Author Kelly Crigger is an angry troll who lives under a bridge, eats goats that wander past, and throws their bones into the canyon of despair. And that’s just what his publicity blurb says. He’s here, he’s telling us about his new book, Curmudgeonism; A Surly Man’s Guide to Midlife, and he’s full of middle-aged angst. Here’s what he had to say about life, people (he doesn't like them), writing and Curmudgeonism.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was fed up with the world. I spent 24 years in the Army and thought I knew who I was but then I got out and found the civilian world to be far less hospitable than what I dreamed it was. In the military everyone worked toward a common goal and you watched the backs of the men on your left and right but on the outside it was every man for themselves. Being lied to and stabbed in the back was incredibly common and easy for more people than I wanted to believe. I freaked out a little and quickly learned not to trust anyone and took comfort in booze, caffeine, and hate.
How did you come up with the title?
I don’t remember. I think someone called me a curmudgeon and in my mind I thought how cool it would be to be the father of a movement of curmudgeons and we would call our philosophy curmudgeonism. Yeah, let’s go with that.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Nothing. It all came very easily. (That’s what she said).
OK. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’m not really as angry as I come across. At least not so much anymore. When I wrote it I hated everyone, but getting it out there tempered that a lot. I still trust no one because everyone is inherently selfish and weak but I don’t flat out hate people across the board like I did.
Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Be who you are, don’t apologize for it. If you’re a crusty bastard or just opinionated, don’t hide it. Don’t let the pressures of societal norms and the wussification of America change you.
How much of the book is realistic?
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
What the hell is a pantser? Maybe I am one. Define it.
Do you write ‘by the seat of your pants’ or do you plan it all out ahead of time?
I don’t stop the writing when it’s flowing if that’s what you mean. I haven’t read classics like Hemmingway or…anyone else that’s classic. I don’t go to seminars because there are few that interest me and even less that I can afford. I don’t belong to a writing group because the only time I went to one all they did was complain and I can’t stand to be in the company of whiners.
I have no desire to be the subject of a book signing and abhor the thought of speaking publicly along with most human contact outside the inner circle of family and friends. I don’t hang rejection letters on my wall as trophies and re-start my twelve point, “I’m a good person even if they don’t appreciate me” program every time I get one.
If there are any golden rules of writing I don’t know them nor do I know the difference between nominative pronouns and indifferent clauses. I’m not even certain either of those exist because English just confuses me despite being a native speaker of it.
I don’t know whether to heed the advice of others or ignore it because it always seems contradictory. One month it’s, “the rules to get published,” but the next month it’s, “the rules I broke to get published.” I wear surfing t-shirts and vans and say things writers wouldn’t dream of like “dude” and “what’s up bro?” I even taught my son the appropriate use of “hottie.”
But I also know my characters down to the most infinite detail and know nothing I write is ever good enough. I spend several hours a day dreaming of the stories I want to grace readers with and wondering when I’ll ever get to. I take note of the world around me and question how anything and everything will fit into a particular story-literally. I stopped traffic once to make note of the term “fish ladder.” That’s probably way more than you wanted, but when the writing flows don’t stop it.
That was a detailed answer. Well, maybe not an answer exactly but definitely detailed. What were the challenges (research, literary, and logistical) in bringing this book to life?
None. It’s auto-biographical.
Give us an insight into your main character. Um, I’m guessing that would be you.
Yes, it’s me and it’s all on the pages of this book. Be who you are, don’t apologize for it. If you’re a crusty bastard or just opinionated, don’t hide it. Don’t let the pressures of societal norms and the wussification of America change you.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your book?
I hate entertainers. Except Tammy Pescatelli. She’s cool.
What are you working on now?
I Am Haunted. It’s a biography of Zak Bagans from the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures.
What book are you reading now?
The Far Reaches by Homer Hickam.
What books have most influenced your life?
The Ambassador’s Son by Homer Hickam
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Deceiver by Frederick Forsyth
Got Fight? by Erich Krauss and Forest Griffin
Why Jews Don’t Camp by Steve Spiro
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter Thompson (the book, not the cheesy movies)
Do you have a writing mentor or role model?
Homer Hickam, Mike Carlson
Do you ever experience writer's block?
Of course. I drink my way through it.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Make enough to do it full time.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Anywhere from 2 months to 11 years.
Where can we find you online?
Twitter: @kellycrigger @curmudgeonism
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