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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Use All The Crayons!" on iTunes!


As of last month, Bob Seger and I have one less thing in common: I’m on iTunes and he’s not.

It should be the exact reverse.

If you want some of Seger’s truly old time rock ‘n’ roll, you need to purchase a physical version of it.

I’d call that old school, but today even all the old schools have computers so I don’t know what the heck to call it.

Yet, here we are. You can now download “Use All The Crayons! The Colorful Guide to Simple Human Happiness” for $3.99.

One of Seger’s best songs advises you to “Turn the Page.” Now, there’s version of my book where that’s impossible.

It’s read by Don Hagen, a man you’ve certainly heard even if you’ve never heard of. Hagen of Washington, D.C., is a top voice talent who does adds dramatic flourishes to the copy for commercials for Volkswagen, Lockheed Martin, PBS and the non-annoying lines for Aflac.

I was eager to talk to him about my book for many reasons. Foremost being he’s read every word.

Some friends say they have, but the eye may skip over parts of it. I’m sure many people read it while the TV’s on in the background or while they’re waiting for the internet porn to download. And that’s fine.

I promise not to issue a pop quiz.

But Hagen’s read each and every one of the 46,167 words. If he skipped even a single word, a producer would yell, “Cut!” and he’d have to start that part over.

So I had about a 1,000 questions for him.

What was your favorite part? Did any of it make you cry? Were you surprised by the ending?

All these questions, of course, are patently nonsensical, as is the whole book. In fact, it makes so little sense I felt compelled to include an entire page of actual upfront reader instructions, which conclude thus:

The book is not a mystery. There’s no surprise ending. The butler didn’t do it. You can read it backwards or forwards, either way really isn’t that important. I think the best way to explore what follows is with an open mind, a playful heart and without any ambition that any of it is ever going to make perfect sense. Sort of like life.”

I e-mailed Hagen to thank him for what I’m certain is an entertaining and professional job and to ask him if he’d have time to answer some questions.

His reply: “Thanks for getting in touch. I enjoyed your book and wish you much success with it!”

He is a busy man and doesn’t have time for chat and that bothers me not even one little bit.

I’ll hear his voice one of these days soon when I download my own book. I plan on using it as an audio club to beat musical tastes into my daughters during long car ride:

“All right, you guys decide: It’s either Bob Dylan’s “Oh Mercy” or another audio hour of ‘Use All The Crayons!’ And YOU will get quizzed. What’s it gonna be?”

It’s too bad the publisher couldn’t have persuaded Dylan to do the reading.

Imagine Dylan’s ravaged voice croaking:  “No 470. Don’t complain the next time someone does or says something that throws a real monkey wrench into an already difficult situation. Instead, do something constructive and try to locate a loose monkey.”

Many of my friends have said I should do my own reading. The suggestion flatters me, but I’m sure I’d make a fairly straight-forward process a chaos.

I’d find the opportunity to really ham it up impossible to resist.

But as I aim to be a full service author/blogger, please get in touch if you’d like me to read any of it aloud to you over the phone. And for a small fee, I’ll even ride along with you in the car to the store and read selections or just talk about stuff.

I doubt you’ll get that offer from Seger. He is among the last holdouts yet to bow to Apple. He says the business model cheapens music and will lead to the ruin of artistic opportunity.

He has integrity.

I do not.

I am thrilled to get my book out there to readers by any means. There’s already ample evidence word-of-mouth grassroots promotion is leading to success.

I’m optimistic that will continue.

Even when my words are coming from Don Hagen’s mouth.



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