06 October 2010

F*** The Rules

“Living by the rules is another way of hoping the future will be like the past.” - Adam Phillips

I didn't know who Adam Phillips was until I just now looked him up on Wikipedia, but I sure do like this quote. According to them: “He has been described as the 'Martin Amis of psychoanalysis' [?] ...and by John Banville as 'one of the finest prose stylists in the language, an Emerson [Lake and Palmer or Ralph Waldo?] of our time.' ” Hmm – seems like an interesting fellow, even though I don't have a clue who Martin Amis or John Banville are – something to look into.

The quote didn't persuade the publisher I sent a proposal to explaining why I was not following their rule that required all potential authors to purchase, read, and write a short review to prove that we had actually purchased and read one of the books that they publish before they would deign to consider the proposal.

I don't suppose my use of profanity impressed them, either – they were called D-Press, or something like that, so one would think they would not be stodgy. My little essay ended by noting how Jack Kerouac would never stand a chance of getting published in this day and age, with all the marketing analysis and crap that writers are required to submit to each potential publisher or agent. Since my book doesn't fit any established "genre," and I was being required to do so much of the work that one would think was the whole point of having an agent or publisher in the first place, I figured I might as well go all the way and publish the thing myself.

I bring the subject up because I am going to begin a series of articles enticing sales of my eBook by breaking all the rules and starting at the end. And this ties in with the profanity thing, too, as it is a quote by George Carlin, who tragically passed away right as I was finishing up the epilogue that I added upon finding more to say after I had written my final chapter. So – spoiler alert - here is the final passage of the book.
There is a certain amount of righteous indignation I hold for this culture, because to get back to the real root of it, to get broader about it, my opinion is that my species – and my culture in America specifically – have let me down and betrayed me. I think this species had great, great promise, with this great upper brain that we have, and I think we squandered it on God and Mammon. And I think this culture of ours has such promise, with the promise of real, true freedom, and then everyone has been shackled by ownership and possessions and acquisition and status and power. And perhaps it’s just a human weakness and an inevitable human story that these things happen. But there’s disillusionment and some discontent in me about it. I don’t consider myself a cynic. I think of myself as a skeptic and a realist. But I understand the word ‘cynic’ has more than one meaning, and I see how I could be seen as cynical. ‘George, you’re cynical.’ Well, you know, they say if you scratch a cynic you find a disappointed idealist. And perhaps the flame still flickers a little, you know?
In my bibliography, (just below the Table of Contents) I list the link to the interview from which this quote came. The question he was answering was about the anger that he projected on stage, and if he was an angry man, which is also a topic that I touch on in the book – anger, and the sadness that underlies it. The thing is, this quote sums up my feelings and, in fact, the tenor of my book, so very well. How interesting that, in choosing the first quote to introduce the second, I decided to check out who this person I was quoting was, to find this partial quote by him: “...we have been too successful at success and failure... in a culture so bewitched... by the idea of success.”

George Carlin
Photo by Flickr user
(Bonnie from Kendall Park, NJ, USA)
and used under a
Creative Commons licence

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