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This is the latest episode of Don’t Press That Button, a newsletter about books and music and movies and cats and baseball and whatnot. As the name would indicate, we are very cautious about buttons in these parts. We’re not about to encourage you to go pressing buttons willy-nilly. There are few things more terrifying than the moment in a film that’s set on a spaceship when someone slaps the button that opens the airlock and someone else gets jettisoned into deep space. It doesn’t matter if it’s a zombie, or a space pirate, or a bloodthirsty interstellar octopus, it’s just a terrible fate.
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Tucson and Back
I took The Curator on the road for the first time last week, and everything went really well. I didn’t get sick, I met so many wonderful readers, and although I lost my reading glasses somewhere along the way, that was the only thing I lost, which for me, adds up to a win.
My first events for the book were at the Tucson Festival of Books. I love Tucson. My friend and collaborator Mark Jude Poirier is from Tucson, and a few summers ago we shot a short film (mostly) in Mark’s parents’ garage. It was so hot that at the end of each day’s shoot, Mark, who was already exhausted from directing, would have to grudgingly scoop me up in a pail, and pour me into his parents’ freezer, where after an hour or three I would be restored to a solid. Seriously, I remember it being one hundred and eight, at least.
But this recent trip was in March, and in March, Tucson is heaven: crisp and cool in the morning and at night, and warm through the day. I loved it.
It was a short trip, though, just two nights, and I was soon headed back to the Tucson airport in the glorious pre-dawn. Here’s what Tucson looked like from the van window around 6 AM:
After I got home to New York, I did events with three more outstanding writers: Kelly Braffet at the Rhinecliff Library for Oblong Books, Tom Bissell virtually for Mysterious Galaxy, and Anna North at the Center for Fiction. They were all incredibly generous, insightful interlocutors and, again, the audiences were so smart and engaged. Thank you to everyone who came out.
An excerpt of the book is free to read on at Tor.com.
I believe that Oblong Books still has a few signed copies in stock if you would like one.
Here’s a clip of audiobook narrator Marin Ireland reading from The Curator. I can’t say enough about her work. I usually have a hard time hearing someone read my writing aloud; I get sort of embarrassed and have to turn it off, but Marin is so good, I completely lose myself in her performance.
Rhett Miller had me on his podcast, Wheels Off, and we talked about creativity and inspiration and some other stuff. It was a blast.
In non-book news, a short film I helped to script, Let Me Go (The Right Way), directed by Destry Allyn Spielberg and starring Brian d’Arcy James and Hopper Penn, is now free to watch on YouTube. I’m very proud of it. The entire crew and cast worked incredibly hard on the project, and I think it shows. Particular credit goes to our producers at Go Be One, who brought everything together.
And, finally, this week I will be wrapping up my initial string of events for The Curator. I’ll be in conversation with two more incredible writers, Christopher Golden at An Unlikely Story on Wednesday, March 15, and Kelly Link at the Odyssey Bookshop on Thursday, March 16. The weather is looking a bit questionable at the moment, so if you are planning to attend, I would just advise you to check ahead and make sure that they are still happening. Fingers crossed!
Anna North’s Outlawed was a perfect diversion for my travels. It’s a thrilling, adventurous, and ingenious revision of the Western.
I revisited Kathleen Edwards’s Voyageur LP while I was on the road as well. What a stellar record. There isn’t a miss in her catalog, but Voyageur is my favorite. If you don’t know her music already, and you like Neil Young and/or Lucinda Williams, you’re going to be glad you put this one on.
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