All of which is quite a nice surprise indeed. Excerpt? Of course.
"Ben Tanzer pretty much speaks for himself, but I'll just add that his "sorta" memoir is my favorite work of his to date."
Zero Gravity is quite This Zine Will Change Your Life actually and I am really happy to let you know that. So do hit it. There you go. Nice.
Most cool that. And the line-up? Ridiculously cool. Much more information here.
I am happy to let you know that there is new episode of This Podcast Will Change Your Life and it stars the Masande Ntshanga. So, please do check it out.
I am happy to let you know that This Book Will Change Your Life is The Fugue. I also think you so want to check it out.
It happened and you can read more about it at the Largehearted Boy here. You can also read some excerpt below because I'm cool like that.
Bob Dylan, Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine
Growing-up in my house you had three options if you wanted to listen to music, Bob Dylan, The Beatles or some random Klezmer band from Budapest. Anyway, I always listen to music when I’m writing and while working on one of the drafts of the book this song came on and it just seemed to have the right vibe. Thematically it works of course because it’s clearly a song about breaking-up and this is a story about a couple who comes together quickly, implodes just as quickly and then maybe somehow comes back together. But it wasn’t just the theme that worked for me, there are a million break-up songs that I could have referenced during the book, it was the fact that it is both kind of humorous and kind of dark, something I ‘m always trying to aim for when I write. And it was Dylan, someone who I purposely name-drop in the book as a figure who is all-knowing in only ways that Yoda, John Hughes and maybe Bruce Springsteen would understand. The catch there of course, is that once you invoke Dylan you have all the genius-God-should be a Nobel Prize winner stuff that comes with it. Still, when I was growing-up he was just a singer story-teller that my dad claimed my mom had discovered in the early sixties and our family owned in some way. Sort of like the Gore family and the internet.
Quite appreciated frankly, and by the most excellent Leland Cheuk no less. Excerpt? Word.
"There’s a line in The Flaming Lips song “Fight Test” from their seminal album “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots” that goes:
I thought I was smart
I thought I was right
I thought it better not to fight
I thought there was a virtue in always being cool
There cannot be a better set of lyrics to describe the premise of Ben Tanzer’s new “memoir (sort of)” Be Cool. Tanzer’s writing persona of the middle-aged, white, do-gooding dad is fully formed. After covering similar ground in his 2014 book of essays on fatherhood entitled Lost in Space, in Be Cool, Tanzer is older, wiser and funnier, and the book as a whole coheres in a way that indicates that Tanzer is at the top of his game."
I am happy to let you know that This Book Will Change Your Life is The Reactive. I also think you so want to check it out.
Most pleased really. And to be honest, I hope you are too. So do "Ira Glass Wants To Hit Me," and if you want some excerpt, I can you some of that as well.
"I do not consider myself to be a stalker. Nor do I think of myself as much of a sycophant. I am a bit of a starfucker though and at one time anyway a lover of anything and everyone associated with Ira Glass and the radio show This American Life.
It once seemed to me that my writing was perfect for the show, but you don’t have to take my word for it, many people told me so. No, you wouldn’t know them, but you can trust me.
It also seemed to me that under the right circumstances Ira Glass and I could be great friends, and I knew this in the same way that so many of my single female friends know that they are perfect for John Cusack.
How do they know this?
They just do.
But how does one get a piece on the show? Or even meet Ira Glass who I understand rests in a cryogenically sealed chamber between shows?
I imagine one could lurk outside the studio or Ira’s home, though again please note that I am not a stalker, and that the charges to that affect that may, or may not, have once been filed by NPR’s legal office here in Chicago did not stick.
One could also submit their work to the show, which I have done, but how well does one’s actual work reflect their wit, timing, and ability to move the public to tears, joy, and maybe even arousal in the space of one sentence?
Not well, not my work anyway."
Feels good. And highly appreciated. Be Cool indeed. Excerpt? Word.
"There's something about the prose in here that makes me pay just a bit more attention to the world, be a little more forgiving with it and appreciative of it."
So much love. And so much line-up. So, to learn more, so much more, please do hit the Midwestern Gothic here. Thanks.
I am happy to let you know that there is new episode of This Podcast Will Change Your Life and it stars the Chris Tarry. So, please do check it out.
"We are hunkered down around the little white television we use to have.
The television was my then girlfriend Debbie’s when we were in college, and it fits our current surroundings: a somewhat dingy, much too small, yet hoping to be more, one-bedroom apartment, that is really just a studio with a wall.
It is June 17, 1994.
We are watching Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Knicks are playing the Rockets at the Garden, and we are hoping to watch them go up 3-2 in the series.
We want this win, we are focused on the game before us, and we are not moving.
The Knicks deserve our full attention and they must have it.
This is their night.
This is our night.
And we are taking no chances that we will inadvertently cause the Knicks to lose by getting distracted and not providing them with the proper dosage of the energy, positive Karma, and undiluted attention that only we can provide.
Their win depends on our ability to will it into being so, hence there will be no distractions, just hunker.
But then the chase happens.
Soon NBC is switching between the game and the L.A. Freeway, then they move to a split screen, and ultimately we are forced to do everything in our power to give the Knicks what they need, despite our inability to pretend in this moment that they are all we care about."
Thank you. I’m thrilled to be here, and I appreciate the chance to talk with you about my new essay collection Be Cool—a memoir (sort of) from Dock Street press.
Well, great, congratulations, truly, should we get right into the questions?
Yes, of course, soft ball questions, right, I hope.
Yeah, sure, anyway, so, navel-gazing…?
You know, the activity of thinking too much or too deeply about yourself, your experiences, your feelings, etc. That’s from Merriam-Webster.
Is that a question?
No, not exactly, that was more of a reaction to your question, which was in response to my initial query. But if you don’t mind, I’m going to ask the questions here.
You know, I had a therapist say that to me once.
Yeah, how did that turn out?
Not so good. But to your non-question, question, am I concerned about there being too much navel-gazing in Be Cool, no, I don’t think so, that never even crossed my mind. Really, it seems like writing personal essays would almost automatically engender that.
Does that mean, that from your perspective, writing an essay collection, memoir (sort of) does not involve thinking too much or too deeply about oneself?
Oh no, it does, but writing, ideally, is still something else entirely to me. You are attempting to craft a narrative that taps into universal themes, which just might offer the reader insight into themselves, if not actual entertainment and escape. And these are good things, and certainly the reasons why I read what I read.
So, do you consider yourself an entertainer?
At times, yes. Am I consciously engaged in the act of amusing or entertaining, also Merriam-Webster, absolutely. I want the reader to be engaged, and moved, and in my head. Does that also mean there is pain and confusion? Yes, of course there is.
"I just ruheally love Ben Tanzer books, books by Ben Tanzer, when Ben Tanzer writes things and also Ben Tanzer. It's kind of (one of) My Thing(s)."
And for more on all of that please do go here. Cool? Cool. Many thanks.