Thanks to VoyageDallas for doing this interview with me!
I get to talk about a lot of interesting stuff....click on the photo below or the sentence above to go read it!
I've obviously been spending more time on the NORMAL SCHOOL novel/blog/website than I have on this--my rightful and beloved blog. But I've been doing regular writings and editings--I've started a new book--and I've been crazy busy with teaching. Go check out NORMAL SCHOOL, if you have the time. And then buy some books...and then come back and see what else I'm up to....
In truth I haven't been as productive as I should have been. But some work has been done--and of course what is to come!
The 700 Club.
I lived there 1980-1981. My apartment was small and cramped, and there were roaches. My apartment was on the other side of this recent Google Streets photo, on what we called The Elite Inner Circle (it wasn’t a circle, more like an ∟), on the second floor, looking out into the upper branches of a big live oak.
I chose the 700 Club because of its location—on East Riverside I’d had easy access to beer and fast food, and the 700 Club was close to beer--The Deep Eddy Cabaret, which became a big part of my life for many years. I went out and saw bands and did youth things several nights a week--to Club Foot, Raul's, Duke's, the Alamo Lounge, the last days of the Armadillo--but the Eddy was where I hung out.
My neighbors were a mixture of old people and students. There was a WWII ex-POW who spent much of his time loud and drunk. There was a woman who spent much of her time typing—you could hear her out in the courtyard under the big oak, and I liked to think she was writing a novel, my friends thought she was “just practicing,” while in reality typing was probably her job. There were a couple of Scientologist bikers. Just before I moved out there was a pleasant man and woman, both married but not to each other, who kept an apartment for afternoon trysts.
For a while there was a massive ex-convict living in the apartment below me who one night got mad and started pounding on his ceiling—my floor—with a broom handle. I was sitting with a couple of friends trying to watch the baseball playoffs. After a while we called the cops, and a pair of cops talked to the convict, and then came up to talk to us. “He’s not really rational,” one of the cops said. “If he comes to your door, don’t let him in.”
Good advice there, chief.
(The convict later disappeared—a parole violation, I think.)
The big event that happened that year was the Memorial Day Flood.
We had a barbecue that Sunday afternoon, as we often did, with chicken and ribs and beer and what-all, and the day was cloudy and humid and no one expected it to rain—the newspaper forecast said there was only a slight chance of rain.
But about the time the food was ready it did rain, not hard but enough sprinkles to force us to move from the courtyard up to my apartment. And after we ate, several of us walked down the hill to the Eddy.
The great KB was tending bar that night and we drank beer and played pinball and some of us watched the Indy 500 and then it began to storm—really storm. We stood in the doorway and watched the lightning show for a long time and drank more beer and played more pinball until it was closing time and KB forced us out into the rain and we walked up the hill in the storm. Notorious TWS came over to my place and we ate barbecue and watched Bridge on the River Kwai until TWS got sleepy and headed back to his house. None of us had any idea what was taking place elsewhere in the city….
I moved out a couple of days later. My lease was up and I went off to spend a few weeks with my grandparents. When I came back in August I moved into the building next door and into another story….
700 Club pros: Close to the Eddy.
700 Club cons: Roaches, tiny, cramped.
700 Club verdict: It was okay.
This has been a stupidly busy time for me--I've been doing all sorts of writerly, editorially, and academically...things. Stuff. And some of this stuff is worthwhile! And the semester is starting and there will be more stuff to come....
PROFESSED: A Novel of Higher Education -- Kindle Edition
PROFESSED -- the prequel to NORMAL SCHOOL. You need to read it, you want to read it, and you can't afford not to read it!
Professed is a novel filled with the struggles and rivalries and oddities and weirdnesses of contemporary American higher education--favor-dodging, ex-girlfriend avoiding, grade-dreading, plagiarist-busting, dissertation-reading, office-mate annoying, litter-box spilling, book-stealing, unprofessional forbidden lusting, unprofessional forbidden lusting-fulfilling, cat-chasing, wrist-breaking, inopportune body-betraying, boyfriend-dumping planning, dead-professor missing, committee meeting texting, bureaucratic student miss-filing, classroom failing, hidden Confederate-history uncovering, book-writing, online teaching-demanding, student-advising failing, professional dysphoria-feeling, drunk-tank loitering, book discussion leading, unwise nasal-behaving, paper researching, academic schooling, sink-fouling, New Years' kissing, celebratory pool-playing, stranger-disemboweling, paper-writing, paper-writing failing, drinking-game playing, incomplete-taking...Yet, as the characters strive to fit into a rapidly changing institution, medicating themselves as best they can with sex and drugs and literature, learning actually happens. Somehow.
"Every academic needs to read this book."
I was going through a box and came across this photo of me, taken in Cox’s Mills in 1983 or 1984. I was 25 or so years old. Some things about the photo:
So I glued together a bunch of the Writings and Editings photos I've been posting, and made a video. It makes my life look a bit more dynamic than it might really be, but I can live with that. But--here is some of what I've been doing (and you can do this, too).