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A favorite book can comfort and enlighten.

In Books, Entertainment, Opinion, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized on June 23, 2015 at 1:58 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGONot too long ago, I published a Deer In Headlines column on the subject of how, as a writer, I’m frequently asked what books I read and why. Since then, I realized that I have a tendency to re-read certain books that I’ve enjoyed over the years and I know that most people do the same thing.

Click to watch the TV interview of this topic from Living Dayton, WDTN-TV2.

Click to watch the TV interview of this topic from Living Dayton, WDTN-TV2.

So, it had me wondering, in a world with countless literary choices, why we often choose to go back to an old favorite, rather than boldly going where we’ve never read before. After a little research and some asking around, I learned that the reasons we sometimes revisit the same bookshelf are more complicated than I first thought.

For starters, humans are creatures of comfort, at least to some extent, and many of us read because it was one of the ways our parents made a connection when we were very young. Reading was soothing, like an old blanket you wrap up in before bedtime and have a hard time parting with once it’s tattered and threadbare.

Gery holds copies of "Flights of Fiction" - one of his favorite books. Produced by the Western Ohio Writers Association.

Tradition might be another word to describe this idea too. Personally, I like to read Charles Dickens’, “A Christmas Carol,” at the holidays every year – time permitting – as one of my own traditions. It’s a story that never fails to entertain and enlighten, and I always take away something new.

If a certain book imprints on you from a young age, you’re likely to go back to it again and again for the sheer level of reassurance it brings you. A familiar story can be calming and offer a welcome escape from the daily rigors of life or just a fun adventure into another world.

Re-reading a book you once read in your youth can also offer a different perspective. Life experience can change how we view ideas or motivations first encountered at a much younger age. Going back to that book you read in high school English class might just take your understanding of its meaning to a new level.

Plus peeling back the layers of the author’s work with a more mature perspective can even help you learn more about yourself. One article I read on the subject referred to this concept as, “cheap, effective therapy.”

When others talk about a book you’ve already read, you may discover that there are elements of the story you might have missed the first time around. Going back over it again on a quest to uncover those points for yourself can turn a good read into a great adventure, even if it’s not your first trip through the tale.

There are many other reasons why we re-read our old favorites. We may like the author or just enjoy the book for no readily apparent reason. Whatever your impetus, dust off that old copy of your favorite novel and give it another look. In case you are wondering, here are two of my favorite re-reads and a bit about why I choose to go back to them time and again.

I seem to repeatedly choose, “Microserfs” by Douglas Coupland. This is a fictional story, set in the early 1990s, about a group of Microsoft programmers who broke away to go out on their own while dealing with life’s road blocks. I always find it inspiring and I can easily relate to their desire to be part of “version one point zero.”

Another book I revisit regularly is, “Hit Man,” by Lawrence Block. There are four books in the “Hit Man” series, but I always go back to the original. The main character is, as the title suggests, a killer for hire. But the way Block presents him to the audience as somewhat mile mannered and tells the story of his rather violent occupation is intriguing and thoughtful.

I have others, but these make the point of how varied our favorites can be. Just like old movies and TV shows, favorite books have a meaning in our lives. Sometimes it’s just good to go back and visit that world, whether it’s over the rainbow or just down the street.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com

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The creative process cannot be quantified

In Books, Children and Family, crafts, Entertainment, Local News, National News, Opinion, Print Media, Technology, Uncategorized on November 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm

If you haDIH LOGOve any friends who are aspiring novelists and you haven’t seen them for a while, I may know why. November is National Novel Writing Month, a time when writers – hobbyists and professionals alike – forsake virtually everything else in life to get down at least 50,000 words towards a completed novel in just thirty days. As executive director of the Western Ohio Writers Association I am, like many of our members, one of the anticipated 400,000 worldwide participants in the event. But attempting to pen a full-length novel in under a month is not for the faint of heart.

“NaNoWriMo,” as it’s known for short, is a non-profit organization started in 1999. In 2013, more than 310,000 participants signed up, spanning six continents. In the 2014 official press release, NaNoWriMo Executive director Grant Faulkner said, “Every year, we’re reminded that there are still stories that have yet to be told, still voices yet to be heard from all corners of the world. NaNoWriMo helps people make creativity a priority in life and realize the vital ways our stories connect us. We are our stories.”

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Given their commitment to the encouragement of writers as a whole, the NaNoWriMo folks certainly seem to want to keep people motivated and working and that extends beyond the November event. The organization also promotes youth programs, writing camps and other writing-focused activities throughout the year.

NaNoWriMo’s organizers insist the purpose of the 30-day novel challenge is to inspire and motivate authors to actually finish something, a common barrier for new writers. To hit the goal, writers must pen approximately 1,667 words per day, regardless of quality. But the “just keep writing” approach doesn’t sit well with some and there are those who say that it instead may be more counterproductive than helpful.

Opponents believe that the idea of such incredible pressure of deadline and competition undermines the inspirational process; robbing the author of the creative time necessary to be more selective of words, phrasing and flow.  Classic American author Mark Twain might well have been in agreement with this thinking.

In a letter dated October 15, 1888 to English minister George Bainton, Twain wrote, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

nanologoBut those who are regular participants seem to really enjoy a process that they say gives them the opportunity to stay focused and inspires a bit of healthy competition. Throughout the month, each writer updates a public profile on the NaNoWriMo website which includes word count to date; a practice largely appreciated as one of the most motivating aspects of the exercise, or the most discouraging, depending on how you’re doing.

Whether you are a writer or a reader, this is probably a good time to point out that the creative process is not something that can be qualified or quantified. It is different for every artist. While there are people who are proficient with grammar, punctuation, style and general mastery of the English language, there is no such thing as an “expert” writer. Most successful authors – and not just in the commercial sense – will insist that good writing cannot be taught, it has to be practiced and that the creative process is ongoing.

It may very well be that a 30-day novel, after editing and revision, could end up the next New York Times best seller. It is just as probable that another manuscript, in the works for many years, might turn out to be the worst 300 pages ever put to paper. It’s really a coin toss.

Truthfully, the process really doesn’t matter. Although the value of art rests with the audience, its quality depends on the talent, determination and hard work of the artist (writer), rather than the method used for its production. As for those of you typing your way to 50,000 words this month, we who are grateful to get out 700 words every week salute you! Good luck.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and executive director of the Western Ohio Writers Association. More at westernohiowriters.org.

Author celebrates first anniversary of children’s book with reading November 2

In Books, Children and Family, Education, Entertainment, Literature, Local News, Print Media, sociology, Uncategorized on October 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm
Author Teasha Seitz, "Little Leah Lou and her Pink Tu"

Author Teasha Seitz, “Little Leah Lou and her Pink Tu”

XENIA, OH – Author Teasha Seitz is a Miami Valley native who has always enjoyed sharing and discovering stories with children. Her stories entertain, enlighten, and encourage young readers to explore their own world and discover who they are. Her first children’s book “Little Leah Lou and Her Pink Tu,” was released last year (ISBN 0985662506).

To help celebrate the book’s first anniversary, Blue Jacket Books in Xenia is hosting a reading and signing event beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 2. The author will read from her book and the store will have free printed activities for children to do as well.

Illustrated by Jean Ditslear, “Little Leah Lou and Her Pink Tu” tells the story of Little Leah Lou, who loved to wear her pink tutu. She wore it everywhere she went and pretended to be a princess. But when she wore it to the zoo she encountered a giraffe with the munchies and Little Leah Lou was left with just half a tutu. Her tutu was ruined! Could this mean she’s no longer a princess? Little Leah Lou was shocked, but not for long. Her solution to the tutu tragedy will not only surprise and amuse readers; it will win her the admiration of one of the zoo’s flashiest residents.

In addition to copies of “Leah Lou” at a dollar off the cover price, children’s tutus will also be available for purchase as a “package” with the books. Blue Jacket Books is located at 30 S. Detroit St. in Xenia, Ohio. For more information call the store at (937) 376-3522 or go online to http://www.teashaseitz.com.

Little-Leah-Lou-and-Her-Pink-Tu-Seitz

Western Ohio Writers present live Halloween reading at Books & Co., Oct 26.

In Books, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Education, Entertainment, Literature, Local News, Media, sociology, Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm
WOWA editorial committee member Bill Bicknell reads from his work at Books & Co. during last year’s “Beatnik Café” event.   Photo by Debra Bays, GLD Enterprises

WOWA editorial committee member Bill Bicknell reads from his work at Books & Co. during last year’s “Beatnik Café” event. Photo by Debra Bays, GLD Enterprises

Beavercreek, OH – Beginning at 7 pm on Saturday, October 26, author members of the Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA) will take the microphone at Books & Co. to present their popular, “Beatnik Café” event. Writers from all genres will regale visitors with tales of Halloween through short works of fiction and poetry. The event is free and open to the public.

The live reading pays homage to the hole-in-the-wall poetry clubs of the 1960’s, but with a more modern style. Reading aloud from original work, each writer will take the stage for 10 to 12 minutes, dazzling audiences with short stories, poetry or who knows what.

Greene County native, Gery L. Deer is the co-founder and executive director of the organization. A professional freelance journalist, editorial columnist and commercial writer, he started WOWA in October of 2008. “WOWA was intended to provide a regular resource for peer critique, educational programs and networking opportunities to local writers of all genres, both amateur and professional,” he says.

“Annual workshops are held all around the country, with two of the most well-known right here in the Miami Valley. But for most writers to thrive that type of support needs to come on a more regular basis,” Deer says. “Our group consists of professional writers and editors, college professors and everyone is ready and willing to offer help, a fresh eye and, sometimes more importantly, an honest opinion about the quality of the work – good or bad.”

Writers come from all around the region – southwest central Ohio, eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky – to attend monthly critique sessions, educational lectures and write-in events. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at the Event Connections, 4140 Linden Ave. in Dayton, near the intersection of US 35 and Woodman Drive.

Flights of Fiction. Cover art by Michael Martin

Flights of Fiction. Cover art by Michael Martin

October 2013 marks the organization’s fifth anniversary and these talented scribes definitely have plenty to celebrate. In addition to the many individual members who have been published on their own, in May of this year eleven of them were featured in an anthology titled, “Flights of Fiction,” produced by GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing and published by Handcar Press (ISBN: 978-0-9885289-4-9). The book features stories set in and around the southwest Ohio region and is available in print and electronic formats from the WOWA website as well as Amazon and BN.com.

The Beatnik Café is a family-friendly, free, public presentation of WOWA and GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing. Books & Co. is located at 4453 Walnut St. at The Greene in Beavercreek. For more information, go online to www.westernohiowriters.org or call (937) 902-4857.

Follow the WOWA on Facebook and Twitter.

Lost in space, the salvation of classic TV online

In Children and Family, Entertainment, Media, Opinion, sociology, Technology, television, Uncategorized on March 13, 2013 at 12:00 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

gsspI’ve written in the past about the lack of creativity coming out of Hollywood these days and it seems increasingly worse. Reality television flows through the airways like so much Typhoid-infested water, riddled with disease and parasites. Thankfully, like an oasis in the desert, modern technology has provided a welcome respite from the gunk that is today’s network television.

By monthly subscription, online video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video offer TV junkies instant access to more than a half-century of programming. Forget waiting a whole week for the next fix of Gilligan’s Island, Cheers or NYPD Blue, now I can watch anytime I want to, day or night, episode after delicious episode from pilot to finale.

These services were originally intended to provide instant access to the same movies you used to go to the video store to rent. But for those of us who prefer bite after bite of tasty episodic television, they serve up a veritable buffet of broadcast entrees ranging from exciting 1950’s westerns like Gunsmoke to angst-filled dramas of the nineties like Beverly Hills 90210.

No more will my television fix need to be delayed by thoroughly staged yet somehow unscripted shows like The Bachelor or bad refits of The Gong Show like The Voice or American Idol. If you don’t’ know what the Gong Show was, your probably too young to understand any of these other references either.

But, Danger Wil Robinson! Because of Hollywood’s continual reinvention of the wheel, when you finally rediscover your favorite old show, you have to be sure which version you’re watching. Is it the new Knight Rider or classic Knight Rider. The Hoff is a classic? Now I just feel old.

Do you recognize this vehicle? Hint - it was on a live action Saturday morning kid's show in 1976.

Do you recognize this vehicle? Hint – it was on a live action Saturday morning kid’s show in 1976.

If you prefer your TV tray filled with something more modern but still thoughtful, well-written and engaging, you can forget the networks. You’ll need to subscribe to cable or satellite services for AMC, BBC America or other high-end channels.

Award-winning programs like Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Doc Martin, Sherlock and the new runaway hit, Downton Abbey, have successfully lured fastidious viewers from Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC for several years. What’s that you say? You don’t have cable? Fear not!

All you need is high-speed Internet, a computer, tablet or even a smart phone, and these programs are just an app download away. Faster than Trump can say, “You’re fired,” you’ll be whisked off to a land where all of life’s problems are solved in a half-hour and no one called Snookie would have ever been allowed on the air.

Ah, the good old days – when the same B movie actor in a rubber carrot suit tormented the Robinson family on Lost In Space one week and sent the crew of the Submarine Seaview rocking and rolling on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea the next. Back then, no one worried whether the lines were politically correct and the very idea of product placement was barely a glimmer in some Mad Man’s eye.

With my remote as my time machine, I can go back there again with a mere click of the play button or a tap on my tablet screen. The down side is that there’s always another episode waiting out there, somewhere in the ether. I move from one to the next, losing all track of time and action. Did I feed the cat? Is this still Tuesday? Oh well, I can figure all that out after I find out who shot JR Ewing. Of course, they just went and killed him off again –this time for keeps (RIP Larry Hagman).

When the rest of the TV landscape seems empty and foreign, these characters feel safe and familiar, like old friends I’ve lost touch with. But even after just enough time to write these few words, I feel out of the loop again, so I better get back to watching. Sometimes you still wanna go where everybody knows your name.

Apocalypse Now & Then: Aunt Margaret and the Mayans

In Children and Family, Economy, Entertainment, Health, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, Science, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Technology, television, Uncategorized on November 26, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Case in point. The graphic is actually the AZTEC calendar, commonly misused to represent the Mayan version. Misinformation is only part of the problem with the doomsday scare.

By Gery L. Deer

People seem to have a bizarre, and sometimes irrational, fascination with the end of the world. So far, however, concerns about ominous apocalyptic events have been little more than the babblings of high-profile conspiracy nuts, money-grubbing religious fanatics and an over abundance of exaggerated media coverage. Still, the idea of impending doom must generate some money for someone because every few years, there’s a new disaster on the horizon.

In November of 1999, at the age of 91, my Great Aunt Margaret was still a smart woman, if not particularly personable to some, and she’d lost most of her eyesight to Glaucoma. A retired school teacher, she had spent more than three decades living alone in her old, block house at the foothills of the Appalachians, surrounded by other even more isolated senior citizens.

I was standing with her outside the house, watching my dad do something to her garage door, when I felt her frail, thin hand take my arm as she said, calmly, “Gery, what’s this about the world ending or everyone losing all their money because of a problem with all the computers?” Catching me somewhat off guard, I had to think for a moment on how to explain to her the Y-2-K issue in a way she’d understand, considering she knew nothing about computers. Her home still had a manual television and rotary telephone.

“Well,” I began, “old computers only allowed for two digit year notations in their programming so when they roll over from the year 1999 to 2000 on December 31st, they’ll think it’s 1900.” I went on to explain how some software would generate miscalculations but it really wouldn’t cause as big a problem as the media had blown it up to be. Satisfied with my understanding and explanation of the problem, she nodded and dismissed it. But for a time, she was frightened, actually scared she’d lose all her money and that the electricity and water to her home would stop flowing to her isolated home in the hills.

The idea that she and her elderly friends were so frightened by disinformation legitimized by a panic-loving media really angered me. A short time later, laying my technical and writing careers on the table, I published an editorial denouncing Y2K as little more than techno paranoia. As it turns out, unsurprisingly, I was right, but now we’re faced with a similar problem in the form of the Mayan calendar prophecy and other end of the world predictions set for December of this year.

Just like their Y2K counterparts, religious and survivalist extremists from all over the world are out there touting an imminent doomsday of Biblical proportions, stirring up baseless fear and panic. As the stories continue to be blown further out of proportion petrified people pointlessly buy everything from survival books to bomb shelters in an attempt to protect themselves. But experts say there is nothing to fear. The misunderstood Mayan prophecy is based on a calendar that restarts, marking a long period of time the way we might catalog a century or millennium.

Of course we could still fall victim to our own stupidity and blow ourselves up over petty arguments about who owns the world’s resources or whose god is the ‘real’ one. We’re human and we’ve been killing each other since the model was introduced so that’s not likely to stop. But the idea of a cataclysmic natural disaster destroying all life and civilization on earth is pretty far out. Is it impossible, no; staggeringly unlikely, yes.

In any case, if something that big happens there’s nothing that any of us can do about it. All the lunatics out in the woods with a few boxes of dried beef and lots of guns will be just as dead as the rest of us.

Sadly, my aunt passed away several years ago, well into her 90s. But, for all the other “Aunt Margarets” out there, frightened by all this apocalyptic nonsense, please count your blessings, sit back, relax and enjoy the holidays. I promise you, like I promised her; the world isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Live Reading of Holiday Stories By Local Authors In Beavercreek Dec 7

In Business, Children and Family, Entertainment, Food, Local News, Senior Lifestyle, sociology on November 22, 2012 at 11:44 am

BEAVERCREEK, OH – On Friday, December 7th local authors of the Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA) will present a live reading of short holiday-inspired short stories and poetry at 4 Starters Coffee Café, 2495 Commons Blvd. in Beavercreek, Ohio. An author reception will begin at 6 pm and the live readings will run from 7 pm until 9 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Known as Beatnik Café, the relaxed, informal format of the evening pays homage to the hole-in-the-wall poetry cafes of the 1960’s in a more contemporary style. The public performance presented several times a year by members of the Western Ohio Writers Association, a resource group that provides support, education and professional assistance for writers in southwest central Ohio, eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky.

Writers in a variety of genres attend monthly WOWA critique and educational meetings where they can hone their skills and have their work reviewed by fellow scribes. Professional freelance commercial writer Gery L. Deer of Jamestown is the founder and coordinator of the organization.

“Outside of a college class or expensive writers’ conferences, there was no consistent support available in our area,” Deer said. “We started the WOWA to provide critique and networking opportunities to local writers of all genres, both amateur and professional.”

As a special addition to the event, two children’s authors, C. C. Christian, of Yellow Springs, author of The Legendary Tales of Sharktooth and Hammer, and Teasha Seitz, of Moraine, author of Little Leah Lou and Her Pink Tu will be reading original holiday stories and selling and signing copies of their books. Sharktooth is an ideal book for kids age 9-12, and Little Leah Lou is a picture book for pre-school through age 7.

“The public readings give people the opportunity to hear from some of the most talented writers in the Midwest,” Deer continued. “We invite everyone to come out and meet our writers and enjoy the atmosphere provided at 4 Starters.  It’s an ideal place to hang out, read and enjoy the work of our writers.”

The Western Ohio Writers Association events are sponsored by GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing concierge business writing services. For more information, go online to http://www.westernohiowriters.org.

Greene County Authors Featured At Lebanon Book Signing

In Business, Children and Family, Education, Entertainment, Local News, Media, National News, psychology, Senior Lifestyle, State News, Uncategorized on September 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Authors C.C. Christian and R.G. Huxley

Lebanon, OH – On Saturday, September 15, Chapters Pre-Loved Books, in Lebanon will host a reading and book signing featuring two, newly published Miami Valley writers. From 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., visitors have the chance to meet C.C. Christian, author of the middle grade adventure novel, The Legendary Tales of Sharktooth and Hammer – The Awakening and R.G. Huxley, author of paranormal thriller, The Cleansing.

Celebrating two years in business, Chapters Pre-Loved Books is a locally-owned, family-operated bookstore located at 726 E. Main St. in Lebanon, at the west end of the Colony Square Shopping Center. Unlike the cramped, musty used bookstores people may be used to, Chapters offers a more upscale experience. A wide selection of new and used books, games, puzzles and more are offered in a welcoming atmosphere which includes a pleasant decor, wide aisles, comfortable seating, coffee and tea for purchase, free wireless internet access, and a welcoming atmosphere.

Yellow Springs, Ohio native C. C. Christian began her writing career unexpectedly by telling stories to her two sons which eventually led to The Legendary Tales of Sharktooth and Hammer – The Awakening.  The story revolves around two young sharks named Sharktooth and his best friend Hammer who set out on a journey to discover the truth of The Battle of the Great Canal – a war that ultimately changed the future of their colony forever.

First in a series of three, the novel is packed with action but, as Christian notes, it’s educational as well. “The story line presents many situations that people, especially kids, face every day,” she says. “This book is meant not only to entertain, but to enlighten and peak the readers’ curiosity about many topics and places.”

Richard (R.G.) Huxley grew up in Fairborn, Ohio. His paranormal crime novel, The Cleansing, follows former police detective Jack Angel, a man who could, at one time, literally feel and see a crime from the point of the victims. When three pastors go mad and try to cleanse themselves by fire right in front of their congregations, one survivor may hold the answer to the disappearance of Angel’s daughter, drawing him reluctantly back into his old life.

“The idea (for the book) came to me one day out of the blue,” Huxley explains. “I remember sitting at my desk and watching a trailer online and it showed this guy walking around the woods and he was engulfed in flames. He wasn’t fighting the blaze and I wondered what if he set the fire himself?”

Excerpts from the books are available from each of the authors’ respective websites, http://www.sharktoothandhammer.com and http://www.rghuxley.com. Visitors to the signing and store anniversary event will receive special pricing, autographs, photo opportunities with the authors and more. For detailed information visit http://www.chaptersprelovedbooks.com or call (513) 934-BOOK (2665).

 

Political Autobiographies: Style Lacking Substance

In Entertainment, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, State News on August 29, 2011 at 10:24 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

Between Joe Biden’s spray-on tan and Michele Bachmann’s fashion faux pas, the political stage has never been graced by such a ridiculous cast of insubstantial people. It’s amazing how many people of lackluster quality can gain the attention of so many Americans.

As the kings and queens of shameless self-promotion, each one spends most of his or her time in front of a camera criticizing the other guys for doing the same thing. Of course, that’s part of their job, but running for the highest office in the land should depend more on substance than style. Sadly, however, that’s just not how it works on modern politics. Today it’s all about marketing.

Getting the word out to the mush-brained masses requires use of every media trick in the book, old and new. All those 2012 Republican nomination hopefuls are jetting around the country doing television interviews and giving stump speeches in the hopes that they will be the next tenant at1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Seemingly in three places at once, these people maintain an almost inconceivable campaign schedule. One way to disseminate as much information as possible is by writing an autobiography.

Books are a great way to control what information is given out about a candidate, but they’re almost never written by the politician. When political heavyweights want to write a newspaper column or a book, they often use a ghost writer.

Ghost writers are authors who write material that is officially credited to someone else. The ghost writer does the research and develops the manuscript, sometimes with little or no  intervention on the part of the person whose name eventually ends up in the byline.

Some publishers will print only a limited run of political autobiographies to generate as much revenue as possible while the subjects are in the media headlights. With the help of reasonably good writers, political biographies can be interesting and informative, even though they’re just a 300-page brochure for the candidate. Unfortunately, there are times when the political figure has too much influence over a manuscript.

Here’s an example from Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue: An American Life. “I was sitting next to the stove, patching up little Gopher’s North Face jacket, when I got the call (to be John McCain’s running mate), and I figured, gosh-a-mighty, why not? Well, they scoot me down toDayton — and let me tell you, that place could use a new coat of paint…” And she goes on to say that theDayton reporters will, “Twist and turn my words so I look like an idjit.”

It gets worse from there. Did she actually use the word, idjit? Unless she was trying to get a part in a movie opposite Yosemite Sam, the reporters wouldn’t have needed to do much to make twist her words. In fact, it would take more effort to untwist them enough to understand exactly what it was she had said in the first place. Clearly, there are times when a ghost writer is not only an option, but a necessity.

Once released, political autobiographies have a short shelf life and quickly end up in the bargain rack.  Publishers do their best to cash in on these projects while there is still widespread demand for information.

Without question, there is a broad audience for this material and, at least initially, most of these books sell very well – some better than others. Barack Obama’s two books for example, Audacity of Hope (2006) and Dreams From My Father (1995), both of which he wrote before ascending to the presidency, have sold nearly a half-million copies.

In the past, a politician could only get a book published if he or she had made some significant contribution. Today, however, the trend seems to be in writing the book before ever doing anything and cashing in on 15 minutes of fame.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist based inJamestown. Read more at http://www.deerinheadlines.com.