Petaluma Profile: Stay-at-home dad takes crack at political satire

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We have all probably seen or heard something in the news that made us say, “Someone should do something about it.”

The difference with David Hightower is that he did do something.

He wrote a book.

“First off,” Hightower explains, “I’m not a writer. I was a day trader in the East Bay before my wife and I came to Petaluma. My wife was pregnant when we moved, and I’ve spent a great deal of my time since then being the dad to my 4-year-old and 2-year-old boys.”

Part of that job,” Hightower explains, is reading more than his fair share of Dr. Seuss books.

“So,” he says, “when I read a tweet the President had done in rhyme, I responded by jotting down my response in Seussian-style poetry.”

(Officially, that style is labeled “anapestic tetrameter,” i.e. using words formed with two short syllables followed by one long syllable.)

“I guess I was frustrated,” Hightower allows. “Very, very, upset with no outlet. So I spent two days writing my book entitled ‘The Sun Also Sets: A Seussical Indictment of Trump.’ ”

Hightower first shared his work with his wife and his mother, saying, “I think I just did something really good.” They encouraged him by suggesting, “We’ll get it to some magazines and get it published.” The newly fledged writer first decided to find a political cartoonist to illustrate his words.

“I was really naive, so I just started calling artists,” he says. “A guy named Darren Nelson lives in West Marin, and we agreed to meet at the Paper Mill Creek Saloon in San Geronimo Valley. I wanted to make sure we had a connection, so I suggested he draw a cartoon showing the tweeter-in-chief getting the boot. I did some on-the-spot consumer testing by asking the bartender and a patron what they thought of the words and illustration.”

Based upon the overwhelmingly positive feedback, Hightower contracted with Nelson to create cartoons for every page of text.

“I found book-broker Lorna Johnson locally, and after the cartoons were complete, Darren and I laid out the book in four days of crunch-time,” Hightower says. “Lorna sent it off to the printer in Hong Kong, and four months later I headed down to the Oakland shipyard to pick up the finished copies.”

Hightower’s first book signing was at the Petaluma Copperfield’s, where he received a very good response (see Petaluma Bestsellers on C4).

“I quickly sold out my first consignment, added two boxes more, and started on the fourth box,” he says. “Now I’m checking out other bookstores, coffee shops, and gift shops. A late-night comedian is my target market, but it’s hard to crack.”

Self-described as a modest man, Hightower wants others to know, “I’m nobody special. I was just a stay-at-home father who felt he was stagnating intellectually. Now I’m a happier guy. The book has given me an outlet and I get to meet like-minded people.”

One more thing.

“Before you ask,” Hightower concludes, “I’m about a third of the way into my next book. All I can say at this time is it’s about the hypocrisy of the other side — and it rhymes.”

(Contact Gil Mansergh at gilmansergh@comcast.net)

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