Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Are Book Readings an Effective Marketing Strategy?

I gave a talk last week at Brooklyn College on How to Pull an All-Nighter When You Don't Have To. The talk was about how a number of overachievers like Tesla, Freud, and Balzac didn't restrict their all-nighters like many college students to their university years, but they pulled all-nighters on a regulars basis throughout their careers to maximize the amount of time they devoted to working on their passions.

After a couple of years of doing marketing for my books, I'm not sure that giving readings and talks are good for book sales, which may be the reason why Frederick Seidel never gives readings of his poetry. I even suspect that some authors give readings for pretentious reasons. For example, so they can say things like, "I have reading tonight at _____." or "I just wrapped up my book tour. I went to ___ different cities!"

I may give one more reading at a nearby university - only because I'm passionate about sharing my knowledge of the topic; however, I'm skeptical about the talk's significance on book sales. It may be better to spend those few hours working on the next book or a blog post, which definitely has a positive effect on book sales.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ephebophile Poets and Novelists

I wrote in The Allure of Nymphets and on The Allure of Nymphets' blog that according to Wyatt Mason of the New York Times, a favorite subject of poets for centuries has been man’s attraction to beautiful young women i.e, nymphets. For example, past poets Dante, Petrarch, John Donne and Poe and contemporary poets Frederick Seidel and Charles Bukowski all wrote about nymphets and/or were in age-discrepant relationships. 

And a number of famous novelists are no different. For example, Leo Tolstoy, Franz Kafka, Charles DickensErnest Hemingway, Philip Roth and  J.D. Salinger wrote books with an ephebophile protagonist and/or the authors were in age-discrepant relationships. 

Let's combine the two by looking at a poem about an ephebophile author. 

In a clean, well-lighted place by Charles Bukowski 

the old fart [Ernest Hemingway]. he used his literary reputation

to reel them in one at a time,
each younger than the last.

he liked to meet them for luncheon and
and he’d talk and listen to them
whatever wife or girlfriend he had at the moment
was made to
understand that this sort of thing made him
“young again.”
the young ladies vied to bed down with

in between, he continued to write,
late at night in his favorite bar
liked to talk about writing and his amorous
actually, he was just a drunk
who liked young ladies,
writing itself,
and talking about writing.
wasn't a bad life.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Malcolm Gladwell @ the Union Square Barnes & Noble

After reading Nassim Taleb's post on Facebook about how, "... many many social "scientists" are much worse..." than Gladwell and having read Christopher F. Chabris' Wall Street Journal review of Gladwell's David and Goliath, I was hesitant about going to hear Gladwell speak at the Union Square Barnes & Noble last Thursday night.  However, I'm happy that I went.

Gladwell opened by mentioning that three people came to his very first book signing, and was pleasantly surprised to see such a large crowd awaiting his arrival. I was roped off and segregated with a crowd of people who didn't have a book to be signed behind a larger crowd of people who had hardcovers. (One consequence of the proliferation of ebooks is that a number of them can be downloaded for free. For example, the torrent for the ebook and audio book for David and Goliath is on the Internet.)

After giving the example of the Viet Cong, Gladwell summarized David and Goliath by saying that what is in one's heart is the most important element in winning a battle or overcoming an obstacle i.e., a Goliath. 

Lastly, Gladwell said that a representative from the toothpaste division of Procter & Gamble shared with him that despite the fact that Arm & Hammer's toothpaste is inferior to Procter & Gamble's Crest, people purchase Arm & Hammer's toothpaste because they associate baking soda with a clean kitchen and cleanliness in general. Gladwell went on to say that that false association may be the topic of his next book. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

PHILIP GOES FORTH @ the Mint Theater

After seeing the controversial Balthus exhibits last weekend at the Gagosian and the MET, I saw George Kelly's inspiring Philip Goes Forth yesterday at the Mint theater. The play is about Philip, an aspiring playwright, who wants to move to New York City to write plays; however, Philip's father wants him to continue working in the family business.The question becomes, does Philip really want to write plays for the rest of his life or does he only desire to defy his father. 

George Kelly makes it clear that if an aspiring artist isn't sincere, then he or she won't be able to endure the arduous process of writing for hours, editing for more hours, fielding rejections, etc. And that if the "artist" finds more pleasure in eating than working on his creative project, then he probably won't "make it" in the Big Apple. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Great Men Never Stop Working [Writing]

On a recommendation from a review that I read in an issue of Vanity Fair, I downloaded an e-copy of Mason Currey's Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Curry shared that V.S. Pritchett wrote, "Sooner or later the great men turn out to be all alike. They never stop working. They never lose a minute. It is very depressing."

That passage reminded me about the time I went to dinner some years back at the Burger Joint in the Le Parker Meridien hotel in mid-town Manhattan with a New York Times bestselling author who also happened to be an Ivy League graduate and a professor at a prestigious university on the west coast. As I was standing in line ordering our charbroiled burgers (The professor didn't have cheese.), I noticed that after he briefly surveyed the bustling establishment, he pulled out a novel and boldly began reading in the bustling restaurant.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

High-Brow eShort_Stories

I recently did a post on the Allure of Nymphets blog about the short story "Down in the Reeds by the River" by Victoria Lincoln that appeared in the September 28, 1946 issue of the The New Yorker. The story is about Connie, a 14-year-old red-head, who is infatuated and shared a romantic moment with Mr. deRocca, a fit approximately 50-year-old carpenter from Italy.

Lincoln's piece reminded me that a story can be considered high-brow or low-brow depending on the magazine it's published in. For example, if her story were written by a male and published in Hefner's Playboy, it may have been considered to be bordering on child pornography

On a lighter note, I would like to share that android tablets are great for downloading "books" or short stories that you want to read in an emergency or as soon as possible. For example, within minutes, I was able to prepare for future blog posts by downloading (for free) Chekhov's "Anna on the Neck", Gorky's "Twenty-six Men and a Girl", and de Maupassant's "Virtue in the Ballet". Otherwise, I would have had to pay and wait at least two days with my Amazon Prime.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Avoid Writers' Workshops?

I picked up an issue of Vice at the American Apparel on 29th and 7th in Manhattan. It was The Fiction Issue, and the first article I read was A TEACHER AND HER STUDENT by Thessaly La Force. 

I assumed that the article was about a teacher-student affair, but it's about when Marilynne Robinson, the author of Gilead, was Thessaly's: "[...] fourth and final workshop instructor at the Iowa Writers' Workshop."

Despite the fact that Thessaly attended a prestigious writers' workshop and was a student of an author who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction,  Thessaly confirmed my suspicion about the effectiveness of writers' workshops. She wrote: 
"After receiving my MFA this May, I left Iowa believing that there's no good way to be taught how to write, to tell a story."
Thus, it appears that Jon Winokur's tweet was accurate where it was advised to writers:
"You will learn...more...from reading good literature than you will ever acquire from workshops and how-to books…”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Creative Project, Friends, or Sleep

According to a New York magazine article, former Stuyvesant principal Teitel used to tell incoming freshmen, "Grades [i.e. any creative project.], friends, and sleep—choose two." 

Proust, Royal and I would say, "Choose one."

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I'm almost done reading Henri Murger's The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter  (The ebook can be downloaded for free from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.) and I was fortunate to find a copy of Les Bohos (1926) on YouTubeLes Bohos was "suggested" by The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter. They are both based on the lives of poor artists who struggle together to succeed in Paris. 

Here are some screenshots from the opening of the movie:

Radolph, The Playwright

Marcel, The Painter

One of my favorite characters in the novel is Gustave Colline who:

 "... was a philosopher by profession, and got his living giving lessons in rhetoric, mathematics ...What little money he picked up by this profession was spent in buying books. His hazel-colored coat was known to all the stall-keepers on the quay from the Pont de la Concorde to th Pont Saint Michel...when he came home at night without bringing a musty quarto with him, he would repeat the saying of Titus, 'I have lost a day.'"

Gustave's hazel-colored overcoat was "... thread-bare and rough as a grater; from its yawning pockets peeped bundles of manuscripts and pamphlets  The enjoyment of his sour-crout ... did not prevent him from continuing to read an old book open before him, in which he made marginal notes from time to time with a pencil that he carried behind his ear."

If you are an artist and are in need any inspiration, I would recommend Les Bohos and The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter.

Monday, May 27, 2013

You Need One Person to Believe in You

Mickey Royal wrote, "You can become something as long as one person believes [in] you." 
I ask, "Who is the most important person that you need to believe in you? Yourself."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Henry Miller on Writers, Writing and Artists

I recently did a post on The Allure of Nymphet's blog about author and famous ephebophile Henry Miller and his writings on nymphets and age-discrepant relationships. In addition, he has some gems in his novels about writing, writers and artists. The excerpts below are taken from Miller's Sexus.
"It's much better to be preoccupied with wonderful ideas than with the next meal, or rent,or a pair of shoes. Of course when you get to the point where you must eat, and you haven't anything to eat, then to eat becomes an obsession. But the difference between an artist and the ordinary individual is that when the artist does get a meal he immediately falls back into his own limitless world, and while he's in that world he's a king, whereas your ordinary duffer is just a filling station with nothing in between but dust and smoke."

 "'You've got to eat, haven't you?'...I observed that the men who were most in life, who were molding life, who were life itself, ate little, slept little, owned little or nothing. They had no illusions about duty, or the perpetuation of their kith and kin, or the preservation of the State. They were interested in truth and truth alone. They recognized only one kind of activity-creation."

"But Arthur Raymond had absolutely no regard for time; when he was interested in a subject he thought nothing of food, sleep or sex."

 "A painter can knock out a half dozen paintings in a year-so I'm told. But a writer-why sometimes it takes him ten years to do a book, and if it's good, as I say, it takes another teen years to find a publisher for it, and after that you've got to allow fifteen to twenty years before it's recognized by the public. It's almost a lifetime-for one book, mind you. How's he going to live meanwhile? Well, he lives like a dog usually. A panhandler leads a royal life by comparison. Nobody would undertake a career if he know what lay in store for him."

"There was another thing I heartily disbelieved in-work. Work, it seemed to me even at the threshold of life, is an activity reserved for the dullard. It is the very opposite of creation, which is play, and which just because it has not raison d'etre other than itself is the supreme motivating..."

"...they had of their own pledged themselves to give all. They gave gratuitously, because it is the only way to give. This was the way of life which appealed to me; it made sound sense. It was life-not the simulacrum which those about me worshiped."

"I want to start a new life with you. Let's go away from all these people! And I want you to quit that awful job. I'll find a place where you can write. You won't need to earn any money. I'll soon be making lots of money. You can have anything you want. I'll get all the books you want to read....Maybe you'll write a play..."
While I was re-reading the above excerpts I couldn't help but think about artists (i.e. writers, poets, painters, etc,) like James Franco and Nabokov. In a New York magazine profile that I wrote about in a previous post, Franco's assistant shared that Franco doesn't eat unless she, literally, puts food in front of him, and, like Tesla, Franco sleeps about four hours per night. Furthermore, Nabokov was so consumed with his translation of Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse that he worked on it for over seventeen hours per day. And what writer doesn't dream about being freed from his day job?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

For Nonfiction Writers: Writing is Like Cracking a Safe.

Rich Cohen, an award winning non-fiction writer, shared the following in a Vanity Fair article about his effort to ghostwrite a book for Theodore Forstmann. 
"Writing a nonfiction story is like cracking a safe. It seems impossible at the beginning, but once you're in, you're in." 
And that is exactly what I experienced while writing the 2nd edition of The Allure of Nymphets. The 1st edition is approximately 180 pages, in size 10 font and 1.5 spaced. (The choices were partially made as a marketing strategy for the paperback edition.). Due to a deluge of very relevant and engaging information, the 2nd edition is approaching 400 pages.

Thus, I would concur with Cohen. As a nonfiction writer you shouldn't hesitate to write a book based on a fear that you will not have enough information, because you'll probably have too much information to choose from once you've cracked the safe. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I've been so busy putting some of the "final" touches on the paperback version of the new book and posting on the new blog that I haven't taken out any time to visit any museums, see any plays, etc. That was until yesterday when I visited the Larry Clark Stuff exhibit at Milk Studios in Chelsea and I saw, for free, the Philip Roth: Unmasked documentary at the Film Forum

I wrote about Larry Clark and Philip Roth in The Allure of Nymphetsbecause both of them are clearly ephebophiles. And it appeared from the exhibit and the documentary that both Clark and  Roth have taken advantage of the fact that sex sells. Although, it seems that their works were done out of passion and not out of insincerity. 

Philip Roth said something in the documentary that every new writer needs to know, which is that one cannot write out of thin air. One has to take from experiences and observations and embellish them. I was surprised that, like me, Roth discovered that principle on his own and wasn't taught it in school or by another writer. 


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Nabokov Museum Vandalized

The Nabokov Museum in St. Petersburg was recently vandalized by the ultraconservative St. Petersburg Cossacks for promoting pedophilia. Although Lolita could have been more moral (e.g. Humbert could have tried to (illegally) marry 12-year-old Lola), the novel doesn't appear to promote pedophilia, but it does exemplify the allure of nymphets.  

Ironically, if Nabakov would have written the novel approximately 50 years earlier (Lolita was published in 1955.) or even made the setting in the late 1800s, Lola would have been of legal age, because the age-of-consent in most states was 10 before the turn of the 20th century.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The ELECTION and the ELECTION within 12 Hours

I accomplished something today, I believe, very few modern humans have been able to accomplish. I read an entire novel and watched the movie the novel was adapted from within 12 hours. The novel is Election by Tom Perrotta and the movie is, unsurprisingly titled, Election (1999), and stars Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. For a full review and analysis of the novel and movie refer to my new blog.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

POETS & WRITERS Recognition

As I work on the final stages of my second book, The Allure of Nymphets/From Emperor Augustus to Charlie Chaplin/Man's Fascination with Young Women, I've been recognized by Poets & Writers magazine as a member of the literary community and a professional writer; thus, I'm privy to a discount rate on a subscription to the bi-monthly periodical. I normally read the magazine at the Barnes & Noble on 86th and Lexington, but due to the Poets & Writers' amazing marketing strategy I'm going to subscribe.