In case you’ve missed it – and if my Blogtalk Radio Listener Counts are correct you probably have – we have recently begun a new live internet radio program called Author2Author. Our first guest was the irreplaceable Frank Delaney, and our second show featured the delightful Diane Hammond.  Next I will be chatting with doctor author Carol Casella, and the week after that Andre Dubus. Though Author2Author airs live every Tuesday at 2:00 PM PST/5:00 PM EST, you can always listen to the shows in the archives. Starting in March, we will be archiving the shows on Author itself. Why a radio show? Because, as much as I love interviewing writers, I thought a real dialogue between two writers could be just as interesting. So far, this has proven to be the case. But this is not surprising. Writers don’t always get to talk to other writers about writing. In fact, when they do get together, it is not unusual for conversation to quickly descend into gossip and griping about agents, advances and, of course, the Decline of Publishing. When Hemingway describes meeting F. Scott Fitzgerald for the first time in A Movable Feast, he complained that the celebrated novelist talked mostly about about, you guessed it, agents and advances. So this is a time-honored tradition.

But I love writers, and no matter how often they complain or gossip I know what moves them. Sometimes all this business talk feels like so much posturing, a kind of nervous effort to disguise the fact that what writers really know and care about is just writing. One reasonably informed question is all it takes to learn this.

It reminds me of the time I was having coffee with Frank, a friend I hadn’t seen in thirty years. He was now a professor of Southern American History, and so I mentioned I had written a novel set in the pre-Civil War South, and how I had some theories about that time and place, and I was curious what he thought of these theories. Frank leaned forward, everything about him came into focus, and he said, “Well, as a matter of fact, Bill, to really understand the South you have to know that—”

And here he paused a moment, and warned. “Now be careful. We’re about to cross the bridge to Boredom Town.”

Oh, I could sympathize. How often I’ve been at some party and wished I could really talk about what I loved, which is writing. Really talk about the blank page, and listening, and what it is when the sentence arrives fully formed and what it feels like when it doesn’t. Well, now we have a show for that. It’s a call in show, by the way: (661-449-9357), and if you catch us wandering into the dreary world of agents and advances you have my permission to call right up and tell us to knock it off.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.

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