A memoir recounts a life of tribulations and wordsmithery.
Mach (The Invisible Twins, 2015, etc.) was a precocious youngster, and like so many authors, discovered his love of the written word through voracious reading. He wrote a novel before he even finished high school fashioned in Baroque style (he includes an excerpt), and despite his failure to publish it, a lifetime of devotion to the craft was sparked. Mach received an MBA from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and spent the bulk of his professional career as a market research analyst and business writer. He also tried his hand at several entrepreneurial ventures, and taught advertising and business writing at San Jose State University in California. He experienced some jolts of authorial success—in 1977 he was invited to join the well-regarded California Writer’s Club, and in 1981 he published an article that graced the cover of Writer’s Digest. He trudged through a period of troubles that lasted for nearly 10 years, grappling with serious financial challenges, a cancer scare, his inability to publish a novel he was proud of, and problems finding employment (at one point, he donned a Santa Claus outfit for money). He clashed with a business partner (he briefly owned and operated an ice cream business), and was sued for a substantial sum. All the while, Mach discusses his experiences as creative fodder for future writing, always mining his life for inspiration. His prospects eventually improved, and he found both solace and guidance in religion, not to mention some success as an indie author. This is a quirky and sometimes meandering remembrance, and bears the stamp of a business writer; Mach loves to include bullet-pointed lists cataloging everything from his personal trials to the market research projects he’s written. Mach, a prolific author, lists and excerpts his own work liberally. Unfortunately, the writing, especially for an author’s recollection, is uneven at best. Mach recalls teaching a writing seminar: “I showed attendees how to open up their creative channels so they can come up with methods for sparking new ways to thinking about their writing—whether it be a novel, article, or advertising copy.” In addition, Mach’s account is too idiosyncratic and personal to be of universal import; its primary value will be to those who know and love him.
A charming, but bumpy recollection of a writer’s love of his work.