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  • "The novel takes an honest look at what it means to be an authentic person once all of the trappings of societal norms have been stripped away." Let's talk Victoria Falls by James Hornor. Reviews, interviews, think pieces and hype would be nice as well.

    As the universe inexplicably continues to chug along despite, or is it in spite, of the current state of the world, I'm really honored to support efforts to bring Victoria Falls by James Hornor out into the wider world. To quote his interview at The Rumpus:

    The Rumpus: One of your protagonists shares your name, so I’m assuming some of this story is autobiographical. How much of this story is based on your own experiences? Why then did you choose to write and publish this story in 2019, at this tumultuous point in America’s social and political climate?

    James Hornor: I went to Africa in 1994 as a consultant to the World Bank, so parts of this story are autobiographical. Like James Monroe, I had gone through a painful divorce and I was in somewhat of an identity crisis. Most men define their lives through their family and the accomplishments of their career, so in my early forties I began to look for my true identity as a man and as a human being as opposed to being defined by my “trophies” of accomplishment, power, and position.

    The novel takes an honest look at what it means to be an authentic person once all of the trappings of societal norms have been stripped away. James Monroe discovers a side of himself that had been suppressed or hidden. He discovers his capacity to be vulnerable and selfless. He essentially redefines manhood by allowing those previously dormant qualities of unconditional love and ongoing care for others to emerge as the new markers of manhood.

    This story is timely and relevant for 2019 since we are living in a political and societal culture where manhood is being defined by traditional role models in terms of wealth, power, and authority over others. Having these markers as the default definition of manhood is inculcating a message of confusion and doubt to an entire generation of young men who are the age of my fourteen-year-old son. By propagating the idea that self-worth is defined by power over others, today’s teens are made to believe that compassion and empathy are signs of weakness.

    So, it is our responsibility to introduce them to opposing narratives where power mongering and greed are revealed as gross insecurities and where authenticity and empathy are championed as the way of courage.

    I couldn't agree more. Further, I don't think this book could be more timely. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions and/or are interested in reviewing the book, interviewing the author, writing think pieces or generally engaging in the hype we're looking to generate for this most timely of books. For much more on all things Victoria Falls please do go here.

  • When seemingly everyone I know, love, and admire is sharing their stories and their "Me too" message, I want to share "What To Read When Everyone Is Talking About Rape" from The Rumpus and commit to becoming an ally in whatever ways change the culture.

    From The Rumpus:

    "Unsurprisingly, actresses in Hollywood have long known that Harvey Weinstein is a sexual predator, and have suffered for it. This is not an issue specific to Hollywood, but rather one that pervades every industry, including our own. In publishing, just as in the movie business, there are men we warn women not to work with, not to be alone with, not to send work to. The burden has always been placed on women to keep each other and ourselves safe—men don’t take accountability for their actions, and why should they? After all, they aren’t held accountable for those same actions (but sometimes their victims are). This is called rape culture, and here at The Rumpus we’ve been writing about that culture for years.

    "There are reasons to be hopeful that the next generation will be more aware, less inclined to overlook the bad behavior of their peers, and more vocal in addressing sexual violence and harassment when confronted with it. But rape culture is pervasive, and it will take time and activism—and the dismantling of a patriarchy that is roaringly loud and proud at this moment in America’s history—to eradicate it. A good start is learning about sexual violence.

    "To that end, and in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we’ve put together a list of memoirs, fiction, poetry collections, and nonfiction that deal with rape culture, violence against women, and the many ways that rape culture and violence against women have shaped our society and the women and men who live within it."

  • Most appreciative I am talking Be Cool, SEX AND DEATH, The Basketball Diaries and Natasha Kinski with The Rumpus.

    I am talking and I am interview and I am Be Cool and SEX AND DEATH and The Basketball Diaries and I truly am thankful for The Rumpus and the quite awesome Gina Prescott for making it so. Excerpt? Word.

    Rumpus: Okay, let’s get into the questions I have actually prepared. My first is broad, and I think it’s fun. What is your personal, down and dirty, definition of cool or coolness? Feel free to provide examples to elucidate your point—cool things, cool people.

    Tanzer: That’s a good, fun question. I think the definition—or the version—I’ve spent much of my life striving for—and it’s embarrassing to think about, but fun to write about—is this sense that the choices you’re making, the things that are important to you, the way you want to live or could live, are things that are recognized by the public as things that seem cool.

    I’ve always been interested what I’ve been interested in, but I’ve also been interested in being cool, for sure. I feel like as a young adult, I moved away from a lot of what I loved. Consciously, I didn’t think they were cool enough, and I tried to figure out what was cool. Now, I think the important part is that the people you intersect with see you as cool. That’s my personal definition. I think the definition is really the ability to be in your own skin wherever you are and trust and know that whatever version that is that you are living and breathing it and you are unbothered whether people are reacting to it. And that’s what I have tried to do as I’ve gotten older. I’m very fanboy about things that I get excited about. I’m not able to be cool about it. For long time, I suppressed that as an adult, and I decided to drop it. If I’m excited about something, I let myself be excited about it. It’s very freeing. So I think a part of being cool to me when I was younger, was trying to figure what people respond to in a way that gives you a sense of adulation. And now I think being cool is understanding what you love or makes you feel good and embracing it, regardless of how you think people come to it. How’s that?

  • Letters in the Mail from Letters in the Mail.

    I'm really geeked to have received some letters in the mail, yes actual letters, in response to my letter "Dear Future Husband," which I was thrilled to write for the Letters in the Mail subscription service (it's also the preface in Be Cool, yo) at The Rumpus. Letters in the Mail supports operations at The Rumpus and if you subscribe you will receive letters every two weeks from all kinds of amazing writers. Actual letters. Seriously. So, please do check it out, it quite rocks, and from what I understand, you do too.