My Humiliating Case of the Golfer Yips

I used to be a golfer. And I was a pretty decent golfer at that. I wasn’t going to turn pro or anything, but I had gotten to the point where I scored fairly well every time out. I started playing when I was around 11, and kept on going until I was about 17.

In high school–about 10th grade (maybe 11th, I can’t remember)–I even joined the golf team, and in my invidivual matches that season I went 7-1, and my only loss came against a nice guy who just happened to outplay me that day, a nailI used to be a golfer. And I was a pretty decent golfer at that. I wasn’t going to turn pro or anything, but I had gotten to the point where I scored fairly well every time out. I started playing when I was around 11, and kept on going until I was about 17.

In high school–about 10th grade (maybe 11th, I can’t remember)–I even joined the golf team, and in my invidivual matches that season I went 7-1, and my only loss came against a nice guy who just happened to outplay me that day, a nail-biter down to the end.

At the end of the season we played in the county tournament, wherein us golfing dudes from around the county competed in one giant tournament. And I went in feeling good. Really good. After correcting a slight mechanical glitch in my swing, I was playing the best golf of my life and playing with a lot of confidence. With every shot I just felt like I was going to do well.

Now, when we showed up at the county tournament I didn’t think I was going to win–I wasn’t quite at that level–but a top-10 finish was within my sights, and if played at my peak, a top 5 was a definite maybe.

It was a beautiful day–blue skies, nice breeze–and I was just so totally in the zone. So the first hole, a par 4, I get up there–confident as all get-out–and after landing on the green in two strokes thanks to a nifty second shot, I nailed a 30-foot put for a birdie. Sweet. The other three guys in our foursome were giving me the [i]wow, who’s this guy?[/i] looks.

Next hole was a tricky par 3 with a deep valley leading up to the green on a hill, and I landed on the green in two strokes. Again I nailed a long put, this time for par. Sweet. I’m kicking ass and feeling great.

So along comes the third hole–another par 4–and because I won the last hole, I get to tee off first. I grab my ball and tee, plant in the ground, sitting up nicely for me to knock the stuffing out of it. I stand up there with my club. I feel it in my hands. I look down at the ball. I concentrate. I take a deep breath. I relax.

And then I …

Wait. Something doesn’t feel quite right, so I step away. I shake it off, clear my head. Okay, I’m ready. I’m standing over the ball, ready to do that thing that I do and then …

No. Something’s wrong. Something is very, very wrong. I’m standing there, a hot flash blasts through me and I’m staring to sweat. I purse my lips. I squeeze the club. And all I can think is something is wrong. Something is [i]very [/i]… [i]very[/i] … [i]wrong[/i].

I?m panicking. My heart is beating a million miles and hour. I’m having an anxiety attack. I holding the club in my hands and it’s like a Twilight Zone episode, like some alien force shot a mind control laser beam into my brain because as I’m looking at the golf club in my hands I’m thinking [i]what do I do with this? I don’t know how to use this club[/i].

And when I say that I didn’t know how to use the club, it was like a bow in my mind unraveled. Something had shifted. The degree was minimal–a nuance–but that difference was all the difference because suddenly the club, which had felt such a natural part of me for so long, now felt alien to my. It’s like my hands and arms simply didn’t understand what they were supposed to do.

I got the yips.

The yips is usually ascribed to athletes that, for whatever reason, inexplicably lose their ability to perform at even the most basic level what they had been able to do at a high level. In one case, ex-catcher Mets Macky Sasser, for whatever reason, couldn’t throw the ball back to the pitcher. Ex-Yankees second baseman–a gold glove second baseman–after 10 years in the majors as an all-star suddenly couldn’t throw the ball properly to first base.

Why?

Who knows.

This is what happened to me.

The best I can figure is that a very old mechanical flaw in my grip finally caught up to me. Without getting into too much detail, as a golfer, you’re supposed to grip the club with your weaker hand at the top of the club (my left), and then your stronger hand (my right) lower down and on top, to guide the club. But the top hand is supposed to be rotated counterclockwise, preventing your wrists from rolling during the swing. Because if they do roll, you’ll have a big hook–meaning your ball, if you’re righty, will hook way, way to the right after you hit it. And that’s what used to happen to me.

Why? Because I gripped the club more like a baseball bat, with my top hand–my right hand–more open, facing up. Thing is, over time, the rest of my swing had improved to the point where I could counteract the hook with a nice, fluid motion.

And what I think happened is that, in that one moment–on the third tee at the county tournament–the flaw in my grip finally caught up to me. The timing was most brutually unfortunate, because the rest of the day was the most excruciating 16 holes of golf I ever played. I was hitting balls in the woods. I was missing the ball completely.

It was like I had a muscle memory stroke. It’s like my brain short-circuited–on the spot–and what was easy and natural 30 seconds before was now totally foreign and mutant to me. All of a sudden my hands and arms wanted to swing a certain way, and that was [i]totally, completely wrong[/i].

My mind and body simply couldn’t function in sequence. And it’s not that I didn’t want to. I couldn’t. [i]I didn’t know how to make this work[/i]. And I didn’t know why this was happening!

Talk about humiliation. After that awful day, I tried playing golf maybe two or three other times, but that was it. For me to be a golfer again I would have to break down my swing and start all over again, unlearning what I know and relearning properly. I miss playing golf–I liked it–but it doesn’t really bother me that I [i]don’t[/i] play. What bothers me is that I [i]can’t [/i]play. My mind just won’t let me do it, and I don’t have the time, patience or motivation to start all over again.

I’ll never quite understand why I got the yips when I did. Why then? Why couldn’t it have been [i]after[/i] I kicked ass at the county tournament? I don’t know. I’m sure I’ll never know. But it was a real lesson in humility. I can think I know what I’m doing all day long, but the Universe has a real funny way–and sometimes a real snarky–way of reminding me that what whatever I think I know, I’ve still got a heckuva lot more to learn.

p.s. To read about another case of the yips I’ve experienced (and still do), check out my Oct. 2 blog on My ‘Past’ Blackouts.

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Financial Advisor Who isn’t Hooey

For the last several years Liz and I have slowly but surely consolidated our various accounts. You know the ones I mean. The 401K investments from this job, the Roth IRAs set up through that job. And as the years went on?and our jobs changed (mostly mine)?the paperwork started piling up and we had a heckuva time keeping track of how much money we had (or didn?t have), where it was invested, if it was actually making a decent return, and what?if anything?we should do about it.

One thing becaFor the last several years Liz and I have slowly but surely consolidated our various accounts. You know the ones I mean. The 401K investments from this job, the Roth IRAs set up through that job. And as the years went on?and our jobs changed (mostly mine)?the paperwork started piling up and we had a heckuva time keeping track of how much money we had (or didn?t have), where it was invested, if it was actually making a decent return, and what?if anything?we should do about it.

One thing became to clear to us: we needed some help. We?re reasonably intelligent people, but we?re not financial experts by any stretch of the imagination. Don?t get me wrong, it?s not like we?re recycling bottles for the spare change. We had individually?and then collectively after we got married?managed to squirrel away the beginnings of a respectable retirement fund, not to mention that we don’t have any credit card debt.

None.

Zero.

Nada.

At the end of every month we pay off the entire credit card bill. It wasn?t always that way, mind you?at least not for me. During my 20s when I was first in NYC and barely scraping out a living, I got myself in pretty deep to VISA?about $9,000?but along the way I was fortunate enough to land enough freelance work to pay it all off. That was about seven years ago. I haven’t had credit card debt since.

[b]Are Financial Advisors Hooey?[/b]

And yet Liz and I still had no big, overarching plan. We did consolidate a bunch of our loose accounts under Charles Schwab, and finally got that money making some money. But while [i]consolidate[/i] always sounded like such a fancy, important word, it just means that we had fewer [i]accounts[/i], but not necessarily more [i]money[/i]. Were we really doing well? We didn?t know, as [i]well [/i]is subjective, but after months?even years?of feeling like we needed a plan, at least we felt better knowing that we were moving forward and had a decent nest egg given our age, when we added it all together.

Thing is, now that we?re getting a little older?stop right there, I did not say [i]old[/i], I said [i]older[/i]?and have more financial responsibility than in the past, we agreed that it was time to sit down more formally with a financial advisor and see if we were on the right track. We had a general plan that we thought was pretty decent, but did we have the right plan for us?

I want to clarify that I have always been wary of financial advisors, because my thinking has been that, if they are so good at managing money, then why are they humping out a living at it rather than making tons of their own? I don?t know if that was the right attitude, but I?m generally skeptical about someone being considered an [i]expert[/i] about anything.

But as my good fortune would have it, about five years ago I met a financial planner who ran the professional networking group I joined back in my consulting days, and over the years I came to like and trust him as a person. His name is Andrew McCann, and I consider him a man of integrity. To me, that?s important.

But, hey. Maybe I?m just weird that way.

[b]The Million-Dollar Question[/b]

So Liz and I finally agreed to sit down with Andrew, and we?ve since been in the process of realizing just how much our pretty decent long-term plan wasn?t half as decent as we thought. It wasn?t a bad plan?hey, at least we had one?but it hasn?t been, as we?ve found out, garnering the kind of returns we could?ve been making had we had a better plan. And we were [i]nowhere close[/i] to being on track for the amount of money we will ultimately need when retirement age comes oh-so-many moons from now.

What Andrew said to us was this: at the rate you?re going, this how much money you?re going to need when you hit 65 if you want to live at the lifestyle level you have now. This is how much you?re on track for.

Those numbers were [i]faaaaaaaar [/i]apart. Like, by a few million. That right. [i]Millions[/i]. Not a type-o.

Gulp. (sweat, sweat … bite finger nails).

[i]Buuuut[/i]…. Andrew said, we can fix all that. And here?s how.

And so he went through a bunch of options for us that we can actually afford today, setting us up for tomorrow. What I like about this approach is that Andrew doesn?t have a cookie-cutter system and signs you up for it because he’s got a deal with some specific program. He customizes your plan for [i]you[/i] as it serves [i]your [/i] needs, and the more money he makes for you, the more money he makes for him. So it’s in his best interest to get you invested in the best plans he can find. No two plans are alike.

And this is what made Liz and I feel especially comfortable, because many?although not all?financial planners don?t do this. Many spoon-feed you the plan [i]they[/i] want. Even so, their plans might be good plans, even very good plans. Liz and I are just more comfortable with a customized plan, advised by someone we trust [i]personally and professionally[/i].

As such, we have signed and submitted all of our papers, making monthly and annual contributions to this fund and that, and now our money is finally starting to make more money for us than it did before–and at this pace, we’ll have the millions we’ll need. Again. Not a type-o. [i]Millions.[/i]

Is the plan we?re going with [i]the [/i]best plan there is? No idea. But after comparing it to what we had?and more aggressive plans that just make us too nervous, with too much risk for us to feel comfortable?this new plan makes sense for us. (He also set us up with life insurance)

[b]Feeling Good[/b]

Liz and I are not financial geniuses, and we?re not dunces either. But what we?ve taken away from this experience is a greater sense of ownership and confidence in our future, because now we have a formal, official plan with a structure that we can understand and revise whenever we want. We?re not just hoping things work out. We’ll revisit the plan with Andrew every year, and make any adjustments that seem appropriate. We?re invested in the outcome of our financial lives. There are no guarantees, of course, but we feel better than ever about the future.

There are plenty of people out there further ahead of the financial game than Liz and I, and certainly plenty of people more sophisticated about it than we are. But I do feel like we?ve learned something important here, and while I?m in no position to say what anyone else should do about their financial future?because what the heck do I know about it??if you don?t have a plan right now, it might be worth looking into.

It?s amazing what?s out there. Sometimes it?s just a matter of finding the right place to start.

p.s. I hope nobody feels like I?m hawking Andrew, here. He just happens to be someone I trust?and can vouch for on a personal level. I?ve included his information below in case anyone is interested in speaking with him. Andrew offers free consultations.

Andrew McCann

Life / Disability / Long-Term Care Insurance

Employee Benefits / 401-K / SEP

College & Retirement Solutions

http://www.nmfn.com/andrewmccann

646-366-6689

andrew.mccann@nmfn.com

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What New Fall Shows Are You Checking Out?

Of the crop of new falls shows debuting over the next few weeks, I’m going to check out:

* Chuck

* Reaper

* The Bionic Woman

* Dirty Sexy Money

Chuck and Reaper look like they might be fun, and The Bionic Woman is being done by one of the creators of Battlestar Galactica, so I figure it’ll at least be decent. And while Dirty, Sexy Money wouldn’t normally interest me, Peter Krause is in the lead, and he was so great in Six Feet Under and Sports Night that I’ll give it a shot.

* Chuck

* Reaper

* The Bionic Woman

* Dirty Sexy Money

Chuck and Reaper look like they might be fun, and The Bionic Woman is being done by one of the creators of Battlestar Galactica, so I figure it’ll at least be decent. And while Dirty, Sexy Money wouldn’t normally interest me, Peter Krause is in the lead, and he was so great in Six Feet Under and Sports Night that I’ll give it a shot.

What are you planning on checking out?

Heroes Season 2 Premiere! What’s the Verdict?

OK, folks. So what did you think of the Heroes Season 2 premiere?

I thought it was just so-so. I get that they want to re-introduce some of the old characters to both bring old viewers back into the fold and give new viewers a chance to start fresh, but I would have liked to have seen just a little bit more action (not fight scenes per se, but more plot), and a little less teasing.

That said, I’m sorta curious about what this year’s mystery will turn out to be.

On the character OK, folks. So what did you think of the Heroes Season 2 premiere?

I thought it was just so-so. I get that they want to re-introduce some of the old characters to both bring old viewers back into the fold and give new viewers a chance to start fresh, but I would have liked to have seen just a little bit more action (not fight scenes per se, but more plot), and a little less teasing.

That said, I’m sorta curious about what this year’s mystery will turn out to be.

On the character side, I’d like to see more of Parkman. I always found him to be one of the most relatable characters because his power seems less "out there." He can read minds, but he struggles with it, and it can only help him so much. He doesn’t have extra strength or speed or time traveling abilities, so he has to learn how to use the information he can glean from others. Plus, he’s just a good guy trying to do right in day-to-day life with the extra ability. And because he only hears thoughts, he doesn’t have to "hide" from society. He’s out in the open.

Then again, so far, I think Hiro’s setting is ridiculous. His time trip back to 1600s Japan may turn out to be very cool–and I hope it pays off–but to start, I’m finding it a big, big dud that seems staged. Not the least bit natural or interesting.

Well, that’s my two cents. What did you think?

The Wizard Joins Team Finders Keepers!

Many, many moons ago?but still during the writing of Finders Keepers?I had wanted to bring a copy editor on board to do a tight little polish on the manuscript. The difference between an editor and a copy editor, is that, an editor reads a manuscript through, looking the big items: flow, tone, voice, storytelling, etc. In essence, the editor helps the writer break down the work, look at it?s various strengths and weaknesses, so that the writer can make revisions and bring about the best story poMany, many moons ago?but still during the writing of Finders Keepers?I had wanted to bring a copy editor on board to do a tight little polish on the manuscript. The difference between an editor and a copy editor, is that, an editor reads a manuscript through, looking the big items: flow, tone, voice, storytelling, etc. In essence, the editor helps the writer break down the work, look at it?s various strengths and weaknesses, so that the writer can make revisions and bring about the best story possible.

A copy editor is a more technical function, but an important one at that. Copy editors look for spelling and grammar. Tense. They look for punctuation and consistency. Like, if the killer was wearing black shoes on page 201, he should also be wearing black shoes on page 206. Or if the ship sinks in the Atlantic Ocean on page 36, the wreckage shouldn?t be in the Pacific Ocean on page 128. On so on and so forth.

Some of these detail checks might sound obvious, and they are when you?re staring at them clearly, but with a manuscript?with a 120,000-word manuscript, no less, such as Finders Keepers?I?ve got a lot of little places to make mistakes. In fact, I?ve got 120,000 individual places to make mistakes.

[i]One hundred and twenty thousand.[/i]

Take spell-check, for example. If I meant to write [i]he laughed his nuts off,[/i] but what I actually wrote was, [i]her laughed his nuts off[/i]?a simple mistake, adding an extra [i]r[/i] at the end of [i]he[/i]?spell-check won?t catch it, because [i]her[/i] is spelled correctly. Same thing with [i]them[/i] and [i]then[/i]. [i]The[/i] and [i]they[/i]. You get the idea.

Now that Finders Keeper is done, now that it?s written, edited, revised, reworked, switched around, cut, trimmed, tweaked, pinched, gleaned, cleaned and redeemed, it finally occurred to me that it was time to bring in a copy editor and have a final polish to check for all those little details I just mentioned. To get rid of the blemishes.

And that’s what I’ve done. This summer I enlisted copy editor extraordinaire Barney O?Neil, a copy editing wizard I used to work with back when I was editing a medical magazine. To my eyes, Barney was always more than a copy editor, he was an [i]artiste[/i], one of those rare professionals who elevated his work from mere science to art.

Barney took about two months copy editing, and I?m now about half way through his suggestions. And as expected, his work has been top-notch, pointing out all the little blemishes that needed pruning?and also noting a few leaps in logic that maybe need some tightening up.

This morning, in fact, I came to a point in the story where Barney quite accurately pointed out that I had mistaken a time sequence. I had gotten the hour wrong. Instead of writing 12:03 p.m. I had inserted 1:03 p.m.–a point I’m sure I never would have noticed had he not caught it. He also noted a sequence when I used the word [i]was[/i], when I should have written [i]would be[/i]. It’s these subtle points that can make a big difference.

Even though I?ll be at these changes for the next few weeks, I can already see just how important?and what a stroke of good decision-making?it was to bring Barney on board. So I hope you?ll join me in welcoming Barney to Team Finders Keepers. His contributions are already obvious.

And when Finders Keepers finally hits the stands, you?ll also know how important his contributions have been, because if he did his job well?and you bet your booty he did?you won?t notice anything at all.

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The Cat?s %$#@! Meow

Don?t get me wrong. Alex?my cat?is pretty much the coolest cat there is, was or ever will be. He?ll be 16 tomorrow?with a lot of years left in him. As I?ve written about before, Alex has been with me since the early ?90s in Buffalo, driven cross-country with me?twice?and is more fun and just great to be around than I ever could have asked for.

But if there?s one thing I would change about him, just one little, itty bitty detail I would do different, it would be this: his %$#@! meow. Holy [Don?t get me wrong. Alex?my cat?is pretty much the coolest cat there is, was or ever will be. He?ll be 16 tomorrow?with a lot of years left in him. As I?ve written about before, Alex has been with me since the early ?90s in Buffalo, driven cross-country with me?twice?and is more fun and just great to be around than I ever could have asked for.

But if there?s one thing I would change about him, just one little, itty bitty detail I would do different, it would be this: his %$#@! meow. Holy [i]crud[/i] is it annoying. And on two fronts.

[b]The Timing[/b]:

Cats are amazing. Alex has this internal clock (and maybe it?s all animals) that you could set a train schedule to. And since I get up early?my alarm goes off at 4:50 a.m.?well, he hears me stirring, so he?s up early, too, on schedule, with very few exceptions. And when he?s up, he wants two things?attention and food, although not necessarily in that order.

Thing is, he?s long had this delightful habit of coming into my bedroom in the morning to wake me up?an hour before my alarm goes off! And when I?m already getting up before 5 a.m., that means that on many mornings (not all, but many) I can expect his meowing at 4 a.m.?when he knows I?ll be up in an hour anyway! Why does he do this? I have no idea. And believe me, I wish I did.

[b]The Sound:[/b]

Most cats have that classic [i]meow.[/i] You know the one. It?s that light and soft kinda high-pitched meow. It?s not particularly loud or aggressive. It?s just a sound you recognize.

And then there?s Alex.

His meow is more like an old man sitting on the john having a very difficult time squeezing out a backed-up dookie?and letting you know just how annoyed he is about it. Alex has a loud, aggressive guttural meow that doesn?t really say, ?hey, man, how are ya? I?m just glad to see you.? Alex has a meow that?s more like, ?Listen up, numb nuts. I want something. I want it now! I want it now! I … WANT … IT … NOW!

Of course, I don?t know that?s what he?s actually thinking, but [i]man[/i] does he let you know he?s in the room. And when you hear that meow at 4 a.m. … not fun. I can?t tell you how many mornings he?s literally scared Liz and I awake.

And yet, once I walk over to him, pick him up and give him a few scratches on the cheek, Alex purrs up a storm. He?s happy as a clam. Just the warmest, most gentle cat you could ever ask for.

Alex is the coolest cat there is. If there?s just something to be done about that meow …

Photos of Russ at Baltimore Comic-Con ’07

I’ve finally got some pix up from the 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con, so stop by the PHOTOS section and check out the event!

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/10/03 09:46I’ve finally got some pix up from the 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con, so stop by the PHOTOS section and check out the event!

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/10/03 09:46

My Corrupted File Freak Out!

A totally not-so-funny thing happened about two weeks ago.

I was in agent query mode, and wanted to cut and paste the first 40 pages of Finders Keepers into a new file, because an agent had requested sample pages. Cool. So I clicked through folders and sub-folders, until I found the file that contains the entire, up-to-date Finders Keepers manuscript, in double-space format (I also have it single-spaced format for other uses).

Once at the file, I doubled-clicked it and waited for it tA totally not-so-funny thing happened about two weeks ago.

I was in agent query mode, and wanted to cut and paste the first 40 pages of Finders Keepers into a new file, because an agent had requested sample pages. Cool. So I clicked through folders and sub-folders, until I found the file that contains the entire, up-to-date Finders Keepers manuscript, in double-space format (I also have it single-spaced format for other uses).

Once at the file, I doubled-clicked it and waited for it to open.

And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

When nothing happened, I looked at the screen oddly, and then doubled-clicked the file again, and waited for it to open.

And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

When once again the file didn’t open–it wasn’t even processing to open; no hour-glass, no flashing cursor–it started to dawn on me that something was wrong with the file containing MY LIFE’S WORK!

At that point I ran the usual diagnostic checks–I yelled with horror, kicked the chair and pounded my fist on the desk, and then clicked through my computer–only to discover that, indeed, the file was corrupted.

The logical part of my brain realizes that, despite the setback, this isn’t actually the worst thing in the world, as I regularly back up my files and save them to a disc, which is stored in a fire-proof box. But the emotion part of me got all riled up and start spazzing out a bit. It’s not like I have a full-time IT dude on standby who I can summon to fix these things.

But as I do have back-ups, I copy and pasted the single-spaced version of Finders Keepers into a new file, and reformatted it to be double-spaced. Once I confirmed that the file was clean and working, I deleted the corrupted file. (And as I’m typing this, I realize that I need to recopy the new double-space file to the back-up disc!).

In the end, crisis averted.

So this blog is dedicated to good buddy and Finders Keepers Web master Ron Benchetrit, who for the last 20 years has been pounded it into my head to ALWAYS BACK UP MY FILES!

Thank Ron I did.

But there’s a little more to story …

In a perfect moment of irony, just moments ago, as I was typing out the words, [i]So this blog is dedicated to good buddy and Finders Keepers Web master Ron Benchetrit, who for the last 20 years [/i] …

I accidentally hit the wrong key with my right pinky, closing out the tab, and without having saved this entry, lost the entire blog [i]about losing files[/i]!

This blog is actually version No. 2.

Ah, the gods sure do have a sense of humor, don’t they?

I wonder if they back up their files …

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O.J. Back in Jail! Friggin. Sweet.

I don’t even care about the reason, but the slimebag himself O.J. Simpson is back in jail, and this one’s a beaut. Apparently he led a bunch of his thugs, armed with guns, into a Las Vegas hotel room, to retrieve some pieces of his memorabilia, which he claims were stolen.

O.J. is being held in prison, with two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon (among other charges) expected to be filed within days. And the robbery charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison! Each!

PleI don’t even care about the reason, but the slimebag himself O.J. Simpson is back in jail, and this one’s a beaut. Apparently he led a bunch of his thugs, armed with guns, into a Las Vegas hotel room, to retrieve some pieces of his memorabilia, which he claims were stolen.

O.J. is being held in prison, with two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon (among other charges) expected to be filed within days. And the robbery charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison! Each!

Please, please, please, please, please if there’s any justice in the universe O.J. is going down for this one and going down for good. How beautiful would it be if O.J. spent the rest of his life in prison–not for cutting his wife’s head off–but for stealing some football jerseys?

Nice!

Ah, one can only hope …

And in a bizarre and most unfortunate twist on his evil, evil book that is now back in print, it’s actually the Goldman family that has not only approved its publication, but renamed it to "If I Did it: Confessions of the Killer." Because of the civil suit they won against O.J. in which he owes them $33.5 million, the rights to his book went to them. I’m sure they are still distraught, and I won’t even pretend understand their grief, but why in the world would they ever let that trash into the world? Do they really need the money so bad as to allow this drivel to be printed? Isn’t the murder of Nicole Simpson sinful enough?

Just bury that book. Hell, burn that thing. It’s evil to the core, and they shouldn’t be profiting financially from it.

This whole mess is disgusting all around …

But if O.J. finally–finally–gets his, at least that’s something.

The Harry Potter (Reject) Effect

I read something this morning that once again reminded me of all the goofiness and unpredictability in the wacky world of publishing.

Did you know that the manuscript for J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was originally rejected–by 12 different publishers?!

Twelve!

And I’m not talking agents. This comes after the agents stage, when an agent-backed manuscript is making its way through the industry.

And now the Harry Potter franchise is one of the most valuable in the worI read something this morning that once again reminded me of all the goofiness and unpredictability in the wacky world of publishing.

Did you know that the manuscript for J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was originally rejected–by 12 different publishers?!

Twelve!

And I’m not talking agents. This comes after the agents stage, when an agent-backed manuscript is making its way through the industry.

And now the Harry Potter franchise is one of the most valuable in the world–ever! Just the movies alone surpassed the $4 billion mark, which I believe just passed James Bond as the most successful movie franchise ever. Or something close to it.

And then there’s the publishing end of things!

Publishing is littered with stories like this. One of my favorites is the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. The story I hear is that the original book took 20 years to get published. 20 freakin years! And now it’s a worldwide best seller.

So what does this all mean? It means that just because one person–or even many people–pass on a particular book does not therefore mean that THEY KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING!

Publishing is such a subjective market. Who’s to say what’s a good book or not? Who’s to say who’s a good writer or not? And who’s to say if a book will sell?

The agents and publishers, that’s who. And such is the plight of writer dudes like me, who have to work within a world in which the rules are screwy and change all the time.

Which is both frustrating to no end–and also quite thrilling.

Why thrilling?

Just because one person says no to a book doesn’t therefore mean it’s the right decision. For every no, there could just as easily be 10 yeses. It’s just a matter of finding the right place at the right time, and if you have a book of quality–which Finders Keepers most certainly is–then it’s not a matter of if, but when.

Will today be the day? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month?

Wish I knew. But the day is coming, and in my bones I feel that it’s coming sooner rather than later.

If Chicken Soup for the Soul and Harry Potter–one of the most successful books ever–needed to take their lumps before hitting the big time, then getting knocked around a little bit isn’t such a lousy feeling after all (I’m not saying it’s fun, but still …).

With every moment there is opportunity. And as long as I stay plugged in, keeping the momentum going, staying positive and focused, the day will come when I get to say no to them, instead of the other way around.

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