Book Jacket

I joined a writing group to help me stay focused as I attempt to write a book. It’s a small club: five people who are all writing books of one sort of another, and we get together once per week. We don’t actually discuss the content of our writing, but rather we focus on the process of writing: How do you get started on a particular chapter? What variables, whether psychological or practical, get in the way of your writing? What objectives for writing should you set for this week to help you complete your larger goal? Everyone is very supportive and bring out great ideas for staying on task. In addition, the group leader, C, will ask us to complete interesting homework assignments to help keep motivation high.
This week, C asked us to imagine our books on the bookshelf. She asked us to consider what we would like the brief reviews – the ones on the back of the jacket – to say about our book. The reviews could be from whomever we choose and should say exactly what we are hoping to achieve. This is a great exercise in behavior modification and is often used in therapy. For example, if you have a client who is working on smoking cessation, you get them to imagine what life will be like after they’ve achieved their goal. Picture it. What will it feel like when you’re able to run that 5K without coughing up black death? See yourself crossing the finish line with bright and shiny white teeth instead of yellow and plaid-tinted incisors and breath that could kill Freddy Krueger. Imagine your hair being simply sweaty instead of encrusted in smoke and cancer.
Stuff like that.


Like many things I had trouble taking this exercise seriously. This is what I pictured on the back of my book:
Dr. Rob writes with an insight heretofore seen in only Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickinson and Moliere. Brimming with love, humor, terse wit and highly charged sexuality, Dobrenski will soon be receiving a new, previously unknown award from the United Nations: The World’s Most Incredible Human Person Ever Award. – New York Times Book Review.
When Dobrenski speaks or, in this case, writes, you damn well better listen, because what he says will change not only your life, but three other people of your choosing. – Entertainment Weekly.
In his very first book, Dr. Rob Dobrenski took a bat made out of Zoloft, a Valium-filled baseball and the steroid-clogged soul of Freud to hit a mental health home run! – Journal of the American Medical Association.
I have a new wingman, and his name is Dr. Rob.Tucker Max.
All that would be well and good, but I guess that’s not what’s really important. It’s only been a little over a month, but the writing consumes me. Even when I’m not at the computer generating words, I think about it. Will it be any good? Does it convey what I want to say? Will I be a laughing stock after people read it?
Clearly I’m making more out of this book than is necessary (although one could argue that since I’m old, alone and childless, it’s pretty much all I’ve got going on at this point in life). The reality is that the book may suck and never see a Borders or a Barnes and Noble and I have to be okay with that. If it does though, the back of it just has to say one thing:
Say what you will about the writing, the stories, the humor (or lack thereof), but the guy loves mental health. He definitely has demonstrated that whether you’re a shrink, a patient or someone in between, it’s okay to be neurotic. We all are. That’s part of being a person. – Any critic, any publication.
That will be enough for me.

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13 Responses to “Book Jacket”

  1. Angela says:

    Wait a minute. Where do I find myself one of these groups? And why didn’t I even think to look? This is NYC for God’s sake. There’s a 100 groups for everything. *Sigh* I’m such a natural loner…*cue obsessing over my own mental problems*.
    Take heart in doing it for yourself. Enjoy your book, and others will too. I can’t relate to non-fiction, but I know a good run always gets the idea’s flowing for me. Also, a good soundtrack.

  2. Zack says:

    “Say what you will about the writing, the stories, the humor (or lack thereof), but the guy loves mental health. He definitely has demonstrated that whether you’re a shrink, a patient or someone in between, it’s okay to be neurotic. We all are. That’s part of being a person. – Any critic, any publication.”
    This sums up why your book will not be bad–either your neuroticism gets the best of you and you don’t put anything out, or your book will be great. Would you actually allow something in between?
    We already know your writing is enjoyable from your blog. Now you’re taking a different medium and using these same skills.
    Don’t worry, I’m sure it will turn out great.
    Keep up the good work!
    -Zack

  3. Wayland says:

    You rock man. You get my vote for World’s Most Incredible Human Person Ever Award.

  4. Dr. Rob:
    If your book is as interesting as your posts, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about book reviews. I can’t wait to read it!
    -E

  5. Dyson004 says:

    “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
    – Oscar Wilde
    I don’t think I need to explain how this quote applies to you, but I do sense your insecurities and you may feel this is a veiled attempt at your writing. It’s not. You are not ‘most people’ by any means.

  6. Rhett says:

    I already know what my review will say:
    “This is the finest piece of literature to ever grace the tank of my toilet”
    good luck Rob

  7. I had no idea they had groups for writing books, sounds extremely helpful. I happen to know the book is going to be fabulous. And as for “He definitely has demonstrated that whether you’re a shrink, a patient or someone in between, it’s okay to be neurotic.” I can just hear Oprah saying that now during your introduction.

  8. Amber says:

    Don’t let it take over you. Just let the words flow Rob, in the end you can piece it all together with the help of an editor and it’ll turn out great. Don’t forget I want an actual hard copy of this book…signed and everything.

  9. Baby Steps says:

    “Whereas most people don’t have the balls to even write a book, Dr. Rob Dobrenski has the balls to write a book about other people. No matter if you’re schizophrenic, narcissistic, sociopathic or just plain weird, this book will surely have something for you. So grab a notepad and pull up a couch, Dr. Rob is going to take you on a walk to the lighter side of mental health and therapy.”
    Or….. something like that. It’s still a work in progress. We’ll see.

  10. Kitty says:

    ‘highly charged sexuality”..? I really do not think so…..

  11. Tracie says:

    “After prying himself away from his masses of adoring online minions, Dr. Rob brings the literary world its greatest benchmark to date: an opus of humor, intelligence, and anecdotes that make you want to bitchslap his coworkers and then get yourself some fine mental health assistance of your own. Shrinktalk: It Ain’t Your Mama’s Psychiatry.”
    Then you’ve gotta put a picture of a snarling T-Rex on the cover to portray its awesomeness.

  12. Cassandra says:

    Kitty is SO underestimating “highly charged sexuality”!!
    Check out most of the comments on this blog … they’re from your lady fans …
    You go Dr. Rob, you steaming cauldron of hotness, you! Oh, and finish up that book thingy you’re doing. If Amber gets a signed hardcopy, I want one too.

  13. Annie says:

    Hmm you were wrong in this post since your book didnĀ“t suck and it will be in the shelves pretty soon. Congratulations!

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