Thank you Samuel Quinn for burning my book. This was an honor.
It’s been a little more than a month since my book Instant Connections: Essays and Interviews on Photography was released. I have been pleasantly surprised by the comments that I have received––both emails from people that I know, and some that I do not know at all. When I read things like, “the things that you talk about in your book I am experiencing right now in my own life”––these words strengthen my belief that I was meant to write this book.
Although I would like the book to be for everyone, I know that it won’t be. I’ve heard that some people like the interviews better than the essays, while others said they didn’t care about my personal stories, and at least one person was bothered by my potty mouth. I didn’t think using the F-word 34 times in a book with 85,000 words was a big deal. I do hope however, that those who have read the book (cover to cover) found the importance of the word “connections”. The other thing that I hope you took away was that I tried to make the reading effortless and down to earth, as if we were having a conversation in a bar or in a coffee shop. Although I am a collector, gallery owner, writer/author and educator, I tried to speak to you from the same level––never above you.
Instant Connections may not have landed on the New York Times Bestseller List nor the Wall Street Journal List, but for a brief period it was #2 on Amazon’s list for Critical Theory > Photography books––I’ll take that, even through it IS NOT critical theory.
Usually books are cataloged in book stores under a certain type like non-fiction, or fiction, or essays, or interviews. These “types” are usually printed on the back cover of the book. One person suggested the other day that it should have been categorized under “cool shit”. I’ll take that as a compliment.
If you haven’t picked it up yet, I hope that you do.
Happy Holidays, from Me to You.
It’s finally here! My book, Instant Connections: Essays and Interviews on Photography is now available. Published by Boston-based Doolittle Press, this book includes essays, interviews, poems and quotes about photography. Most of what you will find in this book is coming from my own point of view––that of someone who was a photographer and who is now a collector, educator and gallery owner.
I never in a million years imagined that I would write a book. I have to give thanks to my wife who got me motivated to write and to my editor Debbie Hagan who pushed me to make each and every essay the best it could be.
In the world of photography, I have primarily been a giver. I give my time reviewing portfolios, mentoring students and emerging artists. As a gallery owner, I spend a lot of time promoting the artists that I represent––helping them to build their network, and grow as artists.
You will like this book if you like or can relate to:
Photography, Art and Galleries
People who want to be photographers
People who ARE photographers
People who write about photography
People who went to art or photography school
People who are self-taught artists
People who want a behind the scenes look at the photography industry
People who know the importance of having a personal network of friends and connections
People who have had a mentor and it has changed their lives
Click on the book cover or visit Amazon.com or as soon as you can, or contact any one of your local independent bookstores and buy a copy through them.
I will thank you the next time I see you. Maybe I can help you make an ‘Instant Connection’. All you have to do is ask.
I just returned from a rejuvenating and inspiring 3-days at Grub Street‘s The Muse and The Marketplace literary conference in Boston. I live in Boston so it wasn’t to much of a hike. The sessions were all fantastic and the panelists gave me so much information that it’ll probably take a good week to digest it all. I even got to meet and listen to Amanda Palmer give a very touching Keynote address.
On the last day of the conference I attended the session called: 10 Steps to a Kickass Essay, hosted by Ann Hood. You can find her on Twitter: @annhood56. These writing tips were so insightful that I wanted to share what I learned with everyone. Here are my notes. Feel free to steal and share as needed.
1. Write like an orphan.
Hold back emotionally.
If your motive is revenge, no one will want to read it. Those type of essays lack depth.
If your writing about someone who was died, don’t mythologize the person.
2. A personal essay is about just one thing. Only one topic.
3. Every personal essay is really two things: what’s on the surface, and what bubbles underneath.
External thing + Internal thing.
Make sure there is a concrete story.
4. Make sense of the events. You don’t report them, you make sense of them.
Open the essay with event. Don’t trick the reader or leave it until the end.
When writing about a hot topic, write it cold.
You report, then you reflect
5. Push past the ending that makes sense.
Add a line or two after the closing sentence.
Go beyond the Norman Rockwell ending.
6. “What do you know now that you did not know then.”
Force yourself to come to a realization.
7. Power of Once. The use of flashback. Don’t top load the essay in flashback. If you start with a flashback, the whole essay will be in the flashback.
8. Objective Correlative: The author uses an event or an object to stand in for an emotion.
9. You need to write well! A personal essay is not a bundle of emotions. It’s not a journal entry.
10. Don’t write what you know, write what you don’t know about yet.
This week I’ve been sick, however it’s given me some time to do some editing on the book. I should’ve posted a picture of a big pile of crumpled up Puff Plus tissues, then you’d get the idea of what’s been oozing out of my nose. The tissues have filled up a waste basket and remind me of when people used to type stories onto paper, and when they would fuck up, they’d crumple up the paper and throw it away. You can picture it, right?
There’s some fine tuning I wanted to do before passing all of these essays on to my real editor. I know she’s going to dismantle a lot of what I have done over the past year and I’m actually pretty excited about it. I’ve been reading these essays over and over so many times that I’m actually sick of them. Hopefully once the book is published, you’ll enjoy reading them once or twice before passing the book off to one of your friends or selling it to a used bookstore.
Today I did not put pencil to pager or finger to keyboard. However, I did do a little research about grants for writers. Besides the current memoir that I am working on, I have two to three other book projects that I’m thinking about. Like I said in an earlier post, I’m not a fan of putting all of my eggs in one basket, I’d rather have a carton full of various eggs, preferably PAAS colored Easter Eggs that are tie-dyed and trippy like Jerry Garcia might’ve made them––kidding.
If you are a writer looking for grants, here is one website that I have been combing through. It’s called Funds For Writers.
And here’s another called, Grant Space.
Now, I’ve only applied for one writing-related grant. Grants take time to fill out. Also make sure to check the deadlines. Those are very important!