Reality on the Half Shell

After these uniquely challenging past few months, most specifically the past few weeks, I feel like I am bobbing along half-baked, a shell of my normal self. To help Sophie nurse her grief we’ve retreated somewhat, burying ourselves in movie after movie, browsing through art history books in bed and plotting grand adventures.

But as much as I love the dreamlike fantasy of, say, a Botticelli masterpiece…

feature birth of venus

…or I find entertainment in the science fiction other worldliness of a Kilgore Trout book cover…


…full time escapism is simply not a viable option. Truancy laws aside, fanning around the house all day watching old movies and thumbing through travel guides is not necessarily in the best interest of long term mental health, Sophie’s or mine. So we have re-engaged with our previously scheduled programing. Her back to school, me back to my ever-regenerating To Do list. For every item I conquer there are a dozen more looming. It seems to take my brain longer to do less right now. But we are valiantly trying to sink our teeth into real life. And as we crawl back into a regular routine, I can’t help but trip over the recurring themes of birthdays, spring and rebirth.

You see, last Sunday was the official One Year Birthday for my book Honky Tonk Debutante, which released February 1, 2014.

happy birthday honky tonk debutante

And a few long standing events on the calendar are triggering a rebirth of my book promotion efforts. Yesterday I had the privilege to be interviewed for a University of Texas podcast, talking about honkytonk music and the history of jukeboxes. To make this conversation even dreamier, we recorded it at the legendary Cactus Café, a historic music venue lounge bar located in the UT Student Union.


Afterwards I walked with Dusty Hixenbaugh to his ‘Rhetoric of Country Music’ class where he had invited me to serve as the guest lecturer. What a sharp, dynamic group of students in this class! I’m not sure I was totally on my A-game as I rambled about western swing and the sub-genres of traditional country music, but they asked great questions and the conversation itself turned into a delightful hour and fifteen minute escape. As an exceedingly kind gesture, Dusty and the class presented me with a rocking fleece Longhorn blanket from the campus bookstore and a lovely card signed by the entire class.



But truly, the pleasure was entirely mine. It was a perfect dose of honkytonk therapy. Thank you all for having me! Hook Em.

Next up is a book event that has been on the books for months. This Monday February 9th I will be participating in the Local Author Night at BookPeople here in Austin. PLEASE COME! It starts at 7pm, I will be one of three Austin authors presenting and signing books. Last time I did this we had cupcakes and beer. I have no idea what to bring this time. Any ideas? What sounds tasty? Name it, say you’ll be there, and I will try to bring it.

Yes, it feels wonderful to once again feel mildly productive, engage with the outside world, and talk about honkytonk music. But Honky Tonk Debutante isn’t the only cultural rebirth afoot this spring. Lest you think I have wholly abandoned my commitment to escapism, fear not. In a grand sweeping gesture, we have planned a last minute trip to Florence Italy for Sophie’s Spring Break in March. Just mother and daughter. No better place to make one feel human again than the epicenter of the artistic Humanism movement and the birthplace of the Renaissance.

400px-Florence_-_Duomo_sunset800px-Fra_Angelico_-_The_Annunciation_-_WGA00555 Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n._5571_-_Firenze_-_Piazza_Michelangelo800px-Botticelli-primavera 800px-Església_de_Santa_Maria_Novella_(Florència)

So as you can see we are swinging the pendulum between reality and escapism these days. It’s a delicate little dance. Just when I start to daydream about Florence a little too much, spending a little too much time updating my TripAdvisor details, I remember the remaining inventory of books that is still holding my dining room hostage as a warehouse.


You can only shuck reality for so long without gulping some down. Hey, worst case scenario, I just swallow a pearl, right? So it’s time for me to spring into action this spring. I hope you’ll join me…

book people local author night feb 9


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