I had something scheduled to post today – another round of answers to readers’ questions – but when I turned the lights off last night and did my regular bout of right-before-sleep brainstorming (which is where, along with in the shower before work, I have my best brainwaves), a new idea started to take shape. But don’t worry, the reader questions post will be here Monday sometime. SLEEP SOUNDLY, EAGER MASSES.
The seed was planted when someone I interact with semi-regularly in the course of my day-to-day life here in Augusta asked if I might be able to help them with a personal writing project they wanted to undertake. I was flattered to be considered and excited at the opportunity, and the more I thought about it the more I realized I wouldn’t mind doing an interview with the aforementioned person to really get some flesh on the bones of the story.
That concept then snowballed (no mean feat; it’s like 55 degrees here today) into an idea that I should expand on the barroom and grocery-store conversation snippets I have all the time and sit down with these people – old and young, Mainers and transplants – and do what everyone’s been doing to me: asking what my story is.
Because little by little, piece by piece, people that I run into are hearing the same old dreck from me, that I “had been out here a lot on vacation, decided in 2012 to do it permanently while I’m still young enough to get away with it if it doesn’t work out”. I just typed those words with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back, I’ve said them that often in the last four months. BORING. I’m not that interesting, guys. But it’s regrettably been fairly one-sided, in that I haven’t done enough to hear their stories. And Maine is the type of state that seems to attract a lot of people from other places, as well as a magnet for those who were born here, both factors of which make for some cool stories.
So enough with the foreshadowing. My intention, sometime after December this year, is to take whatever stories I can solicit from the people whose paths I’ve crossed with the quasi-essays and experiences from this blog, as well as hopefully some original content that doesn’t make the blog for various reasons, and compile them into a book that I’ll self-publish in some way, shape or form. I’ll probably try to pitch it to someone, if only because you can’t win if you don’t play, but I don’t have any expectation that it would be marketable enough to get picked up.
Only some of the readers who know me personally would know that after my first trip to the US in 2008, a seven-week odyssey of booze and karaoke (and HOW SURPRISING, some actual self-discovery), I wrote an 80,000-word journal over the next two years. I got the draft copy finished on the second anniversary of that trip, and shortly after I had it printed in hardcover as a memento that I’ll always treasure…even if I didn’t bring it here with me. Damnit.
On every subsequent vacation I’ve taken to the US, I’ve endeavored to record it in similar fashion, even to the point of filling notebooks with key moments and thought processes on long nights ponied up at the bar or waiting for a delayed flight, but no finished product has ever emerged. I’m fine with that – the more I visited, the more comfortable I felt here and the less I felt the need to document every shiny little thing I witnessed. Instead, I’ve just carried the memories with me in my head rather than in print.
But this time around it’s different. This isn’t a vacation, it’s a totally new story – a new volume of my life, if you want to get real corny about it. I think this warrants something to memorialize it, if only for my own bookshelf (but hey, if you want to put in a pre-order, I’ll gladly take your money.)
It probably reeks of overconfidence or arrogance that I’m even announcing this, but my actual intention is to put it out there so I’m totally accountable. It’s one thing to think in my head, “oh hey I should do this,” and then have the plan disappear like the proverbial fart in the wind. But now that I’ve told all six of my readers that I intend to do it, there’s more than just my own late-night musings at stake. Now that it’s out there, I’ve got something to focus on. And, truth be told, I’m a man of my word and I hate the idea of going back on something. So now I’ve got that motivation too.
If you’re a Mainer reading this – former, current or future – and you’d like to share your story with me, get in touch! You may just see your name in print early next year. Or not, who knows. Suspense is fun though.