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Thoughts on the Book Launch - The Aftermath

(Burn This City to the Ground - Published December 7th, 2021)

I just wanted to take a moment to do a quick article on what it was like writing, editing and releasing my second book, "Burn This City to the Ground." I always tell people the first book is the hardest to write, but the process of releasing this book was just as hard if not worse. The most difficult thing about this time was dealing with the glut of expectations people had for this project. My PTSD also gives me an irrational fear that people do not like what I am saying and want to hurt me for it. It is so hard to make yourself vulnerable and I do deal with a lot of difficult topics. Even writing a book painting George Floyd as a good person presents its own set of problems. That's just kind of what writing a memoir is like. When you tell these raw, honest stories about your life there are sometimes winners and losers when it becomes public. I had to address the concerns of those who did not enjoy the first book that I wrote (Corners Untouched by Madness), as it was also a memoir and "Burn This City" was a continuation. I decided to make the main dramas of the first book more like background clutter in my new story, baggage that did not need to necessarily be spoken of. I even made some jokes about the first book in my new book. During the build up of my second novel I think there was some concern that I might delve deeper into these painful plotlines, so that made writing "Burn This City" more difficult. I felt there were expectations that it would be damaging. Unlike the first book, which was a bit of a bombshell, there was some relief upon release on December 7th. Not only was it not damaging, the themes were hardly mentioned. So, that was good. The other thing that was really difficult during this writing process was my health and struggle with severe persistent mental illness. The stress associated with releasing this story weakened my immune system and I contracted pneumonia. So, along with the mental health aspect I was also physically unwell. The entire time I was plagued by nightmares, again that someone that did not like the story or that did not want me to write about certain things would come and hurt me. This was a theme in my first book as well, a theme that led to a psychotic episode. The only difference was that now I had been through two years of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in a group setting and one year of individual Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). I was also doing EMDR therapy on and off during the writing process to help me deal with the more paranoid, painful and traumatizing aspects of the subject matter discussed in my novels. Healing old wounds can be painful but we all have to move on to better things, lest we destroy ourselves completely. Trust me when I say that decent folks don't want that for anyone. At a time like this in human existence, when people are obsessed with escapism and trying to avoid reality, I believe it is necessary to clear out some of the cobwebs and skeletons in our respective closets. I know it hurts but I think you will find that people generally don't care who you were. What matters is who you are now. These books were not meant to be used as weapons to hurt people, but labors of love, shining a light on the more profound parts of our everyday lives. When I finally put these stories on paper I was given the opportunity to look at them with a fresh perspective. I found myself coming to realizations. "Oh! That's why I did that" or just trying to reach my younger self to let him know everything was going to be OK one day. I don't want to lie. My life is a battle. Sometimes vicious, sometimes brutal, sometimes cruel, but in the end life is remarkably beautiful even in its ugliness. That's what I wanted to talk to you all about. Thank you for reading my books, for sharing your thoughts with me and more importantly, for being dear friends, relatives and acquaintances. I couldn't have done it without you. I love you all, Author N. Daniel

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