In Which I Am On CNN, Go To Boston, and Get Back In The Chair

Good grief, it’s really been over a month since I last checked in here? I’m never gonna get a John Scalzi-type following at this rate…

First thing’s first–and because everyone asked me about it at the time–the CNN piece on the Muppets finally aired in late May. The CNN crew had come to my house here in Maryland ages ago to film me in my basement office, and then I never heard anything more about it. I had assumed it had turned into vapor trails, until a sharp-eyed fan on Twitter alerted me to it: a half-hour special called CNN Spotlight: The Muppets, with a brief look at Jim Henson about a third of the way through it.

In case you missed it (and even if you didn’t), here’s the piece in its entirety:


I also had the great pleasure of speaking in mid-April at the newly-opened Gaithersburg Library here in my neck of the words, with the added bonus that C-SPAN was in attendance to record my hour-long talk in its entirety for BookTV.  No word yet on when, or even if, it’ll air, but I’ll let you know what I hear. More than likely, some eagle-eyed Muppet fan will spot it before I do and let me know about it.

In mid-May, I headed for Boston to attend Biographers International Organization’s annual conference. It was my privilege to be elected the organization’s president in early spring, but that meant that in addition to the two panels I was on and the one panel I was moderating, I also had to act as emcee for much of the conference–which also meant I didn’t have as much time to spend catching up with everyone as I would have liked. One of the founding principles of BIO is to address with what we informally call “the loneliness quotient,” so the opportunity to mingle and trade stories with other biographers is one of the genuine pleasures of attending the BIO conference. It’s also perhaps the only place on the planet where you can grouse about having to assemble the index for your book (“And that index?!? AMIRIGHT?”) and have everyone in the room nodding sympathetically.

At the final reception, we announced the finalists and winner of the Plutarch Award, presented to the best biography of the year, as chosen by biographers.  I was pleased and honored that Jim Henson was among the finalists (along with Ray Monk’s Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center and Jill Lepore’s Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin), with the well-deserved winner being Linda Leavell’s Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne MooreIf you haven’t read any of these fine biographies, do yourself a favor and grab any one of them. Better yet, grab ’em all.

And, oh yeah . . . I’m at work again. On Something Cool. That means I’ll be back at the desk regularly again –which I’m also hoping means I can get back here more often. Bear with me.

4 responses to “In Which I Am On CNN, Go To Boston, and Get Back In The Chair

  1. congrats, welcome back, and so great seeing you in boston. another great conference, but then it always is. i am very very excited for what you’ve got going next!!


  2. Out of curiosity, how do you assemble the index structurally? Ive played with a few bibliography managers., but found the way the footnotes or indx markers looked very confusing. How do you keep track of data and footnotes as you write? Or do you go back to the text later and hoghlight things for the index. When data is interviews, pictures, reviews amd other texts, how can you locate what it is, where it is, amd where you may habe moved it during the writing process?


  3. My trick, Anonymous, is to NOT do the index myself. That’s one of the things that ends up coming out of my own pocket during production of the book. Some biographers LIKE doing their own index, but that’s a super power I just don’t have. I leave it in the hands of the professionals.

    Now, if you’re talking about how do I keep track of quotes and sources for endnotes, that’s a different question. Perhaps I’ll talk about that on here one of these days.


  4. Brian, Welcome back tp the blogosphere. Congrats on the BIO President office and on being a finalist for the Plutarch Award. I’m hoping to make the BIO conference next year–West Coast, perhaps? If you’re ever in the SF Bay Area, I’d love to meet and grab lunch/dinner and talk biography.