Through a wine glass darkly - or an eReader
Friends, Sonomans, countrymen - lend me your eReaders.
Yes, I just destroyed a line of Shakespeare's and, yes, it's under the dubious pretense of sounding witty when, in fact, I'm hawking an ebook. But it's not just any ebook, it's "I Heart Sonoma: How to Live & Drink in Wine Country." This is my personal valentine for Sonoma to whom I owe a spiritual debt.
Well, technically, it's a recycled valentine but at least it's early, whereas the payments on my debt are long overdue. I'm in metaphysical collections.
You see, Sonoma is the city that gave me my soul back after I did my best to sell it in Hollywood. The fact that there were no significant offers notwithstanding, the experience was one of total degradation. Were I not able to rebuild my sense of self, byline-by-byline, in the warm embrace of Sonoma, I might well have gotten a real job or something.
Anyway, I wanted you to hear this from me directly, before the big PR roll-out kicks in.
Inevitably, there will be conflations, distortions and outright lies, fraud and scandal as the story unfurls, so forgive me if at some points I come off like a self-aggrandizing schmuck. I mean, you know, more than usual. You must know, my heart's in the right place. It's in a wine glass on the book's cover.
The original cover art featured a woman's mid-drift tattooed with the title and the subtitle embroidered on her panties. It was intended as a kind of nod to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," but it raised the hackles of my copy editor such that she wanted her name off the book - and rightly so.
It was cheap and gaudy (and awesome) and had nothing to do with the contents of the book. Hence the human heart in a wine glass. It's both anatomically correct and politically correct-ish.
The Washington Post is often credited with the aphorism that newspapers are "the rough draft of history." History? Bah! This wee part of the Sonoma Index-Tribune turns out to be the rough draft of ebooks, which I think is a just a tad more future-forward than history.
"So, why an ebook?" you might ask, "Why not a paperback? Or a roll of novelty toilet paper?" Permit me to reply under my breath, "Why not kill a tree?"
Perhaps you'll counter that rhetorical riposte with, "You'd rather I use an iPad or Kindle possibly assembled by a child in China?" And this is why I should never start imaginary arguments - I just can't win them. Anyway, the paperback will be available for all you Luddites next month.
Over the years, I've expended both words and brain cells writing about "wine country living." I did this research in the name of scientific inquiry and now that this collection is done, I realize that I clearly have no idea what "scientific inquiry" actually means. Unless it means drinking all of Muscardini's Rosato at museum functions and the like. In which case, my hangover last Saturday might be considered a breakthrough.
For me, however, it's not about results so much as process. Although, one of these little efforts did result in winning "Best Humorous Column" from the National Newspaper Association last year, if I may say.
I've structured the book as part "How-To guide," and part satire as seen "through a wine glass, darkly." Be assured, this writer's reserve of wine-soaked works is presented not merely as a means of monetizing my back catalog but because, in the end, I heart you, Sonoma.