Earlier this year I shared some blog love when I wrote about Taylor Ocean’s blog, Playing Your Hand Right. Taylor’s story is interesting because although he’s been trying to get his writing published he was repeatedly turned away until someone suggested he tried to build evidence of a following through blogging, to show publishers that he had a readership audience. This month Taylor finally got his memoir book of the same name published, and I spent the day reading it.
To the uninitiated, the autobiography might come as a bit of a shock but if you’re familiar with Taylor’s blog which features part of his book in rough, it’s really a continuation of the rollercoaster adventure that is his life. From his village beginnings as the undersized son of a single mother, to his career as a coke-dealer, his relationship with his estranged father until his death and I think most significantly his developed life philosophy that he calls ‘being a Gentleman’, Taylor’s story is a tale of caution and exhortation, a call to live life decently, in a most irreverent manner.
“Some of this will not pertain to you, much of this will offend you, but I guarantee there is at least one good piece of information in my tales for you.”
His most ardent ‘disciples’ (his term for fans, not mine) will have to forgive me but I was taught the important of grammar, spelling and formatting to the effect that the pleasure of reading for me is part and parcel of the flow – and any deviations or lack of care in these areas will always affect the flow. It’s a small criticism for what essentially is the rather unique voice Taylor has in his writing, which in the end is what kept me reading on nevertheless; storytelling is an art and Taylor has found his medium, brush strokes be damned.
Taylor was right though – many things in the book I did not like or agree with, but this was not really a surprise. As readers of this blog will know, I enjoy the opportunity to learn more about what life is like for other people – it’s why I think personal blogging is such a great way to build empathy and give insight into the billion lives we’ll never live. We may have been born only a year apart, but my life could not be more different from Taylor’s, and so much of what he has to say at times (especially because this book is essentially a sermon to America) had little to offer me. I found myself wishing for a bit of light and shade, which is difficult to develop when you’re doing a drive-by through life, which is what this book is. I wanted Taylor to take me beyond the blog. Instead, it felt like he was standing just out of reach. But some things are universal, and these moments are amazing. There were so many moments I laughed out loud, and I’m not sure if he’s a fan of Breaking Bad but I think he could give Jesse Pinkman a run for his money. Taylor, I think you’ve got a amazing script in you that Hollywood would just love to eat up.
We are all stuck on this planet together till we get to Mars, or blow ourselves up. Don’t forget Zombies. So we may as well shut the fuck up, get drunk, possibly high depending on your state, have some protected consensual sex, and just COEXIST.
In the end it’s hard not to give props to Taylor, who I think whether you agree with his viewpoints or not, is very much one of us. For giving this writing thing a go and working hard to make this happen, from a fellow aspiring writer and blogger, kudos to you Taylor for using your voice. May it encourage more of us to do the same.