Good Stuff

Prioleau Alexander: Everyone Has At Least One Good Book In Them

Probably not a novel, but a book …

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Answer this question: How much do you know about your grandfather? Not basic stuff, but where he traveled. What he thought about the politics of his time. What it was like to see the earliest cars and commercial airplanes, then see a man walk on the moon. What the depression was like. What did he experience in college. How did he court your grandmother. What it was like to wear a coat and tie every single day, while working in an office in the South during August … without air conditioning.

The list of things I wish I knew — for no other reason than how fascinating it would be — is endless. I don’t know because I never asked, and adults rarely view their own lives as being significant enough to document. If they aren’t asked, they assume their kids and grandkids don’t care. (They may not now, but they will). If I was to be run over by a truck today, my nephews would know a fair bit about me — not through conversations, but because I’m a writer.

You are too … or can be. 



Consider the things you’ve seen in your life. Being on the oldest end of Generation X, I remember the moon landing. I remember the first computer, and I remembered watching as cars went from something a shade-tree mechanic could work on to the computerized wonders they are today. I remember our parents driving us around without seatbelts, and smoking with the windows rolled up. Televisions had three channels, and rabbit ears. ATMs came into being, then email, then mobile phones, then dial-up AOL, then high-speed global internet. I remember not all too long ago when you used a paper map to get somewhere – and had at least two dozen phone numbers memorized. 

Don’t you think your heirs would one day like to know your stories about these things? About how you viewed and felt about the changes you experienced? What it was like to be a free-range child, with parents who had no idea where you were for most daylight hours? How technology changed life, for good or ill? How your worldview changed over the decades?


“Your heirs would probably like to hear your thoughts, and the events that brought them about.”


Your children and grandchildren will never know what it was like to see the flip-flop of many things Americans believe. In 1968, liberals mistrusted the government with extreme prejudice. Today, it’s conservatives. Liberals believed in the sanctity of unfettered free speech and fought against censorship … today that’s a platform of conservatives. 

Where did you fall in this flip-flop? What caused your views to change? Conservatives think liberals are wrong on everything, and vice versa .. and no one is listening to the opposing views. Your heirs would probably like to hear your thoughts, and the events that brought them about.

Your children will never know what it was like to be anonymous, with no one “collecting their data.” They will be amazed to know about life before the coming “governmental social credit scores.” That there was a time when labeling “hate speech” as criminal was laughable. They will grow up in a world where it’s normal for Artificial Intelligence to judge what they post on the Internet as “misinformation” or “violating government standards,” and will be shocked to know that all sorts of opinions were once welcome.




Your grandchildren will not know the esteem in which we held architects, engineers, and computer programmers—for them, these professions will always have been done by AI. They will not know of our respect for physicians, as the cerebral specialties are replaced by AI, and surgery will be conducted by robots. There’s a very good chance they will have no idea of what it’s like to have a loved one die of cancer.

Do you need to be a good writer to write such a book about your life and times? Absolutely not. You can be a terrible writer, and it would still be fascinating thirty years from now. If you don’t want to type, simply use a dictation app to speak your thoughts.

In addition, you need not write your story chronologically, which is a very difficult task. You can simply give yourself chapter titles, and work through that specific topic.

What we did for fun:

  • When I was a kid.
  • When I was a teen.
  • In college.
  • Early in my working life.
  • As a parent.
  • As an empty nester.
  • As a grandparent.

Does that sound overwhelming? Of course it does … but you eat an elephant one bite at a time.

You could pass along what is considered wisdom in this day and age. (Note, however, it is important to provide specific examples about these things. Don’t write it as an editorial … let your future generations know the stories that shaped your opinions):  

What my life has taught me about:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Friendships
  • Business
  • Choosing a profession
  • Loyalty and trust

Things that changed radically in my lifetime:

  • Communications
  • Travel
  • Education
  • Employment 
  • Male/Female interactions
  • Law enforcement

Many people might think to themselves, “If I do all that work, I want it to be published.” Thanks to “print on demand” self-publishing, you can. It’s not like the old days, when self-publishing a book entailed ordering and paying $50,000 for 3,000 copies. Print-on-demand is exactly like it sounds … your words loiter around somewhere up in the cloud, and when you order one some automated printing press prints it, assembles it, and ships it to you.

Print-on-demand isn’t cheap-cheap, however, because you have to pay someone to do the layout and all the Amazon interactions, but don’t expend all the energy it takes to write a memoir and pass along to your heirs a simple manuscript. No one wants to read a manuscript … as a traditionally published author, I know this firsthand.

There is one reality check I need to offer anyone willing to undertake this task: No matter how great your memoir is — and every member who reads the manuscript says it’s better than The Count of Monte Christo — it will not be traditionally published.

There is simply no chance, because that’s not the way the publishing industry works. They aren’t looking for “new voices” or “insightful commentary.” They want stuff that can sell for sure … stuff from someone with a big internet following, or a radio/TV show, or a previous track record of selling books. I’m fortunate enough to have the latter, but the hell I went through to get there defies description.

Actually, that’s not true: It can be described, provided you’re willing to laugh at yourself … especially on the topic “What I thought the experience would be” versus “cold reality.”



My latest book is entitled ‘They Don’t Call It The Submission Process For Nothing.’ 

It tracks the “author” part of my life, which everyone who has read it tells me they enjoy. I think it’s not just because it makes them laugh (with and at) me, but it offers a view “behind the curtain” of one particular profession. I’d love it if some other people wrote books about the behind-the-scenes of their profession. When someone says, “I’m a doctor,” what the hell does that mean? What’s your professional life like? Is it funny? Maddening? Worth all the work you put into it? How about an attorney, contractor, retail store owner, car salesman, or yacht broker?

What I’ve attempted to do in the book is answer, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”

If you’re striving to be an author, you should definitely read it. If you aren’t, I’m sure you’ll learn a little and laugh a lot. It’s available in paperback, audio, and digital form.   



Prioleau Alexander is a freelance writer, focusing mostly on politics and non-fiction humor. He is the author of four books: ‘You Want Fries With That?,’ ‘Dispatches Along the Way,’ ‘Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?‘ and ‘They Don’t Call It The Submission Process For Nothing.’ 



Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to address proactively? We have an open microphone policy! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.


Get our newsletter by clicking here …


Related posts


Fireworks Bring Early Fourth of July to Lake Murray

Erin Parrott
Good Stuff

‘Harry Potter’ Author J.K. Rowling’s Yacht Spends Week In Charleston Harbor

Dylan Nolan
Good Stuff

Palmetto Past & Present: A VIP Arrives In South Carolina

Mark Powell

1 comment

Everyone Has One Good Book Thrown At Them February 21, 2024 at 8:53 am

Don’t quit your day job.


*checks Drunke’s day job*

On second thought…


Leave a Comment