The Second Edition of My Book is Now Available

October 10, 2014

A significant update to my book — I Know You’re Dead, But I Still Worry About You – is now available. The book is currently available in ebook format for iPad and iPhone at iBookStore, in both ebook and paperback format at Amazon, and in paperback format at Barnes & Noble.

A description of the book is provided below:

Written 13 years after the passing of his wife Vickie, this memoir and self-help book from Bruce Keener provides a long-term view of grief and how it eventually transitions from almost unbearable to an emptiness that you learn to live with to an eventual acceptance and peace.

What sets this book apart from most grief books is that it gives you a number of insights on how to deal with your grief, as well as discussions of mistakes the author made along the way, giving you insight on what to look out for. As the author notes in the introduction: “I am hoping that you can read about my experiences and say, ‘I can identify with what Keener went through, and here are some things I can do to help myself.” Or even, “Well at least I’m not as screwed up as Bruce Keener. Since he survived, I can.’”

The author also discusses his loss of faith and half of who he was, how he turned to two scientific theories (one by Einstein) to give him some “comfort” that his wife still exists (in some sense), and how he recovered bits and pieces of his faith and himself.

Not only will you benefit from this book, you will want your friends to read it, too, because it will help them understand some of what you are going through and haven’t been able to put into words.

 

Facebook Snoops You, Then Tries to Get Money from You

August 14, 2014

A few nights ago, I ordered some jeans online, using the Chrome browser on my MacBook Air (the latter of which I love). As soon as completing the purchase via PayPal, I opened a browser window to my Facebook page. Within two seconds, the following ad appeared directly in my “news stream”:

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 8.33.44 PM

These are the exact jeans I had purchased just seconds before.

Clear evidence that Facebook snoops on your web browsing, and then uses what it sees to determine what ads to show you.

Of course Facebook is not the only one that does this. But they are among the better at it because the artificial intelligence routines they use to analyze your buying habits are highly evolved and wickedly good at enticing you to buy more. In this particular case, I don’t think the algorithm did its best, because why would I want to buy again what I just bought? (Perhaps the algorithm has determined that a lot of people DO buy again.)

So, just use this as a heads-up. I ignore the ads on Facebook anyway (this one was thrown in my face, though — maybe that’s why it’s called facebook), just as I ignore the ads everywhere. Like just about everyone else, I ignore anything in a right-hand column, as that is the territory where ads are most often placed. But, one day the algorithms are going to overpower us because they know us better than we know ourselves.

Here’s a Win for You: My eBook for Only 99 cents!

August 2, 2014

Update, 14 Aug 2014: I really feel like a whore selling my book at 99 cents, and will likely raise it back to $2.99 or $3.99 pretty soon (to me, even that is a giveaway price). I know it’s a small book and that I am not a top author. But, really, 99 cents is just too cheap. End of update.

I want my book to get into the hands of more people, and so I am reducing its price, on Amazon only, from $2.99 to $0.99. Note that this price applies only to Amazon because I initially published directly with them before using BookBaby.com to make my book available in other outlets — that gives me pricing flexibility at Amazon that I do not have with the other retail outlets.

In doing this, I will only make 35 cents on each copy sold, but maybe this at least gets the book to a wider audience. It’s not really about money, anyway: I’ve been retired for almost eight years and I’m pretty sure my money will outlast me. Doing this might help me leave a little bigger mark on the world.

So, rush over to Amazon and get I Know You’re Dead But I Still Worry About You.

By the way, I am tinkering with a second edition of the book, but I don’t know if I will finish it or if I will publish it if I do finish it. Here is the preface to it, though, as it may be of interest to you:

Rough Draft of Preface to the Second Edition

(which I might never finish)

When I published the first edition of this book in March 2013, I was much too inexperienced an author to realize that authors should wait six months before doing anything with their “finished” product, and then they should revise it unmercifully, taking out all the fluff and adding in the important stuff that had been missed. I published as soon as I was “finished,” having finished my fifth draft or so and having had it proofread, and only much later did I realize that (1) I actually had not included a lot of valuable material, (2) there were spots — too many of them — where I clearly tried to sound smarter than I am, and (3) there were parts that came across as disrespectful of religion, where all I had really intended was sound neutral on religion. I wanted, and still do, for my book to be as useful to atheists as it is to dedicated Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and so on. People of all beliefs die, and books about grief should try to help all bereaved, regardless of their beliefs.

Yes, I certainly had my “battles with God” after losing my wife, putting the blame on him, when I halfway believed in him, and not even believing in him the rest of the time. So, I guess that in writing this book, I stirred up a lot of the old bitterness I had during those battles. That bitterness bled through into the text, and I can only apologize for it.

Of course, I also apologize for any spots where I tried to sound smart and “quotable” and I apologize for inadvertently leaving out information that every grieving individual should know, such as the fact that it is a myth that there are five stages of grief.

A lot of this “reality calibration” came to me during the early part of 2014, when I went through a couple of atheist in a foxhole situations. There is a saying that there are no atheists in a foxhole, which basically means that, when you get scared enough, you are going to pray to God. Two things scared me earlier this year: my oldest grandson had to have surgery to remove a brain tumor, and my “adopted son,” my dog Booger, at 14 years of age had to have a leg amputated because of cancer.

Unsurprisingly, I prayed a lot for them, using prayers from Jewish, Christian, Unitarian, and Hindu traditions. But I also thought about what I had written, and that is when I realized that the first edition of my book contained too much bitterness.

So, now you know. I hope you find that this edition provides a lot of useful information to help those who have lost a loved one, and I hope that it does so without any intervention from my ego or from bitterness of the past.

Bruce Keener

Atlanta

Video Blowout: My Video Guitar Tutorials for Less Than a Dollar!

August 1, 2014

dreamstime_894930-199x300Yup, that’s right! You get my video tutorials for $0.99, payable through PayPal. Not sure how long I will keep the videos at this almost giveaway price, so do it now or forever hold your peace :)

Read more about it and make the el-cheap purchase at this page: http://brucekeener.com/music/

Update: On 16 Aug 2014, I set the pricing back to $3.99. 99 cents was just too cheap and not worth my time to sell at that price.

My Main Lesson from Writing a Book

July 28, 2014

dreamstime_4849295 copy
I learned a lot in writing my one and only book, I Know You’re Dead But I Still Worry About YouMy main lesson was this:

  • Whenever you are “finished” writing your book — be that the third, fourth, fifth or whatever draft — then sit it aside for a minimum of six weeks, and perhaps even six months, and then edit it mercilessly, adding the important points you missed and taking out all of the fluff and the stuff that was intended to “sound smart and quotable.”

How do I know this? Because now when I read my book, a little over a year after its publication, I realize there are all sorts of useful points that I did not add and I see that there are several places where I tried to sound smarter than I am. I even see spots where I come across as being disrespectful of religion, which was far from what I intended. I had intended to be neutral to the whole issue of beliefs, but that’s not how it turned out.

This point was also driven home to me when I recently read Stephen King’s book on writing, which is where the “six-week rule” came from.

So now I am thinking of doing a second edition to my book. Of course, given that it’s not sold at all well so far, I have to wonder whether it’s worth the effort to me. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, having recently turned 65. I may do it just so I can be more satisfied with the book (in its updated form), but then again, spending the rest of my life trying to tweak my efforts of the past doesn’t sound like a particularly good thing to do.

I also learned, in spades, that one has to work hard to promote a book, and that is something I just did not do and am not inclined to do. I’ve never been much of a self-promoter. Not that I don’t love myself, but I just have this underlying belief that products should sell themselves. I fully realize they don’t but I still believe that a good product will sell itself. So, to those who are interested in really selling books, be advised that you may have to work harder promoting them than you ever worked writing them.

I have other lessons that I’ll likely share in another post. I don’t want to water down the above lessons by adding in a bunch of insights that are much less important.

My Review of “Gesturing Toward Reality”

July 17, 2014

Gesturing Toward Reality: David Foster Wallace and PhilosophyGesturing Toward Reality: David Foster Wallace and Philosophy by Robert K. Bolger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My head is about to explode with all that I learned from this book.

This amazing collection of essays on the philosophy of David Foster Wallace provides insights to David’s thinking and writing which I had not seen before, and I’ve read a lot of DFW and DFW analysis. I learned that David was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer, which I had suspected but did not know, and I certainly didn’t know the extent of the influence.

And while it is well-known that David admired Wittgenstein, it is less well-known (or was to me) that David actually misinterpreted Wittgenstein with regard to what language can do. This made me realize that, when God created the universe, the first law he put in place is that “everyone misunderstands some aspect(s) of Wittgenstein,” with the second law being, of course, E=m*c*c.

I also have a much better understanding of how David fit into the “new sincerity” movement and what the real aims of that movement have been.

What amazed and pleased me the most was that every essay was presented in a way that I could actually understand it, and didn’t have to go out and get a philosophy degree to do so. The writing, by every contributor, is really well-done.

I’ll be reading through this one again.

View all my reviews

Summertime, and the Living is Easy

July 16, 2014

Here’s me playing Summertime, one of my favorites of the classics:

Since She’s Been Gone

July 12, 2014

Until today I had forgotten how very much I have written on the passing of my wife Vickie (her passing occurred almost 13 years ago). But, now that I am thinking of updating my book to a second edition, I am looking back over some past writings and am a little blown away at how much I did write. I am also reminded of some important things that I had put into some of my infrequently accessed neurons, and thought I would share a couple of these with you.

One of these is something I wrote about why bad things happen to good people. Specifically, back in 2005, some of what I wrote contained the following:

The CNN site recently had an article about a theory that the 700,000 ton Taipei building is contributing to increased earthquake frequency in that region of the world. (Imagine 700,000 Tons!) When you consider this and consider that we also displace a lot of earth in building other skyscrapers and roads, and when you also consider how we are contributing to global warming, you can see that we, humanity in general, should probably be taking the blame for a lot of “natural disasters.”

It is so easy for a cynic and skeptic like me to look at an event like the 2004 tsunami and view it as “proof” that there is no loving god. In so doing, I overlook how very much we ourselves contribute to the making of such disasters. Are we so shortsighted that we think we can move 700,000 tons around and concentrate it in one spot and that it will not have an impact on the tectonic plates?

That quote comes from this little piece, which I wrote in 2005.

You may also be interested in this article I wrote in 2003 entitled, The New Age Paradigm. The article appears at Rich Deem’s Evidence For God site, which has tons of fascinating articles. I’m certainly not in agreement with all of his articles, but they all do provide good food for thought.

Anyway, sometimes it can be instructive to revisit the past.

The United States Supreme Court, LLC

July 1, 2014

Proposed Wikiepedia entry: A for-profit corporation operating solely for the benefit of other corporations.

Why Write

June 25, 2014

If you ask many bloggers and even many writers of novels why they write, you will hear them respond that it is to persuade. That doesn’t sum it up for everyone of course, but it is a sensible reason for most writing.

Pater Edmund recently reminded me, though, that writing is especially useful for helping us clarify our own thinking:

But when I think about why I began this blog it seems to me that my main purpose was not so much to teach, sway, or delight my readers, but rather to clarify my own thoughts.

In a sense, it is still a matter of persuasion, in that one wants to persuade oneself to think a certain way, a way that is not yet known to the self.

That sums up a lot of why I write. I’ve found that I haven’t been doing enough of it for the past several months. Not that I have to blog everything I want to clarify my thinking on, but I haven’t even been using my little notebooks. I plan to restart being more regular about this.


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