Why do I write? Why do I dance? Why do I play basketball, music, or ping pong?

I write because it makes me happy. I write because it helps me love. But mostly, I write because it's fun. There are few things more exciting than losing yourself in imagination (this is why kids have so much fun), and nothing more rewarding than devoting yourself to a freely-chosen task. 

I write because it helps me get out of bed in the morning and also because it helps me sleep at night. I also write because I've been lucky enough to be educated, and have a responsibility to try and give something back. 

Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead

My debut novel, Slim and The Beast, is published by Inkshares, a crowd driven publisher

As a debut novelist, I had more faith in my communities than the traditional literary-agent model, especially since finding an agent was no guarantee of being published. I am a humanist, which means first and foremost I have faith in the potential goodness of humanity. Although only time will tell what happens with Slim and The Beast, 232 pre-orders, hitting the $10,000 mark, and having the honor to go on a book tour was a great start.

If enough people want to read a book, the book will be published.

With Slim and The Beast, success meant readership. Enough people wanted to read the book, and hence the book was published. Yes, there are criticisms (as with everything, ever), but the bottom line is I'm a completely unknown author who can now call himself published. I worked with an editor from Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and Slim and The Beast is avalaible in bookstores throughout the US, and Paris, too.

By placing the initial risk on me, the author, versus the publishing house, my readers became active participants in the publishing process. In this sense, Inkshares gave power to the reader and the author, by allowing me to pitch my work directly to an audience, and by allowing readers to simultaneously purchase my book from the very start. 

We have to allow the sunken meanings to remain sunken, suggested, not stated.
— Virginia Woolf

A note about my debut novel, Slim and The Beast. in the spirit of translating academic knowledge into an accessible medium for all, you won't see the underlying themes described on the back cover of the novel. For those interested, however, the novel is based on what drives human beings to wake up in the morning. There are three protagonists — Sgt. Dykes, Slim, and The Beast — each of whom is pursuing a distinct “reason for being.” While purpose is the end goal, each character represents (to varying degrees) the allure of Sigmund Freud’s theory of the “will to pleasure,” Alfred Adler’s “will to power,” and Viktor Frankl’s “will to meaning.”

Illustration: Aaron Lopez-Barrantes, Slim and The Beast: A Novel

Illustration: Aaron Lopez-Barrantes, Slim and The Beast: A Novel

On the one hand, finding purpose seems like an obvious answer for all; on the other hand, vice, power, ambition, and society threaten to define who they are. Slim and The Beast, then, is a study of what makes us human, how we are defined by the external world, and the life decisions that define who we become. It is not about judgment; it is about opportunity. To paraphrase Viktor Frankl, we are not free from life's conditions, only in how we respond.