Tuesday, April 17, 2012

California Bloggin'

It's been a hectic ten days.  My son, Ethan Goodman, is now Ethan Campbell-Goodman, having married his partner, Steven Campbell.

And now I'm in California for a very solid week (actually this week is so solid it's 8 days) of book events that begin tonight, April 17th at Santa Clara University.   Here's a link to that event:   http://www.scu.edu/scm/feature.cfm?b=439&c=12853.

Tomorrow, Wednesday April 18th, I'm reading at the University of Nevada, Reno, at 6:30 pm.  I've rented a powder blue Crown Victoria, a retro contemporary vehicle if ever there was one.  So if you see a powder blue Crown Vic on I-80 East tomorrow morning, you'll know it's me.

My hosts at these two events are two old friends and very fine writers:  Ron Hansen (Santa Clara) and Christopher Coake (Reno).

On Thursday night, I'll be reading and signing at Mrs. Dalloway's in Berkeley, at 7:30 pm.

I still have a limited number of official Twelfth and Race tour t-shirts, but they're going fast and not likely to come back.

Yesterday, I learned that Publisher's Weekly had reviewed Twelfth and Race.  A publicist at University of Nebraska wrote and warned me that it wasn't very positive.   That's like saying that the Klu Klux Klan isn't especially fond of African Americans and Jews.   I'd been waiting for, perhaps dreading, a review of this sort, a small-minded, poor reader, some nitwit who can't think beyond the fact that this novel is trying directly to engage the issue of race and love.  I'd expected that someone, somewhere, would misread in this way, mistaking honesty for racism. Happily, most other readers and reviewers have thought otherwise.  
I'd not going to provide a link to this review, but I'm sure you can find it if you would like to.  Let's just say it's the all-time worst.

To end this post on a more positive note, I'd like to mention that Dangerous World, the new CD from Kevin Kane and the Grifters, is now available for your listening pleasure (and download) at http://www.kevinkaneband.com/  and http://www.bcmtunes.com/

I wrote the lyrics for 7 of the 9 songs on this new CD.  It's the best work my long-time writing partner, Kevin Kane, and I have done.   Of this CD, Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, has said, "He writes songs that stick like glue, with a voice I can't get enough of."

More soon, especially postings of next week's readings in Southern California.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm writing this in my room in the Rose Gate Inn in Findlay, Ohio.   I'm visiting a class and reading later today at Findlay University, where my host is Dave Essinger, a Miami grad and a former student of mine.

Life and book tour have been a mad whirl the past ten days.  Since returning from the Pacific Northwest and Salt Lake City on March 18th, I visited Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  It's a lovely campus, and my hosts, the inimitable Molly McCaffrey and Dave Bell, made me feel incredibly welcome.   Members of the English Majors Club (I think that's the official name) gave me two buttons, which I've worn pretty much non-stop since my visit:   I think; therefore, I punctuate.  and Be nice nto me or I'll put you in my NOVEL.   

Seanna Wilhelm wrote about my visit on the English Major's Blog.   Here's what she had to say.

Eric Goodman Reading

Wednesday night, Eric Goodman visited Cherry Hall and read from his book Twelfth & Race. I’m going to give you a brief photo-based recap like I did for our last reading.

First of all (thanks to daylight savings time) it was actually light out when I arrived at Cherry Hall, so I did a better job of capturing Dr. Cherry on camera. What do you think?
The reading was in CH 125 again, and as last time, I sat with Brittany Cheak and Andrew Bergman.  This time, we didn’t have any technological issues–that I know of.
Professor Goodman teaches English at Miami University and is the director of their creative writing program. The novel that he shared with us is his fifth. Visit his website to learn more about his works and the man himself.
He shared two different sections from Twelfth and Race with us and ended with an informative question and answer session.
Fun fact: Did you know that Dr. Goodman is a rock lyricist?
Now, onto the photo montage.
Dr. David Bell introduced us to Professor Eric Goodman after Dr. Dale Rigby reminded us of the Goldenrod, Gender and Women’s Studies Writing Contest, and EMW Writing Contest’s due dates.
Here is Professor Goodman himself, sporting his Twelfth and Race T-shirt and tow of our English Department buttons. As he read from his novel, he made the characters come to life and his audience regret that they couldn’t hear more about them.

I bought the book that he was reading from and can’t wait to see what happens.
He was kind enough to sign said book for me.
I also bought one of his T-shirts; aren’t I good at self-portraits?
It was a wonderful evening.

Returning from Bowling Green, I detoured through Lexington, Ky, to have lunch with Ed McClanahan, fellow Stanford Writing Workshop alum (I didn't know him) and Merry Prankster.   It was great to see Ed, who was in fine form.

I returned to Oxford for the weekend, in time for this review in the Philadelphia Inquirer to appear on Sunday, March 25th. 


Sunday afternoon, I shifted gears and roles from the hosted writer to a visiting writer's host, and picked up South African Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile at the Dayton Airport.   Keorapetse, who is in the middle of a 7 week tour of the United States, in part to help commemorate the African National Congress's Centenary Year (I learned the ANC was founded on January 8, 1912, making it the oldest liberation movement on the African continent) was a man of enormous wit, intelligence and generosity.   He was forced to go into exile in 1961.  He knew and knows pretty much every important African writer.   He was reported killed five different times during the struggle to end apartheid.   He was at once inspiring and completely down to earth.  He's been hip-hopping around the U.S., and when I realized how much traveling he is doing and how relatively small his suitcase was, I asked him--having done a great deal of extended travel myself in Southeast Asia--"Would you like to do some laundry?"

Of course, the answer was yes, so on Monday we did two loads of wash at my place--lights and dark--as well as finding time for a quick trip to Mejier's so he could buy some more clothing.   His wife told him, when he was leaving South Africa for the trip that he hadn't packed enough, and he now admitted it was true.  So there we were, in the hours before Keorapetse's appearance at cris cheek's grad poetry workshop, and the dinner and reading that followed, pawing through the sock section at Mejier's in Hamilton, Ohio.   The highs and lows of the literary life.

Leonard Theatre was packed for Keorapetse's reading, and it was a delight to see the crowd and to hear him read his poetry, which was a mix of politics, elegy, and musicality.  Small in physical stature, Keorapetse was an enormous presence, a poet who has lived his life with fervor and gravitas.  He was truly impressive.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sunny in Rainy Tacoma

I'm posting this one from the Silver Cloud Inn at the water's edge in Tacoma.

It's been a big day already, with lots more to come.   With the help of my friend, colleague and guest administrator Jody Bates, there's a new Twelfth and Race Facebook page.  You could check it out for yourself.  Part of the reason to put the page up today, is I'm embarked on the Grinning Through the Raindrops Pacific Northwest Reading tour.  Pacific Lutheran University today.  Willamette University today, Grass Roots Books in Corvallis on Friday, and The King's English Bookstore in Salt Lake City on Saturday night.

It's all there on the Facebook page.   As are the two, new make me smile they're so good reviews.  Booklist and Deseret News.  You can read them yourself:
Twelfth and Race. Goodman, Eric (author). Mar. 2012. 288p. Univ. of Nebraska, paperback, $18.95 (9780803239807). REVIEW. First published February 13, 2012 (Booklist Online).


 I was so pumped, and jet-lagged because my body is still on Rome time, where I was as of Sunday morning, while my body is in Tacoma, where it's 9 hours earlier, that I was up by 3 am local time.   So, feeling it was my lucky day, because not only am I out and about and reading, but I'm doing it in a new, just back from the shop Twelfth and Race t-shirt (Hey, you can order one from me, I've got a whole box, just let me know, $22, includes shipping to your door), that I hit the local casino at 7 am, and won an unspecified amount of money (don't want to disclose too much in case the IRS reads my blog).

So, it's a very lucky Twelfth and Race day indeed, even if I keep getting emails from friends in Oxford, Ohio, telling me to enjoy the sunshine.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Roman Musings

This blog post comes from Rome.   No, not an international book tour (That comes in May, when I read in India).   This is more of an art and pasta tour.   Or maybe Parsta.   In any case, the sun shines, the art is Eternal, Bernini is a glorious whack job, and I'm hoping that the packed on pasta isn't Eternal.

I'd like to thank all the old friends and former students who stopped by my presentation and the signing table last week at AWP.   It was lovely to see you all.

Next week, I'll begin five days worth of book tour appearances in the Pacific Northwest.   Wednesday March 14th, in Tacoma, Washington, Thursday in Salem, OR, Friday in Corvallis, with a stop at The King's English bookstore in Salt Lake City on Saturday March 17th on the way back to Ohio.   Full details are listed on the News and Events page of my website.   If anyone shows up at one of the events, buys a book and has read the Blog (mention the Parsta Tour), I'll have an excellent free gift for you.

In other news, Dangerous World by Kevin Kane and the Grifters, the CD (yes, there will actually be a CD you can hold in your hand, not just downloads) for which I am the principal lyricist, is nearing completion--final booklet design decisions today--and should be available in 2-3 weeks.   Look for news and sampler downloads on my website.

That's all for now.  Just about time to have some bruschetta for breakfast.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The countdown to publication continues.   Exactly one week from today, Twelfth and Race will officially be published.   As pre-pub weeks go, this has been a good one.   Last Sunday night, February 19th, an interview with me ran on WVXU, the Cincinnati public radio station.   The interview went quite well, I thought, when it was recorded back in January, to a large extent because when I walked into the interview booth at the radio station, it turned out I knew the interviewer: Barbara Gray.   The name had sounded familiar, but because it's kind of a vanilla-sounding name, I didn't think much of it.  Turns out that this Barbara Gray was the same Barbara Gray who was the assistant director of The New School in Cincinnati, the private Montessori both of my children attended.   I hadn't seen Barbara Gray in 12 or 13 years.   We were happily met in the control booth.  She'd read the novel, asked intelligent, insightful questions.  Okay, there were a few lobs, I admit, but because seeing her after all these years put me at my ease, I felt quite relaxed.  And I think you can hear that in this interview, which went about as well as these things can go.   Here's a link to the interview should you care to listen for yourself:

Yesterday, I was interviewed by Cincinnati Enquirer feature reporter Lauren Bishop.   The article about the novel should run either Monday, February 27th or Tuesday, the 28th, just in time for the Mercantile Library reading on Tuesday, February 28th.    I'm curious to see that article.   Lauren Bishop sounded really sharp, and apologized--no need, of course--for the fact that the Enquirer no longer runs book reviews.   What a world!   Lauren Bishop, it turned out, went to Ithaca College and worked for the Ithaca Journal for 5 years before taking the job here in Cincinnati in 2003.  So I probably read her work during the summer in Ithaca.

That's it for now.  It's a gorgeous early spring morning here in Oxford.  Yesterday, I saw my first purple crocuses, or should that be croci? near the mailboxes.  Daffodils are next.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

So I'm sitting here with one of the fat cats on my lap, a light snow falling, waiting for the sun to rise.

I feel much the same anticipation about the looming publication date for Twelfth and Race.   It's all about to happen, yet I can't quite see what It  is.  The interview on WVXU, Cincinnati's NPR affiliate, will air this Sunday night, February 19th, sometime between 7 & 8 pm.   The interviewer, Barbara Gray, is someone I used to know, way back in the day.  Hadn't seen her in twelve or thirteen years.  Knew I knew the name, but couldn't find the context until I entered the booth at the radio station down in Cincinnati.

Just last week, a reporter at the Cincinnati Enquirer contacted me about an interview for an article the newspaper is going to run before the Mercantile Library reading on February 28th.   So it's all coming.  Because after the Mercantile is AWP, then several weeks of appearances.

And reviews?   Who knows. 

The bare limbs of the trees outside my studio window are now outlined against the lightening sky.  Soon, it will be full morning.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Author Copies Arrive Today

Well, a cold rain pours down this morning in Oxford, Ohio. Last year, most years, it would have been snow, of course. But no worries, I've got a giant pot of chicken soup bubbling on the stove. Downstairs, the fireplace insert blows warmth into the family room. And this afternoon? Author copies arrive, my first glimpse of the finished book. Time from conception to holding the made object in my hot and eager hands? Maybe eight years. Maybe eight and a half, but who is counting?

Obviously, I am. And happy to be seeing it today.

These author copies took a somewhat circuitous route. My fantastic publisher, University of Nebraska Press, sent them to my fabulous agent, Michael Carlisle, in New York. I'd been wondering why they weren't here yet! So today, three of the original ten author's copies are making their way home to me. Notes in a bottle, tossed onto the inland ocean, washing up on my shore. In the 21st century, however, it's not the wind and tide that's closed the loop, but Fedex. (Btw, I've received no fee for product placement from Fedex).

My thanks to Meg Dobson, the first respondent, to this blog, for reminding me that bloggers need to blog. And yes, indeed, I am the very Eric Goodman, who will be teaching the Advanced Novel Writing course in Iowa City, the week of June 25th. I'll also be reading from Twelfth and Race at Iowa City's iconic bookstore, Prairie Lights, sometime that week.

Look for, at least, a weekly post, on Thursday mornings, from now throughout the spring.