Monday, September 24, 2012

Women Are From Venus And Men Are Pigs And Lie About Everything, Including Where They're From

Okay, the title rather says it all, but this blog is actually about why men prefer reading novels by male authors, while women favor female authors. This is not an opinion but a fact. Not sure where it came from but a fact, nonetheless.
This element about literature and the sexes started 40,000 years ago in a small cave somewhere in Europe. A singularly talented Neanderthal gathered his buddies one Friday night and after a few rounds of caveman libations, drew some excellent artwork on the cave wall using chalk, charcoal, blood, and flower dye. This first picture book / novel was drawn in three scenes: 1. A rousing illustration of him and his tribal fellows attacking a neighboring village. 2. A stunning depiction of a mass killing of all the men in the village. 3. The victors clubbing the enemies' women and dragging them back to their caves. The artist beamed as his fellow Neanderthals clapped, jumped, and hooted at the mural in great admiration of the author and artist's skills.
And thus the first picture book was written and the first literary critic also gave the first ever review of a book. The artist's wife stared at the cave book painting, frowned, and then opined, "I don't like the ending."

Men liking men's books and women liking women's books is genetic. Earlier this year, Esquire came out with its listing of "80 Books Every Man Should Read." Out of the 80 books listed, guess how many were written by women? Time's up! One. Yep. Only Flannery O'Connor made it into the literary sausage-fest with her novel, "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," and Flannery sounds like a man's name anyway.
So do men buy books written by men because they fantasize killing bad guys, ravishing women they'll never have in real life, and having untold riches? The short answer is, "Yes." The long answer is, "Yes they do."
And likewise, do women like their novels written by women that have a female protagonist who is wealthy and surrounded by attractive men who love the main character for her powers of deduction, cunning, intelligence, and stunning good looks? Yes. And does this blog post so far sound sexist, narrow-minded and typically male? Again the short answer is, yes.

Of course there are exceptions. I have read Harper Lee and Flannery O'Connor and Margaret Mitchell, but very few contemporary women authors, although I enjoyed, The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins. I was forced to read George Sand and Virginia Woolf in college, but that doesn't count. And then there's my wife who reads James Patterson and John Grisham and hasn't suffered from the experience.
But I do have some proof from an author herself. J.K. Rowling admitted she used her initials for fear that boys wouldn't read books written by women. Obviously, she was right.
Men like novels with lots of sex and violence and no romance. Women like novels with lots of romance and no sex and violence. Men like novels that have solutions to problems. Women like novels where they talk about solutions to problems.
It's pretty obvious my new novel, Deviant Acts, is written by a man. There is a love story and there is sex handled tastefully, yet after the lulls there is the typical action and violence. I apparently have been conditioned by too many Warner Brothers cartoons and sexist male relatives.
All right, I have no real basis for believing as I do, but when I pick up a book by a woman author I usually get through two or three chapters and then give up on it. I'm sorry. It's my fault. I'm so shallow. Shame on me.
But if the Neanderthal women had banded together and wiped out all the men in their tribes, except for that one sensitive, good-looking guy, we wouldn't have this problem.

Monday, September 17, 2012


A good friend and an excellent poet, Nilanjana Bose, has sent out a request that I post eleven facts about myself and answer eleven questions from her.  Here is my response:

Okay, here goes...11 random facts about me.

1.    I lie a lot. In fact, I’m even lying about lying.

2.    I have 48 cousins.

3.    My favorite food is a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich.

4.    I write everything by hand (six novels, 145 short stories, ten poems, 1 song, 1 blog, six illegal prescriptions) If melancholy consumes me I’ll type the suicide note to be different.

5.    I’ve been in love with the same girl for 37 years. (No, not Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island—my wife silly.)

6.    I am good friends and still love my daughters despite having to raise them.

7.    I never smoked or took drugs. I drink only on days that end with a Y.

8.    Surfing (Ocean not web) is my therapy, yoga, Yin and Yan.

9.    I dislike most politicians except for the reluctant ones. Those are the ones who don’t want to serve but do so as a civic duty and because they love their country.

10. I have been working since I was seven.

11. My favorite authors are Dennis LeHane, William Trevor, Joseph O’Connor, Cormac McCarthy, Vladimir Nabakov, Steven Pressfield, Bernard Cornwell and the lone female-Harper Lee (oh and Flannery O’Connor, oh and Margaret Mitchell.)


The questions I have been asked to answer are:

1.    If you could have any one wish granted, what would it be?

For three more wishes.


2.    Is acceptance a better route to happiness than striving to change?

Trick question because if you strive to change and succeed then you will be accepted.


3.    What's more important, to carry your heritage or to carve out a future despite it?

That depends on where you live. In a free Republic like the USA, your heritage means nothing. You are judged only on what you have done with the resources available. Anyone can succeed here if they believe they will and they follow through to achieve their goals.


4.    Have you ever read any poetry after you left school? If yes, who is your favourite poet?

Yes, of course. Robert Frost, because he lived near my hometown when I was a boy.


5.    If you had to choose just one thing that your mum said to you to keep in memory, what would that be?

Chew your meat twenty times before swallowing. (And the way she said, “I love you, JJ”)


6.    One person, two tools/gadgets, and three books that you’d choose to be marooned with in a desert island.

Kathy Ireland, a flint striker, a knife, Lolita, anything by William Trevor, Anna Karenina.


7.    What’s your addiction?

Apple Fritters


8.    Forest or street, which would you rather be and why?

Forest, because sooner or later I’d be both.


9.    Leaving aside your family and friends, when you say “my people” who exactly do you mean?

My Writer Community


10.Is non-violence a practical response in the current environment?

No. Violence is an inherited trait in men. That’s why women should rule the world.


10. Are we losing touch with reality because of the Internet?

Yes. Parents should remove all technology from children’s hands for at least two days a week and send them outside to make real friends.



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dealing With Rejection In Writing

You, of course, don't have to suffer rejection. Just set your goals very, very low and you'll never have to deal with the heartless monster. If you've convinced yourself you'll never have that primo body or job or spouse or pool or Mercedes or million bucks, and your prediction comes true, then you'll save yourself the anxiety of rejection. The same goes for writing. If you truly believe you will never write the Great American or Indian or Canadian (eh?) Novel, and you never do, then you have succeeded. Congratulations.
I've had to deal with rejection all my life. When the doctor held me up after the delivery, I was so ugly he slapped my mother. (kudos to Dangerfield.) In Junior High School, the coach had me run against a three-hundred pound kid with congenital heart disease and I lost. In high school, I asked Laura Baugh, the U.S. Amateur golf champion, and the most beautiful girl in Florida, if she wanted to dance. She looked me up and down and said, "You've got to be kidding."

So with that plethora of experience one would think I would be uber capable of handling anything these cruel agents and publishers can fling at me. Alas, tis not the case. With each postcard or form letter or terse, dispassionate e-mail rejection, my writing enthusiasm dies just a little bit more.
There are days I want to pull an Emily Dickinson and shove my prose into the underwear drawer and leave it to be discovered after I have writ me last syllable and left God's good Earth. I know, a bit melodramatic and filled with hyperbole, but sooner or later you have to ask yourself if you should keep trying or just do what that whiny bastard who writes that blog called, Give It Up, You'll Never Be Published tells you to do? Oh, wait a sec. That's me, isn't it? Dumbass.
I guess you could listen to those pundits at those writing conferences who tell you to keep a stiff upper lip and to always remember that Theodor Geisel had hundreds of rejections from publishers, as did Stephen King and J K Rowling, and yet they stuck to their guns and were eventually published. Well, yeah, but those are successful examples. What about the zillion that were never published? Geez.
Okay. Here's an example of a Query letter you can send to a literary agent and be absolutely sure you won't feel awful if rejected:

September 6, 2012

Prima Donna Literary, LLC

20 Madison Ave.

New York, NY 10010 


Dear Sir or Madam or To Whom It May Concern or probably to an intern, most likely, 

My novel, The Godfather, is a coming-of-age story about a teenager who transforms into a werewolf whenever he eats at Five Guys. I titled it The Godfather because that’s already a successful novel and I figure a lot of people will mistake my book for that one, especially if it’s available in a Kindle version, so, like, no one will really know they screwed up ordering the wrong book and so my book will make a lot of money. If you don’t like The Godfather we could call it Fifty Shades of Grey because that’s pretty popular too. It’s OK to do stuff like that because you can’t copyright a title. I didn’t know if you knew that.
My book’s not really that good, but I haven’t been writing very long, so I have an excuse. I read a lot, mostly Manga, but except for the storyline running from back to front it’s very similar to the other stuff people read in books.
So anyway, we could make a lot of money selling my book and I’ll sign a contract to write more, no problem.
If I don’t hear from you within like a few weeks I’ll call your agency to see what you think. Hurry though. I will send it to other agencies who probably want to make some money themselves.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

John J. White