Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
In this 286-page, 90-piece orchestration of autobiographical flashbacks, I describe my descent into alcoholism while three fictional alter egos (unnoticed by me) discuss my prospects for recovery. My intense, introspective and illuminating fiction looks at alcoholism and addiction from the inside out and back again. In three parts, the Destruction, the Deconstruction and the Reconstruction, the alcoholic beast is revealed.
The vicious cycles of alcoholic addiction: hospitals, detoxes, rehabs and relapse. Repeat, repeat, repeat. A textbook case of chronic chemical dependency, All Drinking Aside will provoke, deceive, disturb and annoy you while it entertains and informs. All Drinking Aside is Everybody's Autobiography if you're an alcoholic and Someone You Know if you are not.
The above came from my Amazon.com link, which is the first one, below. Marie, I finished writing All Drinking Aside in May of 2013 and after six months of editing and working on the front and back cover designs, descriptions and suitable short excerpts, the first copies were available for purchase in November of last year.
It is available on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble with a printed cover price of $18.95, The Kindle edition is only $8.95.
What prompted me to write All Drinking Aside: The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal was my desire to return to my writing career. For over a decade I had been an Advertising Copywriter (before my alcoholic descent truly escalated). I basically wrote advertisements in all media for other people's and company's products and services. That had always been a creative outlet for me. I had developed my writing abilities prior to that through my college education (a B.A. in English from Moravian College, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania).
My inspiration for writing this book was the self-realizations that recovery from alcoholism brought me, coupled with my extensive writing background, would allow me to promote a new understanding of addiction to alcohol in a way that the social drinker (which is most of the world) could finally understand. What it feels like on the inside. Dark as my book sometimes is, the reader comes to realize that there is hope, that recovery is possible and that a sober lifestyle is doable, livable and dare I say loveable?
I wrote quite a bit in college, assignments from various English courses and all courses in college, really. But I wrote some poetry, too, as many students do in coming to terms with their adulthood. One of my early poems titled "The Pub" is actually excerpted in my book. I lost everything to my alcoholism, having been homeless twice, but had carried a few scraps with me even through all of that. When I moved to Atlantic City a few years after graduation, I became friends with an illustrator and designer who eventually became my partner in advertising. Sandee designed the advertising and I wrote the words. It was that simple.
Do you have any favorite authors?
My first loves of literature had been poetry and fiction. Recently (if the last 10 years is recent), non-fiction has predominated. Six years of studying French in high school and college exposed me to favorites such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Samuel Beckett. French literature was my spark and American literature became my fire. Thomas Wolfe, Mark Twain and Tennessee Williams each found a way into my heart and into my art. And as for poetry, Marie, my absolute favorite poet is Wallace Stevens, followed by the likes of Emily Dickinson and Allen Ginsburg.
Do you write in a specific place? Time of day?
For the first two years while writing All Drinking Aside, I chiseled the experience of my alcoholic decline and recovery into a workable format. Each of the 90 Chapters start and end with a famous, infamous or obscure quote by others. I'd collected many great quotes (over 500) on my flash drive. Only the best of the best and the most appropriate made their way upon my pages.
I carry a pen and paper with me at all times. Usually a short thought is jotted down, anywhere, wherever I am so that it is not lost. I hammer them out later, sitting down after reflection, expansion, contraction and editing. Writing is the easy part. Rewriting is where the time, talent and creativity really come into play for me, Marie. Time of day? No time like the present (LOL).
I carry a pen and paper everywhere as well. You never know when the muse will strike.
Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?
Read as much as possible. Fiction, non-fiction... Marie, that reminds me of something critical I had wanted to mention earlier. All Drinking Aside is an Autobiographical Fiction. My book is Autobiographical because I truly and accurately capture my life experiences within its pages, but it is also a Fiction, because three fictional alter egos follow me around in every chapter (unnoticed by me) discussing me, my insanity and my prospects for recovery.
Maybe I should say, "Read my book, followed by all other fictions and non-fictions. (Double LOL)."
Thanks, Marie. You've shown me a real good time here.
Oh, it's my pleasure! The book sounds very interesting.
Readers, here is the blurb for All Drinking Aside.
Denial, anger, fear, depression, self-pity, doubt: a toxic cocktail of emotions inflamed by alcohol, narcotics and prescription drugs. Where does one begin? Where will it all end? In this 90-piece orchestration of autobiographical flashbacks, the author describes his descent into alcoholism while three fictional alter egos (unnoticed by him) discuss his prospects for recovery. This intense, introspective and illuminating fiction looks at alcoholism and addiction from the inside out and back again.
In three parts, the Destruction, the Deconstruction and the Reconstruction, the alcoholic beast is revealed. The vicious cycles of alcoholic addiction: hospitals, detoxes, rehabs and relapse. Repeat, repeat, repeat. A textbook case of chronic chemical dependency, "All Drinking Aside" will provoke, deceive, disturb and annoy you while it entertains and informs. "All Drinking Aside" is "Everybody's Autobiography," if you're an alcoholic and "Someone You Know," if you are not.
Here are some excerpts:
How He Felt Versus How He Appeared:
Alcohol was taking over my life in each and every form and I didn’t even know it. I had learned more and more about scotch and wine and beer and cocktail recipes and this glass and that glass, boiler-makers and hot toddies and which garnish goes with which drink and on and on. More and more knowledge about alcohol and no real knowledge of alcoholism. Generally speaking, as I got more and more entrenched in alcoholic behavior, the more I felt sophisticated, the less sophisticated I must have appeared. Who could see the forest? All I saw were trees. (From Chapter 8)
Shared courage is where I find the strength in my recovery. My alcoholic mind left alone is headed for relapse because it's crowded up here in what remains of my brain. There are a thousand forms of denial in recovery but the one denial that has always doomed me to failure and to relapse is trying to stay sober unaided and alone, not admitting my need for fellowship with others in recovery. I don't think I will ever be smart enough to go it alone because addiction has formed a partnership with my brain. It has been compromised. It seems that way because it is that way. Maybe not for others and for all, but for me that is the way it is. It is. (From Chapter 28)
Analogies of Addiction:
Alcohol is my poison, my prison. A brick wall, a trap door, a cancer, a bad joke, an empty bottle, an excuse, a leaky faucet, a loan shark, a broken promise, a cracked mirror, an earthquake, an avalanche, a train wreck, a recurring nightmare.
Alcohol is my insanity. (From Chapter 39)
How He Saw Denial:
There was a time when I was not there, but I did not know it yet. I would drink to forget, forgetting what I did not know. Not yet. I did not know yet. Where was I then, when I was not there?
For years I lived somewhere between myself and the next drink. I would drink to forget what I could not think, halfway to nowhere and another drink. I was grieving and I did not know it. Someone was dying, but I could not feel it, feel my own dying. I could not own it because it owned me. Denial is so hard to feel, yet, there it is, standing next to you. You: Halfway to nowhere and another drink. (From Chapter 40)
Jim Anders is a former advertising copywriter and graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This is Jim’s first full-length published work. His drinking career ended nearly a decade before this autobiographical fiction. He currently resides in Atlantic City, New Jersey and is diligently at work on his second book.