ABOUT M THOMAS LONG
M Thomas Long has been a writer, speaker, and trainer for over 20 years. He and his wife of 32 years live just outside Nashville, TN. He has one daughter, and as of last spring, a son-in-law.
Blue Monday marks his entry into the world of fiction writing, something he will tell you has been on his life list for many years, but he just never took the time to make it happen. During a near fatal incident, one of the main regrets he felt was that he never wrote the books that were inside him wanting to be written.
In Blue Monday, his first fiction novel, he draws from a rich and varied background that includes designing and performing as a concert stage lighting designer with Grammy award winning artists, working alongside many pastors and celebrities, and traveling the country working as a Microsoft technical trainer.
His hobbies include reading, golf, motorcycles, drawing, running, guitar (ok, a little guitar), songwriting with his daughter, and traveling with his wife.
Visit M Thomas Long’s site: http://www.mthomaslong.com
Neil Diamond, Bob and Writing
According to Bill Murray in the movie “What About Bob?”, ‘there are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t. My ex-wife loves him.’
It was just a few minutes before Neil took the stage at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Coliseum in Birmingham, Alabama a few years back when the power of artistic creation hit me in a way that I had never realized before. There was an aura of excitement and anticipation in the air that surrounded you, even soaked into you…whether you were a fan or not.
As I sat in the upper deck, I looked around the arena and thought about exactly what I was experiencing. The audience of over 18,000 ranged from young teens to men and women in their 70’s, all wearing similar Neil Diamond merchandise. Some had signs. Women in the first few rows down on the floor had bouquets of flowers, stuffed animals and other gifts that they planned present to Neil once the show started and they could get his attention for a few seconds.
Suspended above the stage was over 100,000 pounds of lighting and sound gear worth at least half a million dollars.
Then the most fascinating, incredible aspect of the entire scenario occurred to me. Everything I was seeing and would soon experience was the product of one man’s imagination. More specifically, his art. A seed had been planted in his soul and he had exercised the courage to water it, face the vulnerability to expose it to the light, care for it, prune it and allow it to grow and mature.
Whether you side with Bob or his ex-wife concerning Neil Diamond, you owe it to yourself to experience his classic song ‘I Am…I Said’ in a live setting. The power, the emptiness, the longing and the painful struggle of self-assertion move you in a way that you just don’t experience very often in this life. It moves you. The force and range of emotion you experience is not what you could have imagined just a few minutes earlier looking at inanimate instruments on a dark stage.
That’s why we read fiction; more importantly, it’s why authors write it. The very same experience is what we both are looking for, and it comes from the same place that a Neil Diamond show originates.
It’s where all art comes from that reaches us. Painting, music, film, sculpture, photography, writing and many others all originate in the imagination of an eternal soul inhabiting a body on a journey through this life. Asking questions, finding answers, seeking solutions, sharing, laughing, hurting and healing.
A single person with an idea, a belief, a story, an experience, and a blank canvass. The brush can take many forms; chalk, oils, a chisel, or words…in the hands of an artist, anything can become a brush.
When a person decides to face the vulnerability and pick up his or her personal brush and make that first stroke, indescribable beauty and power can be unleashed. For a writer, it is often a story that reveals us to ourselves.
For the reader, it’s that feeling you get when you hit page 20 and realize that this one is speaking to you…yes, this one is special. By page 50, you’re a part of a situation, a town, a life, a challenge that calls you back every time you leave to take care of necessities like work, relationships or buying groceries. It’s not just some character in a book who falls in love, wins the lottery, loses a loved one, meets someone special…it’s you doing those things and it’s hard to distinguish where the character ends and you begin.
All the emotion, the introspection, the sheer glee of breaking through, solving the problem, reaching the goal…it all takes place in a most unique, incredible medium.
No words have been spoken. There was no music or special effects to guide the senses. Often, the characters and towns never existed in our world in a physical sense. The writer silently writes or types and the reader silently reads. Only silence and intimacy, and the world changes.
That’s why we write; it’s why we read.
Long before the drawing takes place, Matt struggles to deal with the responsibilities and challenges of being a pastor, a father, and a husband as he deals with a long list of people and circumstances ranging from eclectic and funny, to frustrating and sad.
Matt begins each day determined to put the situation with the ticket behind him. The harder he works to deal with it, the bigger it gets. Every effort to avoid the potential damage the situation could cause makes it spin out of control even faster as new circumstances unfold.
Then the drawing takes place.
Suddenly, there’s at least 186 million reasons, some hilarious, some tragic, that Matt’s life, family, friends, and church will never be the same.”