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My beloved monster and me, we go everywhere together.
July 11, 2007 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Rob Rummel-Hudson is a likeable smartass, who's been blogging forever. He and Julie have a cute daughter, Schuyler. One day, she was diagnosed with a rare, serious neurological condition: Bilateral Perisylvian Polymicrogyria or, as they have come to call it, Schuyler's Monster. Rob continued his candid, passionate diary - at one point stirring the growing group of loyals to raise more than $10,000 dollars (in less than a month!), endowing Schuyler with a speech device (a.k.a. Big Box of Words). Slated for publication in 2008, as blogs-become-books go, this father/daughter story deserves a closer look.
posted by progosk (17 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Such a close look that no one's available for comment. Too busy reading, laughing and dabbing eyes, sorry.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:59 PM on July 11, 2007


Excellent post. Thanks.
posted by briank at 1:10 PM on July 11, 2007


Disappointing that Rob lost the rights to keep his archives online.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:38 PM on July 11, 2007


I've been reading Rob since right before Schuyler was born - he's a MUST read, and his Schuyler stories are wonderful. She's clearly an amazing girl.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:52 PM on July 11, 2007


Disappointing that Rob lost the rights to keep his archives online.

It's a pretty standard part of the blog-to-book publishing process, I think.
posted by pineapple at 2:15 PM on July 11, 2007


I've been reading Rob since right before Schuyler was born

It's practically impossibe to convey the amount of empathy and connection their story - or rather: how Rob tells their story - occasions. I started reading around the fund drive; my kids are nearly the same age as Schuyler - the progress reports, usually far beyond what anyone hoped she'd be capable of, the setbacks, the utter love that transpires - I can't count the times it's had me choking between laughter and tears.

(I'm actually quite surprised it hadn't found its way here yet.)

posted by progosk at 2:36 PM on July 11, 2007


I'm another longtime Rob reader; I think I found him in 1998. His was the first online journal I followed. About four years ago, I got my mother hooked, too. (We have a shared weakness for funny people.) Rob's journal/blog is just consistently wonderful reading, and Schuyler's story is, pardon the cliche, both heartbreaking and uplifting by turns, and sometimes at once.

And from pre-monster, I'll never watch an SUV speeding past without thinking of the Karmic Boomerang and giggling.

Thanks, Rob, and thanks to progosk for the post.
posted by swerve at 3:10 PM on July 11, 2007


It's a pretty standard part of the blog-to-book publishing process, I think.

Well, yeah, that's part of the reason it's so disappointing. Rob got the book deal precisely because his blog was compelling. That publishers decide to use their economic leverage to force authors to remove their stuff from circulation so the publisher can monetize it upsets me.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:26 PM on July 11, 2007


Rob got the book deal precisely because his blog was compelling. That publishers decide to use their economic leverage to force authors to remove their stuff from circulation so the publisher can monetize it upsets me.

That sort of ignores the entire point of getting a book deal. That someone is now paying him for content he was previously publishing for free was likely Rob's whole goal, else he wouldn't have gone out and sought an agent and then a publisher, via the well-established and well-documented old media process. If he wanted to retain exclusive publishing rights all to himself forever and ever amen, he would have kept publishing digitally or he would have gone a vanity-press route.

It's a shame that it upsets you personally and all, but it's pretty likely that Rob knew going in that he'd be taking down some archives if he sold his book, and that he doesn't feel in hindsight that he was "forced" by the big bad publisher's cruel might and oppressive economic leverage.
posted by pineapple at 3:51 PM on July 11, 2007


I think most blogs-as-books are bad, bad ideas. But I've read Rob's page on and off for several years and this is one that I would very much like to read.
posted by pinky at 4:04 PM on July 11, 2007


*Sniff*
posted by k8t at 4:25 PM on July 11, 2007


I've been reading Rob's blog for many years - it was one of the first online journals that I followed. Rob, Schuyler and Julie are one amazing family. I have no doubt that the book will do very well - Rob is an extremely engaging writer.
posted by Ostara at 5:10 PM on July 11, 2007


I was a fan of the 'Robservations' when I was in Michigan as a grad student. It was one of the first 'blogs' that I read religiously, and felt closer to than, say, fray.com

It's kinda funny that so many people get hung up on the Schuyler thing, as that's when I lost interest. Not that I'm a heartless bastard or anything; rather, that's when he lost his connection to me as a reader, as, around the same time, I had decided not to have children, ever. After that, he seemed to me like a one-trick-pony (though it was a good trick) in a world of ever more multi-talented ponies.

Still, though, it's heartening to see that he's still going, and doing as good a job with that one trick as ever he did.
posted by eclectist at 10:35 PM on July 11, 2007


That publishers decide to use their economic leverage to force authors to remove their stuff from circulation so the publisher can monetize it upsets me.
Rob could have said no.
posted by kjs3 at 11:44 AM on July 12, 2007


Rob could have said no.

Why would he do that? I really don't understand why someone would seek out an agent, then seek out a publisher, hoping to sell and publish a book... and then back out of the deal. Just to prove that he could get an offer?

(Unless this is a case of people not being very clear on how the book publishing process works:

If John Doe sells to a publisher the exclusive publishing rights to John's book, John is agreeing that whatever goes in the book is owned solely by the publisher, and can't be published by anyone else... including John. That's what exclusive publishing rights means.

So, Rob wouldn't have ever had an option to say, "Yes, please buy my book, St. Martin's Press, but you don't actually get exclusive rights, see, I'm going to keep publishing the same material over here on my website where people can just read it for free. But I'm sure someone somewhere will still pay $24.95 for that fancy version you printed, don't worry."

St. Martin's -- and any other respectable publishing house -- would have said, "Okay, well, good luck with your future endeavors, the secretary will validate your parking.")

So, advocating that Rob should have fought to keep the right to publish his own blog pages, including the ones hosting material duplicated in the book, is basically advocating that Rob shouldn't have bothered trying to publish the material as a book in the first place.

Further, it was Rob himself who chose to take down all his archives -- including the pre-Julie, pre-Schuyler parts -- rather than just the bits that would have been subject to removal per the publishing contract. His reason is totally valid and sensible, but it was his reason. The publisher didn't put a contractual gun to his head and say "We own your whole life, mwahahahaaha, you must delete it and erase it and you never existed, you're just a cog in the machine now, you FOOL."
posted by pineapple at 12:24 PM on July 12, 2007


Rob responds.
posted by progosk at 4:10 PM on July 12, 2007


Fabulous! I have read Rob for a lot of years now, the first blog I read that I still follow. Happy to see happiness and success come to this family. And damn, he can be so funny.
posted by purenitrous at 10:15 PM on July 13, 2007


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