Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Moustache Crisis?

I grew up with a very specific idea of what a "midlife crisis" was all about. First, only men had them. I don't know why, but women didn't have midlife crises. They were doomed to suffer quietly at home, burdened by the weight of children and their man-children husbands. They were never allowed the luxury of a good, obnoxious midlife crisis.

No, it was always men, and it was always a particular kind of crisis. It involved a sports car (usually a Corvette, God knows why). It involved a gold chain and open shirt. And invariably it involved a woman "half his age." So there you had him ... an aging, somewhat pathetic Lothario, driving around in his loud car with his medallion perched on his belly under the steering wheel, his bored and sexually frustrated wife/girlfriend in the passenger seat applying lipstick in the mirror and trying to keep her hair in place.

I don't know how this ended up becoming my image of a midlife crisis, but it did. Was it because I grew up in the '70s? Was it because I actually knew that guy? I don't know. Yes to all of the above.

I'm 39 now, which is crazy to think about, because I don't actually feel a day over about 23 or 24. Well, actually, when I was 23 and 24, I had a 1-year-old baby and two jobs and made about $11,000 a year, so maybe that's not the best age to idealize. Life was freaking hard, a lot harder than it is now. Maybe it's more like I don't feel a day over about 12.

The point is, my own midlife crisis has been in my mind more and more as I near 40, and I'm really curious what shape it will take. I wonder about it sometimes as I'm driving between the various places I drop my kids off. Will I decide to start growing hallucinogenic mushrooms in my laundry room? Will I try to learn Chinese or get into classical music? Mostly, though, I wonder: will I buy a sports car, get a chain and take up with a woman half my age? These images we form in childhood are hard to kill.

No, I don't think so. For one thing, I don't give a shit about cars. I really don't. In fact, I hate them. If I never had to drive again, I'd be happy. If I could live in a city with public transportation, I'd gladly never put my foot on an accelerator again. And as far as taking up with a woman half my age ... oh God no. She'd be 19 years old, and please spare me. Not only do I really and truly love my current wife, but I already went through being 19 and I have no desire to do it again. Lastly, I don't even like jewelry. I don't have a watch, much less have any desire for a gold chain.

If that midlife crisis is out, then what?

I've been working like mad lately—almost literally around the clock. Sadly, when I work like this, my showering habits become somewhat erratic. Let's say that maybe sometimes more than one day will go by before I drag my ass into a shower. And even on the days I do shower, my shaving habits are even more erratic. I've been known to grow almost a full beard from sheer laziness.

Tonight, though, after I showered, I went to shave and looked in the mirror, and I found myself thinking about the kind of man I pictured myself when I was little. I always pictured myself in a suit (which is really funny, considering my previously mentioned showering habits and the fact that I work from home), fabulously wealthy, and for some reason, distracted all the time. Staring at the mirror, I realized fully that I was NOTHING like that guy. I mean, yeah, I'm distracted much of the time, but that's about it. Otherwise, there's nothing about my life that resembles the life I once thought I would live. No suit. No fabulous wealth. I'm not even a Republican, which for some strange reason was also part of the picture.

So I shaved for the first time in a week, scraping away the residue of my own benevolent self-neglect, and I thought, "Maybe I'll grow some crazy ass facial hair." And I didn't shave my moustache. That's right. I left the 'stache. Now this might not seem like the biggest deal in the world to most people, but to me—a guy who's never had a moustache, but who still tells jokes about moustache rides—it was perhaps as close as I've gotten so far to thinking, "My God, I'm getting old. Where did half my life go already?"

My hope is that I'll have the guts to grow a full handlebar moustache. Because one other thing I've discovered about aging is that you care less and less what other people think ... and maybe that's what a good midlife crisis is really all about after all.

Friday, February 11, 2011

So this will be quick

Because that's about how much time I have right now.

When I decided to e-pub Zig Zephyr and the Forever Diamond, I figured it would be easy-peasy. The book was already done, after all, so it was just a matter of formatting it, getting it up online, and that was it. Ha ha. Foolish man.

Here's just a partial list of the things that have cropped up in the last week ...

1. Rewriting and tweaking the product blurb a zillion times.
2. Revamping my entire personal website to make it more Zig-friendly, which meant switching Internet registrars and hosting companies, taking down my old website, and beginning to rebuild the site from literally scratch. I finally got it to a point where I can BEGIN working on it but I can stand the thought of people seeing it. (I ultimately decided not make a separate page for the book, but fold it into my regular website).
3. Write a sell-sheet slash press release and begin compiling a list of places to send it.
4. Set up a personal Amazon page
5. Oh yeah, and regular work.

The funny thing is, I'm not resenting this sudden crush on my time. It's actually fun. The way I see it, I'm building an infrastructure, and it's kind of like putting up an apartment building. You want it to be nice, and then once it's built, I'll be on the hunt for people to live in it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

This Week ...

So this is the week. I've finished the editing and proofing, got a cover done, and got the book professionally formatted for Kindle and Epub (thanks to Natasha Fondren, who did a great job and thank you very much, Natasha).

It's funny, because I find myself getting more and more nervous. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I'm nervous—I am letting this book out into the wild, after all, and it's been cooped up for so long—but I am. It's like in my head, I know all the reasons I'm doing this, and they're good ones, but then part of me is like, "Are you sure? Really and truly sure?"

Yes. No. I dunno. Yes.

Anyway, I think the next thing that will have to happen—besides cajoling friends into reading and reviewing—is to figure out a way to sow the seeds of a MG e-book market. Somewhere out there, there are a lot of kids who should be reading this book. I've always felt that way, and now I have to best figure out how to reach them. Should I do a POD print version? Can I do that without getting an ISBN, which I'm not ready to do? Is there a mobile app that kids are using to read books? What is it? I'll be blogging more regularly, btw, as I try to find answers to all these questions and more ...

And while I'm working on ways to find my MG e-book market, I'm planning on getting as many crossover sales as possible by classifying the book on Amazon as a paranormal vampire erotica romance. Just kidding.

Unless you think it'd work, in which case I'm totally doing it.