Who Wants to Be a Millionaire 17th Anniversary

On March 7, 2001, I sat in a television studio in New York across from Regis Philbin and answered multiple choice questions until I missed.  I wound up winning $32,000 at this little exercise, and along the way, Regis and I talked about my nude modeling job in front of the studio audience and the many cameras.

That episode aired four days later, on Sunday night, March 11th.  I went to the store that day, and as I was checking out I looked around at everyone and wondered how many of them would be watching me that night.  All they had to do was tune their televisions to ABC.  In fact, that applied to anyone in the country, all 250 million of them.  It was such a surreal experience.  And for a few days after the show aired, people did double takes when they saw me, many of them actually approaching and talking to me as if they knew me, asking about the show and the money I had won.

It’s hard to believe that it has been seventeen years since that amazing experience, but I have grown older.  My kids have grown up.  My toddler son is now a father himself.

Here’s the video of my appearance on the show (D.H. Jonathan is a pen name I used when publishing The “Volunteer”).

Share a Slice Podcast

I was recently a guest on Sean McGuire’s Share a Slice podcast, where we talked about my book The “Volunteer” and several of the aspects of that story: public nudity, nude modeling, activism by Andrew Martinez and Gypsy Taub, and sexualized nudity in media versus commonplace nudity in practice.  We even talked about an old episode of MASH and my 2001 appearance on the TV gameshow Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.  Give it a listen here:  http://shareaslicepodcast.com/2017/11/07/volunteer/

Podcast

Grandparenthood and NaNoWriMo

My first granddaughter arrived on October 10, and I have been over the moon about her.  My son and his girlfriend live with us right now, so I get to see the baby every day when I come home, and I have trouble putting her down.

November has, of course, arrived, and I am using the big National Novel Writing Month to motivate myself to write a huge chunk of the sequel to The “Volunteer”.  I’m off to a good start, all things considered.

Here’s a shot which gives you a bit of an idea about my life right now.  I am, of course, working on the sequel on my laptop…

Writing with Piper

A Five Star Holiday Week

Today, July 5th, is International Read Naked Day, and The “Volunteer” would seem to be the perfect choice of book for that.  Today is also the one year anniversary of the release of The “Volunteer” on Kindle.  It has been an amazing year, and I’ve learned a lot about book promotion.  Hopefully, this will help me when I get the next book out.

The Fourth of July holiday week has been a good one since two new reader reviews have been posted to Amazon in the last three days.  Both of them have been five stars.  It is especially gratifying that so many people are coming back to Amazon to write about their experiences reading The “Volunteer”. Thank you all.

Fourth of July Reviews

 

Working Life

It has been a strange few weeks.  I was laid off from my full-time job on March 29th.  The lay off was completely unexpected as the company was expecting new business soon and my department already had more work than our six-person team could handle.  I am, as of yet, unable to make a living solely from my writing income (although not working these past three weeks has allowed me more time to promote The “Volunteer” and sell more copies).  I would need a few more titles to be able to make a go of being a full time writer, but at least I now have more time for writing, at least for the time being.

Bukowski_McCarthy

I had recently posted links to a couple of articles on my Facebook timeline about writing and avoiding full-time employment.  One of those was written from an interview that Oprah Winfrey did with Cormac McCarthy in 2007.  McCarthy talked about avoiding getting stuck in a 9 to 5 job when he was young, even though he was bleakly poor at times.  He was quoted as saying, “I thought, ‘you’re just here once, life is brief and to have to spend every day of it doing what somebody else wants you to do is not the way to live it.’”  That article is here: http://www.openculture.com/2017/02/cormac-mccarthy-explains-why-he-worked-hard-at-not-working-how-9-to-5-jobs-limit-your-creative-potential.html

The second article was about a letter Charles Bukowski wrote to his publisher in 1986 about how he chose to quit his full time job and write full time.  That article includes the entire text of that letter, but these two paragraphs stand out:

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can’t believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?

That article is here: http://www.openculture.com/2014/07/charles-bukowski-rails-against-9-to-5-jobs.html

My current situation, with the mortgage, the kids, the bills, etc., demands that I bring in a certain amount of income, and I just can’t reach that income level from writing alone.  So I do have to look for another job.  But I find inspiration in the words of McCarthy and Bukowski, that there is another way, that I can change my situation and totally commit to my writing.

 

Book Addict

“My name is D.H. Jonathan, and I am a book addict.”  If I ever join a recovery program, that is what I would say.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have made four or five trips to one of the local bookstores.  “I’m just going to browse but not buy anything,” I tell myself, but I always walk out with something.

Building off my last blog post, I am just finishing Carrie Fisher’s very funny Postcards from the Edge.  There have been several times while reading that I have laughed out loud.  Reading it now makes me even sadder that she is gone.

Thanks to my recent bookstore trips, I have several books to chose from as my next read.  I have been going through past winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and I have in my recently purchased stack The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis, and The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron.  I also have a copy of Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones that I won in a Goodreads giveaway.  And there’s also The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos, but as that is the first book of a trilogy that has often been called one long novel, reading that will necessitate another trip to the bookstore for the other two books.

books.jpg

I’ll enjoy the last quarter of Postcards from the Edge before I make up my mind…