This fine morning Shannon Drury, The Radical Housewife, included me in a facebook post. She had been enlisted by Sonya Huber, who asked about The Next Big Thing. Sonya says, “Basically, I get to answer these questions and then tag five writers who I think are the Next Big Thing. Very cool!” I concur.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of
How did I get from there to here?
What genre does your book fall under?
(I want to use Lerner’s phrase, Political Autobiography but Frey robbed us all of using the word autobiography and, frankly, memoir leaves a lot more latitude)
Where did the idea come from for the
My practice is Engaged Buddhism. I think the best way to talk about it is through the demonstration of a life. I hope that my life, my story, my passion, as manifest in my political activism, will inspire, inform and possibly ignite a few activists who just cannot stop. No, you can’t when it is your calling. Lucky you.
How long did it take you to write the
first draft of the manuscript?
Microsoft Word took care of that, 1,410 hours at the keyboard and about the same amount of time sorting through my life. I looked at every photo, every document, every Filofax 1985 – 2012 and all 515 blogs I had written over the last 14 years. I made a 25 page- two column outline of events of my life and then began to color outside the lines, off the page and on the walls.
The most interesting thing was watching the events stream by like cars in a train, passing through some type of selection machine, awarding or discarding importance. At 64 I was constantly surprised with what was significant and what was entirely forgettable. Many things I thought valuable deserved no remark and were flicked away forever. Like sorting the attic, I organized my life. It was industrial strength roto-rooter self-discovery. I highly recommend it.
Who or what inspired you to write
Doris Stevens, Lillian Hellman, Beatrix Potter, M.K.Gandhi, Paulo Friere, so many, so many. But more honestly the answer is the tragedy, the broken heartedness of wanting to read a person’s own life story to find there is none. What did SHE think about this or that. How did She manage that disappointment? Where did SHE find the courage to continue when nothing was working? How did SHE not give up?
The most incendiary thing for me was the movie, Iron Jawed Angels. How could anyone represent Alice Paul as such an insipid fool? And the movie, Milk which portrays Harvey as a single faceted human being when he was infinitely more. The true story is always so much better than some watered down, product-placed piece of cheery fiction. I don’t want to see the newly released acclaimed Lincoln once I read that the Black characters are slivers of their true selves.
I want to know that Alice hid a copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetry in her skirt when taken to jail and threw it at a window in the suffocating dining hall for a bit of air. What was to be gained in showing her throwing a shoe as done in the movie. Why invent a boyfriend? Was Hollywood so unable to make a movie about a woman without a boyfriend? Where is your political memoir, Alice?
Will your book be self-published or
represented by an agency?
In 2001 I submitted my book about fasting for the ratification of the ERA. I have a file of 28 rejection letters which all say the same thing, Dear Ms. Nicholson, Thank you for all you have done for the ERA and this wonderful book. We could not sell a book on feminism in the current market. Wish you all the best. I did what I always do, what I like a lot about me – I did it myself. I learned all I could about the professional production of books and started my own publishing company, Lune Soleil Press. LSP is publishing The Engaged Heart.
What other works would you compare
this book to within your genre? (I would amend this to say books that inspire)
Fireweed, A Political Autobiography
My Experiments with Truth
Autobiography of a Yogi
The Sun at Midnight
Cave in the Snow
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I would so prefer a documentary, like the Times of Harvey Milk or Last Call at Maud’s. But if I had to choose, it would be Rosie O’Donnell. Maybe she could gain some weight for the role.
What else about your book might pique
the reader’s interest?
The provenance of change is what consumes me. How does it occur? What pushes it forward and why does it stall or reverse? Since change occurs from the inside out, the only way to see how it happens is to look inside. I have dug deeply, told the truth and never opted to sweeten a telling. The goal was to excavate how a mind and heart change.
Who or What are your Next Big Things?
Wilder than any rollercoaster – I am a wreck waiting for it to come out. I handed my pdf off to the designer, finished a successful Kickstarter campaign to finance it and contacted my printer. Readers, reviews, who’s pissed because I did or did not talk about them. Yikes! February it will be out in paper. It is currently available in Kindle.
Now I am working on a new presentation, The Provenance of Change. We need to understand change and consciously
join with it. Reproductive Autonomy,
Full Federal Equality, Gender Equity and political representation = change at
the speed of light rushing through the intergalactic Wi-Fi. What a time to be alive.
YOU - you are the next big thing. What are you going to do now? I want to see and cheer. What is going to happen to women who want full access to political process? What is going to happen as LGBT are visible in all segments of society? What is the oppressor going to do as the oppressed are finding one another and uniting to say, ENOUGH is ENOUGH? YOU are the Next big and best thing!