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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
APR
19

Potty Mouth

It's a little entertaining to me that the topic that has many of my early readers all abuzz is the swearing contained in the book. In truth, I don't really swear much (read: at all) in real life. But as a writer I find some sentences just beg for those words. Inserting them effectively into pivotal moments then is either a gift, or it's simply justification at its finest.

My favorite college English professor is reading the book this week, and he sent me a note saying that he--get this--admires the way I use swear words in my writing. "How did you learn to swear so well?" he asked. Since I grew up never actually using these words, I guess you could say it came to me naturally. Like chess to Josh Waitzkin. He further told me that I have great comic timing, use [swear words] intelligently, and that they don't seem gratuitous. Let's just say that compliments on my ability to swear are not among those I ever thought I would be getting.

Another amusing story came from a girl who grew up with me in a neighboring Oregon town. She loved the book, even read bits of the b-school chapters to her husband as he was packing for--get this--the final trip of his MBA degree. She told me she recommended the book to her siblings, but did warn them about the swearing in case that swayed them one way or the other. Not to be deterred, one of her sisters responded, "I want to read Tali Nay's swearing book!" Which is about the most hilarious thing I've ever heard.

True that the book does contain some adult-ish content, so just be prepared. Or maybe read it first if you're the parent of teenagers who want to read it. But I can promise you this: they hear a lot worse in the halls at school. See what I mean? Justification at its finest.

APR
14

Let the Wild Rumpus Start

I'm happy to report that Schooled is officially buy-able! I've included the links just below the cover picture on the right, but you can find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace. I'm still working on getting it up on iTunes, so stay tuned on that one.

As the first few readers have gotten back to me with feedback, it feels sort of like an out of body experience. Or maybe that's not the right way to put it. It just feels like this shouldn't really be happening. The concept of having readers was always so abstract, and now it's almost like, "Wait, what? You're reading my book?" People have told me the book makes them laugh, makes them cry, and makes them remember back to their own memories in school. Which was exactly what I was hoping it would do. One reader told me this week that he stayed up until 2:00 AM reading because he didn't want to put the book down. As an author, that's probably the best thing I could possibly hear. Except maybe, "We'd like to pay you a million dollars to publish your book."

Remember, take this book for what it is...ie. not the Great American Novel. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, and that's fine. But if you do like the book, the best thing I could ask you to do would be to please tell your friends and families about it. Remember, this is grassroots. Or maybe the best thing I could ask would be for you to put a review up on Amazon. Or maybe it's to contact me offline if you'd be interested in giving away any of my darling marketing postcards. However you choose to proceed after reading the book, I do hope you choose to tell someone else about it. And I hope it inspires you to get out your yearbooks, look up that old crush, and send a note to your favorite elementary school teacher. Unless he/she's dead, in which case you sort of missed your chance. Hey, you could always write a book.

MAR
26

Background on the First Book

I was barely 21 when I graduated from college, and one of my first tasks after graduation (other than finding a job) was to update my personal history (aka journals) with everything I hadn't had time to pen down during those years. Which was pretty much everything. When I finished, I was struck by two things. First, I realized that the majority of my life up to that point had taken place in a classroom. And second, after looking at everything I'd recorded over the course of my life, I was surprised by how little my school musings actually had to do with education. What I remembered and recorded were the teachers (both good and bad), the classmates (both friend and foe), and the emotions associated with growing up (both triumph and failure).

I realized right then and there that much of what I had written could be turned into a book, a collection of vignette-style lessons that we can probably all relate to. Although as a student I was more concerned than most with the concept of popularity, something that never ceased to elude me. In fact, it still does. No matter. The point of all this was simply to introduce the topic of the first book, which from kindergarten through graduate school will tell of the lessons I learned in school that had nothing to do with textbooks.

Of course the interesting thing about memoirs is that you spend a fair amount of time talking about people. And mine will be no exception. While my books are not even slightly vindictive, it's true that not everyone is painted in the best light. It's not that I have it out for anyone, it's that I'm trying to be as honest as I can about how I felt at the time. But seeing as how I'm a nice person, I do sometimes panic at the thought of hurting a few people's feelings. Case in point: I was in New York City this past weekend and had dinner with a guy I went to business school with. Back then he and I got into a tiff one day, and it so affected me at the time that it made it into this book. Over dinner I assured him that the anger reflected in the book was how I felt then, not now. I'm not sure he believes me, but I suppose this is the risk you run when you start publishing your life. What an interesting spring it will be.

MAR
17

Dear Diary

March 14, 2012: The day the proof copy arrived from the printer. It's a pretty amazing feeling to finally see your book in print. But on the other hand, it's tough to not be critical (read: a perfectionist) when it comes to something you've put so much work into. So while it was indeed a triumphant moment to open the package and behold my little book, a part of me went, "That's it? That's it?"

In actuality, the book looks great. A bit larger than your typical paperback, I was able to pick out everything from cover options to fonts to page numbers to spacing. Underlines or no underlines, caps or no caps, acknowledgements in the front or back, the decisions were endless, and my dining room table (almost never used for food) has been covered with pages from various layout options. To give you a frame of reference, it took me over 2 months of back and forth with my book designer to even finalize the layout of chapter 1.

About the only thing that I find noticeably distracting in my printed book is my author picture. I'll be the first to admit that the quality of the photo is not great. But once you see it, you'll understand what I mean when I say that it's a picture that was low quality from the start, and not exactly one that could be re-shot to get better lighting. In any case, if you find yourself doubting whether it's really me, you're just going to have to take my word for it. Or maybe my kindergarten teacher's. She could probably vouch for me too.

MAR
10

You? A Memoir?

It's like this. I'm about to publish my first book. If you're picturing me having been picked up by a big publishing house and being paid a handsome advance for a first run of 20,000 books, let me bring you back down to reality. For starters, this is a memoir. And I'm an ordinary girl with a textbook normal life who's writing about a rather universal topic. The big publishers won't touch this stuff. So the 'getting published project,' a task I've been at for the past 14 months, has largely been me (along with the little team of very talented people I was lucky enough to get put in contact with) just figuring how to get my book out there.

Translation: This is a grassroots effort, and not an easy one, so please understand up front that any shameless promoting of my books on this website isn't because I'm trying to pass myself off as cooler than I am (ie. backed by a big house), but rather because publishing even a small-scale book is a significant accomplishment. And I'm not just talking about the personal satisfaction of having written a book in the first place. I'm talking about the satisfaction of reaching the end of what has been months and months of wading through various decisions and processes and steps, none of which I knew anything about. So when I say this is a significant accomplishment, I hope you know I mean it.

The typical memoir plays on a unique set of circumstances in a person's life. We've all read them. We've all been fascinated by them. People who have been imprisoned, abused, addicted, or held hostage. People who survived the horror of war, the despair of disease, or the injustice of corruption-riddled countries. We're fascinated by these stories because we can’t possibly imagine what such an experience would be like. Then there is the celebrity memoir. We’re fascinated by these stories too, because what we really want to know is what their lives are like outside of the spotlight; what they were really thinking or feeling during a pivotal moment that the whole world saw on TV.

So what could a person like me possibly have to write a memoir about? The answer, of course, is nothing. Not in the conventional sense of the word, anyway. Because I’m not famous, nor have I lived a particularly fascinating life. Yet life is exactly what I found myself scribbling about in my notebook when I actually sat down to write something substantial. Traditional? No. Refreshing? Absolutely. Because the more I thought about it, the more I came to believe that there is room in the market for a book like this. A series like this. A series of memoirs that celebrate the universal aspects of life we can all relate to.

And that is my hope for you, reader. That you will read my books and remember the times in your life when you were in similarly humiliating, hilarious, or heart-wrenching moments. That you will be reminded of simpler times, perhaps even better times, and come to more fully appreciate the everyday experiences that make up our lives.

Stay tuned for news on the release of the first book!!


Comments from Blogger

Kat said...I love, love, love this! (March 10, 2012 at 3:08 PM)
Cynthia said...Congratulations - I can only imagine the work involved. Are you going to post an excerpt of your book? (March 12, 2012 at 8:54 AM)

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