categories: Cocktail Hour
Dave, it’s been an awesome six months, exhilarating, too, as we’ve seen that someone actually is out there, and proved that we have the stamina to keep the posts coming while also writing books and monitoring our massive Twitter following, and meanwhile moving into new houses (you), and attending demolition derbies (me), flying on the Cousteau team helicopter to the site of the BP oil platform explosion (you), and fishing with grizzly bears in Alaska (me). And in fact, it’s been a year or more since your brainstorm–took a while to get the site up and running, of course–a brainstorm that stemmed from a joke about our having a radio show based on NPR’s “Car Talk,” this one called “Book Talk.” Don’t read like my brutha! Don’t read like my brutha! I’ve really enjoyed and admired your energy and commitment to cocktail hour all along, but now also to Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour, another matter altogether.
The idea that I’ve been taking up any slack is preposterous–there’s been no slack at all, as far as I can see. Dinty Moore called Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour “peculiar” on his Brevity Blog, and that’s the biggest compliment of all, short of calling it “spectacular.” Because we really are peculiar, and we really aren’t that spectacular, despite all the prizes, the accolades, the financial bonanza (I just saw “Social Network” and if you and your fancy friends down there on the beaches of North Carolina try to screw me out of my 50%, you better lawyer up!). But what’s a few billion between friends? We started out with trophy wives, so nothing new we can add there, I guess…. Maybe just a couple of regular trophies? But definitely a trip and adventure together soon!
To those of you eavesdropping, we’ve been talking about bringing Bill and Dave’s on the road. Cocktail Hour in Miami, why not? And then on to Wichita, and Honolulu, Sidney, Hong Kong, and finally back to New York. Who will join us? Perhaps readers can suggest great literary cities or better yet, great literary nature spots. Where would our readers like to go? How long should we stay? We picture a good mobile literary conversation, a great and ever-changing group of people, and no workshops or panels!
Except maybe cartoon panels. “Talking to Ghosts” is one of my favorite things about Bill and Dave’s, Dave, and I hope to see a lot more. Though then again the journal version of “The Tarball Chronicles” is really great (and lingers below), the book is going to be a revelation–brilliant that Milkweed will publish on the anniversary of the explosion and subsequent spill.
My video extravaganza “I Used to Play in Bands” has been nominated for 8 Academy Awards! All eight for my father’s acting, of course (see chapter 5). But seriously, I never would have embarked on that project without “Cocktail Hour” to spur me on. It’s like writing with a camera–very strange at times, but just as often weird. My brother Randy came to visit and said he felt like he was seeing the other me–the one on the screen….
Another revelation has been the reader comment on our various posts, different voices depending on the subject at hand. It absolutely changes my approach and my tone knowing that someone smart is out there on the other side of the screen. I can’t lie as much, for one thing. And it’s a great antidote to the loneliness of the writing life. I always hated waiting a year for a story or essay to appear after it was accepted somewhere–books a little less so, perhaps. And I was always shocked by how fast a week or a month or even a quarter goes by, that is, how fast those magazine editions and their readers move on to the next number. Here, we’ve got all of our content always available to anyone who cares to look. We’re our own Library of Congress. This instant (yet lasting) audience has helped keep my spirits up through endless drafts and the delayed pleasures of the new novel I’ve been working on, which yes, I’ve got news on (but not quite time to spill the beans).
Meanwhile, here’s to Cocktail Hour. Where else can you find a discussion of Samuel Johnson and ponytails on the same website? And David, what other excuse might we have had to talk to one another on the phone nearly daily for a year?