1. One of the things I love lately is that when you do a search on “Christopher Barzak” at Amazon.com, the number two listing is Rufus Wainwright’s new album “Release the Stars”. This makes me ridiculously happy for some reason that, as Amazon says, customers who have pre-ordered my novel have gone on to buy the new Rufus CD. Perhaps Rufus and I could tour together. I could open for him, reading a story or from the book, the way Kelly Link opened for the Magnetic Fields a couple of years ago, if I remember correctly. Rufus, can you hear me?!? My contact info is in the sidebar.
2. I recently had the chance to spend some time with Scott Russell Sanders at Cleveland State University’s Imagination Writing Workshop. Scott has been a writer who I’ve admired for years. I still teach his essay “The Men We Carry in Our Minds” every semester in my composition courses. He was the nicest guy in the world, which I’d imagined he would be from his essays and stories, which really made me happy. He signed my copy of The Paradise of Bombs, and gave me good advice about the next stage of my writing career, and I gave him an advanced review copy of One for Sorrow, and signed it for him. It was really one of the greatest experiences, that, to be able to give a book I wrote to a writer I’ve admired for years. Scott has a ton of essays you can read online from links on his website, but “Defending Our Common Wealth” is one of my personal favorites. Read it, then go buy a bunch of his books, or at least read his other that you can find online for free.
3. The Imagination Writing Workshop at Cleveland State was just awesome. I think I learned a lot as a teacher there, and hope I was able to teach something to the students as well.
4. Planning the book launch party for One for Sorrow is underway, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. Brooke and I gave a bunch of advance review copies to local artists, who have been writing me to say how much they love it, and they’re making things to display in the art gallery of the Oakland Center for the Arts, where the launch will be held. Also, Robert Dennick is going to perform a song called “Dancing”, by the Italian singer Elisa, which he heard while reading the novel and felt that somehow it was one of those songs that, if the book were to be made into a movie, should definitely be in the soundtrack. I can’t wait to hear it. BJ O’Malley, too, who I wrote about the other day, fierce alt country singer from Youngstown, said she was going to work on a song for the book too. I’m psyched. The date is set for September 1st, beginning at 7PM, so come and celebrate and have some wine and food and hear songs and look at art and hear me read from the book, too, of course. The book will be there to be purchased too, and I’ll be more than happy (seriously you can’t imagine how absurdly happy I will be) to sign copies.
5. The head of the English department at YSU recently asked me to teach a fiction workshop this Fall semester. This, too, makes me ridiculously happy. I love workshopping stories and talking about writing, so I’m looking forward to an entire semester of getting to do that.