Jesse F. McRae's Blog: "Why My Four-Minute Life?"

July 25, 2018

I've been an avid reader for seventy years, but until recently I had never read three incredibly beautiful novels, by three entirely different authors, in a row. But that's exactly what I've been fortunate enough to do over the past three weeks.

So I'd like to mention them here in the event that you also, like me, are always on the lookout for great reading material that will make your heart sing or cry, and make your mind think or try. Here we go:

1) "Lawn Boy" by Jonathan Evison is number one for a reason. Hands down one of the best, simplest, most profound and compelling coming-of-age (as much as I don't want to use that term!) novels I have ever read. If it can be said that a book is flawless, perfectly and stunningly well written; illuminating, funny, sad; and imbued with the utmost compassion for and understanding of the human spirit, I would have to say exactly that about "Lawn Boy." To accompany the "Lawn Boy" as his indomitable spirit kept him going while he learned to overcome his innate lack of self-worth and his ingrained cultural and economic consciousness of lack, poverty, and undeserving-ness was a great personal privilege for me, and one that I will never forget. This is one of the most touching and impeccably-written books to ever cross my path.

(2 "There, There" by Tommy Orange. I won't go into details here, Except to tell you that this book is deserving of comparison to the most impeccable and courageous work of the brilliant Sherman Alexie. Don't hesitate to read this book! You will be deeply, poetically touched by and educated about today's "Urban Indians," and, ultimately, you will be changed by it. And all the better for the experience. Tommy Orange is a brilliant addition to the small-but-steadily-growing list of Native American writers. Although, to confine him to that category is to do him a great disservice because he is an elite writer. Period!

3) "Pretend I'm Dead" by Jen Beagin . Here I'm just going to quote the Goodreads synopsis which is highly informative, although it does not convey the profound feelings of joy and hope which have stayed with me long after reluctantly closing this wonderful book on the last period. So, from Goodreads: "Jen Beagin's funny, moving, fearless debut novel introduces an unforgettable character, Mona—almost 24, cleaning houses to get by, emotionally adrift. Handing out clean needles to drug addicts, she falls for a recipient who proceeds to break her heart in unimaginable ways. She decamps to Taos, New Mexico, for a fresh start, where she finds a community of seekers and cast-offs. But they all have one or two things to teach her—the pajama-wearing, blissed-out New Agers, the slightly creepy client with peculiar tastes in controlled substances, the psychic who might really be psychic. Always just under the surface are her memories of growing up in a chaotic, destructive family from which she’s trying to disentangle herself. The story of her journey toward a comfortable place in the world and a measure of self-acceptance is psychologically acute, often surprising, and entirely human."
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June 9, 2018

!t has been nearly two years since I last posted, and I sincerely apologize for my absence (if anybody noticed!). I've had about fifteen surgeries since my last post, but I promise I'm going to try to show up more frequently from now on!

This is a short story I recently wrote as a contest entry that demanded a five hundred word or less short story based on a computer-generated premise. An interesting exercise for sure!

This story is dedicated to every indigenous teenage boy on this planet. There is a better way!

Word count: 499
___________________________________________

Premise: A teenager travels to Yellowknife, haunted by the spectre of their grandfather’s mistakes.

I LOVE MY GRAMPS

I love my Gramps, but whenever I ask him about my dad, he gets this spooky look on his face and says, “That was all a big goddamn mistake. I never talk about him. Don’t ask me again.”

My mom has told me a few stories, but I’ve never seen a picture of him. She says he was an asshole; he left before my first birthday, and it was good riddance. Unless she’s had a few beers. Then he turns into some kind of goddamn superhero. It’s about half-and-half. She likes her goddamn Kokanee, my mom.

Me, my mom, and my new uncle––My Four Minute LifeI’ve had a lot of uncles―live in Hay River in a cramped little apartment. I hate sleeping on the goddamn couch, but I hate that new son-of-a-bitch more, and I hate the sounds that come through the bedroom wall at night even more than that.

Sometimes I bang my fist on the goddamn wall and yell at them to shut the fuck up. He doesn’t like that. And it makes my mom cry. Then she cries some more when he comes out to slap me around.

I’m fourteen. Well, almost. I’ll be fourteen next March. And that’s another thing: how the hell is a healthy fourteen-year-old guy supposed to listen to that shit all night without thinkin’ thoughts that would freak Father Franklin right the fuck out if I told him about them when I go to confession?

So I say stuff like “Forgive me Father for I have sinned: I ate the last two Pop-Tarts so that son-of-a-bitch wouldn’t get one.”

Father Franklin tells me cussing is a sin, talks to me about forgiveness (yeah, right!), and gives me three Hail Marys. I think it makes him feel better.

I pretend I feel better too, but I walk out of there thinking about that big goddamn knife in our kitchen drawer and how some assholes just don’t deserve to wake up in the goddamn morning.

Uncle Son-of-a-Bitch took her to Grande Prairie for Thanksgiving weekend. He said they needed some time alone, and she wouldn’t let me stay by myself. Her only family is back in Stony Rapids, so I had to ride the goddamn bus up here to stay with Gramps in this old shack out in the boonies, like twenty miles from Yellowknife.

I love my Gramps, but there’s no goddamn TV, no Xbox, no Internet, no nothin’. Nothin’ to do but split wood, count ravens―28 last time I looked―and listen to his long-winded stories, none of them about my father. When I ask about him again, Gramps’ face pinches up like a prune. “Come back at Christmas.” (Gramps is big on Christmas.) “Maybe you’re finally old enough. I’ll think about it some more.”

But I keep seeing that knife in the kitchen drawer back in Hay River and thinking that if I wait until his next payday, there should be enough money in Uncle Son-of-a-Bitch’s goddamn wallet to get me to Vancouver.
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Published on June 09, 2018 20:18 • 39 views

August 21, 2016

I was cleaning out some closet corners this morning when I came across an old journal. Some of the entries brought back warm and fuzzy memories that I had totally forgotten. Here's one (from April 8, 2005) that particularly touched my heart:

"My friend Larry Patton invited me to join him backstage at the Grand Ole Opry tonight. My first time backstage. Caught the entire show; five half-hour segments. The hosts were Jim Ed Brown, Jean Shepard, Bill Anderson, Porter Wagoner, and" (and here, I can't read my own writing, nor can I recall who the fifth host was!).

"They all performed, as did The Whites, Keith Anderson, Jack Green, T. Graham Brown, Charlie Louvin, Billy Walker, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Connie Smith, Craig Morgan, Shelly Fairchild, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and Riders in the Sky.

Through Larry, I got to meet Cotton Payne (Opry drummer) and Rick Kurtz (played guitar for years with Delbert McClinton), hang out in The Whites' dressing room and hold their baby (Noah), and play Sharon White's guitar. Talked with T. Graham Brown and Charlie Louvin. Watched Riders in the Sky warming up in the hallway by playing for baby Noah (in my arms) while Buck White (70 years old) danced. Listened to Larry and Charlie Louvin talk about a duet they had recorded years ago when Larry was with the Flying Burrito Brothers. Charlie said he thought he could have sung better, but it was early afternoon and he was used to singing at night."
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August 5, 2016

Blues in Music City – 1997, Nashville, TN

After settling into our new life, I managed to finish several songs that I had started before our move. This is the first song I actually wrote from beginning to end in Nashville.

Our little house faced onto Natchez Trace. Not the Natchez Trace, but a city street with the same name. It’s a through street, close to Vanderbilt and just off the West End Avenue corridor, so traffic was fairly constant. Shortly after moving in, we’d had a change of neighbors in the other side of our duplex; the new folks were not nearly as calm or pleasant as the previous tenants, and they were dealing drugs day and night.

A few weeks of that, along with the attendant police and ambulance visits, had me uneasy and thinking we would have to move again; it wasn’t even safe for my son to play in the yard. But those neighbors were both arrested before I had to make that decision, and we never saw them again. They were taken away for the last time on the night of October 26, 1997. I wrote this song very late that night and into the wee hours of the next morning, but there’s a larger reason that date is lodged so firmly in my memory.

It was the day of the Rolling Stones’ early evening Bridges to Babylon concert in Vanderbilt Stadium, which, as I’ve already mentioned, was only three blocks away. I sat out on our back steps and caught the audio component of the entire show. It was loud even there, but I’d bet the mix was superior to the in-stadium sound. Every instrument, every note, and every voice was crystal clear and in perfect balance.

Our driveway filled with police cars as the echoes of the last notes were dying, and in a few moments our neighbors were gone for good. Soon it was all over, and my son was fast asleep. But I was still buzzed from the Stones concert and the excitement next door, so I grabbed a notepad and my guitar and started noodling on the couch. It wasn’t long before this song showed up, and a few hours later it was done.

This is obviously another write-what-you-know song, although in the interest of full disclosure, it was not raining that night; I just liked the “hissing like a serpent in the rain” line enough to retain it.

In terms of inspiration, this song owes a musical debt to Bruce Cockburn’s “Mama Just Wants to Barrelhouse All Night Long” off his 1973 album Night Vision.

By the way, so as to not leave you wondering, by mid-November we had new neighbors, and I’m happy to report that they were very nice people.

Jesse F McRae


Blues in Music City

Traffic streaming by outside my window
Hissing like a serpent in the rain
Got me melancholy, but I don’t need no pity
I’ve just got the blues in Music City

Neighbors scream in hate through walls of paper
Lashing out in anger and in pain
Flashing lights and sirens, life ain’t always pretty
Sometimes I get the blues in Music City

High notes and low notes, fast notes and slow notes
The city sings each one for us to choose
And waking or sleeping, laughing or weeping
We’re sowing and we’re reaping to the rhythm of the blues
Yes tonight I’m feeling low, but I don’t need no pity
I’ve just got the blues in Music City

Now my baby’s gone to bed, all warm, already
And I should write another line or two
But thank God for tomorrow, ’cause my eyes are red and gritty
And I’ve still got the blues in Music City

True notes and false notes, blue notes and waltz notes
The city sings each one for us to choose
We’re giving and taking, moving and shaking
We’re bending, sometimes we’re breaking, that’s the way we pay our dues
Yes tonight I’m feelin’ low, but I don’t need no pity
I’ve just got the blues

Yeah tonight I’m feelin’ low, but I don’t need no pity
I’ve just got the blues in Music City

www.myfourminutelife.com
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Published on August 05, 2016 14:37 • 45 views

July 6, 2016

Excerpted from "My Four-Minute Life;
The Journey of a Very Human Songwriter
www.myfourminutelife.com

November, 2009

It’s a perfect day for a brisk walk around the marina. Brilliant sunshine. Cold north wind gusting to fifty knots. Gulls hanging over the jagged waves searching for holes in the wind while enormous kites swoop and dance above the breakwater, harnessed to flyers who are themselves tied off to anchored concrete benches in an effort to remain earthbound. The sound of rigging slapping masts and booms as the boats rock and roll to the motion of the ocean and the urgency of the wind is evocative of every marina in the world.

Twice now that crazy wind has lifted my two hundred-and-twenty pounds off the ground and moved me sideways. But I’m grateful for every breath of pristine air. My body is stiffer and less cooperative than it was even a few short years ago, but it loves fresh air as much as ever.

And if I am not yet totally at peace with myself and my life, it’s not for lack of effort; I’m making headway in that direction, despite my cargo of lethal habits and a past like an anchor.

More and more these days I feel like part of the sea itself, like the wake left behind by one of those behemoth super-freighters. A deep undulation that rolls and rolls until it fragments on some distant shore and becomes an altered version of itself before setting out once again on its ceaseless search for serenity. A restless metaphor for the creative spirit: transparent on its surface, unknowable in its deepest depths, and uneasy with any concept of status quo.

This line from Al Anderson and Sharon Vaughn’s profound song “Right on Time” has meant the world to me for almost fifteen years. It’s quoted here without permission, but with my deep gratitude for its constant reassurance that my compass heading is correct and my timing impeccable: “It took a while to get here, but I’m right on time.”
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Published on July 06, 2016 12:36 • 53 views

June 20, 2016

I've been a songwriter for fifty years and a performing songwriter for forty, so offering a new piece of work up for public scrutiny is not new to me. There is always ambivalence. There are always elements of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety. During the writing of this book, I certainly experienced times when I doubted my ability to continue, and if I continued, whether I would have the courage to actually publish it.

Thankfully, where there is ambivalence, there is also, always, hope. Hope that my new creation will somehow resonate with somebody, somewhere; that it will create an emotional connection with, or an "Aha" moment for, someone who needs it.

I place a high value on creativity as both a form of communication and an engine of healing.

I've written hundreds of songs and many newspaper and magazine articles, but this is my first book. So it's a very big deal for me. Because of that, I thought that when the time came to release it, my usual ambivalence would be even more of a factor than normal. Surprisingly, that has not been the case.

From the moment I made the commitment to actually finish and publish the book, I've felt no ambivalence whatsoever, and I'm pretty sure that's because I'm absolutely certain about the validity of my two primary reasons for writing it:

(1) I want to leave something of value for my children (neither of whom had an easy, stable, or remotely "normal family" upbringing), and for their children, and their children's children. It's important to me that they go through life knowing the truth of who I am, where I've been, and what I've done, and with the awareness that I recognize their presence in my life as the ultimate gift. And I want them to never forget that grace and redemption abide only a thought away, in constant, eager anticipation of their acceptance.

(2) There are countless people who have had hideous childhoods; who are about to embark on, or are nearing the end of, a path of addiction; who abuse themselves and others or allow themselves to be abused by others - or both; who have not the slightest concept that such a thing as personal value even exists; whose sense of self is totally derived from the feedback of others; who believe that who they think they are today is who they have to be tomorrow and for the rest of their lives; who are not aware that they have the right and the ability to choose, in this moment - in every moment, to be different, stronger, better, happier and thereby create a future that does not mirror their past. I don't think it's an accident that many of those people are highly creative.

For more than six decades, I was one of those people, and those descriptions fit me like a glove. Songwriting saved my life. Songwriting kept me going. Songwriting allowed me to gradually learn how to process negative experiences and emotions, and eventually, to believe with all my heart that if I can change, virtually anyone can.

"My Four-Minute Life" is not a book about songwriting per se. Nor is it about religion, dogma, or spirituality. It is not a proselytization or a series of empty platitudes. It is simply me, using song lyrics, anecdotes, vignettes, observations, and opinions to tell you about my unusual journey through life. All from the perspective of a songwriter who has somehow managed to survive a traumatic childhood and a lifetime of addictions, questionable decisions, insane behaviors, broken relationships, and major health challenges long enough to surface with a sense of acceptance and a comforting inner peace. And telling it all in the hope that it will help somebody, somewhere.

If reading my story helps even one person change the way they think about themselves, view their life from a healthier perspective, or realize even a small part of their potential, writing this book will have been worthwhile.

I hope you'll check out "My Four-Minute Life; The Journey of a Very Human Songwriter." And I hope you'll enjoy my story.

www.myfourminutelife.com
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Published on June 20, 2016 13:11 • 62 views • Tags: addiction-recovery, childhood-trauma, creativity, personal-growth, redemption, songwriting

June 5, 2016

Excerpted from my new book, "My Four-Minute Life," www.myfourminutelife.com

The Older I Get – 2006, Nashville, TN

By 2006, my son had set out on his own, and due to my extended illness and inability to work, our condo had been lost to the foreclosure process. I was temporarily between homes when my friend Rich Adler was kind enough to invite me to be his guest at his place south of Nashville, not far from the Natchez Trace Parkway. One sultry summer night we found ourselves out on “The Trace,” cruising in Rich’s wonderful, old, topless International Harvester Scout.

There is very little traffic and no commercial traffic on the Trace. It’s a beautiful, bucolic setting where the speed limit varies between 35 and 50 miles per hour. As is often the case when people of an older generation get together, our thoughts and conversation turned to the old days, and some magical combination of that venerable vehicle, our sedate speed, the soft southern night, and our nostalgic conversation inundated me with images from more than half a century earlier. When we returned to the house I stayed up all night finishing this song.

I know that things were not as slow and safe and simple back in the forties, fifties, and early sixties as they are portrayed in this lyric, but it was a less frantic world. Deliberation was encouraged, small was good, most people were friendly, and time was not at a premium. Roads were narrow because they didn’t need to be wide, gasoline was eighteen cents a gallon, and expressions such as hyperkinetic and sound bite were far off in some unimagined future. Today, if you’re young enough to be unfamiliar with the Beech-Nut, Brylcreem, Burma-Shave, and Tiger in Your Tank references, a few minutes on Google will fill you in. Isn’t technology wonderful!

This song is an example of opposite writing. As I was working on it, I was imagining the childhood I would have had if I had been in a position to choose, so while the historical references are real and meaningful to me, the story itself is more a conjuring of an idyllic childhood.

In his brilliant book Mojo Triangle: Birthplace of Country, Blues, Jazz and Rock ’n’ Roll, James L. Dickerson refers to the Natchez Trace as “the spiritual aorta of the American experience.” I’ve spent a fair amount of both daytime and nighttime on the Trace in cars, on foot, and on a motorcycle, and I can tell you that Mr. Dickerson is not exaggerating when he says, “The Trace is more than just another roadway.”

This is one of three songs in this book that began life on that mystical stretch of southern history:
___________________________________________
The Older I Get (4/4, mid-tempo)

Daddy’d fill that tank for three or four bucks,
we’d climb in that old pickup truck,
He'd turn the key and start 'er up
and shift ’er into low,
Dubble Bubble was twelve for a dime,
My brother’d get his bubble stuck to mine
And Daddy’d stop and Mama’d scrub
our faces till they glowed,
Right there on the shoulder of the road,
Everybody drivin’ by would wave hello,

There was no six-lane blacktop Interstate, zero to sixty took all day
Two lanes got us there and brought us home, reading
“Beech-Nut,” “Brylcreem,” “Burma-Shave,”
“Put a Tiger in Your Tank,” and “Jesus Saves,”
Signs of a time when life was safe and slow,
Now the older I get, the faster I don’t want to go

Boring classes, hallway passes,
School days moving like molasses,
Till summer’d come and Mama’d rub
Noxzema on our noses,
We’d ride our bikes to the city park,
Swim all day till way past dark,
Then Daddy’d pick us up in that old truck
and drive us home, with
Sunburns, sleepy eyes, and ice cream cones,
High beams lighting up that country road,

There was no six-lane blacktop Interstate, zero to sixty took all day,
Two lanes got us there and brought us home, reading
“Beech-Nut,” “Brylcreem,” “Burma-Shave,”
“Put a Tiger in Your Tank,” and “Jesus Saves”
Signs of a time when life was safe and slow,
Now the older I get, the faster I don’t want to go

Spoken:
Martin Luther King, JFK, Elvis Presley and Etta James
Drive-in movies and Big John Wayne,
Don Larsen pitched a perfect game
Backbone, honor, keep your word,
Sunday mornings, go to church,
Let me tell you this for what it’s worth,

There was no six-lane blacktop Interstate, zero to sixty took all day
Two lanes got us there and brought us home, reading
“Beech-Nut,” “Brylcreem,” “Burma-Shave,”
“Put a Tiger in Your Tank,” and “Jesus Saves”
Signs of a time when life was sane and slow,
Now the older I get, the faster I don’t want to go, oh no,
The older I get, the faster I don’t want to go
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Published on June 05, 2016 11:34 • 61 views

May 18, 2016

Here's a quirky little Guy Clark / Dennis Hopper tale, excerpted from my book, "My Four-Minute Life."

I spent yesterday listening to Guy Clark and mourning our loss, both as a songwriting community and a human community. Listened to en masse, the sheer quantity of perfectly crafted songs is staggering. I'm still in mourning, and will be for a long time, but so grateful for the towering catalog left behind by this undisputed master of the craft. As I said in a post yesterday, over the years I was fortunate to have several conversations with Guy. This is the story of one of them:

In 1979 and ’80, I had a house gig at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Vancouver, a converted old-time service station called Bud’s Good Eats. I played solo, five hours a night, six and sometimes seven nights a week. Dennis Hopper would come in and sit at the bar when he was in town, and we got to know each other a little, to the point where I worked as an extra on Out of the Blue (originally titled CB), a movie he was starring in and directing.

Every time he came in, he’d ask me to play that great Guy Clark song, “L.A. Freeway,” saying the song meant the world to him because he was the “Dennis” referred to in the second verse, which starts: “Here’s to you old skinny Dennis, the only one I think I will miss, I can hear that old bass singin’, sweet and low like a gift you’re bringin’.” Apparently, Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell used to sleep on his basement couches when they came to Los Angeles.

Ironically, years later in Nashville when I had an opportunity to relate that story to Guy Clark, he snorted and said, “That’s bullshit. That line was about our bass player in Texas."

Peace out

www.myfourminutelife.com
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Published on May 18, 2016 15:40 • 162 views • Tags: dennis-hopper, guy-clark, jesse-f-mcrae, my-four-minute-life
Originally published May 16, 2016.

It isn't even June yet, but in the future of popular and recorded music, this year, 2016, will be remembered as the saddest of them all. This will be remembered as the YEAR the music died.

Realistically, given the ages and earlier lifestyles of the writer-artists who have begun leaving us, we might have expected one or two of them to say their final goodbye. But who could conceive of a five month period in which we’ve had to say “goodbye forever” to so many of our musical icons, heroes, and idols. This is an epidemic, one from which I'm not sure music will ever recover.

Oh sure, there will always be popular music, although the way it's going, fifty or a hundred years from now we might not recognize it as music. But people of my generation, we look back on the '50s, '60s and '70s as a true musical pot-of-gold. We were fortunate to be there for all its original, beautiful insanity as it evolved into a singular art form of unsurpassed social change and personal transformation. We were there as it became the soundtrack of our lives, as it took over the world and irrevocably changed most of us with its sheer power, vulnerability, and the salvational realization that somebody else had been through what we were going through, felt what we were feeling, and could write and sing about it in ways that touched us, comforted us, incited us.

Some of us learned that we had a need to write and sing about what was going on in our own lives, and if we were lucky, we discovered that we had a knack for it. Each of us who chose to write and perform songs had our own hero, the one we strove to emulate. Whether it was a clever turn of phrase, an unexpected rhyme, a heart-rending image, a wry sense of humor, or simply a voice that grabbed us and refused to let go, there was something that kept that particular songwriter on a taller pedestal than other writers we admired.

Back in the '70s, I'd been at it for a while when I discovered Guy Clark. As songwriters go, for many of us Guy Clark occupied the tallest pedestal of all. And in spite of his departure today for other realms, he always will. He had the kind of face that made you think Mount Rushmore oughta be in Texas, more so as he aged. That craggy, granite-jawed mug that makes songwriters like Guy and Rodney and Billy-Joe seem like they rose straight up out of the elemental Texas landscape.

And they have a way with words, those boys. Not a wasted syllable. Not a false start. Not a phony or shallow message. Not a missed beat. Not a (musical) hair out of place. Not a single thing you’d hear, and then think "I might have done that differently." True poets in every sense of the word.

And with no disrespect to Townes or the others, all of whom stand on pretty high pedestals themselves as songwriters, Guy Clark was my guy. The one who stood behind me and looked over my shoulder every time I wrote a song. He was the guy who taught me to pay attention to my head, but listen with my heart.

I got the news that Guy Clark died early this morning. I was fortunate to have several conversations with him over the years. He was sometimes irascible, sometimes funny, and sometimes somewhere else (probably working on a song in his head), but he was always real. He was always Guy Clark: his own planet, his own life, and his own man. The authenticity of his life and his art surrounded and permeated him, reducing the question "Does life imitate art?" to an absurd redundancy. That authenticity will survive him and inspire other writers and singers for generations to come. If they have the sense to allow it.

Today I'm going to fix a big ‘homegrown-tomato’ sandwich and put my Guy Clark playlist on repeat. I may or may not get something done; either way I'm gonna spend the day with Guy Clark. My Guy.

And “I'll play ‘The Red River Valley’ and sit out in the kitchen and cry, and run my fingers through seventy years of livin', and wonder, "Lord, has ever’ well I’ve drilled run dry?"

Peace out.

www.myfourminutelife.com
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Published on May 18, 2016 15:23 • 43 views • Tags: guy-clark, guy-clark-eulogy, jesse-f-mcrae, my-four-minute-life, songwriters, songwriting
Now that I’ve finished my first book, My Four-Minute Life, and now that it’s available in paperback from Village Books, CreateSpace, Amazon, and any Ingram Books-supplied bookseller, as well as in eBook format from major online eBook retailers, I’m learning as much as I can about online book marketing. It’s a daunting task, and much of the advice and instruction seems to be based on expanding, managing, manipulating, and maximizing the effectiveness of one’s email list.

I’d be lying if I told you I don’t have a problem with this―I’ve never been comfortable with imposing myself on other people. In fact, during the push to launch my book, I only sent a total of three emails (to about 150 people―I intentionally did not send the emails to anyone with whom I have a Facebook friendship, because I’ve been posting there about my book on a regular basis), and the first one was to apologize for a delay in the launching of my book. So I’m automatically disqualified from the ranks of the “Blast and Inundate” school of marketing.

I mean, really, do you enjoy receiving 30, 50, 100 emails a day from people or organizations trying to sell you something, entice you into a program, or shame you for not being interested/curious/humanitarian/intelligent/greedy/generous enough to read their high volume “Pick Me! Pick Me!” emails and respond to their “Click here” directives? I know I don’t. Enjoy it, that is.

So for the next few weeks at least, I’ll be trying to market my book as non-intrusively as possible. In keeping with that goal, if you read my book and think it worthwhile, anything you could do to spread the word would be appreciated: maybe you could put a review up on Amazon; maybe your local newspaper has a book review column; maybe you have a friend or two who you believe would enjoy the book; maybe you have a book club, a pleasant relationship with your local librarian, or a friend who is a blogger. Maybe you even know a book reviewer. Every little bit helps!

Having said all that, this whole blogging thing is brand-spanking new to me, and once again, I have a lot to learn. But let me tell you a little bit about what I intend to do and where I intend to go (and why) in future blogs, whether those turn out to be regular or sporadic.

I’m a seventy-three-year-old guy who has lived a chaotic and unusual life, and I have countless interesting stories I’d like to tell―stories that were not included in my book. I’m also committed to helping people realize that redemption is possible for everyone. Everyone!

Finally, I believe in being kind, non-judgmental, and uncritical. I believe in the overwhelming power of the present moment, the value of acceptance, the healing potential of creativity, and the essential human yearning for personal authenticity.

For the last three years, my book has consumed my time, energy, health, and mind. There has rarely been a moment that I wasn’t working on it or thinking about it. Now, finally, after eleven years of conceptualization and three more heavy years of writing, it is finished and on the market. The time has come to send it off into the world with absolute faith that it will end up exactly where it needs to be, doing exactly what it needs to do.

My kids are adults, my health is not great, and I’m dealing with some disturbing diagnoses. My sense of purpose has taken flight, coincident with the release of my book, and although I’m enjoying a satisfying feeling of accomplishment, I’m aware of a sudden absence of purpose. I’ve decided that this blog is going to fill that vacuum.

It will be a grab-bag of sorts: I may relate a story, or tell you how I’m feeling about a particular diagnosis or medical treatment. I might share a shiver of joy, a shudder of fear, or an observation of the world and the times in which we’re currently living. I may talk about music or songwriting.

What I won’t do is denigrate any race or creed or color or persuasion or sincere attempt at authenticity. What I won’t do is engage in any back-and-forth about any of that. What I will do is promise to be as honest and straight with you about what’s going on in my life as I can possibly be. I hope you’ll check in once in a while and send me any feedback you’d care to share. If you do, please remember what I said about being kind!

Peace out.

www.myfourminutelife.com
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Published on May 18, 2016 14:04 • 74 views • Tags: creativity, jesse-f-mcrae, marketing, memoir, music, my-four-minute-life, personal-growth, songwriting