People On The River Are Happy To Give

ConferenceLogo2014-width250I leave tomorrow afternoon for Richmond, Virginia, to attend an event I’ve been looking forward to for almost a year now: the James River Writers conference. I was so thrilled to be invited–and I’m even happier that they’ve chosen to keep me so busy over the weekend. I’ve been to Richmond lots and lots (I love their Poe Museum) but this is my first time at the conference as either a guest or speaker.  So, yeah, I’ll say it again: I’m really looking forward to it.

If you’re attending–well, first, come say hello, okay? I’ll be giving one of two TED-style talks on Saturday morning–a quick ten minutes on what writers can learn from Jim Henson (hint: practice and perseverance). Then, on Sunday, I’ll be serving on two panels, one on research, the other on the art of the first draft. (For more information, the weekend conference schedule is right here.)

And even if you’re not attending . . . well, one of the great things about JRW is they host a lot of events in Richmond that anyone can attend.  Late Saturday afternoon, then, I’ll be talking about Jim Henson at 5:30 p.m. at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond. I just finished putting together a new presentation, with a different line up of clips than I’ve used in the past, and I’m pretty excited about debuting in Richmond.  And did I tell you it’s free?  It’s free, people.

Seventy Four.

John Lennon would have been seventy-four years old today.

Take a moment today to think of peace, think of love, think of joy, and think of the music. Because those are the things John lived for, you know–and wanted you to live for, too.

Look! It’s Jim Henson in Polish!

Late next week, I’ll be meeting with a Polish reporter to talk Jim Henson over at the University of Maryland. As you can imagine, he really wanted to see the Jim Henson statue, and I was so pleased that the University was able to take good care of us, even getting us a room at the Stamp Union Building to record a radio interview.

Oh, and wanna see what Jim Henson looks like in Polish? Here ya go:

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Apparently “Tata Muppetow” translates roughly as “Father of the Muppets”–and just to make sure book browsers knew exactly who we were talking about, I love that they bumped out Kermit with a splash of green.  Really nice work all around.

At Last, Hurrah!

I had a great time with the Maryland Ensemble Theatre doing their Last Hurrah podcast this past weekend — and host Kevin Cole informs me that you can now download it for total free on iTunes, right here.  I’m on Show 12 — but I had so much fun doing this one that I think you’ll probably enjoy any of the shows you might download. I joined Kevin and his pals Hannah Gutman and Andrew Michaels for more than an hour as we discussed Jim Henson, of course, but also whether biographers know everyone else’s projects, what it’s like to major in unemployment, and the whole Paul Is Dead thing.

The rest of my week is seat time, working my way through chapter two. Just for fun, go watch this:

Geeks Assemble!

Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 4.51.26 PMDidja remember I told you earlier this week that I’d be doing a podcast with the fine folks over at Assembly of Geeks? Huh, didja? Well, I did — and I have.  I had a lot of fun talking with supergeek Scott Murray, both on and off microphone. He’s a geek who knows his stuff. And as promised, you can listen to the entire thing if you just follow this link on over to their website.

And one more reminder that I’ll be with the Maryland Ensemble Theater for The Last Hurrah on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. in Frederick, Maryland. Bring everyone you know.  And throw stuff.

There Is Another.

A reviewer for The Washington Post once remarked that when it comes to choosing biographical subjects, I seemed to have a fondness for “slightly off-center American geniuses.” I liked that a lot, and I have to say that’s actually very true. And if I had to get even more specific, I’d say my particular proclivity — at least at the moment — would seem to be for Enigmatic American Pop Culture Icons. Once you’ve done Washington Irving and Jim Henson, then, I think the next one should be obvious.

With that in mind, then, I’m thrilled to finally Officially Announce The Subject of My Next Book:

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C’mon, I don’t really have to tell you who that is, do I?

It’s George Lucas. And if I hit all my marks, you should have it in your hands in the Spring of 2016.

Hurrah!

Two announcements that need a slight hurrah — or, at least, a Kermit arm flail.

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First: for those of you in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area, I’ll be appearing live on stage with the Maryland Ensemble Theatre to take part in their LAST HURRAH comedy show. The fun starts this Sunday at 7:00 p.m. at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre,  in the historic Francis Scott Key Hotel in downtown Frederick. I have no idea what I’m in for with this one — it’s a live show and podcast populated by stand up comedians and other masters of improv — but I’m looking forward to it.  And believe me, I’m not even going to try to joke and make mit thuh funny, Lebowski — I’ll leave that to the seasoned professionals. But if you’re in the area on Sunday night and looking for some fun, come on in.  And bring everybody you know.  And even some people you don’t.

Here’s their press release with all the information you’ll need.

Second: tomorrow, as promised, I’ll Officially Announce My Next Project. I think you’re gonna like it–at least, I hope you do. I know I’m pretty excited about it.