Stop Playing the Reality Election Game Show

Almost every day during the winter, someone would look at the sticker on my puffy down parka and say, “I voted for Bernie.” or “Still hanging on, huh?”

I’d slapped it on a billion “news cycles” ago, because I supported Bernie over Hillary. Over and over back then, people would tell me, “He can’t win. He’s unelectable. It’s her turn.” Yep. These were many of the same people who told me, “Trump could never be the Republican candidate. He supported abortion. He’s paying off prostitutes!” Yep.

“Do you think he’ll run again?” they asked me of Bernie. Rather than say, “How the hell do I know?” I’d shrug. Yeah, he’s kindof old, but I know from personal experience that politics is addictive.

I noticed that the sticker was getting pretty ratty after I shoveled the three inches of global warming snow and rain the other day, so when the announcement came yesterday that Bernie was officially throwing his hat into the ring I had mixed emotions.

On the one hand there was that whole electability and the we-need-to-destroy-Trump thing combined with the “overcrowded field of progressive candidates” thing.

On the other hand, though — and this was the one that stuck in my head — here is a guy who I would have voted for last time, who I HAD voted for. No, I’m not sure he’s the best girl on the field. But yes, I would want him to be President.

The good news is that I don’t have to decide right now. I can listen to all the candidates. Pay some attention to their speeches and their stances. Watch what shakes out and who drops out. Who plays the game with a combination of style and ruthlessness? Who can dodge the smears?

The one thing I won’t be doing is playing the Reality Show Game — constantly second guessing strategies, talking about electability, using the word “base”. All those things detract from the goal of an election — to field the best candidate for the job. Absolutely winning the election matters, but that’s what the Republicans did last time, and look whose souls they sold out. The man is giving nuclear secrets to the Saudies.

Yeah, Bernie’s old. He’s not perfect. Is he the best? We’ll see.
Is he electable? Hell yes. I’d still vote for him.

Award News! LOKI RAGNAROK Nominated for 2019 Audie Award

February 4, 2019. New York
LOKI RAGNAROK, written and narrated by Mark Binder has been nominated for a 2019 Audie Award for Original Work! The audiobook was published by Light Publications, and is available on Audible, GooglePlayAudioBooks, Scribd, and many other platforms.

Considered the audiobook Oscars, the Audie Award ceremony is presented by the Audio Publishers Association, and will be held on March 4, in New York City.

They broke into his home. They kidnapped his children. Left his wife bound and gagged on the floor, where she choked and died. He had once helped them, been their friend and blood brother.

A well-told tale of the Norse gods… told not from the point of view of the heroic Thor or Odin, but through the eyes of Loki, the trickster… As Binder says in his introduction, this is not for children. But the stories are well-told, both in their writing — Binder adapted them from the Norse poetic and prose sagas called the Edda — and in their performance. Binder’s voice swoops and soars, now angry, now gleeful and now mocking, as Loki tells these stories of the gods run amok.

—Providence Journal

Originally conceived as a spoken-word performance, LOKI RAGNAROK is a darkly humorous revision of Norse mythology. This is not a child-friendly Marvel Universe story.

The story of Loki echoes the cycles of violence and revenge playing out across our world. Told with a blend of poetry and prose, humor and horror, it offers no solution — but a glimmer, perhaps of understanding and compassion.

Mark Binder is the author of 16 books and audio books for adults, families and children. At Columbia University, he studied mythology with T.E. Gaster and David Damrosch, and storytelling with Spalding Gray. He tours the world as a performance storyteller, sharing traditional and original tales with listeners of all ages.

Bark Minder Project Novel Draft 18 Complete!

Some of you know that for the past year I’ve been working on a novel under the nom de plume of “The Bark Minder Project.”

I created this alter-ego as a way of developing new material that might be edgy or “inappropriate” for children. (Don’t worry, I’m still doing work for families and young people!)

For example, we experimented with releasing serializations from the novel as audio on Spotify and other platforms. I’ve written a few dark and political pieces. And had the pleasure of performing and recording some distinctly non-family material in Amsterdam.

What next?

Now the book is done with the draft stage, and getting ready to move into the next phase. We’re going to be pulling the materials from Spotify, etc shortly. These are old/second draft versions, and the material has improved considerably since.

I’m engaged in the process of looking for an agent and an adventurous/traditional publisher — if you know ANYBODY who might be interested (or know someone who knows someone) — PLEASE drop me an email.

This is an awesome book, about a bunch of high school seniors who are trying to survive their senior year, when everything goes wrong. I’m not going to tell you any more just yet.

In the meantime, if you’d like to become a sponsor and get advance notice and previews, please consider becoming a Patron .

The Last Hanukkah Candle

Will this be Rabbi Kibbitz’s last Chanukah?

The Last Hanukkah Candle - coverIt seems unimaginable, but I’ve been writing Hanukkah stories for more than 20 years. The first collection of these, A Hanukkah Present* came in second for the National Jewish Book Award for Family Literature! Since then, almost every year, I’ve added another story to the mix. This year’s story is a bit wistful, but ultimately redeeming. You can listen to it by clicking on any of the links below… Become my patron-logo    Listen on spotify-logoCheck it out on googleplay-logo       Listen on itunes-logo    Listen on Deezer-logo Listen on Tidal-logoPurchase on amazon-logo Listen on Napster-logo   I’ve only got about 10 copies of A Hanukkah Present in stock, so I’ll be signing copies at my office today and at Limmud tomorrow.  There are twelve stories, enough for every night of Chanukah and then some. It’s also on Amazon, iBooks, and Google Play Books, or you can the whole “Life in Chelm ebundle

Staying Alive

Now Anthony Bourdain is dead. Another suicide, following after Kate Spade. Two iconic success stories just killed themselves. So did one of my former teachers, Spalding Gray. Kinda makes you wonder.

Yes, I mourn for their families, etc, but really as a selfish artist-type, I’m reflecting on my own life.

If you’ve known me for long, you’ll know I’ve got two ambivalent drives—success and solitude. I hate the bullshit self-promotion that seems to be required to toot your horn endlessly about stuff.

That said, If I had to sum up my life goals so far they would be (in order: “Be a successful novelist… NO. Be a successful playwright. NO. Be a successful freelance writer. NO. Be a successful novelist. NO. Be a successful Jewish writer. NO. Be a successful storyteller. Well, maybe… Be a successful Father. (CHECK! Awesome kids!) Be a successful writer/storyteller.… Um…”

Blah blah blah. In the past 20 years, I’ve made a lot of great books and audio (patting self on back). I’ve told stories to more than 200,000 people live in five countries.

And I’ve been satisfied for about ten or fifteen minutes at a time.

On the one hand, this drives me to create new and better stuff. On the other, it often/always leaves me wondering what am I doing and why.

Fortunately, in between all the angst and self-flagellation, I’ve had help from my lovely wife, family, friends, coaches and shrink. As my advisor, Ben said, “You’ve been like that as long as I’ve known you. Which is about 30 years.” Thirty years and I’m still not “there” yet? Talking to people and listening and getting perspective keeps me even contemplating eating a gun.

I’ve said at times that my mission (one of my missions) is to transmit joy with story. How can you do that when you’re bleaked-out? The answer is, you can’t. You have to dig down, set aside the debris, and shine a light on the gold — even if it is dust that slips through your fingers.

Is this maudlin tripe? Well, reflecting lightly on the suicides of two uber-success stories will do that to you.

I’m going to miss Anthony Bourdain’s acerbic appetite. And I always liked Kate’s bags.  Spalding was in constant pain and never really hid it.

Tonight I’m “closing out a two-year world tour” at @PVDFeset. It’s all Rhode Island stuff. We’re videotaping it for posterity. And then I’m taking a break. I’ve got a bunch of gigs already scheduled, that I’m looking forward to.

But after that…

I’m going to stay alive. Breathe. Eat some good food. Transmit a little joy.

Thanks for reading this.


Spring 2018 Book Sale – April 287

Winter is going… So it’s time to get some spring reading!

Come by and celebrate the last @FarmFreshRI Winter Market of the season, get your clams on, grab some fresh spinach and yummy bread, then come upstairs to check out all sorts of cool books and audio books.

Mark’s Awesome Book Sale on April 28 from 9:30 am to 1pm at Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main Street, Suite 1212, Pawtucket, RI 02860. (Go upstairs to the second floor, and look for the signs)

What’s on offer? Some items rare. Some are out of print. Some are just awesome to read and share.

This is a great opportunity to get your local veggie shopping done at the WinterMarket downstairs, and take home a few signed books for your family and friends.

BLOG SPECIAL: Come by and mention this web page and get a free Cinderella Spinderella eBook Gift Card – no purchase necessary.

See you then!

– Mark

Mark Binder - writer • storyteller

Become my patron-logo Purchase on amazon-logo  Read it on iBooks-logo Check it out on googleplay-logo get it on Gumroad-logo get it on Indiebound-logo get it on Barnes & Noble-logo Read on a kobo-logo  Listen on spotify-logo Listen on itunes-logo get it from CD Baby-logo Listen on Audible-logo  get it from Follett-logo