Thanks for the comments
on my earlier post
about the Peter Straub
and Neil Gaiman
panel, especially the one from Peter himself. How cool!
(It was nice to meet you, too, Peter, if you're still reading, and I will check out the Conjunctions
issue you mentioned.) My poorly worded bit was not meant to suggest that either of them are strictly horror writers, and certainly any categorization is limiting. I'm all for genre cross-pollination, and I'm looking forward to more exposure to what each of these guys is up to.
Last week I read at Cardinal Stritch University, a small Jesuit school in Milwaukee, as part of their fall reading series. I was so pleased to be invited and I think it was the most rewarding reading I've done yet. The audience was mainly undergraduates, eager, interested, and emotive. I didn't start writing until age 26 so I am envious of and happy for those who start early.
One kid asked me what the best book I read this year was. This is always a tough one but it's particularly difficult this year because I have been on a jag of reading unsatisfying or emperor's-new-clothes-ish contemporary books (which shall remain unnamed). I answered that Gilead was probably the book I liked the most though it took a very long time to get going. Really the best narrative experience I had was not a book but a movie: L'Enfant, by the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Their earlier movie Le Fils ranks a close second. My socks were fully knocked off.
Today I am going to Pepper Pike, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland where I lived from the age of five until twelve. A friend of my mom's was so excited about my book that she bullied the local bookstore in the quaint town of Chagrin Falls into hosting a reading. The store didn't carry Calling Out and they were bulldozed into accepting before knowing what it was about. But I'm very excited to be heading back to the place of my childhood.
In the late seventies, in an effort to combat its "Mistake on the Lake" rep, Cleveland launched a PR campaign to make it seem a more desirable city. The slogan in its entirety: New York's the Big Apple, but Cleveland's a Plum! In my family we had buttons and mugs with the slogan on it. Needless to say, it didn't take.