a note from Bob...
If you belong to a book club or fraternal/service organization that has speakers in, or if you know someone who is, please give my name to whomever schedules programs. I'm very interested in such opportunities to talk about writing in general --and Bearskin in particular-- and would appreciate anything you can do to get me invited to one. I can do programs about other things as well. For instance, I've got a pretty good presentation about the Rowan County Feud that leads into a discussion of keeping local history alive.
I owe a whole lot of thanks to people who apparently bought copies of Bearskin
to Holly Fork as Christmas presents. You all gave me a wonderful present by doing so and supporting the idea writers who are published by small presses are worth paying attention to.
Some stuff that's coming up:
January 6th (a Tuesday) - I'll be interviewed on WKYT television in Lexington, during their noon news program. I'm interested in getting some VHS tapes of this, so if you might be able to do one of those, please email me.
February 10th (another Tuesday) - I've been invited to speak to some classes, maybe do a reading and I don't know what all at Mountain State University, in Beckley WV. Soon as I know more about this I'll post a note.
April 6th (yet another Tuesday) - I'm doing a reading for the Morehead Women's Club.
April 15th (a Thursday) - This is tax day, and my sister's birthday, and it's also the first time Julie will read some of her work in public. It's part of the reading series sponsored by MSU's English Department, and starts at 7:30, at the Kentucky Folk Art Center here in Morehead.
Apr 16th-17th (Friday/Saturday) - The Southern Kentucky Book Fest is at Western Kentucky University, in Bowling Green. The high point of the Book Fest --for writers anyway-- is the presentation of the "Kentucky Literary Awards," for which Bearskin to Holly Fork has been nominated. There'll be a slew of authors present, and lots of other things going on, all of which can be checked out here.
April 30th-May 1st (Friday/Saturday) - I went to the first Ohio River Festival of Books in Huntington WV a couple years ago, before I had a book to sign. It is a wonderful event, small enough to feel "intimate," large enough to attract lots of
authors, well organized enough to have lots of readings, programs and workshops. This time I'll be doing a workshop for writers, and maybe a reading as well. Check out their website for more information.
Since I last sent one of these notes, I did a reading at the new Menifee County Public Library. It is amazing to see what some communities are doing with and for books: in the last little while I've been to four or five brand new libraries in eastern Kentucky. That speaks well for a part of the country where too many people assume the last thing we're interested in is books.
If you live in, or are passing through Frenchburg, take the time to go see the new building.
In November I did an interview with James Bickers, at WFPL radio (89.3 FM) in Louisville. The program is "On Second Thought," and they haven't run it yet --I'll let you all know when it's going to be aired-- but I was real impressed with the program. Some of the people doing radio are incredibly skilled at what they do. James Bickers is especially good at his job: this interview had been underway ten minutes before I realized we'd moved from just bee essing in the studio to doing the actual program. It was like sitting in a living room --a very small and crowded one-- with someone who's interested in anything you want to talk about.
Ahead of a scheduled reading at the Black Swan Bookstore in Lexington
we went to dinner with several other writers and Charlie Hughes, publisher, editor, and general honcho at Wind Publications, which put out Bearskin to Holly Fork. The contributions Charlie makes to Kentucky's literary life are numerous and underappreciated. And he's a helluva poet. His collection Shifting for Myself is worth picking up, if you're into real poetry.
After dinner the deal at the Black Swan turned into a "What if you gave a reading and nobody came?" experience, but despite the lack of audience Charles Semones read a long and quite wonderful poem about a mountain preacher's take on Christmas. Convinced me I want to buy whatever book that poem';s in.
And listen, if you buy books in the Lexington area, why not throw some of your business at the Black Swan or some other small independent bookstores? I know Joseph-Beth is a literary supermarket, I know it has every book you ever wanted right there on the shelf, and I know how easy it is to spend three or four hours happily lost in that cavernous place. But smaller independent stores can get any book J-B can, if they don't have it right there on the shelf, and they are people who truly love books and are a real important part of the
literary mix for small press writers.
So throw a few bucks at them.
Ever heard of a "Wallace Stegner Fellowship?" It's a writing program at Stanford University in California, and is a serious advance for any writer. Editors take you real seriously if your resumé contains the words "former Stegner fellow." Ken Kesey, Larry McMurtry, Thomas McGuane, Ed McClanahan and Gurney Norman are some of the one-time Stegner guys you've probably heard of. The program means two school years in Palo Alto, doing nothing but writing, reading, and working on "publishable material."
I applied for a Stegner in December, without a clue how I could afford to accept it if one were offered. More importantly, how in the world would Julie and I deal with the logistics of moving ten cats and three dogs --two of them old-timers-- to the worst coast?
Incidentally, the Stegner application called for two "recommenders." Ed McClanahan and Jim Harrison (my all time literary hero) agreed to fill that role for me.
I did an interview with WKYH radio in Paintsville in December. C.K. Belhasen and Roger Burton made that an easy thirty minutes. And they let me plug another independent bookstore that's carrying Bearskin to Holly Fork, Words 'n Stuff in Van Lear KY.
December 7th was Kentucky Author's Day at Joseph-Beth.
They had five or six of us set up downstairs, in the kid's section no less, but a few people managed to find us anyway.
I learned the other day my story "The Window" will be anthologized in a
collection of short stories called The Best of Carve Magazine, to be published around February '04.
That's about it...
In the event you're anywhere near Morehead and can visit for a bit,give us a call at 606-784-3140. Every now and then people we've "met" over the Internet come around, and it's great to meet people who up to then have only been pixels.