“Why do you want to reprint these old stories?” my colleague said to me when my last book, Overheard On a Bus, was publlshed. “They’re over. They’re done.” Another time, my critical co-worker said, “Why do you have a website dedicated to yourself?” – the implication being that it was somehow narcissistic, or worse, in bad taste, to reveal so much about my life to the general public. This friend would often speak cynically about my website, as though a writer promoting himself through his website is any different from a shoemaker advertising his wares.
Another old friend of mine, after reading Overheard On a Bus, complained that I was essentially wasting my talents on trite stories about people and incidents from my life. “What I am bitching about in your book is this dwelling on emotional attachments and ‘moments,’” he wrote me in an e-mail. “You seem afflicted with sentimentality, mawkishness…”
Well, get ready for more sentimental "old" stories, afflicted with mawkishness...
I have two new books coming out in the next month. One is called A Doctor and a Plumber in a Rowboat, which Carol Schindler and I are finishing up now. That's the long-promised book about improvisation that I've been threatening to write for years. It should be out by November, and more about that later.
More immediate, available now from Amazon, is Disappearing Act. This book is partially for the large handful of friends, family, acquaintances, students, and strangers who picked up my last collection of memories, Overheard On a Bus (I was tempted to call this one More Things Overheard On a Bus but refrained). In this new volume, as many of you requested, I present more stories from the Soter family vaults, and also answer my critics who asked, “Why are you stuck in the past?” and “Why don’t you write something profound?” and “I’ve read most of these stories on the internet, why should I buy the book?” and “Why didn’t you have a proofreader? There were a lot of typos.” For an answer to the first two questions, take a look at the piece, “Why I Write.” As for the third question, you should enjoy this book because I wrote 16 new stories exclusively for inclusion here, and have added some previously unpublished material from as far back as 1970. And, as for the issue of proofing, I was suitably embarrassed by the typos in Overheard On a Bus, so not only did I read through the book twice, but I also had two proofreaders look it over.
It's available now on Amazon. Buy a million copies!
October 7, 2014