Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author Marty Essen

I’m not going to let small-minded people dictate what I writ

I published Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents in 2007, Endangered Edens: Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica, the Everglades, and Puerto Rico in 2016, Time Is Irreverent in 2018, Time Is Irreverent 2: Jesus Christ, Not Again! in 2019, Time Is Irreverent 3: Gone for 16 Seconds in 2020, and Hits, Heathens, and Hippos: Stories from an Agent, Activist, and Adventurer in 2021. Then, suddenly, I ran out of ideas for books. I have too much of a type-A personality to ever retire, and writing was how I planned to keep myself entertained for the rest of my life.

I started a fourth Time Is Irreverent novel but just didn’t feel it. Then I decided to switch back to nonfiction and write a book on the American Prairie Reserve. Unfortunately that idea died when I learned that two other books on the reserve were already in the works.

To keep myself sane over the summer, while I waited for a winning idea to miraculously pop into my head, I did every project I could think of: I updated my college speaking contact list (a two-month-long project that required visiting every college website in America), I stained my wife’s and my garage, I stained our retaining wall and steps, I removed dilapidated barbed wire fencing that had been at the edge of our property since before we moved to Montana, I cut up trees that had fallen in our forest, etc.

After finishing all those projects and still failing to come up with an idea for a seventh book, I said to my wife, “Now I understand why Hemmingway committed suicide.”

Then this past Sunday the Writing Gods had mercy upon me, and the idea for my next book popped into my head. A big reason for the delay was that I had been determined that this time I would write something mainstream, with no controversial politics. Quite simply, I was tired of vindictive one-star reviews from right-wingers and conservative Christians. It’s hard enough to make a living as a writer without assholes going out of their way to tank your book!

Finally I decided, “Fuck it! I’m not going to let small-minded people dictate what I write.”

Since Sunday I have been writing practically nonstop. I’m already to the fourth chapter. My new novel is going to be hilarious and oh, so controversial! Though I’m starting late in the year, if my momentum continues, late 2022 is still a realistic goal for publication—continuing my recent trend of writing one book per year.

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