Updated: Apr 1, 2021
We are nearing the four-year anniversary of this website. michaelaba.com first became public on May 31, 2016, and the exact date was intentional. In fact, here is the entirety of my first-ever blog, which explains the reasoning:
Tuesday May 31 OK - here it is! My good friend Kyle persuaded me to add a blog section to this website, even though I have no idea if my activity level in the days to come will justify having one. But I wanted to have something - even if it’s temporary - available for the launch date of michaelaba.com, because we chose May 31 for a reason - my mother would have turned 85 today. This website is dedicated to her and my father. I hope you enjoy it - please let me know - and I’ll be back here, blogging again real soon! Happy Birthday, Mom!
This now is my 47th blog, which doesn’t sound like much, but damn - that’s four years’ worth! (I went AWOL only one time, the very next month…)
When website-genius Kyle challenged me to uncharacteristically talk about myself on a monthly basis, both in email and blog form, he might not have realized how stubborn I would be to back down from a challenge once eventually accepted. Looking back over my emails now, which have been separate entities from the blogs, I see I missed only two of them since this project began, both in the initial year. And of course May of 2016 was pre-coronavirus. So beautifully pre-Trump as well…
Ah… Such a serene and pleasant era…
We were initially only going to sell three books’ worth of short stories. Kyle had been after me for years to be more aggressive in this area; in his experience, so many other would-be entrepreneurs would promote themselves for any reason whatsoever, but I had all this CONTENT sitting around, dismissed and abandoned. But as he got more involved in organizing the online tools needed to get michaelaba.com off the ground, the project had time to grow almost exponentially. I continued to edit my entire output, and soon there would be enough short stories to fill six collections. With an extra book of poems to boot.
I’m not sure Kyle was ever aware of all the original songs I’d recorded over the years, but demoes were available on site by the initial launch, with MANY more to follow. The screenplays I’d written would eventually be made available for download as well.
After our opening date, I was inspired to finely-tune the only novel I’d ever written, which seems more relevant under this political climate than ever before. “The Reinvention of Richard Bent” is on the website now, perhaps second only to “Michelle” in actual readership.
Kyle figured out how to present the short film recorded many years back (called “Lori and the Landlord’s Grill”). This new “basement” section soon grew to include all my remaining GarageBand songs as well as digitized versions of 4-track cassette tapes recorded years - I mean YEARS! - before. Suddenly almost everything I’d ever produced - which previously felt destined to remain hidden forever - was available for ANYONE to easily read, view or hear.
My idea of success from the start, really, has been relatively modest. Should we be fortunate enough to create even a little bit of income on our own, maybe some literary bigwig or two might become interested in getting involved as well. We continue to sell digital eBooks to this day. And many online friends have listened to the songs and watched the short film.
Which leads to the one admitted failure I should perhaps address. Despite the stubborn endurance of these blogs and monthly emails, I may personally be the worst self-promoter in all of New York City. Most people purchasing these books are doing me a personal favor, I realize, and therefore any request they actually sift through the prose feels like asking far too much. These supportive friends and family members have busy lives and can’t be expected to carve out reading time with no pre-reviewed guarantee of being rewarded for their efforts.
My hope, which still flickers, is perhaps they’d be surprisingly pleased if they did. And maybe vocalized enthusiasm would inspire others to download selections of their own. And so on…
The possibility of friends of friends showing interest - which has begun to happen - brings a smile to my face, I must admit.
My sister Tricia has read every story and listened to every song. A Herculean achievement for sure, yet she professes to have enjoyed the experience. (Of course, she’s my sister…) My friend Julia has read - and helped edit - every story and expressed the same amount of enthusiasm. (But she’s a great friend…) My brother Tom seemed to enjoy the novel in particular. Yet how was I to know these blogs and (especially) the monthly emails would be the features to consistently elicit the greatest feedback?
The reviews HAVE been unfailingly positive, I’m glad to say. Each one helps me justify the continued existence of this website. I’m grateful to anyone who has shown interest of any kind.
And now we begin the fifth year of michaelaba.com. There WILL be additions in the near future. Well, hopefully… My first-ever collection of true stories, together with an accompanying first-ever audio book, is complete and should be available soon. But website-genius Kyle might be having huge second thoughts since signing on way back when. The sheer quantity of work he has been crucial in presenting - short story collections, a novel, screenplays, a film, SONGS - has been, frankly, enormous. I hope the exhaustion he is likely feeling now is only temporary. For what it’s worth, he’ll be able to count on me to help edit his first book whenever the time comes!
This website, as noted in my first-ever blog, is dedicated to my mother and father. I know they would be pleased how I at least tried to do SOMETHING. My father might have enjoyed some of the saxophone work on those earlier songs. My mother might have been embarrassed by some of the humor. But she would have laughed.
As I hope all of you will.
On to year five!