Tuesday, December 15, 2015
It's been a long while since I checked in here. Been a few gray months at Chez Booman. I'm very sad to report my old man passed away a few weeks ago, after a relatively brief but what felt like endless and uncomfortable illness for him. It was a surprise, he was only 10. Boris was a grouchy, arrogant, selfish old bastard and I loved him dearly. Dogs aplenty all around us these days, but it's just not the same without Big B, King of the Pugs, Master of the Universe. RIP ol' fella.
Two books on my desk this week, both re-reads from childhood. The beautifully bound hardback there is The Juniper Tree, an uncensored collection of Grimm with all the blood and badness you can handle, as the stories were originally intended. This is the collection from the late 70s with illustrations from Maurice Sendak. I think it's some of his most striking and memorable work. Those illustrations became the font of my dreams and imagination when I first saw them as a boy. Dark and weird and awesome. (In what was a coincidence or perhaps not, I also recently re-read Peter Straub's Shadowland, which if you've read it you know is chock full of Grimmness. Why that novel never saw the success of Ghost Story or Koko I'll never know; it's a masterpiece, and the recent re-read did nothing to dissuade me of that opinion.) Next to it there is an old paperback of The Stand. I decided I wanted to revisit that this winter but couldn't find either of my copies. After some research it turns out you can't get the original version anymore, just the updated door stop that was published in the 1990s. While there were some additions in there I truly loved -- including Flagg's rebirth at the end -- they don't trump my dissatisfaction with the time updating Mr. King did when he reissued it, moving the action forward a decade. That book was to me (like Salems Lot and Dead Zone, as examples) a product of its time and powerfully connected to it, and having all the cultural references change was something I was never happy with. So I tracked down a copy of the original online and ordered it. There was no picture with it, so when I opened the envelope I was pleasantly surprised (read: ecstatic) to find a dog-eared paperback of the very version I first read when I was 11 or 12 or so and then re-read at least once a year through my teen years. The pages are yellow and crumpled and it smells like a paperback.
On my end, the pencils are down on The Night Door. The powers that be are doing what they do to find it a home, and perhaps the next time I write here there may be some news. We'll see.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Went down to New Orleans at the front of the month to visit Kristina and The Doctor. They're all settled into new home in Marigny. I particularly love the mantle, pictured above, which is decorated with Krissy's collection of Gorey-illustrated books. Not his own, mind you. Ones he did the covers for back when that was his job. You can see some of them here in this story. Kristina has actually tracked them down over the years. Cool stuff. (On a related note, check this out and see if your life parallels with a Gorey book. If your personal style can best be described as "librarian up to no good," this might be you.)
The humidity aside, we had a short but great visit. They're in a very cool neighborhood.
We kinda went on a food binge. Three great meals a day for three days. So many amazing meals to be had in New Orleans. Pic below is of my second-favorite place we had breakfast, not too far from Chez Bauman et Bartram. My favorite place I forgot to take a picture of. They served cupcakes after breakfast. We went twice.
Night Door update: Diana and I are knee deep in dotting i's and crossing t's, a time-consuming process when you're dealing with a 600-page manuscript. Almost done, though.
Monday, July 13, 2015
Yesterday, the 19th Annual NJ Black Potatoe (sic, it was named for Quayle's gaffe) Music Fest was also the sight of the 20th anniversary of Camp Hoboken. Great sets from so many who were around back then, as well as great stuff from kids of the kids: PD Brody and Molly Brody were both in fine form and voice. So much fun.
Having been -- what? a decade or so? a long time, anyway -- eons since I played a full set of my own stuff, I was a little anxious, but got by with a little help from my dogs. Karl, Gregg, Carol, Kenny, Connie, Linda...y'all the best. Thanks for picking up what I was putting down.
And I fully embraced this new-fangled thing that didn't exist back in the day: musicians taking endless selfies of ourselves while onstage.
And why not. We're not 25 any more, but 20 years on we can still bring it. Consider it brought. Close enough for jazz or government work, anyway. All we were missing was Mr. Grula. Maybe he'll make the 50th anniversary.
What else is going on?
Oh yeah...my cousin Jon, of whom I have written before.
We're all familiar, I think, with the email auto-reply. Usually of this variety: "I'm on vaca. Please see Joe Blow with any issues." Or maybe this variety: "I'm at a conference in London. Will get back to you, but response might be delayed."
None of that mamby pamby auto-reply for Dr. Slaght. I emailed him a few weeks back and this is what auto-replied:
<<< I will be leading an ethnographical expedition to the southern RussianFar East from May 21-June 6, 2015 to explore patterns of Dutch
colonization and seek the lost city of Hotte. Please accept my
apologies for any delays in correspondence that result. >>>
Check out this YouTube clip of Jon giving a talk at the Bronx Zoo about bear-eating tigers and bear-eating bears and why one should always follow the raven.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Bugsy is starting to make himself at home. Neither Boris or Buddha like him much, but they're grudgingly allowing him a spot on the bed.
Just back from Firefly, awesome time again. Like last year, spent most of the afternoons writing, then off to music and debauchery in the evening. Much muddier than last year:
Sunny on Sunday, though. Citizen Cope nailed it. Let the drummer kick, indeed.
But the big news of the past few months is the wedding. Krissy and Logan made it official, and it was officially an amazing day. Not gonna say much because -- well, I'll just start crying again. So proud of them both, and happy they had such a beautiful day.
Both the girls looking beautiful here. And now, the married couple is off to their new digs in New Orleans. A good city for a big adventure.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
AdAge magazine publishes a very old, very scary, very skinny photo of me from 1995...juxtaposed with photo of me at my desk in 2015. So not fair putting these pictures next to each other. (The article is about people who have made left turns in life. I don't know anything about that.)
Thursday, April 2, 2015
The folks at the Clios just published an interview with me on storytelling and the useful intersections between my professional and artistic lives. And while you're there, some other great short interviews with other fun Don Drapers like Amir Kassaei and Keith Reinhard.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Meanwhile, back at the Dog House Compound (teach na madre, for those of you following along in Gaelic), Fiona convinced everyone it would be a great idea to temporarily add to the canine population and foster some puppies. We started with three, then we had two, then we had none, now it's back up to two again. And I have a sinking suspicion that while we might get it back to one, it's not looking like it will go all the way back down to zero again. Current alpha Buddha, who usually likes other dogs only for the chance to eat them, has been unexpectedly cooperative and perhaps even occasionally amused. Boris the pug, who is not the alpha but thinks he is, is hopping mad, though.
What else is going on? With the promise of a new book finally on the eventual horizon, it seemed like it might be time to revisit the website, since it hasn't been dusted off since 2008. Looking much better now, all squeaky clean and new. Not fully built out, need to track and down find some more stuff I'd like to put on there, short writing etc, but it's better than it was: welcome to Bauman's Brain. Big thanks to Cags for the heavy lifting. I hear tell a new Camp Hoboken site may be in the works, as well.
And finally, cousin Jon has a new site as well, cool stuff chronicling his continuing Russian adventures.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
It's done. (caveats, asterisks, daggers, etc. way down below.)
Not to make a big deal about it, except...well, come on. Seven years. That deserves at least a double Jamesons, right? (Except that I'm in the midst of a 30-day booze purge, so I'll raise a glass of tap water, I guess, and hit the Jamesons on Feb 1.)
No, it's not hardly all I've been doing for seven years. In fact, for several of those years I wasn't working on it at all. What was I doing? Oh, you know. Making a living, mostly. What else? Trying to write a screenplay with Matt Walker. Writing an entirely different novel that I ended up shelving. Writing this and that.
But whatever. Seven years ago to the very week I sat down to write some notes on an idea I had, and when I stood up I had 30 pages. That's how it started. I was pretty sure it was a ridiculous idea...but I was also sure I had never been so excited about anything I had written. Ever, really. So...it lived. Barely, for a long time. And now, seven years later, 30 pages has grown to 540.
Context on seven years, since I'm waxing novel-nostalgic tonight: Seven years ago my 26 year-old and 15 year-old daughters were 19 and 8, respectively. I was 37. Last decade, in the course of only six years I published three novels, and now it's been six years since In Hoboken's release. Seven years is just a year shy of what you'd spend in high school and college combined (which is why I didn't go to college, probably; that's just too damn long to sit in one place). Seven years is almost twice as long as I was in the army, but only half as long as we've been in this current state of war.
Anyway, I'm over myself now. But boy did it feel good to print that manuscript out today for the first time. Can't wait for y'all to read it.
Here are those caveats: Done as defined by first draft coherent enough to print out. I've got work ahead of me, no doubt. But (to me, anyway) this is the fun work, and is usually pretty speedy. I love the editing and rewriting.