People tell me I should take what I'm doing at City of Angels and write a book, especially because I'm broke, and somehow writing a book would make me money, they say. I guess then once I put everything I've written here between two pieces of cardboard on paper, I’d suddenly have credibility. Even though hardly anyone buys books anymore and I think it’s a much slower way to communicate. I mean one person pays ten bucks and then reads one page at a time, and if you leave a book behind on a bus or something, it's gone.
I'm kind of proud to be broke and doing City of Angels from a slum in East Hollywood. I live blocks from where Matt Drudge was passionately blogging about his right wing politics, and he’d probably still be in this part of town today, if someone hadn’t passed him Monica Lewinski’s blue dress. Now he travels and appears on talk shows.
I don't write books because I don't read books. Sometimes my friends write books and I promise to read them then I'm forever trying to find a situation where I can sit with a book and read. It hardly ever happens, except late at night when I'm too tired to concentrate. Meantime I read all day, but I read on a video screen, here on this laptop. At work I make it through the words of reality TV participants by looking forward to the post I'm going to put up at City of Angels at the end of my shift. So I'm reading and writing all the time, and it’s all online.
I honestly think the story of the pedophile priests gets out to more people by writing it this way, on a blog. For a while I was even making money a little more every month from both Examiner and earlier with Google ads here. But the subject matter is too controversial for corporate advertisers to go along with this blog for any long period of time, I'm just happy that AlterNet didn't give in to pressure they got to evict me from AlterNet SoapBox last February. It’s not set up where AlterNet has any responsibility for what I write. So I write there. And probably will never go any farther up the media ladder of success. I don't care.
With this subject matter, any book I’d write would probably have to be self published. Or I’d spend months and months trying to find a publisher and getting rejected. I don't have money to self publish, I, like my friends say, am broke. I think by putting that PayPal button on my blog in 2007 I've probably made more money than I would have made if I’d decided to write this as a book instead.
If I’d written a book, I’d be showing up at places saying, I'm writing a book, and I mean how many people say that. Gazillions. Three months later I’d still just be another person showing up who’s writing a book.
Instead two weeks after the first time I showed up, people knew I really was writing something. I published a couple City of Angels posts and people started treating me differently. The clerks in the courtroom started showing me a new kind of respect. I think the double whammy, crime victim and journalist, really made the court clerks feel a duty to help me out.
So I don't think writing a book would have been the best way to go, even though maybe now the media would be coming to me for sound bytes because my book would give me some kind of credibility that blogging doesn't. I don't want media whores following me around trying to get a quote from me anyway, when what they should be doing is document diving and doing research and writing a real piece of journalism. I'm glad they don't come to me for quotes, because I’d end up trying to explain to them who Servants of the Paracletes are, knowing they will never follow-up. Let them continue to google and then call someone from the “support organization” because it says right there on this press release that they speak for survivors.
Funniest part of all this is I didn't have an agenda, a goal, when I started City of Angels, not money, not widespread readership. It was more frustration because I’d been trying to get a Snap meeting going up here in Hollywood for over a year and the local leader kept telling me it wasn’t a good idea
I continued CofA when I realized there was all this stuff going on in the courtroom about the clergy cases and the news media were asleep.
But my motive was not to gain fame or build my career. All I really wanted was to meet someone for coffee. Back in January 2007. I figured we’d go after a hearing to the Starbucks in the park next door. I mean L.A. has about three accessible parks that aren’t full of homeless people, even the other park across the street from Starbucks is strewn with sleeping bags and odors of questionable origin.
All I wanted when I started City of Angels was to meet someone for coffee.
But no one else ever showed up.
I had no idea what I’d find when I first went to Clergy Case hearings and started City of Angels, but I've since changed my whole perspective. I rediscovered the journalism skills I’d buried inside after getting fired so shamefully from so many good jobs.
I didn't start City of Angels to make it as a writer, to pad my resume, to build my career, or even to make money.
I started it to have someone to meet for coffee once in a while maybe after going to hearings.
Instead I'm now in the middle of a huge story, and there’s no way I'm dropping it, as I've really only begun to dig. I need more resources to take it to another level, use cameras, post videos, travel, maybe when I finally get on Social Security, we will expand.
In the meantime, I can have documents sent to me for next to nothing, sometimes people send them to me for free. They stream into my email and then there I go, another five or six stories to write just on that one legal brief.
Problem is I still don't have anyone to meet for coffee.
Cut paragraphs are staying cut, not even going to post them here
Re Missing Link collection below: Email editor Jay Nelson of Albuquerque at email@example.com CLICK IMAGES to enlarge