Guest Post with Giveaway ~ The Daddy Diaries by Joshua Braff

Free-Writing Blog

I thought I’d write about how I got started honing the craft of writing. I was living in a pretty aggressive New York City. It was pre-Rudolph Giuliani Manhattan and homelessness and murder was the daily, reality TV of the time. I was teaching English at a school for Japanese businessmen and their families. Each day on the subway, which had yet to be upgraded and smelled like rat infestation, I stood, sweating, listening to a poor and pregnant woman in rags ask for help. She was barely able to stand, her feet so mangled by sores and callouses. The city emanated sadness and human pain. I decided to listen to a friend’s advice and just leave. I was headed west, to a city I heard was up and coming, and simply kinder. Seattle.  

My soon to be wife agreed and we said goodbye to family and drove across the country. Minutes before we left, I remembered I’d signed up for a fiction course at the New School. I got my money back and upon landing in Seattle, signed up again at the Extension Program at The University of Washington. As asked, I mailed in some samples of my prose, things I’d been working on. A man with a gruff, southern drawl called me. He would be my teacher, he said, and he wanted me to, “Come to a café called Tios tomorrow.” I would hang up the phone, sort of tingling from the feeling of my new teacher liking my writing. But I didn’t really understand what he told me so I called him back. He was more gruff now, speaking even faster. He was trying to tell me about a  group of writers that gathered at a café twice a week. They write together? How? First they placed a hat in the center of the table. Each of the people, from two to eight or more should write a start-line or a word on a strip of paper. Fold the paper and place it in the hat. Now set the kitchen timer (no cell phones at the time) for five minutes and begin to write based on this start line. The start line is only if you need one. If not, go on your own idea. Write, write, write and if you don’t know what to write just put, Blah, Blah, Blah. When the timer goes off, each of you will read what you’ve jotted down, regardless of its comprehension or logic. This is a “no judgment,” exercise, other than appropriate laughing. Next, pick again from the hat and let the start-line inspire ten minutes of timed free-writing. Everyone reads as they did before and set the timer to fifteen full minutes. Lastly, do five once again, read what you’ve got and you’re finished. The exercise takes about an hour. You thank each other, say, see you Thursday, and move on. It’s the same as going to the gym in the name of musculature, only this time it’s this specific, creative corner of your brain that’s being taxed. My mentor would often approach me after these sessions. He wanted me to know that he thought I, “Was good.” But he did it subtly, evoking the amount of work it would take for me to, “make it.” I guess. His biggest advice was, “dig deep,” which is another way of saying, be brave. He would write me a letter of recommendation for the MFA program I’d attend. St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. It’s there I published two short stories in national literary journals. The stories lead to an agent in New York. I published my first novel, The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green in 2004 with Algonquin Books.

Read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.

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daddyPublisher: Prince Street Press (May 5, 2015)
Genre:  Fatherhood
ISBN-10: 0986417505
ISBN-13: 978-0986417504
ASIN: B00UCJMEFS
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository

the-daddy-diaries

Joshua Braff delivers an authentic, funny and honest tale about modern family life.

Jay and Jackie uproot their family of four from San Francisco after Jackie loses her job but finds a lucrative new one in St. Petersburg, Florida. Jay, a one-time copywriter and aspiring author, now plays househusband, caring for his troubled thirteen-year-old son and precocious daughter as they adjust to their new life. As his children begin to assert their independence, Jay realizes that the challenges of child rearing are only going to grow more difficult in the teen years. Through a series of misadventures and run-ins with his narcissistic older brother, his lunatic childhood friend, and his increasingly estranged but beloved son, Jay learns that he must tap his own vulnerabilities if he is to be the rock of stability his family so desperately needs.

Overflowing with pathos and humor, The Daddy Diaries is a memorable take on contemporary fatherhood and a clear-sighted look at how the upending of traditional marital roles can affect the delicate balance of familial love. In his third and best novel to date, Joshua Braff vividly evokes the unpredictable dance that families do, and captures how they similarly ebb and flow.




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joshI grew up in South Orange, New Jersey, and went to Columbia High School. I graduated from NYU in ’91 with a BS in Education. In 1995 I entered St. Mary’s College of California. There I received an MFA in creative writing/fiction. I published three short stories during this time in national literary journals before I wrote a first novel called Digging Suburbia. I was never able to sell it but acquired my first literary agent with the book. I wrote The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green after my son turned 6 months old. The book would have three publishing offers right after I finished it two years later. I started writing Peep Show after hearing a story about a man who was an orthodox Jew, living in Long Island, who commuted to Times Square to run peep houses. The book turned out to be a complex ride about familial relationships and the tangles that disenchantment and history and self-absorption can cause. I live in California with my wife of almost 20 years and my two children, Henry and Ella. I love the game of baseball and played until I turned 40. I also love acrylic/oil painting in the Color Field genre. I’m most inspired by the painters, Barnett Newman, Dan Christensen, Kenneth Noland and Mark Rothko. I also play the guitar and drums.

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Giveaway

1st Prize: Kindle Paperwhite plus ebook or paperback copy of The Daddy Diaries

2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of The Daddy Diaries

3rd Prize: ebook or paperback copy of The Daddy Diaries


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Comments

  1. Hello Lori,

    On behalf of Joshua Braff and Book Marketing Services, I would like to thank you for hosting Joshua today on Lori’s Reading Corner. If anyone has any questions and/or comments they would like to share, please leave them in the comment box. Joshua will be by later in the day to respond.

    Joshua is having a giveaway during his tour. 1st prize: Kindle Paperwhite plus ebook or paperback copy of The Daddy Diaries; 2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of The Daddy Diaries; 3rd Prize: ebook or paperback copy of The Daddy Diaries. Click on the link in the posting to enter.

    Please join Joshua tomorrow, Tuesday, December 1st for an interview on MorgEn Bailey’s writing Blog  http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com.

    We invite your readers to follow Joshua’s 10 day virtual book blog tour. Direct links for each day of the tour can be found on Joshua’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/JoshuaBraffAuthor/

    Best regards, Della

  2. I wanted to say thank you, Della, for introducing me the Blog Tour. So happy to be involved. Since this particular piece is about a writing exercise, please feel invited and encouraged to leave any ideas to help writers "Get Started," as they say. Be unafraid to find the cathartic elements of creating any art. Baking is an art. It doesn't need to be sold on the internet to lift you in rich and tangible ways. It can even be between you and only you. Happy Monday, and thanks for stopping by.

    Josh   

  3. Della Williamson says:

    This post was a most interesting read and I am really looking forward to reading the Daddy Diaries.

    I am so grateful to Lori's Reading Corner for introducing me to some great authors.  and some intriguing reads.  My TBR has grown dramatically. 

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