I like the word Holiday—I'm not sure why—not to get into the word's origins and wide array of meanings—but I like how you can mold it to work for you you, if you want to—and thus: Holiday Newsletter.
Without going into my personal, technological, philosophical, and financial triumphs and limitations, I have finally reached a point (this-is-it) where it's time to make some decisions and then move on. I have been working on a novel all my life, and now I am done with it. I won't even presume I know what is next.
“What to do with the novel” then becomes the problem, and part of me says: wrap it in plastic and forget about it. The kindle part of me (that made my writing available for ebooks in the past) suggested ebook, but due to decreased technological prowess (due in part to limited finances), and also due to many of you disliking e-readers and their funny names, and certain companies who facilitate all this, that is not going to happen at this time.
I finally read over this finished novel, however, with a clear head (ie, as a reader, not a re-writer), and I realized that I love my characters. I don't always like what they're doing, but for better or worse they have become like breathing creatures to me, and I can't just let them be wrapped in plastic. So it is with that, hopefully, genuine sentiment that I offer to share their lives with anyone who would like to take the time and not inconsiderable effort to reimagine them in their own mind.
As part of my brain has been hijacked by certain social and political realities in the last year, I realize that it is harder than ever to concentrate on fiction, or anything, really. It's like our brains are computers (they are, actually) and when this current events program is constantly running, it slows down everything. So I realize it might not be the time to read about, and become immersed in, people who aren't technically flesh and blood. Or it might be just the time, who knows.
When I went to write a synopsis for this novel (synopsis writing being something that can make even the strongest among us collapse in a weeping puddle) it became painfully clear that a convoluted, slowly developing story with so many characters you need a reference guide (and no explicit sex or violence) might appeal to less than a percent of a percent of people, even the ones I know personally. Especially when most of the characters are writers, and that's what they like talking about. They're also all kind of old.
But then, who knows—I liked it. I considered sending out a holiday mass email with a PDF of the novel attached, but I realize a mass email with a PDF attached will go right into the ol' spam mailbox. I've got thousands of unopened emails, and I don't even go near that spam mailbox (it's truly frightening), and maybe no one even checks, much less reads email anymore, but still, I'll send this holiday newsletter out to those few who might welcome it.
So, if you've read this far and would like a PDF of my novel, Everyone Is Someone Else, please let me know—and know that you are not obligated to read it or ever say another word about it. I know that a PDF is an awfully cheap Christmas present, but it's all I've got, and if you added up the hours I spent working on it (even if they're slow-burn, pre-dawn hours) it would possibly be impressive.
One last thought, and encouragement. If you do actually decide to read this story, I welcome questions and complaints, via mail, email, and phone calls, as I'd be happy to help anyone who is using their own valuable time to reconstitute my imaginary world, and it would be my pleasure to help color in here and there, or offer clues to missing pieces, or argue about ideas. (Which is probably an offer you get from any writer, or should, providing they are still alive, and not in hiding.)
But really, please feel free to ignore all this novel business. I just felt like I had some kind of obligation to put it out there, if un-aggressively as possible, so that I can move on. More important, please keep in touch. If you can, spend time with family. Be nice to animals. Maybe take a long walk in the woods.
Randy Russell, 14 December 2017