Archive for January, 2013

A writer at work……

The thing about writing the book was that I wanted an air of authenticity. I wanted this book to be pensive, powerful, and real. No softening of the topics or stories, but the truth. A book that you could put down, walk away from, and think to yourself, “Whoa.”  A book that even after reading it, you are thinking about it for hours, even days.

After deciding the subject, I started to work on how to assemble it. Even though the meat of the book is interviewing and me listening, I wanted to interject who I was and let the reader get to know me. Again, I am a writer, and just asking questions and transposing them on paper isn’t exactly writing. So what I did was told stories of my childhood, raised in the ghetto around drug addicts, my experiences with drugs, and deciding when to put them down and escape possible addiction.

In addition my stories, I also added poems based on the chapters of the book. Sometimes before I would start working on a script, to sharpen myself up, I would write a poem. I looked at it like an exercise, or like a warm up. When I was in highschool taking creative writing with the Great Stan Banks, he would always have us do this, and I am happy to say I still use this practice to this day.

With the outline set, the only thing for me to do is: find the people to talk to! That would be a bit of a challenge. I can’t go up to an average stranger and ask them, “So, have you ever did coke or shot H?” I mean come on, who does that? So using the power of the web, I hit up Craigslist. Now, the average cat uses CL to look for apartments, cars, jobs, dates…  but I was looking for subjects. At first I put an ad up asking for people to speak with me regarding their experiences with drugs in exchange for $20, but that got expensive. So slowly but surely, the payment was reduced from 20 to 10 to 5, to just a cup of coffee and great conversation.  People were slow to respond, but I kept trucking until I was able to my first interview.

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It's Me!

I knew that I have always wanted to be a writer. Let me rewind for a sec. I first wanted to be a stuntman, race car driver, and then a writer. After finding out that stuntmen get hurt and the fact that I am not the best person behind the wheel (ask any of my friends), I focused my energies on putting my thoughts, opinions, and stories on paper. Writing has always been my fave thing in the entire world. I have always said that there is nothing more beautiful than a blank sheet of paper. All of the endless possibilities, what you can do, say… writing makes me feel alive, keeps me awake, allows me to explore any world, and create any world that I choose to see fit.

From creating my own comic books when I was younger, contributing to the school paper when I was a Junior and Senior, writing for a local punk ‘Zine (and almost getting kicked out of school – long story), composing poetry, and writing a couple of scripts, I was determined to write. But, as I was finding my voice and my style, I knew that the ultimate goal in my life was to write a book. Every artist, athlete, business person I knew, etc. has that one big goal, that “Holy Grail” that no matter what you do or accomplish, it will always be starring you in the face like, “Okay, when are we gonna get started bud?”

Now to keep it all the way live, I was very afraid to get started. I mean, “The Book” was intimidating. What would I write? What if it was terrible? And more and more questions that inundated my mind. But I knew that I had to get over the fear of it being terrible and just get going.

After throwing around ideas and seeing what I wanted to write about and say, I found a couple of concepts, put them down, and decided on my first project. My very first published work would consist of  interviews with drug addicts, dealers, teachers, parents, and other folks talking about drugs in America. Why that subject? Well it’s controversial, something that I know alot about, and it is a topic that immediately strikes up a discussion.

In creating the book, I didn’t want the interviews to be your standard, “Question then answer…,” so inspired by Studs Terkel and his classic books, I wrote it in a monologue format. When read, it seems as if the interviewee is just telling their story.

Straight Dope: 360 Degree Look into American Drug Culture

New book coming Feb 2013!!!!