Tuesday, November 27

3 Days Until Doomsday.

65 Poor Life Decisions - 3 Days.

In May of this year, me and the Missus had a deep and meaningful discussion (ie: fight) about my creative priorities, or lack thereof. At the time, I had ten different ideas for things that I wanted to pursue creatively (book, short film, pro wrestling manager with spangled vest, etc), which caused me to prematurely overwhelm myself into doing absolutely nothing. To this day, I always find it interesting that the more good ideas I have, the less that I want to do any of them.

The Missus was sick of it, and rightfully so. She knew all about my obsessive, bipolar state of mind, and did what she could to get me back on track. She was probably getting tired of my moping, ruining of parties and utter refusal to wear pants, too. I don't blame her. Having a reclusive, irritable jackass writer for a husband is hell, and having an untalented one to boot must be sheer torture.

"Just pick the idea that's the most important to you, and go with it" she said. "Never mind all the other stuff. Prioritize, bitch!"

It was good advice. Typically, I'm the one dishing out homespun wisdom to her, but this resonated with me, and I took it to heart. I instantly knew that writing a book was the one thing I've wanted to do since launching the CDP in 2004, and I needed to free myself of distractions and throw myself into it. The Missus is a skeptic when it comes to people changing their lives and mindsets based on a few clever sayings and self-promises, but I'm a goal-driven guy that's lived by that doctrine for a quarter of a century, now. Put me and Tony Robbins together in a steel cage, and there'd be nothing left of that waxy fruit but a busted headset and a handful of bloody, glistening teeth.

So, I went for it. I shut the CDP down for an entire month and went about compiling the best essays from the vast archives of the Communist Dance Party. Quickly, I realized that it would have been a lot easier to just write an entirely new book; the copy/paste excursion was almost too much monotony and pain to bear. It was like having to watch home movies of yourself at your most awkward and annoying, and being forced to memorize every line of dialogue. For someone who's happiest when writing something new, getting stuck pouring over old stuff was akin to drowning in molasses. I felt like I was going nowhere, and I was all sticky for some reason.

For 30 days, I sifted through 600 essays and over 1800 pages of past material. There were classic stories, some hidden gems, a lot of filler and a few pieces of undeniable, irrevocable crap. It was up to me to pick what worked, make it better and pitch the rest. The goal was to take the best of the CDP and make it better; polish everything up, re-write passages and perfect each essay to resemble exactly what I was trying to convey. I was drinking whiskey and listening to the Smiths almost every night, as you would assume.

May turned into June, which turned into July. I had narrowed my compilation down to approximately 75 essays and 350 pages. Finally, this pile of text was starting to halfway-resemble an actual book. What I had forgotten was the old '80/20 Rule,' which states that 80% of the work takes 20% of the time, and vice-versa. I may have knocked out a tremendous amount of tasks in a very short time, but my progress was about to come screeching to a vile, disgusting halt known as 'editing.'

In short, editing is like sitting on a throne made of thumbtacks and gasoline, while every mistake that you've ever made in your life parades by, spits in your face and reminds you of how much you suck at living. Finally, when you think it's all over, the last failure in line tosses the lit match. Some of my older essays were barely coherent. Chock-full of spelling and grammatical errors, I was shocked at how much better I had gotten at hiding my lack of formal English training. I be much better pen ink man than before I write book.

But I pushed through, reading and re-reading every essay until they no longer held any meaning to me. Just a mass of letters and punctuation. Editing was like stretching out a Slinky until it lost its elasticity; it was broken and sad, and I could no longer see it for what it was worth anymore. And don't even think about trying to make it walk down the stairs.

Time to delegate.

I took my 75 pristine essays and 350 glorious pages, ran off a mound of copies and sent drafts to my closest friends and loved ones. They were instructed to correct every mistake, voice every opinion and destroy me with their constructive criticism. They were the voice of the public; the masses that would eventually decide if my book was worth buying. By this time, it was October, and I had already missed my initial release date of late September.

For one month, they secretly clutched their copies of the draft, circling and crossing things out in red pen, making little notes in the margins and keeping track of essays that they didn't think were funny. I wasn't looking for an ego-stroking; I desperately needed to know everything that was still wrong with my book. And boy, did they deliver. I took it like a man, though. I listened to everything that everyone said, did several more edits of the book (with the Missus coming through for me once I snapped and threw the book in the garbage twice) and come November 1, had the final draft that you will be hopefully purchasing in just a few short days.

In short, the book looks beautiful. 75 essays were cut to 65 of the best, and trimmed to a perfect 298 pages of goodness. Everything has been punched up, new introductions have been written for every essay, forewords and afterwords are all-new, the cover looks great and most importantly of all, it's a long-term goal accomplished. Even if you've read everything I've ever written in the last four years, it's completely worth your time, and it'll ship before Christmas!

For the first time in this journey, the publishing process was officially out of my hands. I had done everything I could do with it on my own; I designed the cover, threw a ton of money into self-publishing fees and sent it off to the printing press. For the next few weeks, I had to wait for the US Government and the fine folks at Lulu.com to make sure that everything met the criteria for self-publishing rights and distribution. I guess they don't want something available through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble that's terrible, but if you've been to either retailer lately, they clearly haven't been doing a very good job of keeping the turds out.

I'm a DIY guy. Punk rock. We used to silk-screen our own t-shirts. Burn our own CDs. Handle our own mailorder. Hell, we once cut up Ben's K-Mart vest to make patches before a show. This is an aesthetic that I carry with me to this day. The less people that are involved, the less perverted the project will get, and the better the chances are that it will be done right. Now that I was forced to shove my thumb up my ass while a faceless corporation decided the fate of my book, I wasn't happy. Of course, I hadn't been too happy throughout this entire process.

Everything worked out, however, and on November 30, you'll be able to purchase 65 Poor Life Decisions through Lulu.com, like you would anything else on the Interweb. But because I didn't like the impersonal feel of it all, I also made sure it were possible to mailorder books directly through CDP World Headquarters. It's the DIY attitude; I just can't shake it.

So, if you want to, you'll also be able to purchase 65 Poor Life Decisions through me. Where the online retail price will be $15.95, you can go through me for $21, which includes the following:

A copy of the book.
Shipping to anywhere in the nation.
Autographed/personalized/hand-numbered books.
Free CDP merch with every purchase.

So yeah, it's a sweet deal, and a little incentive to order through me. Again though, direct ordering through Lulu is safe, secure and a little less messy. You'll get more through me, though.

I'm accepting money orders or well-concealed cash (at your own risk, I won't be responsible if it never makes it to me), and purchased a PO Box specifically for this reason. Just the money, a return address and any names you want me to make the book(s) out to:

theCDP.
PO Box 865
Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Of course, any specific questions can go through me, and we'll cover this more extensively as the days get closer. When it comes to ordering, all you really need to remember is:

1. Lulu.com.
Or
2. TheCDP.net

I'll have all the links set up for you on Friday, Scout's honor.

Please sound off in the comments section with any questions, comments or concerns you might have. You can always e-mail me at communistdance@yahoo.com with any questions, as well. I've done everything I could do to write a decent book that was super-easy to buy, so do not hesitate to ask me a question if you're hung up about something.

Thank you very much.

Comments:
Today is the Missus' 24th birthday. Please wish her well if you get the chance today. I'd be dead in a gutter without her.
 
Happy Birthday, thanks for putting up with my kid.
 
HAppy Birthday!

I will probably go ahead and mail off payment today or tomorrow, depending on my schedule.
 
Happy Birthday, thanks for putting up with my kid.

He's pretty okay sometimes :)
 
Thanks, JT! Yeah, if you know for a fact that you want to order directly through me, go ahead and start sending. I'm ready for you.
 
It's gonna be fun to check the PO Box.
 
I am SO excited. Almost as much as I was when I was waiting for Halo 3 to be released. I'm sending some well-concealed cash out today or tomorrow, fer sure.
 
P.S.- Happy birthday, CZ.
 
Thanks a lot, Cargirl! While I can't guarantee that the book is more exciting than Halo 3, I can promise it won't cost you $55. Be careful with the well-concealed cash; we've seen how well that goes between Madison and Chicago.
 
Yeah, for sure. My suggestion is to use security envelopes for sure, and either conceal it between some cardstock or a nicely folded 8 x 10 sheet of thick paper. And definitely no change :)
 
P.S.- Happy birthday, CZ

Gracias, Senorita!
 
I prefer all of my cash to be wedged inside of a handwritten love note, if at all possible.
 
Will you be setting up a PayPal option for payment? I don't have stamps and I never go to the post office.
 
Also, to quote you "In May of this year, me and the Missus had a deep and meaningful discussion (ie: fight) about my creative priorities, or lack thereof."

We have this discussion all the time. Now I have to write a book. Thanks for making my life difficult.
 
Sorry Will, no PayPal. I felt that they took too much money away from buyers off the top, which is bunk. I didn't like the idea of a third party getting in the way of you and my book, especially when they had nothing to do with the publishing of it.

Getting the book is simple through Lulu, but it'll be getting the package deal that might pose some problems for Mr. No Stamps.
 
Sorry to keep pooping on the parade, Will.

I mean, the Missus knows that I'm always pulling my hair out over one creative project or another, so she wanted to get my ass on a linear plane towards accomplishment, or something like that. It was going to happen eventually, I just needed to hear it out loud from someone else.

Your book would be great. I don't consider myself a trendsetter or beacon by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it would be really cool to have fellow bloggers look at what I'm doing and realize that they could do it too, and maybe a whole lot better.
 
As an employee of the USPS I have to say that sending money through the mail isn't the best idea especially since the exact location of its destination has been published in this post. The chances of the money disappearing is rare, but it does happen.

Also, as far as never going to the Post Office, you can order stamps by mail. We will also pick up your parcel for free because we are cool like that.

If that doesn't help, they usually sell stamps at grocery stores and convenience stores.

I hope this helps.
 
PayPal is PoopPal when it comes to stealing your money. You have to pay if you don't want them to take a cut, so all online ordering will be done directly through LuLu.
 
I think you should totally have a book release party in Madison so that I don't have to spend 41 cents to mail you my well concealed money for the book, nor would I then have to wait to receive said book. I am cheap and impatient!

Also, birthday wishes all around!
 
Tamazaz, hathery, CDP - You are all correct about paypal and shipping and I hate that. I just want to do everything with as little effort as possible.
 
Then I reckon ordering through Lulu will be your best bet :)
 
"Tamazaz"...that's awesome.
 
TAMAZAZZ - Thanks for that information. The Postal Service rocks!

WILL - If easy is what you're looking for, it's all about online ordering through Lulu. If you want all the bells and whistles of the mailorder package, you have to compromise slightly. Hey, as long as you're ordering a copy, I don't care what you do. You're awesome for even considering it.

HATHERY - I think we considered PayPal for about two seconds before we moved on without it, right? I like it because people donate money through there, but for a project like this, it's nothing but a third wheel.

JULIA - There are very faint talks of a Madison release party, but I'm not holding my breath. Honestly though, we should just get together for a drink and I can give you the book then.

It's instant gratification, and it'll only cost you $15.95 because there will be no shipping. You get the best of both worlds!

If an 'official' release party does come into play, however, you'll be the first to know.
 
I believe the idea of a release party where no one shows up, the CDP sitting with an untouched stack of books and the balloons and streamers slowly sagging in the background, is what keeps us from seriously considering it.
 
Aw, that's just about the saddest image ever.

I could claim that I would bring the party, but that's only if you get me drunk and then crank up the MJ. And even then, that would mostly just involve me dancing around like a crazy person while everyone else points and laughs. Oh wait, that was my birthday this year. Never mind.

I'd be down for the drinks/book exchange though.
 
Yeah, I try not to be too effected by failure, but I'd seriously have to kill myself if I threw a release party that nobody came to. I don't think I have to clout for that at this point in my career.

Julia, consider it settled. We'll find an hour or two within the next week where we can meet up and chat. I so rarely get to do it, with the bulk of my readers out of state, coupled with my crippling social anxiety. We'll keep in touch.
 
Happy Birthday Mz. CDP

A Limited Edition Billy Joel sings Bruce Springsteen's Greatest hits albumn is on the way and should reach

PO Box 865
Sun Prairie, WI 53590
at 3pm Nov 28, 2007

I hope that posting that information will be okay. I don't want anyone to steal it. I'll disguise it by writing CANDY on the box in big black letters. That should do it.
 
I fully expect to receive some weird things now that I've gone public with the PO Box. Hopefully, most of it will be money, though.
 
A few things:

1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY HATHERY!

2. I love that you actually DID something about the conversation. Those conversations are difficult enough to have, but to actually have something come out of it is impressive.

3. I have been talking about doing this forever with the slack. Now that goes back to Nineteen-Ninety-Freaking-Seven. You want to talk about embarrassing? I may have to pick your brain about the details of such an endeavor.

4. Thank you for shaming my husband into thinking about talking about writing his book. Baby steps. ;)

5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY HATHERY!

Off to picket. Down with the man!

xo
sm
 
I'll be sending those nude photos of Ted Danson to the PO Box.
 
Hopefully. You never know though. Your enemies always have a hookup at the post office (not trying to suggest anything, tamazazz), and will find out thngs about you in the P.O. box computer info system.
 
P.S.- Will, Ted will be having fun with the nude photos I collect and will be sending of Jane Fonda (circa the 70's, of course).
 
I'll be sending those nude photos of Ted Danson to the PO Box.

Will, why do you so desperately want me to kick your ass?
 
Wow, I got TWO Happy birthday's from the Slackmistress...it almost makes up for her husband teasing me on my special, special day.
 
A Limited Edition Billy Joel sings Bruce Springsteen's Greatest hits albumn is on the way and should reach

PO Box 865
Sun Prairie, WI 53590
at 3pm Nov 28, 2007


I'd make a copy for Will, But I'm sure he already has it. AH HA HA HA!
 
SLACKMISTRESS - Damn the man! Damn Carson Daly! The entire CDP Network is behind you.

The Missus doesn't believe that someone can wake up one morning and completely re-prioritize his or her life for the better. Every now and then, I have to prove her wrong. It's such a rare moment, I have to pounce on it, even if it means the hardest project of my life.

I will honestly answer any more questions you have about the 'Self-Publishing Your Blog Essays' endeavor. You know how it is; you look at your work over and over until you're convinced it's crap and should be thrown away. Repeat until suicidal. Publish. Profit.

Like I said, if this book makes any other readers realize that it's within reach to publish their work, that's rad to me. DO IT!

WILL/HATHERY - This is my favorite feud since Mick Foley took on Ric Flair in an 'I Quit' match at Summerslam 2006.

CARGIRL - When I bought my PO box, the guy at the desk was trying to divert ALL of my mail through it. I hope that I explained to him enough times that I wasn't moving out of my house. I'm assuming that there are a ton of bills sitting in that box right now; I'll check on it tonight.

1970's Jane Fonda...mmmmm...traitorous...
 
1970's Jane Fonda...mmmmm...traitorous...


You are awesome.
 
WILL/HATHERY - This is my favorite feud since Mick Foley took on Ric Flair in an 'I Quit' match at Summerslam 2006.

You get no rematch, BeTheBoy!
 
Thanks, Blustacon. I try to inform and educate, as well as entertain.
 
CDP- ...and you do it all while writing a book and having priorities. Is there anything you can't do, besides 1970's Jane Fonda?
 
Is there anything you can't do, besides 1970's Jane Fonda?

I'll tell you one thing he can't do...he simply cannot embrace the inner hedgehog within. To this day, he refuses to hold tender Laika in his hands.
 
Cargirl, I try to take the creativity of ADD and combine it with the focus of OCD. It usually never works, but hey, my house is always clean!

I wouldn't do 70's Fonda if you paid me. 70's Kate Jackson, however, is a completely different story. Lulz.

I'm not holding that hog! Never! NEVER!!!
 
Hathery - It is ON, we are officially at war.
 
ooooh! Can I be a neutral onlooker like Switzerland? I'll be happy to safely secure any spoils of war you steal from each other.
 
Ooh, ooh, ooooh! If blustacon gets to be Swiss, I want to be Canada.
 
I'll tell you one thing he can't do...he simply cannot embrace the inner hedgehog within. To this day, he refuses to hold tender Laika in his hands.

That poor hedgehog...CDP, if you don't care for it now, it'll grow up and be a comedian with daddy issues. It's your choice.
 
That hog will be raised the same way I was, and she'll be a better person because of it. My dad was vacant, and I turned out just fine.

Anyone got any meth?

Cargirl, I'm always Canada, but we can both share, like Canadians!
 
WISCONSIN vs. DUKE. Right now. Seriously. First time ever.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
Do I have to write a book now? I really don't want to.
 
Buying my book will suffice.

Welcome aboard, by the way! Don't be a stranger!
 
Hathery - It is ON, we are officially at war.

Big mistake, buddy. Big mistake.
 

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