John Manchester's Blog (130)

An Improbable Cause

Thirteen months ago I wrote about finding my new agent, extending my metaphor of storming the fortress of the publishing business. A new year, and time for a new metaphor : climbing a mountain.

I first gazed up at the summit thirteen years ago. It looked close. I was writing a memoir about my father and the 1960’s. Memoirs…

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Added by John Manchester on March 15, 2017 at 8:56am — 6 Comments

When Life Imitates Art

When I began blogging I vowed to only write about politics on the rare occasions that I had something personal to contribute. This is one of those times.

ACT I: Plum Pit Throat 

 I just finished a new draft of book one of my series  and sent it to my new agent. Just as I embarked on my re-write I…

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Added by John Manchester on February 17, 2016 at 8:44am — 3 Comments

Inside the Castle

Note: The good news recounted below would not have happened without the support and encouragement of my many friends from Open Salon and here at Our Salon. Thanks, guys!

Late fall I recounted my quest for a new literary agent. I likened it to storming the dark castle of the publishing business, armed with only a query letter. What I sought was an “Offer of Representation” – a writer’s ticket…

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Added by John Manchester on February 4, 2016 at 11:00am — 5 Comments

Demon Stagefright and the Rock-and-Roll Devil

“See the man with stagefright, just standing up there to give it all his might.” –Robbie Robertson

I wrote in my last post  about being an introverted artist who must periodically emerge from under my rock to peddle my wares. Am I’m doing it. Not only querying literary agents , but going on TV! The Kennedy…

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Added by John Manchester on November 20, 2015 at 10:59am — 9 Comments

Faint noises filter in from outside, the roar of a crowd pierced by cries of glee. They’re out there under the sun, watching their sportsball game. Marching with linked arms. Or partying down, dancin…

Under a rock

Faint noises filter in from outside, the roar of a crowd pierced by cries of glee. They’re out there under the sun, watching their sportsball game. Marching with linked arms. Or partying down, dancing, singing out of tune. The extroverts.

The noises are faint because I’m under my rock, in my cave. It’s neither dank nor buggy, and I sit in a very comfortable chair. Best of all, I’m alone.…

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Added by John Manchester on November 2, 2015 at 2:03pm — 4 Comments

Storming the Castle

Siege_et_prise_du_Chateau_des_Tuileries_cph.3b49398 In the eleven years I’ve been writing I’ve completed a memoir and two novels, and am working on a third. I could self-publish any of them in a matter of a few days, but I’m still holding out for a traditional publisher. You can’t get one without a literary agent. I’ve parted ways with mine, so I’ve been looking for a new one. It’s been an ordeal.

I can’t…

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Added by John Manchester on October 15, 2015 at 6:30am — 15 Comments

Love and Mercy



This one is for our buddy, Scanner.

Love and Mercy, the new movie about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, is a deeply moving, often brilliant film. It makes up for all the crummy rock music biopics that have come before. Those films follow the predictable three act “Behind the Music” story arc: band gets big, gets drugged, then gets redeemed, through Jesus, Rehab, or a reunion tour.

Love and Mercy is also a tale of decline and salvation,…

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Added by John Manchester on June 24, 2015 at 9:01am — 4 Comments

B. B. King

B.B. King died last week. This is a strange tribute, I know, but nonetheless a tribute. At a turning point in my life, the great bluesman pulled me from the abyss.

 PSYCHEDELIC HORROR ALERT

February, 1969, Freshman Year, Wesleyan University

 It was Saturday night around ten thirty. I bought a hit of acid from a guy down the hall. Later –too late – I would hear that there was something wrong with that batch. Too strong, or maybe…

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Added by John Manchester on May 21, 2015 at 10:06am — 7 Comments

Open Salon, R.I.P.

“Don’t it always seem to go. You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” –Joni Mitchell.

I started blogging at Open Salon almost five years ago, with a post (a love letter, really) to Joni Mitchell. As of the 9th of March, OS is officially dead.

Open Salon was a bloggers dream: a platform with a built in audience. I made friends there. A few I met in person, others on the…

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Added by John Manchester on March 12, 2015 at 1:30pm — 10 Comments

Marty Balin Live at the Throckmorton Theatre

SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 7:07AM

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I keep getting tangled up in strange loops of time. I’ve…

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Added by John Manchester on September 10, 2014 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Epiphany in the Check-in Line

AUGUST 27, 2014 11:55AM

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Checki-in

My mother was a confirmed atheist. She believed in no higher power,…

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Added by John Manchester on August 27, 2014 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Go West, Old Man (A fairy tale)

AUGUST 19, 2014 12:57PM

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 "Go West, young man, go West. There is health in the country, and room away from…

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Added by John Manchester on August 19, 2014 at 4:00pm — No Comments

A Writer's Dilemma

Until a few years ago if you wanted your book published you had two options: find an agent to take it to publishers, or hire a vanity publisher. The first option was uncertain, and took a long time. The second was expensive, and (after your mom and best friends dutifully bought) saddled you with a basement of moldering books. And perhaps worse, the scorn of published authors, who considered vanity publishing the last resort of a failed writer, somewhere between shoplifting and child…

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Added by John Manchester on February 12, 2014 at 5:15am — 1 Comment

Pete Seeger 1919-2014

Sometime in the early sixties my father took me to see Pete Seeger at the local High School. It was my first concert, and the first time I’d seen a banjo. What I remember most of that night is my father’s loud baritone as he sang along with Pete, “Oh you can’t scare me, I’m sticking with the…

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Added by John Manchester on January 28, 2014 at 2:14pm — 11 Comments

Fifty Years Ago Today

Most Fridays in the fall of 1963 my father was working at American Education Publications, publishers of “My Weekly Reader.” I was in my eighth grade class.

 But that Friday, November 22nd, my father picked me up early from school in his green Austin-Healey Sprite. My father loved that car. He’d grin and say, “Let’s go for a spin,” crank the top down and we’d go flying out over the hills of Middletown, Connecticut. The Sprite gave him license to become a different…

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Added by John Manchester on November 22, 2013 at 6:00am — 7 Comments

Murder Your Metaphors

(Part of an occasional series on writing)

 

 The process of learning to write comes in distinct stages, like peeling the layers of an onion. Each new layer first appears smooth and shiny. But over time the…

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Added by John Manchester on November 6, 2013 at 8:01am — No Comments

The Death of a President

My father William Manchester’s account of JFK’s assassination, The Death of a President, is finally back in print after many years. Jill Abramson of the Times wrote an interesting overview of all the books on the subject, concluding with this about my father’s: “The good news, maybe the best, of the 50th anniversary is that Little, Brown has now reissued…

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Added by John Manchester on October 24, 2013 at 8:58am — 1 Comment

Ingrid Michaelson - Lights Out

APRIL 18, 2014 11:24AM

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Ingrid

This post is an experiment. I normally never listen to music when I write.…

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Added by John Manchester on April 18, 2013 at 4:00pm — No Comments

You Can't Write About Me!

(Dylan at Ginsberg's typewriter)

A few days ago I got an email confirming that something I suggested to someone a few months ago had resulted in a cool thing. Nothing scandalous, but it made a fun story.

 Something. Someone. Thing. Nothing. No, this is not an exercise in bad (i.e., purposely vague) writing. Please read…

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Added by John Manchester on January 28, 2013 at 11:46am — 4 Comments

When I met Julie and Julia

JUNE 27, 2012 3:21PM

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I enjoyed When Harry Met Sally.  I found Sleepless in…

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Added by John Manchester on June 27, 2012 at 4:00pm — No Comments

NEW BLOG POSTS

Hooking up on BS

Posted by Robert B. James on June 24, 2019 at 7:47am 5 Comments

Just a Little Too

Posted by Doc Vega on June 24, 2019 at 1:39am 0 Comments

Water View II

Posted by koshersalaami on June 23, 2019 at 3:00pm 11 Comments

The Merlin Of BindleSnitch

Posted by Robert B. James on June 23, 2019 at 7:07am 7 Comments

Old Soft Shoe (POEM)

Posted by J.P. Hart on June 22, 2019 at 1:00pm 4 Comments

I saw one Mountain Lion

Posted by Robert B. James on June 22, 2019 at 8:00am 3 Comments

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