Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Indecision when? Indecision NOW, motherfuckers.

I wrote a book.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for the author of a book about indecision, my feelings regarding this are...complex.

- I've toured my material to the other side of the globe. I've managed teams of 30+ people in my ensemble shows. I've stared down hecklers and hostile audiences for my entire adult life. But as someone who grew up a geeky bibliophile, holding less than a pound of paper in my hands somehow feels like more of a real accomplishment to me than everything else.

- It also feels strange to regard these 140 pages of dick jokes as an accomplishment, in light of the sheer volume of what I produce on a regular basis. I'm a prolific writer/performer, and I'm confident that -- in terms of at least quantity -- I've written dozens of books over the years. Moreover, that's material that's been through the live-fire forge of strangers' apathy and enmity for over a decade.

- While I view having audience-honed material as my greatest advantage as an inaugural author, I also think it's important not to overestimate its value. What works on the stage can't simply be transcribed onto the page. And I'm not just talking about my reliance on the meaningful look or the spontaneous ad-lib -- I mean that the material typically has to be dramatically *restructured* before it's something that flows naturally for the eye, as well as the ear.

- It also feels strange, because this is a project that I've been living with for a long, long time. In 2005, I sat down to compile my comedy writing and realized that, without my explicit intention, it was almost entirely political. That manifested as a sketch comedy that I produced in 2006 and 2008, and later adapted to a comedy CD in 2014.

- Kickstarted by a combination of what I viewed to be many of my colleagues' unblinking endorsement of their majority culture with a disheartening trip to my ancestral homeland, the heart of Communist China, I began blogging my analyses of macroeconomics and current events in 2006.

- In 2008, I commissioned a photographer whom I held in high regard to help me photograph a book cover. I also commissioned a foreword from the then-chair of the state Libertarian Party. This book has been on the verge of being finalized/released for seven years.

- Having reinvented myself as a storyteller, I sat down with my comedy writing again in 2011 and, again, found it to be almost entirely political. This manifested itself as a solo comedy show, which I workshopped in an Irish pub shortly before the 2012 election and toured more widely in 2014.

- One thing that I'm saying here is that I'm a great believer in the unconscious process. I think that sitting down and saying "I am going to write a libertarian book" would have resulted in something dreadful; by simply trying to entertain, the political aspect of my writing has been a more organic expression of my observations and general state of mind.

- Consequently, the book feels less like a single, coherently-conceived message or moral than it does like a cross-section of my brain for the past decade, and of the surreal experience of being an alternate-party supporter across two Presidential administrations and every geographic region of these United States.

- It's also posed a unique marketing challenge, in the sense that I have as much objectivity about this particular project as I do about being an adult human since the turn of the millennium.

- I think it's funny. I know it's angry. I hope that, in at least a handful of places, it's profound. I promise you that it's conflicted. And I believe that being conflicted is not anything like a bad thing.

- If the book has a single message or moral, that's it.

I've got a book launch party on -- when else? -- Tax Day. Hope to see you there.