I’m very excited to launch my new web site and this blog to accompany it as we start counting the months until the June 14 publication of my new novel, Break the Skin. Galleys should be available soon, probably sometime this week, and foreign rights have already been sold to an Italian publisher. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for more good news about the book to come.
The title of the book comes from a song by a group called Watershed. One of its members, Joe Oestreich was a student in our MFA Program at Ohio State University (or The Ohio State University, if you feel like using the official name of the school, and, yes, we often make fun of that pompous sounding article that leads it off), and he was kind enough to allow me to use the following lyrics from “Black Concert T-Shirt” as an epigraph:
My steel toes start kickin’
My new tattoo just ain’t stickin’
You gotta break the skin
Take the needle just stick it in
If you’re interested in the band, please check them out at www.watershedcentral.com
If you’d like to hear “Black Concert T-Shirt,” please go to http://www.myspace.com/watershedcentral
The title of my blog, “The Least You Need to Know,” comes from the title of my first book, a collection of short stories which won the first Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and was published by Sarabande Books in 1996. That book was essentially my Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, and I take no small degree of pleasure in knowing I earned a Ph.D. with a dissertation called “The Least You Need to Know.” On this blog, I’ll be talking about writing, publishing, teaching, and other stuff. If you’re interested, I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Right now, I have to go teach my seminar in the forms of creative nonfiction. I’ll leave you with a quote I’m going to pass on to my students today, this from Dani Shapiro’s excellent book, Devotion: “It wasn’t so much that I was in search of answers. In fact, I was wary of the whole idea of answers. I wanted to climb all the way inside the questions and see what was there.” Good luck with your own questioning. I’ll be back soon with some more of my own.