by a bunch of misfits who eventually got their act together, told Britain to piss off, and somehow managed to not get a royal bitch slapping. The American “rebel” is a pretty established archetype. There is a reason that the last time I was in the UK and ordered bourbon, the bartender smiled and said, “here you go, cowboy!” And he said it every time I ordered bourbon every night for two weeks. It’s an interesting dichotomy. You can call an American a cowboy jovially, or it can be an insult. Let’s say we do something totally innocent like start a war based on assumption, misinformation, and bravado. “Those ignorant Americans … bunch of cowboys.” See, that’s bad. But I kind of liked the bartender calling me a cowboy.
The weird thing is that Americans are very proud of the legend of the lone cowboy, so much so that many people don’t even realize that being a brash, fight-picking loner can be a bad thing. Now our saloon is global and our six-shooters are creepy, soulless drones, but the game ain’t changed that much. For better or worse, there will always be a coarse, loud, and rebellious streak in Americans. It’s a blessing and a curse.
One of the positives is that America has given us some of the greatest writers of all time. And it will continue to do so. We are trained to do things differently and try new things. Often, it turns out well. Sometimes, it doesn’t. You never know until you try, even if that means shaking up the status quo. Now, we have the ability to self-publish and manage our own work fairly easily. So, saddle up the dang horses, let’s write a novel.
It’s a double-edged sword of course. When anyone who wants to write a novel can do it and publish it, you end up with some amazing books and some books that should be next in line for a drone strike (it’s a metaphor, drones scare me). The indie-writing movement is exciting. It’s ‘get drunk on rattlesnake whiskey and shoot the streetlights out’ kind of exciting. A cowboy don’t need no one’s permission to do nothing. He is free. (This is all a bunch of nonsense, but Morgen asked me to write about America, and there are so many contradictions squeezed between the Atlantic and Pacific that if we deep-fried them all we could build a bridge across the whole durn country.)
I live in a land of contradiction, so I have no issue with contradicting myself. Like I already have in this piece several times. It’s the reason I love the Fourth of July and am proud of what my grandfathers did in WWII. It’s also the reason I try to convince people I’m Canadian when I travel.
I’m not saying that America is responsible for making self-publishing a viable outlet for writers. We’re not. And self-publishing is nothing new … it’s just way easier to do now. There are a lot of things that America does that bothers me. There are some things that actually make me really proud to be an American, too. I’m wrapping up my third novel now, and I will publish it the way I want to publish it. I don’t have to “get permission” to publish it. I like to think that Ben Franklin and Mark Twain are up there saying, “man, that guys cusses a lot, but he sure is handsome.” I’d include James Joyce (another author who self-published some of his work), but I dislike much of his writing and I think Mark Twain might kick his ass.
What is the point of this rambling discourse? (This is America, there doesn’t have to be a point. Look! A Kardashian!) About once a week, I freak out and start thinking I should move to Canada. But I don’t. Part of the reason I don’t is that I’m lazy and my wife won’t let me. I would be lying, however, if I didn’t say that part of it is because I am a stubborn, rebellious loner. I’ve read everything Louis L’Amour wrote. I wouldn’t pit his writing chops against Twain’s, but I still love the guy’s writing. I like the cowboy archetype. I consider it a positive thing (usually). I like America a lot through Louis L’Amour’s lens. I was raised to think that people who do things their own way, independently, are heroes. That may or may not be true. I’ll tell you one thing, though… we also know when it is time to band together. So, circle the wagons, I have a novel to finish and I need a little ‘me time’. I’ll be in the center of the circle with my deep-fried laptop. Alone and self-reliant. (I like tea a lot though, so I’m not sacrificing any of my supply no matter what the cause.)
I’m British, tea is in our blood… or on the days I drink that much. Thank you, JD. That was great, as always.
He has been fortunate enough to encounter many giving and inspiring people in his life.
He hopes to repay the debt. And to make enough money with his writing to buy a house.
If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. Guidelines on guest-blogs. There are other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.
For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.
As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.