Me? A Writer?

Saturday October 17th, 2009 – Chicago, IL/Crystal Lake, IL

I’m starting to put a few positive days together in a row and that’s how a successful life is built. One good day hopefully leads to another and another and before long winning has become a habit. The off days will be the exception rather than the rule and then hopefully the tide will turn right back to the good side again. I’ve been making wise choices lately.

Getting the tax stuff moving was a smart decision and I followed it up by starting to get the giant monkey of sports cards off my back by starting to get them ready for sale. That’s exactly what I need to do at this time in my life and move past a mistake I made without it festering and becoming worse. I took a calculated risk and it didn’t pan out. That’s life.

Today I kept the ball rolling and put more nickels into the cosmic slot machine. We had a lot of fun on our Jerry’s Kidders segment on WGN and received positive feedback from several sources. People in the building like us and we get complimented in the halls a lot.

It’s very flattering to be treated like that in one of the biggest radio stations in the world but I never get cocky because Jerry says we get hate mail every week. WGN has long had a reputation for having an audience so old they remember when radio wasn’t and they are trying to remedy that and move into the 21st century. To be hated by some is a good sign.

I don’t read that hate mail, just as I didn’t read the psychotic ramblings of Mrs. Giggles owner through this whole unpleasant series of events. Pushing delete is much easier and it doesn’t get my shorts up in a bundle. Those small time criminals are out of my life and it doesn’t bother me in the least. They’ve motivated me to take my life to a far higher level.

I thank them for treating me as poorly as they did because I guess I needed that big of an incentive to chase a higher goal. Most comedians take a lot of abuse partly because we’ve become used to it over the years and just grow to accept it. I’d like to think I’m able to get better work at better places for better pay and now is my opportunity to prove I’m right.

Tonight I met with Vince Vieceli to go over the nuts and bolts of the lesson plans of my comedy class. Just as Todd Hunt is the best self promoter I know, Vince is the best editor of copy. He really knows his stuff and absolutely shines when it comes to anything that is associated with the English language. I’m aligning myself with the best people I can find.

Vince had a lot of valuable input not only with my copy structure but also in turning me on to some people that are doing really well in their own world like David Sedaris. I knew the name but never really followed his work very closely. Stupid me. He’s got a following that comes to hear him read his essays out loud and has become an industry unto himself.

What it all boils down to is marketing. David Sedaris did something nobody in his field was doing and it caught on big time. He was a trendsetter. No matter if anyone else took a similar path, he’s looked at as the standard. Rush Limbaugh is the same thing. Whatever a person thinks of him personally doesn’t matter. Rush did what he did first and did it best.

That’s totally what I’m looking to do with whatever it is I’m doing. I’ve got experience in many areas of entertainment and I know there’s a niche for me somewhere, or at least I really believe that. That’s half the battle. If I didn’t believe it I’d just quit and drive a bus.

The whole idea of this diary was to practice my writing on a daily basis and document a comedian’s life on the road so future generations of aspiring performers can hopefully see they’re not the only ones that struggle. I wanted to be an inspiration to fellow dented cans but also be entertaining to the average reader if possible. I’m just cataloging my thoughts.

Lots of people have kept diaries from Anne Frank to Jim Bouton to David Sedaris and I remember hearing somewhere a quote that said “A life worth living is a life worth writing about” or something pretty close to that. Those three are about as different as three people can get and my life is completely different from theirs too. I need to find a core audience.

David Sedaris apparently did. Vince Vieceli works at a book store and is a big fan of his books. He said they sell well and are funny. I trust Vince’s opinion and I’ll check him out to see what I can learn. Dave Barry is another guy I never explored. I’ve seen all kinds of books by him in stores but he’s never been on my radar. Until now. I’ll study him as well.

Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four” was the inspiration for me starting this project. I read it in high school and absolutely loved it. I still do. He talks about what it’s really like to be a baseball player and describes it honestly. That’s what I want to do about being in comedy. It’s not always fun and it’s surely not glamorous and I hope I can capture that for readers.

I really don’t look at myself as a writer but I think that has to change. I may not be good at it, but at least I’m consistent. I do it every single day and have for several years now. If nothing else I’d like to think I’m getting at least getting a little better by now and if I ever was asked to show samples of what I’ve written I’ve got a whole archive to choose from.

Sometimes people ask me why my diary isn’t funny and I tell them it’s not supposed to be funny, at least not all the time. I write about what I’m feeling or what’s going on in my life and like with everyone, that’s all over the place. Comedians are human beings and we all have many emotions to deal with as life unfolds. Funny is only part of that equation.

If nothing else, at least what I write is honest. I open my soul and let whatever is inside leak through my fingers onto the keyboard. To me that’s what real writing is, so I guess I am a writer after all even though I never saw myself as one before. I did it as an exercise.

Vince really opened up my eyes to a whole new universe. He’s a smart guy and loves to write humorous essays himself. In fact, I’d say he considers himself a writer who happens to do standup comedy. I’m the exact opposite. I always considered myself a comic first.

Maybe I’m a writer in there somewhere too. The same brain process goes into writing a joke as goes into writing a funny essay or article or book of such things. I think it‘s how it gets presented. This could help me find a whole new audience and that’s what I can use.

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