Have you lost some friends because you’re perplexed by their support of a certain candidate or offended by the views they appeared to adopt during the election season? This T-shirt (“I used to have more friends… then these two came along”) is for you:
This past week, I was honored to learn that my book, President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella (Hillocrian Creative 2016), was chosen as a finalist in the 19th Annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. The book will now be considered for an award in the “Adult Fiction: Humor” category. The winners will be announced during the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24, 2017.
The idea for this book came a year ago, when Donald Trump was one of several candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination. After attending a Trump rally in Bethpage, N.Y., as a fan of politics, I decided to write a book imagining what it would be like if Mr. Trump were to become president. The result was a work of satirical fiction in an epistolary form. I created a series of “official” documents (executive actions, presidential proclamations, transcripts of speeches, and more) that I present in chronological order for the reader’s inspection. President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella presents its plot through this narrative vehicle, portraying a presidency that is driven by Mr. Trump’s unique personality and controversial statements and that emphasizes bold, executive action. As the book’s title implies, President Trump’s term is mysteriously and satirically abbreviated (for reasons that may be revealed in a sequel).
After I finished writing the book, Donald Trump went on to win the GOP nomination and then become the 45th president of the United States. Although my book was written as fiction and satire, it has been fascinating to compare my imagined Trump presidency with the real one. For example, it was interesting to discover that both my fictional President Trump and the real one made the same decisions when it came to Oval Office wall decor. (See “As Predicted, President Trump Embraces Childe Hassam, Evicts Edward Hopper from Oval Office,” Hillocrianblog.com, January 23, 2017.)
Here is information from Foreword about the INDIES Book of the Year Awards, including a link to the full list of 2016 finalists:
As part of their mission to discover, review, and share the best books from small, university, and indie publishers (and authors), independent media company Foreword Reviews hosts its annual awards program each year. Finalists represent the best books published in 2016, and submitted to Foreword Reviews for award consideration, and were narrowed down by Foreword’s editors from over 2,200 individual titles spread across 65 categories. A complete list of finalists can be found at:
“Choosing finalists for the INDIES is always the highlight of our year, but the choice was more difficult this time around due to the high quality of submissions,” said Victoria Sutherland, publisher of Foreword Reviews. “Each new book award season proves again how independent publishers are the real innovators in the industry.”
INDIES finalists are moved on to final judging by an expert panel of librarians and booksellers curated specifically for each genre and who will determine the books who will be named Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award winners. Winners in each genre—along with Editor’s Choice winners, and Foreword’s INDIE Publisher of the Year—will be announced during the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24, 2017.
About Foreword: Founded in 1998, Foreword Magazine, Inc, d.b.a. Foreword Reviews is an independent media company featuring a Folio:Award-winning print magazine, stable of e-newsletters, and an online platform. Foreword exclusively covers small, university, and independent (non “Big 5”) publishers, the books they publish, and the creators they work with. Foreword is based in Traverse City, Michigan, USA, and has employees and writers all over the world.
I wrote the book over the spring and summer, and it was published in early August. After I began writing, Donald Trump won the GOP nomination. He then defied pollsters and won the presidency, leaving my fictional book still hanging on as a part of our reality, rather than planted forever in an alternate universe.
But now that Donald Trump’s presidency has begun, my book and real life must start to diverge.
President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella imagines a Donald Trump presidency through a look at a sequence of “official documents,” such as executive orders, presidential proclamations, transcripts of speeches, and more. In the book, President Trump’s term appears to last around a month, rivaling that of William Henry Harrison. However, exactly what happens at the end, including President Trump’s whereabouts and whether the whole thing is his fault, is intentionally unclear and may be addressed in a sequel.
Now that we have entered the setting of President Trump’s Month, I am comparing the events of the book to real life with great interest.
Here is one early prediction that has come true:
According to reports, Donald Trump decided to keep Childe Hassam’s Avenue in the Rain hanging in the Oval Office while ordering the removal of Edward Hopper’s pair of works depicting rural Cape Cod scenes during the Great Depression. (See “Trump Brings Churchill Bust Back to Oval Office,” CNN.com, January 20, 2017.)
President Trump’s Oval Office decor decision is in line with what I predicted last year in my book. Here is the relevant excerpt from Chapter 5, “Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Morning Activity (Official Release, January 21, 2017)”, page 26:
President Trump’s Month was written earlier this year as satirical fiction back when Donald Trump was one of several Republican candidates vying for the party’s nomination. The book was published just after Mr. Trump became the nominee at the GOP convention.
Now that Mr. Trump has won the presidency, this book has become even more relevant.
A novella, President Trump’s Month imagines a Trump presidency with a term rivaling that of William Henry Harrison. Combining political satire with legal research, the book’s epistolary format presents a narrative to readers through a series of “official” documents, including executive orders, presidential proclamations, transcripts of speeches, and more.
The story doesn’t appear to end well, but is it Mr. Trump’s fault? And where is he?
Earlier this year, as the 2016 presidential primary season went into extra innings and the campaigns shifted focus to my home state of New York, I sought to attend candidate events to gain deeper insight with a firsthand perspective.
I was able to make it to a Donald Trump rally at Grumman Studios in Bethpage and two John Kasich town halls, one hosted by Hofstra University in Hempstead, and the other moderated by Chris Matthews of MSNBC at The Milleridge Inn in Jericho.
Before long, the candidate field winnowed, and presumptive nominees of both parties emerged, despite claims of illegitimacy on both sides. (As it turns out, disgruntled GOP delegates refrained from going full Harry Potter on their candidate in Cleveland. For details, read “Magic and Never Trump: Can the GOP Make an Elephant Disappear?” (Hillocrian Blog, July 18, 2016).)
The August conventions made the nominees’ status official. Hillary Clinton became the first female major-party nominee for president of the United States, while Donald Trump won the GOP nomination after having garnered more primary votes (for him, as well as against him) than any predecessor in the history of the Republican Party.
With the general election season now underway, I thought I was done with events. But the debates provided another possible opportunity.
The first presidential debate was scheduled for Monday, September 26, 2016. Although the locale was switched from Wright State University in Ohio to Hofstra, I knew that without a connection, there would be no way to secure a ticket, just as I was unable to do four years ago for the second Obama/Romney debate and eight years ago for the third Obama/McCain debate.
But I learned that the Hillary Clinton campaign was hosting a debate-watching party in Westbury. Although it wasn’t supposed to be an actual candidate event, I thought the experience of watching a live debate on a big screen with a crowd would be interesting.
And so I went, and so it was—so much so that I attended a similar event for the third debate, at a venue in Huntington. As it turned out, each debate-watching party offered its own surprise, including an unexpected opportunity to see another candidate, this time on the other side of the aisle.
Watching a Campaign Slogan Get Literal
(Warning: If you plan to visit the Kennedy Space Center and want to be surprised, you may wish to skip this section, as it contains spoilers.)
The first debate-watching party reminded me of an attraction at the Kennedy Space Center. After an introductory movie about the Space Shuttle Atlantis, an image of the angled ship disappeared as the scrim rose to reveal the actual Atlantis in the same view.
When the debate ended, we were urged to stick around, and an hour or so later, Hillary Clinton occupied the stage where she had just appeared on screen, addressing the surprised crowd.
In addition to resembling the trick behind the Atlantis attraction, this “sleight-of-candidate” cleverly literalized the Clinton campaign’s slogan; i.e., regardless of our feelings, we could all undeniably say, “I’m with her.”
Even the Technology Has an Opinion
Near the end of the debate, the topic shifted to the national debt. As Trump began to speak, the words “Clean the Air Filter” suddenly appeared beside his face (see photos, below).
Although, in all likelihood, this incident was nothing more than a projection TV crying out for servicing, the content of this text, along with its uncanny timing and placement, came as much-needed comic relief.
Have you wondered what would happen if Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States? I’ve wondered about this, and then I decided to write a book about it.
The book, entitled President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, takes readers on a satirical walk through an imagined Donald Trump presidency via an unusual narrative form. It tells a story through a sequence of “official” documents, including executive orders, presidential proclamations, transcripts of key press briefings, inaugural and weekly addresses, and more.
The story begins on January 20, 2017, when Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. As he hangs his red cap on the door of the Oval Office, President Trump is eager to show that “we can start winning again, folks.” But his ambitions are cut short, with a one-month term rivaling that of William Henry Harrison.
Find out what happens in President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, available now in paperback and eBook formats from Amazon.com and other retailers.
People of all political backgrounds have been wondering if the GOP presumptive nominee will lose that modifier at this week’s Republican National Convention. In anticipation, many Republicans who can’t support a Nominee Trump and fear life under a President Trump have been trying to mount an effort to preemptively dethrone the candidate before the crown can take the place of his red cap.
So far, this effort, which has focused on the convention’s rules and their interpretation, has been in vain. It seems quite likely at this point that Donald Trump will leave Cleveland with the nomination, a prize that his campaign insists he rightfully earned.
But there may be another way.
Oh, Oh, Oh, It’s Magic
I have seen magicians accomplish the impressive feat of making a live elephant disappear. In similar fashion, Never Trump Republicans who are planning to attend this week’s convention might just be able to get the GOP’s top elephant to retreat to his eponymous tower with some old-fashioned hocus-pocus.
In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that such an unorthodox strategy may have already been contemplated.
In March, Republican lawmakers introduced House Resolution 642, “recognizing magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.” (And you thought Congress does nothing.) It’s entirely possible that some of the resolution’s cosponsors were thinking about He Who Will Not Be Named. Curiously, the resolution appeared out of thin air just a few months after Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling tweeted that “Voldemort was nowhere near as bad,” referring to Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim immigration ban.
So, what’s a Never Trump Republican Muggle to do?
5 Spells for Never Trump Republicans to Try in Cleveland
As of this writing, Hogwarts doesn’t accept Americans, and you won’t find a Defense Against the Dark Arts class in any adult education brochure. So, with little time remaining, I offer convention attendees some spells they can practice for use in Ohio.
Please attempt these spells at your own risk:
Delegatus Non Legatus This spell unbinds all delegates, leaving them to follow their conscience and vote their will.
Crucio Rubio This spell hands the nomination to one of Trump’s primary opponents, rules be damned.
Albus Eques This spell randomly taps Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, or another white knight candidate to win the support of enough convention delegates.
Iracundia Leviosa This spell transforms Trump into a more predictable, reasonable, refined, and mild-mannered candidate before he can become the official nominee.
Veni Vidi Vici Abeo This spell lets Trump become the nominee only to quit, proving a point while creating an opening for another candidate. In a way, everyone wins.
Kings and Things to Take by Storm
The timely introduction of House Resolution 642 suggests that there’s magic to do. Not surprisingly, given this unpredictable election cycle, my crystal ball refuses to reveal to me what will happen in Cleveland this week. But I am reasonably confident that with the right incantation, Never Trump Republicans who attend the convention may be able to send the provocative pachyderm packing. ______________ Ron Leshnower is the author of books and articles exploring a range of topics. Follow him on Twitter (@hillocrian) and visit hillocriancreative.com.