Treacherous Double-Dealing ► Unpacking The Writer

In our last exciting episode of Unpacking The Writer, Bang The News Slowly, I revealed my part in a brand new grassroots campaign to get Harry Nilsson inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Funny story. The wheels have come off that bus, but before I tell you how, here’s a reminder of what I wrote last month:

The most exciting news of the last month is the campaign to put Harry
Nilsson in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Every year when the RnRHoF
nominees are announced I scream, “What about Harry?” Then when I see who
is finally inducted, I just shake my head in despair. This year I
decided to do something about it.

Just a few days before last month’s Unpacking The Writer, I fired up a facebookery called Harry Nilsson for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It was only a few days later that I discovered there was a similar page
started much earlier than mine. Had I known, I would have signed onto Harry Nilsson belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,
started by Todd Lawrence, instead. Todd and I connected soon afterwards
in IM. I assured him that I didn’t consider my page competition to his
and that we should cooperate for the greater good. It can’t hurt that
there are two such pages because we travel in different circles.

It wasn’t long before Todd asked we could add Gabriel Szoke, moderator of the Harry Nilsson facebook fan page, to our IMs. Then the 3 of us started kicking around various ideas to put #HarryintheHall. None of our plans are ripe enough to be revealed, but I can assure you that they are grandiose.

That was then. This is now, just a month later.

I probably would have kept this unpleasantness on the facebookery, and far away from the Not Not Silly Newsroom, had I not woken up yesterday to find that I was reported on facebook for contravening Community Standards.

No, really!

A post of mine (a rant, to be fair) was removed from Harry Nilsson for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the page I created to help in this campaign. Some crybaby went running to facebook to whine. That’s why I’ve reproduced it below, in case it’s removed again:

I had hoped not to air this dirty laundry, but I have now been contacted
by several people who appear to have had very similar experiences as I
have. Therefore, it’s time to go public.

 I started up this
facebookery not knowing there was a similar page started before mine run
by Todd Lawrence. When I discovered it, I contacted Todd and we agreed,
in essence, that we would work together cooperatively and not look at
the other as competition. All for ‪#‎HarryintheHall‬!!!
As we strategized in IM, he asked me if we could include Gabriel Szoke,
who was operating one of the Harry Nilsson facebookery pages. My
attitude was, “The more, the merrier!” Anything to get #HarryintheHall.

That’s when everything turned to shit. While we agreed to work
cooperatively, I seemed to have the only person who understood what that
means.

I don’t want people to get the impression this is sour
grapes, but ideas I had were rejected. That is, until either Todd or
Gabriel came up with it a week later as if it was BRAND NEW. This ain’t
about taking credit, it’s about losing a week’s time in getting
something done.

When I called them on it, I was told we needed to
look forward, not backward. That phrase — an insidious form of
blame-dodging I’ve seen before — was to come up more than once.

We
agreed to agree on all actions, but suddenly emails with typos in them
started going out before we had even agreed on the wording or who would
be getting them. Again I was told to keep looking forward, not backward,
when I mentioned that we had agreed, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I was
tasked with writing a Manifesto, which I did because writing’s my game.
My manifesto was rejected out of hand. [I want people to understand I am
*NEVER* wedded to my words. 40+ years as a professional writer has
allowed me to work with any kind of editor from mild to red pencil
fiends. Editing improves the product. This isn’t about ego.] I was then
asked to ‘punch up’ what I thought was an inferior and pedestrian
approach as a manifesto. Eh? Oh, well. Anything to get #HarryintheHall.

So I started punching up this piece of shit. (Sorry, Todd. It was
awful. At least mine took a non-pedestrian approach to the topic. It
wasn’t dull, tedious, and cookie cutter.)

Meanwhile, I’d continue
making suggestions and Gabriel would tell me that I was stepping on his
toes because he’s the expert in that field (graphics, apparently). Yet,
time after time my expertise as a writer — one who has developed entire
media campaigns for record companies — who has written for all media,
was rejected. Cute, eh?

F’rinstance, I said that memes can be dashed
off in a minute and to prove it I fired up the Ol’ Meme Maker, made
one, and posted it here. Gabriel went wild in private, accusing me of
jumping the gun before we *AGREED* we were ready. He made me take it
down.

*AND*, he took personal offense that memes can be dashed off, because that’s his field.

Again, when I brought this up I was told we are looking forward, not
backward. However, once he started calling for memes on his Nilson [sic] page,
he didn’t seem to care how ‘dashed off’ they were.

I was made to
feel as if my expressing an opinion in this triumvirate was totally
inconvenient. More to the point my opinion seemed inconvenient to
Gabriel trying to be The Point Man on everything, the one who will get
the credit and be able to hobnob with celebrities.

However, even
though I foolishly believed we were working cooperatively, I suspected
Todd and Gabriel of talking and making decisions behind my back (but
have no way to prove that). Actions kept getting made that hadn’t even
been discussed. That needed coordination between them.

Suddenly, and
without discussion or warning, there were a bunch of folks added to the
Put Harry in the Hall Google Group that we had been communicating in as
a trio. At first I thought, “The more the merrier.” However, just as
suddenly I was deleted from the Google Group.

No one ever spoke to
me about it. No one ever explained. In fact, I only discovered it for
myself when I thought the group had gotten too quiet, so I went to look.
If my removal was mentioned in the Google Group I would have no way of
knowing, of course.
However, I always suspected that I presented a
threat to Gabriel grabbing all the credit for himself. I was expressing
my ideas there and some of them might have been good. People may have
agreed with me. Best to get rid of me quietly before I upset his
applecart.

Right then and there I decided to stop punching up Todd’s wishy-washy essay on Harry. HEY! I can take a fucking hint.

As I say, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go public with this, but this
morning I received the following IM from someone I have known online for
DECADES:

QUOTE: Hi Headly. Quick heads-up to be very careful of
Gabriel Stoke and his supposed Nilsson promoting group…he is only
interested in self promotion and is ousting any of us who have tried to
promote Harry on the Internet. .. He booted Roger Smith earlier and when
I messaged him to suggest that was not a good thing to do he booted me
and has blocked me from his group…. ENDQUOTE

He booted Roger
Smith? He booted the man who has had a Harry Nilsson tribute website
longer than than anyone else in the entire world? That Roger Smith? Hoo
boy!!!
However, I discovered, much to my regret, exactly the same
thing.

I will be the next person blocked because of this post. However, I
thought I had a duty to those people I had already talked to privately
about [SPOILER ALERT!!!] helping to mount concerts ALL AROUND THE WORLD
on Harry’s 75th Birthday. [But, I bet Gabriel wants to take all the
credit for that, too.] There had already been progress on Toronto and
Detroit shows and I had started putting out feelers for a show here in
Florida. Whether those will go forward or not remain to be seen.
Yesterday’s 74th birthday celebration left a very bad taste in my mouth.
I went from being very excited to be on the ground floor of something
that appeared to have enough momentum to achieve its goals, to being
turned into a passive bystander by two self-aggrandizing jerks, who are
only out for themselves. I can remain passive no more.

Apologies for the
drama, folks. Anyone who wishes to contact me privately to tell me of
their trials and tribulations will be welcomed. Maybe I’ll turn it into a
blog post, or a book.

If facebook is going to take my stuff down, I’ll post it here where it will not only stay, but will get even more eyeballs than where it had been. Congratulations, whomever reported me to facebook.

Meanwhile, what else is going on in this writer’s world this month?

The excitement builds as I am less than a month away from the 3rd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research. There’s still time to sign up if you want to get the full Aunty Em Experience.

This year, so far, I have tentative stops on the northbound leg planned for the Black History Museum in Macon, Georgia; Centerville, Ohio, “a real nice place to raise your kids up”; and Columbus, Ohio, which I was forced to skip last year due to a family issue.

I have more tentative stops scheduled for the southbound trek: Elyria, Ohio, to tour the new Elyria Art Depot; Akron, Ohio, where I will be taken on a tour of people and places important to Jim Bloor (to whom this road trip is lovingly dedicated); Steubenville, Ohio, where I will walk in the footsteps of Dean Martin, with whom I share a birthday; Wheeling, West Virgina, for a much needed coffee; Morgantown, West Virginia, the site of last year’s A Tribute to Don Knotts ► Morgantown’s Favourite Son; The Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, Ohio; St. Augustine, Florida, just because it’s so old and so beautiful; and, lastly, Oviedo, Florida, before arriving home.

As of now, and subject to change, my trip will take 16 days, 5 hours, and 2 minutes (according to Microsoft Streets and Trips, a program no longer available) and I will have traveled 3063 miles, not accounting for side trips for sight-seeing. 

I wish I were leaving right now.

Closer to home, I have been rethinking the entire Headlines Du Jour column. 

I had been aggregating these headlines 3 days a week: Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. However, the last month I’ve had to skip it a few times because of other commitments.

I’ve been compiling Headlines Du Jour for several years now, but it’s become something of a trap. It takes, on average, 2 hours to format the headlines I’ve collected since the last time. It takes even longer if I’ve been too busy to collect headlines before aggregating them.

To be perfectly honest, I’m bored with it.

I’ll continue with Headlines Du Jour until I leave for the 3rd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research, when it would have gone on a natural hiatus.

Whether it returns, or not, remains to be seen. I haven’t given up on it entirely. However, if I continue to compile the Headlines Du Jour, I’ll need a way to invigorate it. Feel free to send your suggestions.

As the Not Now Silly Head Writer I’ve been given a unique experience. Several of the candidates in Miami’s District 2 race have been talking to me OFF THE RECORD, everything embargoed until after the election. I’m hoping it will coalesce into a series of BEHIND THE SCENES stories about this election, which will be Miami’s most contentious.

As well, I have been going along with them on door knocks. The ground rules are that any conversation with voters is ON THE RECORD, but the stroll and chats are OFF THE RECORD.

Here’s what I can report: Almost everyone wants to talk about the current Miami District 2 Commissioner, [allegedly] corrupt Marc D. Sarnoff. The voters bring up his name before the candidates do. Which makes this a good time to remind readers about ABT — Anybody But Teresa, a little facebookery I fired up. It’s dedicated to making fun of the idea that [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff thinks he can buy and bully a commission seat for his wife, who has never shown any interest in city politics in the past 30 years.

Lastly, at least for this month, I have a number of posts half finished, for which I am waiting for callbacks, or am still researching the topics. If I finish them all, I’ll be very busy in the next 3 weeks, before I leave for my road trip.

Next month’s Unpacking the Writer will come from the road if I find the time.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.

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