I’m finally getting back to the blog after a long absence. My wife and I had a long vacation in the U.K. in July, then as soon as I got back home I did a brief reading at the always-wonderful Buffalo Street Books in downtown Ithaca. BSB is an outstanding bookstore that not only sells a lot of interesting books but has also for many years done much to nurture and support the literary community of Ithaca and central New York. BSB has a tradition of every once in a while hosting a “Works in Progress” reading, in which local authors read from books they are currently working on. It’s a good practice because it gives the authors a chance to get a little bit of feedback from the public on the project they are currently working on, rather than hearing nothing about it from anyone until the thing is finally published!

There were two other writers on the program with me, both poets. During my segment I read a few excerpts from the book of autobiographical essays I’m currently working on, to be entitled Meet Me in the Distance. I was gratified because, not only did some people show up for this (I had been afraid my wife might be the only one in the audience!) but they actually seemed to be quite interested in my reading. They were attentive, they laughed in the right places, etc. So it was a small, but important, bit of encouragement for me and gave me a bit more confidence that I am on the right track. Progress is slow, but steady. I hope to have the book out in print sometime late in 2015.

Some months ago when I mentioned to my friend T. my idea for this book project, she said “Excuse me, Eric, but why would anybody be interested in that?” Why, indeed? This is an important question. In general terms I would say “Because I, like everyone else, am struggling to weave meaning out of the raw material of my own experience.” But more specifically, T.’s question comes back to me every time I work on one of the essays for this book. For each one of these little essays I have to ask myself T.’s question again, why would anyone be interested in this? It has become my koan. Thank you, T., for this excellent question.

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