I’ve been dying to use that title. In fact at one time I wanted to use it for the title of my book. But everyone else thought it was just a cheap pun that would lower the image of the book. Personally I didn’t care what people thought of the title as long as they remembered it, and as long as it told them something intriguing about the book. To me that’s the point of a title. And it seems to me President Trumped does that. In part that’s because it says the book is about someone who uses Trump’s own tactics to defeat him – as is the case with my main character, comedian Charlie Wyatt.
I was eventually talked out of that title by people who seemed to know what they were talking about when it came to promoting books. And I do love the real title, The Contrarian Candidate. And by the way, the similarity to Richard Condon’s famous novel The Manchurian Candidate comes mainly from the fact that, like The Manchurian Candidate, The Contrarian Candidate is a political thriller, which is to some extent concerned with conspiracy theories. But in the Contrarian’s case, it’s about debunking those theories and showing how dangerous they can be in the current political climate.
Also, that is not the central focus of my book. What the book really sets out to do is tell the story of would happen if a standup comic challenged Trump in the Republican primary, but not necessarily to win. Instead he does it just so he can beat him at his own game – belittle, berate and verbally beat him to a pulp every chance he gets and in every possible way – all in order to become Trump’s worst nightmare and the troll from hell.
But enough about my book. What I really wanted to talk about here is what it’s been like these past few weeks as my book is about to be unleashed upon the world. In a word, it has been hell. And it isn’t just disagreements about titles and other creative and business issues. It’s been everything to do with the process. And that’s not entirely because of the process itself. In fact it’s more because of what it means for me in terms of having my book out there – or for that matter, for me to be out there in any way.
So for example, Bartholomew St. James is not my real name. And there are a lot of reasons I decided to use a pen name, and they don’t have anything to do with the controversial subject matter of my book. It’s more about how I see authors in general, at least in terms of my own reading experience.
Obviously I like having my words and ideas out there. Which is the reason I wrote the book and am writing this blog. Nothing new there, especially for a writer. But at the same time, I see no point in readers knowing me personally, certainly in terms of my physical attributes, like what I look like and the sound of my voice. In fact to me as a reader, those things are nothing but a distraction.
When I read a book, the last thing I want to hear is the author’s speaking voice. What I want to hear is his writing voice and the voices of his characters. And maybe that’s just me.
But the fact is, it is me. And so that is how I want my book to be seen and heard – as a statement of who I am on the inside. Which is one reason I like the title The Contrarian Candidate so much. Because that title itself is a statement of who I am – though not the candidate part of course.
What I’m talking about is the “contrarian” part. Because that is who I am, the ultimate contrarian. And that stems primarily from the fact that I do not feel any real connection to the world – at least not in the way most people do. And not only does that give me a picture perspective, that sense of unattachment gives me freedom from the need to feel affiliated with any one paradigm or view of the world – especially when it comes to politics. All of which allows me to see the world in my own unique and objective way.
That tends to put me on the progressive side of things, and therefore, in my view, on the right side of history. But that does not mean I buy into the totality of the progressive agenda or its institutions, especially in terms of their ability to carry out their goals. In fact I see them as being particularly ineffective in that regard. And to a large extent, that is what this blog is going to be about – as opposed to being purely about Trump and what’s he’s doing to the world.
There may be a fire hose of source material coming from the man in the form of one stupid statement and idiotic move after another. But how many creative ways are there to respond to all that nonsense – especially if you want to do it in a way that expresses the enormity of it all. And that is what I am interested in, the enormity of it, the big picture, the thirty thousand foot view. That’s what interests me. And that is what this blog and The Contrarian Candidate are really all about.