|Midge Raymond and me on our joint book tour, Portsmouth, |
New Hampshire ~ September 2011
Ready? Here we go:
What is the working title of your book?
Made in America: Four Corners of Life. I feel skittish even calling it a “book,” at this point. I’m not quite sure what the word “book” means in 2013, so let’s just call it my current Big Writing Project, or if you prefer, my next big thing.
What is the origin of this book idea?
|Call family on the National Parks Tour ~ |
Douglas Call, 1976
With Made in America, I want to explore how our national parks have influenced our sense of what it means to be “American”-- a term that both angers and fascinates me. (And on a practical note, I wanted to spend more time outside in beautiful places.)
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a series of linked personal essays, some of which lean toward the historical and others toward the lyric.
If your book were transformed into another art form, what would it be? (OK, the original “Next Big Thing” question was: “Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?” But I’ve never aspired to have my writing adapted for the screen, so I’m bending the rules.)
|Hardwood Hammock, Everglades National Park ~ WLC 2013|
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A lapsed student of biology sets out to explore the natural world in the four corners of the continental U.S., becoming enmeshed in the complex tangle of patriotism, environmentalism and imperialism that characterizes our national parks.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
|Studio at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller |
National Historical Park, Vermont ~
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My parents, who packed my brother and me into our ‘68 Chevy Malibu in the summer of 1976 and drove us over 7,000 miles from our home on the California-Mexico border northeast to Zion, then north to Yellowstone, then Mt. Rushmore, then to the east coast, then south and west all the way back to the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest. Thirty days of cheap motels, friends’ hideaway sofas, and hotpot-and-cooler meals, so that my brother and I could have the gift of the National Parks Tour. This book is my thank-you note.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It will have pictures! And audio! And perhaps maps. Maybe even video. I don’t have the details worked out yet (I’m a hopelessly analog person, pushing a handcart down the information superhighway), but I envision Made in America as a digital book that actually takes advantage of the great opportunities this technology offers us as readers – and as writers. (Unlike the digital version of my 2011 book, No Word for Welcome, which is less visual than the print version, which simply shouldn’t be….)
an excerpt from the chapbook at the online magazine Guernica – but the real thing is much cuter. And I’ll sign it for you. All for the price of a latte. Get yours today! And, as always, thanks for reading.