The summer before my freshman year of high school, I got a tremendous present for my birthday: an electronic typewriter. I have no idea what brand or model it might have been, but it was black, and slim and light and beautiful. I immediately set to work, cranking out short stories one after another. I wrote sitting at the desk in my bedroom. I wrote lying on my bed under the warm glow of an Itty-Bityy-Book-Light™ duct-taped to the back of the thing. When my parents yelled at me, saying that staying inside the house all summer was unhealthy and that I should be outside playing ball or riding my bike, I packed up the typewriter and two 50-foot extension cords and wrote at the far side of the backyard, shirt off so my skin would turn brown and my parents would be pleased with my healthy outside glow. (For the record, they saw through the ruse, but kept it mostly to themselves.)
Most of what I wrote went into a blue metal trunk in my bedroom. A page here, a paragraph there. Occasionally a full story would come together. These were micro-short stories at best -- basically plot synopsis masquerading as stories, but I didn't know any better. The first time I cracked 1000 words, I had a mini-celebration. All were either science-fiction or fantasy, most of the sci-fi was classical stuff (modeled after the Zelazny, Asimov and Bradbury I was devouring at the time). I bought a book on selling short stories, and started submitting them to sci-fi magazines. Over the next couple of years, the rejection letters started piling-up, and (though I maintain I was good for my tender years) rightly so. The summer before my senior year, my parents bought a Mac Classic, and I laboriously typed all of my worthwhile stuff into that dandy little box, retired the typewriter, and continued to plunk away.
Eventually I moved away from short stories to writing poetry and the brief beginnings of various novels. Eventually that turned into writing plays, then screenplays and essays, and, recently, a short story/novella. In the middle of all this, I became a freelance artist and graphic designer, an actor, a founding producer of a theater company, and, of course, the captain of many, many putty-colored cubicles in office buildings all over Minneapolis and Los Angeles. And, I've been the editor and primary contributor to Clark Schpiell Productions. But, in the back of my mind, I've still always wanted to write a book.
Now I have. Or, we have. Sort of. We and GWB: notes from the first four years is a collection of political essays from this very site, Clark Schpiell Productions, by me (David Nett), Jeremy Groce, Jeanette Scherrer, Joseph G. Carson (aka Jason Groce), Craig Bridger, Chad Schnaible, Rick Robinson, Michelle Magoffin and Eli Chartkoff.
Here's the deal: after the election last year, I was, well, a bit deflated. (I don't know if you remember, but we elected George Bush again. Seriously. Check out his blog -- he gloats like crazy about it.) My creative energies dispersed, and I was unsure what to do with myself. So I sat down and read through all of the political essays on CSP, from November of 2000 on, looking for some inspiration. What I found was an incredible story. What I found was a group of folks writing for a silly, mostly humorous website, who slowly woke up to a world that was falling apart. What I found was a group of essays each of which, on their own, highlighted increasingly alarming events in the ballooning horror which was the first George W. Bush administration. Taken together, in chronological order, they told a story of a country spinning out of control, and a group of regular people slowly coming to realize the consequences of our wrong-headed social and foreign policies. Plus, because these essays were written as the events unfolded, they are more immediate and more personal than any "look back over the last four years" would normally be, were it written after the fact. Reading these stories, you see not only our country's changing policies and our president's descent into madness, but also the changing feelings and opinions of the writers as the events unfold. It's a gripping story. And now it's a book, with commentary by me.
Check it out. It's available now through LuLu and Random Werewolf, and should be through Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in the next few weeks. And, it's awesome.
Now, I hafta go outside and play, before my Mom notices how pasty I've become.