Meet John Cooker Author of Cure Your Democracy: The Infection, Spread and Treatment of Contagious Opinions
Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.
He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.
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Author: John Cooker
Publisher: Spin Doctor Press
Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest John Cooker author of Cure Your Democracy: The Infection, Spread and Treatment of Contagious Opinions.
In addition to being an author, John is a partner in a real estate development LLC and writes occasionally when he is inspired. He has had a play read at the Kennedy Center and has published The Gelwick Faxes, a thriller written the year before and presaging the terrible events of 9/11.
John lives in Maryland with his wife Katherine where they own a dog kennel and breed Spinone Italianos. As John has mentioned to me, “in dire need, after living through recent years of constipated political partisanship, he became inspired to react with the most powerful medicine: humor and in an effort to cheer himself and his friends up he wrote Cure Your Democracy.”
Good day John and thanks for participating in our interview
In writing your book, what was your creative process? Was it improvisational or did you have a set plan? As a follow up, why have you been drawn to humor?
Initially I was inspired with the idea of the book and planned it out like laying the foundation and framing of a house. Then I had fun and improvised completing the rooms inside. This is where the creative process became exciting. Of course a lot got thrown away, but I think that made it a better book. Fortunately, the original idea was fertile enough to keep inspiring me with further riffs on it. I wrote it to please myself and friends first, so when a NY agent suggested that I should include a paranormal/poltergeist/vampire theme for marketing purposes, I didn't listen.
Some subjects are better approached with humor. With all of the brow-knitting over politics a little levity should be welcome. Especially from those politicians who can't keep their toupee straight.
What do you want your work to do? Amuse people? Provoke thinking?
Observing politics today (how can we not?) is watching the Human Comedy strut and stumble on the great stage of our times. Folly and pride and pigheadedness are everywhere and ripe for comment. You can't make this crazy stuff up! Could anyone have invented the name of a certain congressman who's been in the news recently who probably likes to sing to himself that little advertising ditty about an Oscar Meyer product that is served on a bun? So in a way I'm just highlighting the scene; embellishing it with a little relish.
But then there's the hypocrisy and the serious responsibilities that underlie these shenanigans. So I hope readers pause and consider some of the points. The extremists on both sides of the aisle have made so much noise we, the people, can't get a word in edgewise. And their bombast serves their parties only, not America. Is party loyalty really more important than loyalty to America? Can we improve this system to better represent citizens than parties? Are citizens doomed to repeat opinions from pundits like zombies?
I am personally a progressive and live in a county populated with a majority of conservatives. I've lost two casual friends over discussions about ideological policies as I observed their stubborn brains being infected by Rush Limbaugh.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
I grew up during the civil rights era and my friends were all anti-establishment, anti-gray flannel suite, energized. We wanted to change the world. And so we have, some for the better, but much has stayed the same, perhaps with the only difference being the window dressing. And some has gotten worse. What was, and is, paramount for me is individuality, and its free expression. This is what inspires and sustains us and what drives our collective ethos for freedom.
There are references in my book to songs of that era. I guess because they have just stayed in my mind this long. For example, I joke about the song Momma Told Me Not to Come in a digressive story about a gathering of rebellious Tea Partiers. And in another use a fake band, the “Corduroy Underground”, and their very hip sound. I hope you have a sense of humor Lou Reed!
I learned to trust my imagination and instincts; no matter where they led me.
Do you worry about the human race?
We are the same people as in Shakespeare's England and Aristophanes' Greece. Our technologies have dramatically changed our physical circumstances for the better, mostly. They survived and so will we. Shakespeare and Aristophanes would no sooner recognize the cities and gadgets of the 21st century as we would future generations. But they would certainly recognize us and what we're up to.
I'm a Buddhist and believe in the laws of Karma. As individuals we try to improve ourselves and get on the right course - for it all comes back to affect us. The Human Race is in the same boat. Will the boat sink? I don't think so. Will it safely land ashore on some utopian land? I don't think so. We should set the sails and catch a strong wind.
With Cure Your Democracy, Do you believe you have already found “your voice?”
I've found a voice for satire. One I hope to continue on with to approach other subjects.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I bow to Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift and George Orwell.
What is next for John Cooker and where can our readers find out more about you and Cure Your Democracy?
I'm developing a website for Cure Your Democracy where I intend to grow its sequel.
Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?
We do live in exciting times. Computer technology has advanced to make immense improvements in the publishing industry. It has developed excellent opportunities for talented writers to connect with readers. BookPleasures.com is an example of this new model.
Thanks again and good luck with all of your future endeavors