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The Sound of One Horse Dancing

One horseA little bit about my first book...

Twenty-seven-year-old Tim Halladay is a rising star in the three-martini lunch world of Madison Avenue in the early 1970s. In only five years Tim has become a vice-president at the first ad agency he interviewed with, in charge of some of the most prestigious accounts listed in Advertising Age.

But a week before Thanksgiving, his life takes a serious hit. After a hard-drinking, sex-filled night, Tim the "golden boy" arrives late to work. He suddenly finds himself fired without explanation. With three hundred dollars in his savings account, Tim wonders how he'll even pay the rent.

As Tim comes to terms with his unemployment, he reminisces about his life and the circumstances that have brought him to this crucial crossroads. Everything in his life -- his emotionally unstable upbringing, his service in the army during the troubled years of the Vietnam War, his affair with a high school girlfriend, his experiences at William and Mary during the JFK and LBJ years, his first job in the world of advertising, and his adventures as a closeted gay man in the Stonewall Era Greenwich Village -- contributed to both the downfall and redemption of Tim Halladay.


open-book-icon"It didn't seem possible. To other people I was one of the most promising, well-connected guys at the agency. In the last year I had single-handedly, through my personal connections, delivered the Joffrey Ballet account to the agency ... Only weeks ago, I'd been given a two-thousand dollar raise when everyone else was being told there was a freeze on salaries. I'd known from the beginning that the Madison Avenue game was rough, but this just didn't make sense.

My head was throbbing, a major migraine clamping on. I closed my eyes and raised my head on the pile of papers on my desk, still smelling of the coffee I had spilled over the morning mail. Sniffing the coffee and smeared ink from the pile of Xerox copies, I felt a desperate need for a drink. My appointment calendar was open ... 'Christ,' I thought, 'How does anyone get out of a day like this with dignity?' This is one of those situations not covered in the Fundamentals of Advertising 101. Ironic it isn't included as a mandatory course."


The Sound of One Horse Dancing
by Tom Baker. iUniverse, 2011

Reviewed by Amos Lassen
September 3, 2012

Tim Halladay seems to have it all. He is vice president of an ad agency (the first he interviewed with), he is the toast of Madison Avenue and he has achieved a great deal in only five years. He has taken over some of the most prestigious accounts of the 1970s. But then ... a week before Thanksgiving everything changed, and after spending a night of booze and sex, he gets to work late and is fired with no explanation. He was low on cash and could not even pay his rent, and he knows that he must find a way to deal with his lack of a job. He begins to think back on his life - his unstable childhood, his time in the military, his high school affair with Karen, his girlfriend, his college education at William and Mary, his move to New York and his first advertising job and of himself as a closeted gay man in that period when Stonewall became a symbol of liberation.